You may have heard the advice that it’s best to keep a baby out of the sun entirely. This can be a challenge, especially with babies that are a little bit older: old enough to protest being covered up by a blanket, but too young to let you know he’s getting sunburn or to move out of the sun into a shady spot.
So what’s a parent to do? After all, it’s important to give your baby outside play time too. So how do you balance the need for fun and exercise with the need to protect your baby’s skin? By using the right baby protection.
Experts recommend that babies under six months old never be exposed to direct sunlight. There are a number of reasons for this. First, its common sense that baby’s skin is more sensitive than an older child’s or adult’s skin, and therefore more susceptible to sun damage. In fact, a baby’s skin is thinner and will burn and sustain long-term Ultra Violet damage in a much shorter time than children or adults, and once the damage is done it can never be undone.
Baby protection is important due to the fact that babies have more skin per square inch of body mass than children and adults, so a sunburn would be much more serious (and painful) for a baby. Unluckily, baby’s sensitive skin may not be very tolerant of sunscreen either. In fact, opinion is still divided as to whether it is safe for babies younger than six months to wear sunscreen. Since a baby’s thin skin may absorb more of the sunscreen than a child or adult’s skin would, and since it was not known what the long-term effects of sunscreen would be, experts once recommended that parents not use sunscreen on babies under 6 months.
More lately, the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Academy of Pediatrics have stated that no adverse effects have been noted from the use of sunscreen on young babies/infants. Though, sunburns do pose a significant danger to babies, and so it may be appropriate to use sunscreen on babies younger than 6 months. Though, it is better; if possible, to simply eliminate sun exposure altogether for this age group by using sun protective clothing, sunglasses, hats, blankets, covered baby strollers, etc.
If you are a parent, you know the challenges that begin when babies become more mobile. While an infant won’t object to having a blanket draped over his transporter or car seat an older baby will most surely balk at this. Experts agree that babies 6 months and older can and should be covered with a layer of sunscreen on a daily basis, and certainly when they are outside. This way, when blankets fail or baby insists on having the roof removed from his stroller he will be protected from the sun’s Ultra Violet rays. Don’t forget to protect baby from the sun during long car rides too. While the car’s windows will block some of the sun’s Ultra Violet rays, a few of them do manage to pass through and babies have been known to sustain grave sunburns while riding in car seats, so baby protection is vital in the car too.
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