As summer approaches, experts are warning parents to stay away from spray sunscreen for children and are attempting to create more awareness about the risks of using those products.
Last summer, the Food and Drug Administration was transparent in its warning to parents that although spray sunscreen may be easier and more efficient, it comes with a number of serious risks. A Consumer Reports article from July made the stance clear, saying “our advice is that the products should generally not be used by or on children.”
The greatest risk, reports note, is that children may breathe in the contents of the sunscreen as it’s sprayed into the air, and those contents may be harmful to children.
Dr. Randall Duthler, a West Michigan doctor, told Fox 17 that although he’s guilty of using spray sunscreen on his own children out of pure convenience and ease, he recognizes the potential harmful health hazards associated with its use.
“I think the primary concern is inhalation and injury of the lungs,” Duthler said. “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.”
Although the risks are real, Duthler says parents have to make informed choices on their own.
“I would say there’s a risk and benefit to everything, and you have to weigh that for you personally and your kids,” Duthler noted.
Consumer Reports advises parents who choose to use spray sunscreen to spray it on their own hands and rub it onto their child rather than spray them down directly. Some sunscreens were recently taken off Consumer Reports' approved list.