There was a time when massaging an infant in warm sunlight was considered the norm. Tanned babies were considered healthy and pale babies were considered sickly from spending too much time indoors. Today, with increased global warming, most doctors are recommending that parents keep their babies indoors. The harmful rays of the sun are now known to cause a variety of skin cancers even in young babies.
They can also cause premature wrinkling, brown spots and rapid ageing. A daily dose of sunlight was once considered an important source of vitamin D, which is needed for strong bones. With the advent of formula milk, this nutrient is taken care of, as most formulas are vitamin D fortified. In order to protect your baby from the sun, here are some sun-safety tips
Tips To Protect Baby From Sun Exposure
Babies Under 6 Months
Avoid exposing babies less than six months to strong sun light particularly during the intense summer months when the sun is at its hottest. Protect infants with the help of parasols or sunshades.
If adequate shade in not available, apply sunscreen on the baby’s face, hand and body at least 15 minutes before going out in the sun. Slather the sunscreen generously for babies less than six months, as their skin is more sensitive.
Avoid getting the sunscreen into the babies’ ears, eyes or mouth. Ask the doctor what you can use for sensitive areas like the lips, nose and tips of the ears. A sun protecting lip balm or a tip f zinc oxide generally works wonders in protecting the child. Re-apply the sunscreen after every 2-3 hours so that the baby’s skin stays protected.
Gradual Sun Exposure
The baby should not be excessively exposed to the sun at one go. Gradually increase his/her exposure starting from one or two minutes to about ten minutes. Never keep your baby in the sun for too long.
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Let the Child Wear a Hat
Cover the baby’s head with a hat especially one with a wide brim for maximum protection. The child should be covered in loose cotton clothes.
One to two covers of clothing can give the baby the much-needed protection from the sun but do not over dress the child.
Yes, your baby too can wear sunglasses once he/she in 8-9 months old. Make sure you make the child wear sunglasses that have 100% UV protection. Sunglasses should fulfil all the necessary safety standards.
Schedule Activities Early Morning or late Evening
Make sure you are out with the baby either very early in the morning when the sun is not too hot or in the evening when the sun is beginning to set. Make sure that the child is not on a medication that will make him/her more sensitive to the sunlight.
Always set a good example to the child by wearing protective sunscreen and sunglasses so that the child does the same. Take your child to the doctor if he shows signs of a heat stroke or sunburn. Sunburns can be very nasty on the sensitive skin of a child. Also, give your baby cool fluids, milk and juices to keep him/her hydrated when out in the sun.