Sun Safety Basics
Sun exposure, even at the youngest of age, can cause concerns for skin cancer later in life. Infants and toddlers have the most sensitive skin and require some extra TLC when exposed to the sun. All ages and all skin colors require sun protection.
Here are a few things to think about when out in the sun this summer:
When trekking to the pool, beach, or your local park, it is important to think about shade options regardless of how sunny or cloudy it is that day. Umbrellas, tents and stroller canopies are good options as well as SPF infused clothing and hats.
Be mindful of the reflection of the sun off of the sand or water.
For ages older than 6 months, sunblock should be applied prior to exposure to the sun, ideally 15-30 minutes and should be reapplied every 80 minutes, sooner if swimming. Unscented or sensitive options are best with primary ingredients of titanium dioxide or zinc oxide as they will be less irritating to the skin. You should also choose an SPF of 30 to 50, as labeled increased SPF greater than 50 will only provide minimal additional protection but may cause more skin irritation. For infants less than 6 months, it is recommended that you consult with your pediatrician but in most cases, the concern is skin irritation from the sunblock itself. So if the risk of sunburn is greater than the risk/concern of irritation, the decision to use sunblock is fairly safe. Remember to avoid little fingers and hands as they often end up in the mouth!
Hydration is also key for all ages, bring water with you and make sure everyone in the family is hydrating throughout the day of fun in the sun! If you find yourself in the heat with a crying, inconsolable young child with warm and/or red skin, remove the child from the sun and bring them inside. Call your pediatrician if you have further questions or concerns.
FDA.GOV Tips to Stay Safe in the Sun: From Sunscreen to Sunglasses