Fun in the Sun

It’s the time of year when the temperature rises – and so do our hopes of having a long summer.

It’s a great time to participate in fun (and safe) activities with your children outside. I highly recommend replacing indoor playgrounds with outdoor playgrounds, going on a hike or bike ride instead of going to the movies. In this post, I will try to cover some common questions parents ask me in the summer time.

Can I use sunscreen on my baby?

It is important to protect your child’s skin (and your own!) from the effects of the sun. I recommend using SPF-30 or higher. Please make sure to also apply sunscreen to the ears. Do not apply it to the hands. You should not apply sunscreen on babies less then 6 months of age. I recommend keeping them covered (also with hat) and keep them mostly in the shade. Please find more information on sun safety at the Canadian Paediatric Society website.

Should I use insect repellant?

Absolutely! I always prefer being proactive versus reactive. Make sure to use an insect repellent that is safe to use for young kids as there are different DEET concentrations. Most of the ones that are safe to use for young kids will have the word “family” on the bottle. Do NOT apply it on their hands and do NOT spray it in their faces. Again, you should NOT use insect repellent on babies less then 6 months of age. Please find more information on repellents at the Canadian Paediatric Society website.

Can I use insect repellant and sunscreen at the same time?

Yes, you can. I recommend applying the sunscreen first, then applying the insect repellent. For more information, check out the CDC’s page on Insect Repellent Use and Safety.

We have a trampoline in our backyard; how many people can jump on it at the same time?

Home trampolines are getting increasingly popular. People feel a sense of safety when they have a high net around the entire trampoline. Safety is not a word I associate with home trampolines. A lot of you may have seen videos on Youtube with injuries as result of accidents on a trampoline. In fact, injuries from trampolines are one of the most common reasons for visits to an ER. Both the Canadian Paediatric Society and the American Association of Pediatrics recommend NOT to have a home trampoline at all.

My child had a bad reaction to a mosquito bite. What do I do?  Do I need to carry an Epipen?

Typically, kids and adults can both get local swelling and sometimes infection around the area of the bite. It is extremely rare to develop a reaction that would require the use of an Epipen. It is important to consult your child’s physician when there is local tenderness, redness or discharge. Immediately after a bite, one could apply Afterbite or a similar product. If you don’t have any at home, here is an old-fashioned remedy that has been passed on for generations in my family: slice a tomato in half and rub it onto the swelling.


  1. Above age 6 months use sunscreen and insect repellant.
  2. Wear hats and stay in shade as much as possible, particularly the very young.
  3. Home trampolines are NOT recommended at any age.

5 thoughts on “Fun in the Sun

  1. Poor Princess

    How harmful are the chemicals in the sunscreens we put on our children day in, day out? Have there been studies that show they cause cancer or other issues in the long run? Do you recommend against spray sunscreen since it has a higher chance of being ingested? Thanks, Doc.

  2. Sarah K

    A drop of Tea Tree Oil really helps with itchy redness from mosquito bites, too. Especially helpful if you are avoiding chemicals.

  3. Erin P

    One point I think that is important to note is that currently there is not a lot of regulation concerning the UVA guarding aspect of sunscreen. The SPF number rating is based on UVB protection alone and as most of us are aware, the UVA rays are the ones that increase your risk of skin cancers. Many popular sunscreens, for example, Coppertone, do not actually include enough of the UVA blocking ingredients and so I personally would NOT recommend them. Sadly, there is currently lacking regulation in this regard and so you must do your own research. Look for sunscreens that include titanium dioxide or zinc oxide to ensure they actually contain UVA blocking ingredients…the higher percentage the better. It really bothers me that many sunscreens marketed specfically for children do not contain ANY UVA blocking ingredients and so while they may prevent a sunburn, they are doing little to nothing to preventing cancers. I did see a recent article that the laws regarding UVA protection will hopefully be changing in the next couple of years.


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