The sun is finally out in Vancouver – which means that everybody wants to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather!
It’s also a time when parents start thinking about how much sun their children need and what kind of sun protection they should provide.
Is it okay for my infant to be out in the sun?
– If your baby is <6 months, keep him or her out of direct sunlight and use protective clothing for sun protection. If you must, you can apply small amounts of sunscreen, SPF 15 or greater to sun exposed skin.
– Sunscreen can be applied safely and more liberally to infants 6 months and older and to toddlers.
– Sunscreens that use zinc oxide and titanium dioxide (a physical filter versus a chemical UV absorber) may be less irritating for children who have sensitive skin and may be more reassuring for families.
What Sunscreen should I use? How can I get the most out of my sunscreen?
– “Sun-Protection Factor” is a measure of how effective a sunscreen is. It’s calculated based on how much UV radiation and how much time it takes for that radiation to cause a sunburn.
– Pick a sunscreen that is SPF 30 or greater. You should reapply sunscreen every 2 hours and more often if swimming or sweating excessively. Note, SPF scale is exponential, so twice the SPF number does NOT mean twice the protection. The effects of SPF 100 over SPF 50 for example, may be negligible.
– You should wear sunscreen that has both UVA and UVB coverage.
– Wear sunscreen everyday, even on the cloudy ones. The snow, sand, and water, increases your need for sunscreen because of the reflection.
– Apply liberally. Put it on 15-30 minutes before sun exposure.
– Don’t forget the ears, nose, backs, tops of feeds, and the lips!
Other ways to keep your child safe from the sun:
– Limit outdoor hours during peak sun exposure (10am to 4pm)
– Wear long sleeve protective clothing, hats to create shade, and sunglasses
– Encourage your kids to drink lots of fluids, especially water
Check out my handouts (Skin Care) for the Canadian Dermatology Association list of approved sunscreens.
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