Sun SafetyIN INFANTS' HEALTH
Summer is here, and while it's tempting to take baby out into the sunshine, it's important to remember that infants are much more sensitive to the sun than older children and adults. Here are some tips about safe summertime practices for you and your baby.
Stay in the Shade
The best protection you can offer your baby is to keep him or her out of direct sunlight for the first 6 months of life. If outdoor activities are on the day's agenda, find a shady area beneath a tree or make your own by using a large umbrella. The sun's rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Plan your activities around these hours to further minimize the danger of sun exposure.
What your baby wears is important, too. Bring a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses to shield your baby's face and eyes from damaging ultraviolet rays. Dress him or her in light-colored, loose-fitting clothing to keep the sun off your baby's skin.
Is Sunscreen Safe?
Sunscreen should be avoided for infants younger than 6 months old. However, sometimes sun exposure can't be escaped. If you find yourself in a situation where you must apply sunscreen, do so only on small areas of the exposed skin. Sunscreens that are not absorbed by the skin, such as zinc oxide and titanium oxide products, are best. These sit on top of the skin and form a physical barrier against the sun.
For children 6 months of age or older, choose a waterproof, broad-spectrum sunblock that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Use sunscreens specially formulated for children with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. Reapply every two hours, or more frequently if playing in water or sweating-and remember to check those expiration dates!
Not all summertime fun has to take place in the sun. Try out these cooler options with your baby.
• Take a nature walk. Put your baby in a covered stroller and head out to explore the neighborhood. He or she will be fascinated by the antics of squirrels, birds and passing cars, while still being protected from the harsh sun.
• Blow bubbles. Bubbles can be a source of endless fascination for your child. They're cheap and easy to carry. Bring a bottle along with you on trips or whip them out at home to keep baby happy and smiling.
• Have a sing-along. Release your inner rock star and your baby will be your biggest fan. Add some funny dance moves to get a few laughs as well.
Sources: kidshealth.org, mayoclinic.com, cdc.gov© 2013. True North Custom Media. All Rights Reserved.