Sun Sense for Parents

Picture of a baby at the beach

Chances are your child will be spending a lot of time outdoors this summer. Unfortunately, too much sun can be harmful. Over time UV rays can cause skin cancer, premature aging and cataracts. As little as one blistering sunburn in childhood doubles the risk of developing melanoma as an adult. It is important that we practice sun sense at an early age. The following are some safety tips to ensure your child is protected from the sun.

How to Protect Your Baby

  • Keep babies under one year of age out of direct sunlight. Seek shade from trees, umbrellas, or covered strollers.
  • Do not use sunscreen on babies under six months.
  • Dress your child in protective clothing such as: hat, loose fitting long-sleeved shirts, and long pants.
  • Closely knit fabrics block out most of the sun’s rays.

Protecting Your Toddler, Preschooler and Older Child

  • Keep child out of the sun between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
  • Use protective clothing such as wide brimmed hats, sunglasses, long-sleeved tops and long pants.
  • Slop on some sunscreen.

How to Select and Use a Sunscreen

Choose one with an SPF of 30 or higher offering protection against UVA and UVB rays. Test a small amount of sunscreen on your child’s inner forearm. Watch for a reaction. Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before your child goes outside. Don’t forget your child’s nose, ears, neck, back of legs, and tops of feet. Reapply after swimming or sweating and as directed. Certain medications can make your child more sensitive to the sun. If you are concerned about a medication your child is taking, check with your doctor and/or pharmacist before allowing your child to play in the sun.