Summer weather is finally upon us, and for many families that means spending time in the great outdoors. One thing to remember when planning your excursions: babies need extra protection from Mother Nature.
1. Unlike adults, babies have thin skin that more easily absorbs chemicals found in sunscreens. The FDA recommends avoiding sunscreen altogether on babies under the age of 6 months.
2.Parents and caregivers should minimize exposure to the sun between the hours of 10:00 am and 2:00 pm when UV rays are most intense. Look for shade instead or choose a stroller with a canopy. Small amounts of broad spectrum sunscreen, rated SPF 15 or higher may be applied to baby’s cheeks and hands only if absolutely necessary.
3.To maximize sun protection choose sunhats with wide brims (not baseball hats) and lightweight clothing that covers your baby’s arms and legs.
4.Make sure to keep baby well-hydrated with breastmilk or formula, (stored in a cooler.) Small amounts of water are ok but shouldn’t serve as a replacement for feedings.
5. Take care with insect repellent. According to the AAP products with DEET should be avoided on infants younger than 2 months old. Babies who put their hands in their mouths should not have sunscreen or bug spray containing DEET applied to their hands. As an alternative use an infant carrier draped in mosquito netting with an elastic edge for a tight fit.
For more information click here for the FDA’s consumer report on infant sun safety: http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm309136.htm#tips