Study Shows Parents Not Properly Protecting Babies from Sun
Even though summertime is drawing to a close, proper sun-protection should be a year-round effort. Babies remain the most vulnerable part of the population, with their delicate skin particularly susceptible to UV radiation. Babies that are not properly protected from the sun are at a higher risk for developing skin cancer later on in life. But according to a new study on sun safety and babies presented at the American Academy of Dermatology’s summer meeting, parents are not practicing proper sun protection.
The AAD advises babies under the age of 6 months to be kept out of the sun as much as possible. They do not recommend applying sunscreen to children under 6 months old, but instead they advise parents to seek the shade and dress their babies in sun-protective clothing. Toddlers over 6 months old should wear sunscreen containing either titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. The new research presented at the AAD meeting shows that many parents are not even aware of the recommendations from the AAD on protecting infants from the sun.
The study, which was conducted earlier this year, polled a group of about 95 parents on their sun safety habits with their children. The good news is that 83% said they regularly found shade for their kids, but only 43% routinely dressed their children in hats and only 40% dressed them in long sleeves and pants for protection from the sun.
The most alarming finding from the study showed that one-third of the respondents regularly attempted to increase their child’s exposure to the sun to help them “develop a tolerance” to UV rays. Unprotected exposure to the sun can permanently damage the skin and lead to skin cancer and premature aging. Therefore, it remains crucial that parents keep themselves educated on sun safety for their children.