Spending time outside is a great way to increase your family’s level of physical activity. But before you hit the beach, pool, or backyard, make sure you’re aware of this sun safety advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Sun Safety for Babies
•Babies under 6 months of age should be kept out of direct sunlight. Move your baby to the shade under a tree, umbrella or stroller canopy.
•Dress babies in lightweight clothing that covers the arms and legs, and use brimmed hats that shade the neck.
•It is okay to apply a small amount of sunscreen on infants under 6 months if there is no way to avoid the sun. Use sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher and apply to small areas, such as the face and backs of the hands.
Sun Safety for Kids
•Select clothes made of tightly woven fabrics. Cotton clothing is both cool and protective.
•Wear a hat with a three-inch brim or bill. When using a cap with a bill, make sure the bill is facing forward to shield your child’s face.
•Protect eyes with sunglasses that provide 97% to 100% protection against UVA and UVB rays.
•If your child has an allergic reaction to sunscreen, or gets a sunburn that results in blistering, pain or fever, contact your pediatrician.
Sun Safety for Families
•The sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Try to keep out of the sun during those hours.
•The sun’s damaging UV rays can bounce back from sand, snow or concrete; so be particularly careful of these areas.
•Most of the sun’s rays can come through the clouds on an overcast day; so use sun protection even on cloudy days.
•When choosing a sunscreen, look for the words “broad-spectrum” on the label–it means that the sunscreen will screen out both ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet A (UVA) rays. Choose a water-resistant or waterproof sunscreen and reapply every two hours.
•Zinc oxide, a very effective sunblock, can be used as extra protection on the nose, cheeks, tops of the ears and on the shoulders.
•Use a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15.
•Rub sunscreen in well, making sure to cover all exposed areas, especially the face, nose, ears, feet and hands, and even the backs of the knees.
•Put on sunscreen 30 minutes before going outdoors–it needs time to work on the skin.
•Sunscreens should be used for sun protection and not as a reason to stay in the sun longer.