To help parents protect children from sunburn, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has released an updated guide to safe sun exposure for infants and young children.
Is your baby under 6 months? To avoid sunburn, the first line of defense is to dress infants in lightweight long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and brimmed hats that shade the neck. Parents should still limit total time in the sun and check to make sure babies are not overheated. If that cloudy you planned for suddenly gives way to sunshine and you find yourself out and about without adequate clothing for Baby, look for shade. If that's not available, the AAP gives its OK for parents to apply a minimal amount of sunscreen with at least 15 SPF (sun protection factor) to small areas, such as the infant's face and the back of the hands.Did your best, but noticed that your baby has a few patches of mild sunburn? Apply cold compresses to the affected area, says the AAP.
Your Older Child
When it comes to active toddlers and older children, the first, and best, line of defense against harmful ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure is still covering up. AAP guidelines for older children include wearing a hat with a 3-inch brim or bill facing forward, sunglasses (look for sunglasses that provide 97 to 100 percent protection against both UVA and UVB rays), and cotton clothing with a tight weave.
Other AAP sun safety guidelines for kids include:
- Stay in the shade whenever possible, and limit sun exposure during the peak intensity hours—between 10 AM and 4 PM.
- On both sunny and cloudy days use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater that protects against UVA and UVB rays.
- Be sure to apply enough sunscreen—about 1 ounce per sitting for a young adult.
- Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.
Spending the day at the beach? Enjoy! But also use extra caution near water and sand as they reflect UV rays and may result in sunburn more quickly. Your best bet? Bring along an oversized beach umbrella to give kids a shadier spot to play.