Authored by Suzanne Alicie in Child and Teen Health
Published on 08-07-2009
When it comes to spending a day out in the sun many of us can remember when we were children and played outside for hours, without a thought to sunscreen. Those sunburns were badges of honor. These days we know that the sun is dangerous. Besides simply tanning or burning our skin, the sun can cause cancer. So the idea of baking in the sun with baby oil is a taboo thought these days. Sunscreen, shade, and the avoidance of the most dangerous of the suns rays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. have become a habit.
As parents we slather on SPF 30 or more to protect our kids from the sun before they go out to play, try to limit their sun exposure and always guard against sunburn. This is easy enough to do with older children; they understand why they need it. Babies on the other hand don’t usually take well to all the rubbing and fussing that is needed to apply sunscreen. But it must be done, because their skin is so delicate and will burn very easily in the sun. Going for a walk with your baby in a short sleeved shirt without sunscreen can cause his little arms to burn. Sun protection is not just for a day at the beach. It is necessary to protect your baby from the sun every time you take him outside.
There are special formulations of sunscreen for babies, with SPF ratings of 50 or more. These are made to protect babies’ delicate skin, and are gentle enough to place on their faces and heads. The best choice of sunscreen for a baby is a color changing formula. It goes on colorful, and absorbs invisible. This is so that you can see where you’ve applied the sunscreen so that you don’t miss any spots. If you have to use spray sunscreen, spray it into your hands and apply to the baby. Never spray your baby as it can get in his eyes or mouth.
When applying sunscreen to babies it is important to apply 30 minutes before the baby will be in the sun, and reapply every few hours. Don’t forget the feet and hands, or the top of the head. If you take your baby in the water, always reapply sunscreen immediately after drying him off. Not only can the water wash away the sunscreen, but the towel can also rub it off
In order to protect your baby from the sun always use a stroller with an umbrella, a playpen with a cover, and make sure to put a hat and sunglasses on your baby. If they become used to these items at an early age, it will become a healthy habit for them.
When you bring baby in out of the sun, a cool bath to remove the sunscreen product residue and a fresh application of baby lotion is a good idea. It is possible to have your baby outdoors with you enjoying the summer days, but it is very important that you protect them from the damaging rays of the sun.