Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sun Protection in Infants & Toddlers—Practical Aspects

Here are eight Sassy suggestions for keeping infants and toddlers protected from the sun. If you do them all, your baby will be protected, and may also look like James Bond (think sunglasses, hat, and covered clothes…you get the picture):
  1. Be shady! Summer time is all about the pool, the beach, and outings at the park—always be conscious of sun exposure and seek out shady areas when possible. If at the beach, assure there is an umbrella or other safe cover to shade baby. As we talked about in our last posting, baby skin needs protection from the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays whenever outside.
  2. Hats! It’s as easy as that—get a hat! First of all, they’re cute. Second of all, hats with a brim automatically shade baby from the sun. Choose a lightweight hat that preferably shades the scalp, ears and face (and neck, too) assuring that any straps under the neck are short and do not present a choking hazard. Although your little slugger may love baseball, the traditional baseball cap doesn’t provide adequate neck and ear coverage.
  3. Go Under Cover! Clothing to cover the skin yet not overheat should be your goal—cover up exposed places with lightweight material. Some clothing actually has substances that shield UV rays. A baby or toddler should be in no more than one light layer of clothing than you are comfortable in. So, cover up in the sun but don’t bundle up.
  4. Your future is so bright, you ought to wear shades (is One Sassy Doctor dating herself here—do you know that song?).Baby sunglasses protect your child's eyes from UV rays. Exposure to UV rays may lead to visual problems such as cataracts. The best glasses are those that wrap around the head and block as UVA and UVB rays.
  5. Avoid the mid-day sunshine. Although not always possible, try and strive for outdoor activities in the earlier morning or later afternoon.
  6. Sunscreen! In our next post we’ll explore some common questions about sun screen in babies and toddlers—stay tuned for some interesting news!
  7. Be a good role model! Our moms sunbathed (at least my mom did!) —those days are O.V.E.R. Be a good role model for your little one and wear sunscreen, a hat and glasses. You’ll look cool.
  8. Finally, make sure your baby is protected when in the care of others and share this information.