7 simple steps to an effective Infant sun protection strategy
Infant sun protection is a must. A baby's skin is thinner, has less melanin and therefore burns more quickly than the skin of older children and adults.
Babies under 6 months should, if possible, not be exposed to direct sun light at all.
Infant sunburn may not only lead to heatstroke, fever and damage of skin tissue but considerably increase the risk of developing skin cancer (melanoma) in the future.
7 excellent tips FOR infant sun protection
- Use a safe baby sunscreen. It is always wise to ask a doctor before using sunscreen on infants under 6 months. The American Academy of Dermatologists recommend that if adequate shade and clothing are not available, you may use a small amount on baby's face and hands to prevent sunburn. Most pediatricians recommend zinc oxide and titanium oxide physical sun blocks for infant sun protection before the age of 6 months. The sunblock needs to block both UVA and UVB rays. If you need help choosing a sunscreen go to our page: safest sunscreen for babies.
- Learn how to recognize and treat sunburn. One of the most serious baby skin conditions is baby sunburn and should be avoided at all times. Sunburn is not only very painful for your baby but it also increases the risk of developing skin cancer later in life.
- Use sun protective clothing. Clothing is usually the best and easiest way to avoid sunburn. But not all materials provide the same amount of protection. Tightly woven materials let the least UV rays through and give the best protection from the sun. Though, you may not want to rely on the human eye to evaluate how protective your infant's clothing is. Especially, when you take him to a swimming pool or to the beach, it is recommended to choose special that is tested in a laboratory.
- Protect baby's head. An infant's head is particularly vulnerable to sun exposure. Most infants do not have a lot of hair to give them some natural protection. To protect baby's head from the sizzling sun choose infant sun hats that are big enough to protect baby's face, neck and ears. A beautiful example is the UNISEX BABY SUN HAT from I PLAY made of sun protective fabric, has a big flap to protect baby's neck and a drawstring to secure it under baby's chin.
- Provide shade when you're out and about. In the summer when you want to go out with your baby, avoid the time around midday from 10 am to 15pm. Tough keeping a baby in the shade will protect him from direct sunlight, it will not protect him completely from harmful UV rays. Mind that without additional protection your baby can also get sunburned after being for a longer period in the shade. Consider buying additional sun protective products when your out with your infant such as a shade for his stroller, a tent when going to the beach and a window shade for your car windows.
- Protect your infant's eyes. Parents often ask when babies need to begin wearing sun shades. Once you take your baby out in the sun, you can't start early enough. Numerous folks are worried that their tiny infant will not endure wearing them. But wearing eye protection is equally important for a child's health and safety as being strapped in a car seat. Having trouble choosing eyewear for your infant? Check out our post about baby sunglasses.
- Prevent a heat rash. The best strategy to prevent a baby heat rash is to avoid overheating and humidity. Keep the environment and your baby cool as this will protect him from developing a rash. When it's very hot you may want to use the A/C or a fan to distribute cool air. Never let a fan blow direct at your infant. No need to overdress your infant, instead dress him in loose, cotton clothes that keeps the skin cool.
Knowing that the immediate and long-term consequences of sunburn in babies can be disastrous, parents need to implement various infant sun protection measures for keeping infants safe in the sun. Every year we see an increase in cases of skin cancer, so the sooner parents start practicing rigorous sun protection, the better.