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The Kid’s Doctor: Apps can now help you gauge sunburn risk

Wherever you go on vacation, you’re sure to deal with sun exposure. Whether you’re lounging at the beach, hiking in the mountains or out sightseeing in the city, it’s important to make sure you – and your kids – use sunscreen on a regular basis.

I’ve been happy to find that more and more of my young patients and their parents are using sunscreen. At this time of year, it’s a good idea to apply a liberal amount of sunscreen on your child to just start off the day.

I suggest using products with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Again, this is just for a normal summer day, as your child may be in and out of the house, playing at the local playground, or at day camp or day care. This is just the “base coat,” and not enough for prolonged sun exposure.

While I was planning a vacation that included time in the sun, I came across an article about different apps now available to help you calculate how much sun exposure you’re getting, as well as the risk of sunburn. You can use the apps to type in your location and you or your child’s skin type. The apps calculate how long you can be in the sun. They also recommend sunscreen strengths. Some have a timer to remind you how much longer you can be in the sun and when to reapply sunscreen.

Dr. Sue Hubbard is a pediatrician, medical editor and media host. Submit questions at