Sun Safety Tips for Infants and Toddlers
Posted on 03 June 2016
Here are some of the best ways to protect your children from the sun, from The Skin Cancer Foundation.
0-6 months: Infants under 6 months of age should be kept out of the sun. Their skin is too sensitive for sunscreen.
An infant's skin possesses little melanin, and cannot regulate their body temperature by sweating the same way older children can. Therefore, babies are especially susceptible to the sun's damaging effects.
- I invest in UV window film, which can screen almost 100 percent of ultraviolet radiation without reducing visibility.
- Take walks early in the morning before 10 AM or after 4 PM and use a stroller with a sun-protective cover.
- Dress baby in lightweight UPF clothing that covers the arms and legs.
- Choose a wide-brimmed hat or bonnet that protects the baby's face, neck, and ears. A baby who wears a hat during the first few months will get used to having it on.
6-12 months: It's now safe to use sunscreen on babies.
- Apply broad-spectrum, SPF 50+ sunscreen to areas left uncovered such as baby's hands. Many companies have tear-free formulas that won't sting baby's eyes.
- Sunscreen must be applied 30 minutes before going outside and reapplied every two hours or after swimming or excessive sweating.
- Sun protective clothing remains the most effective and convenient form of protection.
Protecting toddlers from the sun requires a little more thought and effort. It is important to educate your child and caregivers.
- Look for broad-spectrum sunscreens with an SPF 30 or higher.
- Make sure your child seeks the shade between 10 AM and 4 PM. Check the outdoor area where your child plays to make sure there is adequate shade.
- Make sure toddlers are covered. Clothing with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) listing on the label offers extra security. While Skin Cancer Foundation recommends clothing with a UPF of 30 or higher, Little Leaves sun protective clothing comes with a UPF 50+ rating, blocking 98% of UV rays.
- Don't forget hats and sunglasses. Choose a wide-brimmed hat that protects face, neck, and ears.
"With a little effort and planning, it's easy for young children to enjoy the outdoors safely," said Dr. Carley Gomez-Meade, pediatrician and Little Leaves Clothing co-founder. "Parents need to make it a priority, and to also lead by example."