Sun Safety for Infants and Children
Summertime is here, which means more time outside in the sun. However too much sunlight can be dangerous to children, particularly infants. 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 in life. It only takes one blistering sunburn during childhood or adolescence to almost double a person’s chance of developing melanoma later in life.
Here are some of the best ways to keep your child safe outdoors:
- Keep your baby in the shade.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends keeping babies under the age of 6 months out of the sun as much as possible. They also do not recommend applying sunscreen due to their sensitive skin. Instead shade is the best way to shield your baby from the sun. Using an umbrella, tent, canopy, or stroller hood are some ways to protect your baby.
- Dress children in sun protective clothing.
Lightweight shirts and pants are a great way to protect your baby from UV rays and keep them cool. Also wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses with UV protection can help shield their face.
- Use kid friendly sunscreens
If your child is over 6 months, they should be wearing sunscreen containing either titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. The sunscreen should also be broad-spectrum, water-resistant, and have a SPF of at least 30. Also remember to reapply every two hours.
Lastly always remember to watch for cues from your baby. Make sure they drink plenty of fluids and are not overheating. If your baby turns red, is fussy, and is crying exceptionally take them out of the sun immediately. Unprotected exposure to the sun can permanently damage the skin and lead to skin cancer. It remains crucial for parents to keep themselves educated on sun safety for their children.