However, if you’ve allowed your child to play outdoors without adequate sun protection, you have taken an enormous health risk.
We really need to buckle down and protect our young.”
Do you remember your child’s silk smooth skin? When your child is outdoors, the ultra-violet rays of sunlight can easily damage the skin leading to wrinkles and cancer in future. Always keep in mind that there is not any such thing as a healthy tan because tanning is a sign of sun damage.
So quite naturally, the foremost question that may come to your mind is at what age is it right to start using sunscreen on your baby?
Prior to 6 months, it is best to prevent sunscreen usage on your infant with exception to those particular products which contain only zinc oxide as the only active ingredient. Use only on the exposed portions of your baby’s body. Furthermore, use shaded clothing as the primary protection method. Squeeze outside times by going out before 10am or after 4pm so you can avoid the intense sun rays.
This brings us to another question of – how much sunscreen should I use on my child and in what frequency?
Currently The Skin Cancer Foundation hasn’t prescribed any set quantity of sunscreen for growing kids. As a parent, ensure that you’ve covered most of the exposed parts and haven’t ignored places like ears, tops of feet, backs of knees, and hands. Rub the sunscreen at least 30 minutes prior to going out so that the skin has had ample time to absorb the lotion.
It is advised that you reapply every two hours. However, if your kid is playing in the water or has a tendency to sweat, then application should be more frequent.
You might have difficulty in deciding on which is the best sunscreen to your child.
Cambio and pediatrician Jerome A. Paulson, MD, FAAP, medical director for national and global affairs at the Child Health Advocacy Institute of Children’s National Medical Centre in Washington, D.C has recommended,”Choose a sunscreen that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide since the chemicals are less bothersome than others and do not get absorbed into the skin. These ingredients are probably the safest ones available right now. There is some concern that other sunscreen ingredients, especially oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate which is form of Vitamin A, may cause harm. But, both chemicals are FDA approved for use in sunscreens.”
Regardless of these efforts, your child may still get sunburned.
Do not panic if that happens. Get in touch with your paediatrician particularly if your child is under the age of one. If you see blisters, together with acute pain and fever and your child is over one year old, you may try some home remedies like cool baths or a moist compress which may assist in reducing immediate pain, itching and swelling. Until full recovery, ensure that your child does not wander outdoors.