Sunburns are dangerous for all of us, but in babies they can become a medical emergency. Their skin is much more sensitive than ours making them more at risk to develop a sunburn. As parents, we must do everything we can to keep our babies safe from the sun.
Infants should always be kept out of direct sunlight - but that should be made a priority between 10 AM and 4 PM, when the sun’s ultraviolet radiation is most intense. Different items provide varying degrees of protection so be sure to have a form of solid shade such as a sun umbrella versus a tree.
Dressing your baby in sun-protective clothing is another option. Don't forget to cover her delicate head and neck with a wide-brimmed hat and her eyes with some UV-blocking sunglasses. Please remember, keep an eye out to ensure your baby doesn't get overheated with the extra coverings.
When traveling by car, be sure to keep your baby centered in the back seat - away from the windows. If possible apply a UV-blocking film to the windows as the sun’s ultraviolet A (UVA) radiation can penetrate glass, but window film will block almost 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays without reducing visibility.
Sunscreen is only ok to use when a baby is at least 6 months old. If your infant is younger than 6 months, then use another form of protection from the sun. If your baby is 6 months or older, apply sunscreen liberally and reapply every two hours -- or more if baby is getting wet or perspiring. When choosing sunscreen, pick a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least an SPF of 15. To avoid irritating your baby's skin and eyes, use a sunscreen that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Avoid using products that combine sunscreen and the insect repellent DEET.
Don't forget to keep baby safe, cool and protected from the sun this summer. The earlier they get used to having sunscreen applied the more likely they will continue to use it on a regular basis later in life.