How Parents Can Protect Their Kids from Skin Allergies, Sunburn, Poisonous Plants and Insect Bites

The hot summer sun can wreak havoc on our skin, especially children. Renowned pediatric dermatologist Dr. Jeanine Downie joined me for an interview recently to share how parents can help combat skin allergies, sunburn, poisonous plants and insect bites!


Pediatric dermatologist Dr. Jeanine Downie shares tips on how parents can prevent their kids from getting sunburned, bitten by insects and attacked by poisonous plants!

Pediatric dermatologist Dr. Jeanine Downie shares tips on how parents can prevent their kids from getting sunburned, bitten by insects and attacked by poisonous plants!





Candace Rose: What are some warm weather skin problems that parents need to watch out for with their kids?

Dr. Jeanine Downie: “Well, there’s a lot of different things- there’s sunburns, there’s insect bites, tick bites, and there’s also the general irritation that your kids can get- heat rash, eczema that kids can get in the summertime. So to that end I’ve actually teamed up with Dial Kids. They have a brand new body and hair wash that’s a 2-in-1 product, Candace. And what I mean by that is it’s developed with pediatric dermatologists specifically for the special needs of kids skin ages 2+ and 6+. It’s actually tear-free, hypoallergenic. It’s got no artificial dyes and no parabens, so it’s a great product for kids sensitive skin because it’s very, very gentle and non-irritating.”

Candace Rose: And speaking of their skin, what kinds of products should parents use on kids with sensitive skin?

Dr. Jeanine Downie: “Well, I do like hypoallergenic. I like something with no parabens and quite frankly something that is tear-free is also great especially if it’s a shampoo. Like I said, this is a body and hair wash. And then in terms of other summer issues, sunburn is huge and high up on the list. What I recommend for that is a sunblock with an SPF of 30 in it every single day- rain or shine, January through December and that’s regardless of ethnicity. People actually do need to put the sunblock on themselves, put it on their children and then reapply it to ourselves and reapply it to our children because I do believe that children look at their parents for modeling good behavior and we need to model good behavior when it comes to sunscreen.”

Candace Rose: Are there any products that you recommend for all year protection from poisonous plants and insect bites?

Dr. Jeanine Downie: “Well, in terms of insect bites, that’s tricky because a lot of mosquitoes will get us regardless of whether or not we want them to. Mosquitoes unfortunately love me. So what I say with that is I like the citronella based products for zero through eight, and if your children are over 10, you can safely use the DEET on them the majority of the time. And that would be something like the Deep Woods Off. But the bottom line is if you’re putting a bug spray on during the day it can decrease the effectiveness of sunblock by about 50%, so you really want to put the bug spray on when the sun is setting.

And then in terms of protecting children from poisonous plants, that’s really about if you’re hiking, you should tuck the pants legs into the socks and pull the socks up over so there’s no space there. A lot of people get poison ivy, oak and sumac on their lower legs. However if you’re very unfortunate like one of my patients was, he actually got the sticky substance from the poison ivy leaves on his hands as he was taking his socks off and managed to get that all over his body (including on his face) before his brother’s wedding, so that wasn’t optimal.”

Candace Rose: Well, ticks are really bad right now in Northern California. I’ve already been bitten this year. How often should I be applying insect spray?

Dr. Jeanine Downie: “Well, you should be applying it, and then reapplying it if you’re out and about, especially at dusk. Ticks are very hard, especially the fact that they just like to attach to people if you’re out and about. So what I recommend is when you’re back inside- I have a 10 year old daughter and she just assumes the position and spreads her arms open wide so I can just check her from head to toe. Tick checks are very important, especially in tick ridden areas like you’re saying in you are in Northern California. We certainly have a huge problem with that here on the east coast as well.”

Candace Rose: Well, thank you for the great tips. Do you have any additional information you’d like to share with us?

Dr. Jeanine Downie: “Absolutely. For more information your listeners and viewers can go to”


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