Monday, June 11, 2012

Having Fun in the Sun (Safely!)

Summer is so much fun!  It's time to get outdoors after a long winter and enjoy some fresh air and sunshine!  Unfortunately, a sunburn can make for a pretty painful end to a long day of playing.  So, make sure with all your summer time activities you are taking steps to protect your baby's (and your own!) skin.

Young babies especially have a hard time with sun.  If your child is under six months old, try to keep them out of direct sunlight.  Find a place under a shady tree, use an umbrella, or make sure the canopy on your stroller is up.  Cover baby's head with a hat--a light colored hat with a brim will keep baby's face in the shade and it's great if it covers baby's ears too!  It's best to dress your child in clothes that are light weight and in light colors (to prevent overheating), but will cover and protect the most amount of skin.

For young babies (under 6 months), sunscreen can be applied to small areas of the body that aren't covered by other clothing (such as the backs of the hands, tops of feet, face, and back of neck).  Older babies and children can have sunscreen applied to all areas of the body (just be careful of those sensitive eyes!).  If your baby has sensitive skin (and many babies do), consider a sunscreen that has zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

Always apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before going out in the sun, and make sure you rub it in well everywhere that will be exposed to the sun.  There are places that often get forgotten, like the backs of the knees, tops of feet, or the ears, so make sure they don't get left out!  Reapply at least every 2 hours to ensure that you are getting the protection you need.

Once your child is covered head to toe (remember, you can get a sunburn even on cloudy days), get out there and enjoy your summer!!

Source: Fun in the Sun: Keep Your Family Safe (Copyright © 2008 American Academy of Pediatrics)

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