Direct sunlight is not the best option for infants. While infants sweat easily enough, they are not able to control body temperatures as well as older infants, children and adults. Doctors once told parents that sunscreen was not safe for use on infants until they were at least 6 months old, but that advice has been retracted by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Today, children under the age of 6 months can safely wear sunscreen when in direct sunlight. Light clothing with built in UVA and UVB protection should cover the majority of the body but hands and face can be protected with baby sunscreen. The SPF should be no lower than 15, with higher coverage offering better protection. Here are a few more tips for choosing the best sunscreen for baby.
Always choose a sunscreen that is water-resistant. Sweat can wash away sunscreen from face and saliva from hands. Choose only a hypoallergenic sunscreen for baby’s sensitive skin.
Stay away from pump sprays and continuous spray infant sunscreen. Baby cannot stop breathing while sunscreen is being applied and they will inhale chemicals in the sunscreen.
Parents need to use enough. Experts believe most parents only use half the sunscreen needed for full SPF protection. This means nearly every parent needs to put more sunscreen on baby.
Apply often. The AAP suggests applying sunscreen on infants at least every two hours. Parents should apply every hour to be safe.
Apply sunscreen early. It takes about 30 minutes for sunscreen to begin working. Before that time has elapsed, baby is not protected.
Sunscreen should be used in sunny and cloudy weather.
Sunscreen does not protect the eyes. Even infants under the age of 6 months should wear protective sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection.
It is important to state again that the AAP, or American Academy of Pediatrics has not approved sunscreen for use on infants under the age of 6 months. If infants will be outside during the summer, sunscreen or sun block protection should be used in conjunction with protective clothing.
Deciding whether or not to apply sunscreen to baby’s skin is a parent’s choice. It should be considered, however, that aging starts in the earliest months of life. When children are protected from sunburns and overexposure to the sun early with proper use of sunscreen, they tend to age more gracefully. The choices parents make today can lead to less wrinkles, fine lines and skin cancer later in life.
“Spring Break Safety Tips.”AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS WEB SITE. Web. 07 June 2010.