Sun safety is important for people of all ages, but it’s even more critical to protect babies’ skin, which is far more sensitive than that of older children and adults.
“Prioritize a healthy and safe summer sun care routine for babies,” encourages Dr. Richard C. Kirkpatrick of the Brevard Skin and Cancer Center. “Burns are painful and dangerous, but they are also preventable.”
This summer and beyond, consider the following baby sun care tips.
Avoid the Sun
The FDA recommends not using any sunscreen products on infants under six months of age, so keep newborns out of the sun as much as possible. Umbrellas, hats, wraparound sunglasses and protective clothing can help you avoid sun exposure.
Limit sun time for babies over six months of age, too. Remember, the hours between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. are when ultraviolet rays are most intense.
For babies six months or older, use sunscreen liberally. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more. Reapply as necessary after spending time in water, and every two hours.
Because babies’ skin is so sensitive, many pediatricians will recommend seeking out sun care products specifically designed with babies’ needs in mind. To ensure that the product is safe and effective, look for The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation.
Two great sunscreen options that have earned the Seal are the new NO-AD Baby Sun Care Lotion SPF5 and No-AD Baby Sun Care Stick SPF50. Both are paraben-free, retinyl palmitate-free, fragrance-free, oil and dye-free, hypoallergenic and are enriched with cocoa seed butter and vitamins. Organic beeswax allows the stick to apply super smoothly unlike other baby sunscreen sticks that drag on delicate skin.
These water-resistant products are available at a lower cost per ounce than national brands. More information can be found at www.no-ad.com.
“Don’t wait until you get to the beach or the park to put on sun protection. Apply sunscreen to babies 15 to 30 minutes before you leave home so they won’t be left unprotected while adults are busy setting up,” says Dr. Kirkpatrick. “A sunscreen stick is less likely to get into baby’s eyes.”
He also warns not to apply sunscreen on eyelids — shield baby’s eyes with a broad-brimmed hat.
Make it Routine
UV rays can do damage even in cloudy weather. So don’t become complacent when it seems like the sun is hiding. Take the same precautions every day — even in cool weather. Keep sunscreen on hand for regular application and remember to pay attention to your baby’s skin. Burns can happen quickly.
Remember to consult your pediatrician about your baby’s sun care routine. The summer can be a particularly challenging time of year to protect a baby’s skin, but establishing good habits now can help set your baby up for a lifetime of healthy skin.