It has been really hot around here lately! Spending time in the sun can be a wonderful summer activity, but it is important to protect your family from harm that can come with too much time in the sun. Follow these tips from The American Academy of Pediatrics to help keep your family safe!
Simple Rules to Protect your Family from Sunburns
- Keep babies younger than 6 months out of direct sunlight. Find shade under a tree, an umbrella, or the stroller canopy.
- Select clothes made with a tight weave; they protect better than clothes with a looser weave. If you’re not sure how tight a fabric’s weave is, hold it up to see how much light shines through. The less light, the better. Or you can look for protective clothing labeled with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF).
- Wear a hat with an all-around 3-inch brim to shield the face, ears, and back of the neck.
- Limit your sun exposure between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm when UV rays are strongest.
- Wear sunglasses with at least 99% UV protection. Look for youth-sized sunglasses with UV protection for your child.
- Use sunscreen.
How to Choose a Sunscreen
- Use a sunscreen that says “broad-spectrum” on the label with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 or up to 50. This will screen out both UVB and UVA rays. An SPF of 15 or 30 should be fine for most people. More research studies are needed to test if sunscreen with more than SPF 50 offers any extra protection.
- If possible, avoid the sunscreen ingredient oxybenzone because of concerns about mild hormonal properties. Remember, though, that it’s important to take steps to prevent sunburn, so using any sunscreen is better than not using sunscreen at all.
- For sensitive areas of the body, such as the nose, cheeks, tops of the ears, and shoulders, choose a sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These products may stay visible on the skin even after you rub them in, and some come in fun colors that children enjoy.
- Use enough sunscreen to cover all exposed areas, especially the face, nose, ears, feet, hands, and even backs of the knees. Rub it in well.
- Put sunscreen on 15 to 30 minutes before going outdoors. It needs time to absorb into the skin.
- Use sunscreen any time you or your child spend time outdoors. Remember that you can get sunburn even on cloudy days because up to 80% of the sun’s UV rays can get through the clouds. Also, UV rays can bounce back from water, sand, snow, and concrete, so make sure you’re protected.
- Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours and after swimming, sweating, or drying off with a towel. Because most people use too little sunscreen, make sure to apply a generous amount.
Sunscreen for Babies
- For babies younger than 6 months: Use sunscreen on small areas of the body, such as the face, if protective clothing and shade are not available.
- For babies older than 6 months: Apply to all areas of the body, but be careful around the eyes. If your baby rubs sunscreen into their eyes, wipe their eyes and hands clean with a damp cloth. If the sunscreen irritates their skin, try a different brand or sunscreen with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. If a rash develops, talk with your child’s doctor.
Sunburns – When to call the doctor
If your baby is younger than 1 year and gets sunburn, call your baby’s doctor right away. For older children, call your child’s doctor if there is blistering, pain, or fever.
Here are 5 ways to relieve discomfort from mild sunburn:
- Give your child water or 100% fruit juice to replace lost fluids.
- Use cool water to help your child’s skin feel better.
- Give your child pain medicine to relieve painful sunburns. (For a baby 6 months or younger, give acetaminophen. For a child older than 6 months, give either acetaminophen or ibuprofen.)
- Only use medicated lotions if your child’s doctor says it is OK.
- Keep your child out of the sun until the sunburn is fully healed.
If you have any questions about sunscreen or sunburns, contact The Pediatric Center for help! We provide the highest medical care to patients from birth to 19 years of age while striving to make them as comfortable as possible. When you are seeking a professional Idaho Falls pediatrician, The Pediatric Center in Idaho Falls is the best choice that you, as a loving parent or guardian, can make. We are here to answer all of your question regardless if they’re small or complex!
Some content provided by The American Academy of Pediatrics healthychildren.org