FDA: Don’t use spray sunscreens on children

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Sunscreen is a summer must, and there are hundreds of brands to choose from with different SPFs and scents. Even a choice between lotion and spray. According to a consumer report, they say don’t use “spray” sunscreens on kids, at least for now.

The FDA announced last month that it’s investigating the potential risks of spray sunscreens, and until the results are in, spray sunscreens are out.

Playing catch, a good game of tag, or enjoying some cold treats from the ice cream man are all fun summer activities kids engjoy when the sun is shining bright in West Michigan neighborhoods But parents know the sun isn’t all fun and games.

“I’ve experienced a few burns,” said Thomas Bunk, a father of 4 children. “I’m going through some spot removals now and have been for awhile. So now I take it a lot more seriously and I want my kids to take it seriously, too.”

Thomas Bunk raised a family full of Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, so spending time outside is a regular family affair. “We camp, we fish, we hike,” said Bonk.

Now, to protect his kids, Bunk goes what he calls “old school.”

“I think cost-wise I get more bang for my buck, and when I buy the lotion at least I know where its going,” he said.

Further down the street, mom of three Karen Bier-Hobbs aims to protect her kids from the sun, but she takes a different approach.

“Spray is what I use. It’s very convenient. I can reapply all the time.”

Convenient, but Dr. Randall Duthler of Metro Health recommends against using the spray sunscreen. “I think the primary concern is inhalation and injury of the lungs. I have children myself, so I’ve used spray suntan lotions.  I’m guilty of it. You know, you try to put it on the face, and it can burn the eyes, and it’s very difficult to avoid inhalation, because sometimes kids can’t coordinate holding their breath when you are trying to spray it,” he said.

The FDA is studying whether some of the ingredients the kids are swallowing are harmful. On the back of most spray suncreens you can find a warning that says keep out of reach of children and to get medical help if it is swallowed or inhaled, because it can be harmful or fatal.

“I would say there’s a risk and benefit to everythng, and you have to weigh that for you personally and your kids,” said Dr. Duthler.

So, after we told Karen about the study, she’s thinking that safety weighs more than convenience. “I want to make sure they are protected as much as possible,”  she said.

So when the sun comes out tomorrow, the kids in this neighborhood will still be outside, just with a different sun protection.

Consumer Reports is already taking some sunscreen sprays off their approved list. The publication suggests that if you choose to use spray sunscreen on a child, spray it into your hands and lather it on the child.

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150 comments

  • ashley Shadrick

    I use the spray sunscreen on my boys and never had an issue i don’t directly spray it on their skin I spray it In the palm of my hands and then rub it on their skin to avoid it getting in their eyes or them inhaling it so I will continue to use this product

  • Sean

    Maybe these people should bother READING THE LABEL. Spray on sunscreen cans actually do say not to spray people’s faces. THE DIRECTIONS, for those who are literate, say to instead spray into your hand and then RUB it on the face. Journalism much?

  • Kelly McCluskie

    Don’t spray the face! Spray the hands and rub on the face! For arms, legs etc. spray on and rub around if needed.

  • Jacque

    I always have them close their eyes and turn their head away from the spray. And on their faces, I spray it in my hands and rub that on them, the same as lotions! If you have children that listen, they can close mouth eyes and hold their breath it you are spraying it near their nose. I always point it down when spraying so the “extra” is not head level. I thinks it works fine using these tips.

  • ashley lyell

    Hey if I sell Mary Kay and we have a sunblock that is amazing and its only $20 and it’s spf 50. I live in Marion Illinois so anyone who is looking for good sunblock I would love to be your consultant

  • Jess

    Every spray sunscreen I’ve ever seen says to spray into the hand and then apply to the face. WHY would you spray any aerosol into anyone’s face unless you were trying to defend yourself from them?

  • amanda

    I use the lotion on my kids face and use the spray on the rest ..I always have them close eyes and mouth while spraying on there body

  • mary

    Im 33 and used the DG brand spray for kids and I was only in the sun 2 hours and i got first degree burn from it. And I am already tan. I literally burned me as if I was in the sun for hours without any protection.

  • Nics

    *sigh* Wrap ’em in bubble wrap before they go out… or just don’t let them out!! Seems that’s where things are heading. It’s weird how my generation (40+) did the majority of things frowned upon or banned nowadays and we’re here to tell the tale. So glad I’m not a mum, all this crap would drive me crazy!!

    • Chavon

      I am 34 and couldn’t agree more. My kids drink from the hose, wear spray on sunscreen, and sit forward facing in booster seats. I think most stuff is for the people that don’t have common sense and need everything spelled out for them. Geeze I didn’t even have a car seat as a child and am alive today.

  • Paige

    I’m 13 ,so I put sun screen on myself. Even I know that you put the spray on your palms and rub it on you or your child’s face. Derh!