How Can I Protect My Baby from the Sun?
After the winter hibernation, our body needs the sun. Parents are happy to spend a long time with the child on the street because so he/she gets the necessary dose of vitamin D. But in addition to benefits, the sun can also bring harm. To avoid this, it is important to observe the golden rules of sun protection.
The Basics of Sun Safety for Kids
1. Try to spend more time in the shade
The UV rays are strong and most harmful at noon – from 10 am to 4 pm. Therefore, you’d better stay indoors during this period and plan to walk in the fresh air in the morning and evening. Regardless of the time of day, try to avoid direct sunlight and be in the shade. This is the easiest way to prevent sunburn. Be careful of surfaces that reflect sunlight and/or heat up quickly, such as sand or water.
2. Choose clothes that protect from UV rays
Properly chosen clothing can also provide good protection against the harmful effects of UV rays. There are a few basic rules. First, if it’s warm outside, the child should wear a shirt or t-shirt, pants/long skirt or dress.
Pay attention to the material from which the clothes are made. Clothes made of dense materials provide the best protection (for example, cotton, light cotton fabrics).
Many modern clothing brands that are certified according to international standards provide information on the UV protection ratio (usually UPF) on a company label.
If this type of clothing is not practical in a particular situation, put a child in a natural fabric T-shirt or special beach clothing (capes, tunics, etc.). On average, regular T-shirts have an SPF UPF score below 15, so use other types of protection when you go for a long walk.
3. Do not forget about the headdress
The highest level of protection is provided by headgear, which prevents the ingress of sunlight not only on the upper part of the child’s head but also on the ears and neck. Today, baseball caps are very popular among children of different ages but they do not protect their ears and neck from UV rays. Therefore, if your child wears such a cap, be sure to apply sunscreen on exposed skin.
Thin densely woven materials (for example, linen) protect the baby’s skin from UV rays better. But straw hats and hats with holes that let the sun’s rays in are not so reliable.
4. Your child should wear sunglasses
4. Excessive exposure to sunlight increases the risk of cataract at an older age. High-quality sunglasses protect your child’s eyes from harmful UV rays. Choose comfortable and practical sunglasses that maximally protect your eyes and provide 100% UVA/UVB protection.
5. Remember about sunscreen
When you go with your child for a walk in the hot season, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen (cream, spray, etc.) (UVA and UVB) with an SPF of 15 or higher, depending on weather conditions.
Follow the instructions for use of the specific product on the package. The composition of various creams include different components, so you should first test a particular product on a small area of skin, and try another (in case of allergic reaction). If the reaction is strong, consult your doctor.
The use of sunscreen does not mean that your child can spend more time in the sun, it’s just one of the types of protection, so you should follow other rules and recommendations.
As a rule, the first manifestation of excessive child exposure to the sun is redness of the skin. Sometimes it can take up to 12 hours until the first symptoms of the negative influence of the sun’s rays appear on the skin. If a child’s skin acquires a pink tint, you’d better avoid walking in the sun the next day. To prevent sunburns, follow the basic rules of safety and protect the baby skin from exposure to UV rays as much as possible.
If the baby got a sunburn
In this case, you should always have a remedy for burns in the first-aid kit. For example, panthenol. It has no contraindications and side effects. Shake the spray and spray onto the affected skin from a distance of 10-20 cm. You can use panthenol several times a day depending on how your child feels.
If you can’t go to the pharmacy and you don’t have any remedies for burns, you can use natural remedies you have at hand: for example, you can apply sour cream on the skin.