Infant Sun Protection: 4 Simple Ways to Avoid Cancer Later On
Infant sun protection is a vital part of your parental duties this summer. Did you know that just one blistering sunburn in
childhood more than doubles the chances of developing skin cancer later in life? ...and that's the Skin Cancer Foundation (SCF) talking, not me.
The SCF also says that 22% of all children will burn in their first summer, followed by 54% in their second.
dilemma: You can't keep your baby swaddled in a dark corner all summer. The sun is the only major source of Vitmain D, an
absolute essential for growing strong bones and keeping a healthy immune system. (Yes, I offer citations.)
Besides, in my opinion, indoor summer kids = cranky summer kids (and babies are no exception). The sun makes people happy.
A well-rested, well-fed
infant is going to be ecstatic laying on a blanket outside, or in a patch of sunlight on the living room floor.
Remember those awesome summer days from yesteryear? When you could lie in the grass and feel the warm sun on your face and the light breeze in
your hair? You can still grant those happy experiences to your children, guilt and worry-free.
Hence, this article. It's my job, as the Essential Infant Resource's chief writer and fellow-mother, to give you good, valid information you
can quickly read, learn, and implement for proper infant sun protection all summer long.
4 Simple Things You Can Do to Protect Your Baby from Skin Cancer Later in Life
Limit Time in the Sun. Notice I said limit, not completely avoid. The sun is our best source for Vitamin D, an essential bone-building vitamin. (You can see why it is so important!)
A fews hours outdoors is fine. Eight? Too much.
The younger the baby, the less direct sun exposure he should have. This is because infant skin younger than 6 months possess very little melanin, the
pigment that gives color to skin, hair, and eyes and provides some basic infant sun protection.
Take your walks before 10 in the morning or after 4 in the afternoon, when the sun is not at its zenith. Still worried? You can easily check your area's local UV Index.
Just go to http://www.epa.gov/sunwise/uvindex.html and put in your zip code.
Side Note: Dark skinned babies are just as much in need for infant sun protection. Although their skin
has more melanin than their white nursery-mates, they still have less melanin than older dark-skinned children.
Also, the American Skin Cancer
Foundation has reported that darker-skinned individuals are even more susceptible to malignant melanoma, the deadlist form of skin cancer.
So take the time and effort to make infant sun protection part of your daily baby-care routine.
Provide Shade. If you're going to be outside, bring shade with you. Purchase a quality sun hat (girl or boy),
or use a sun shade. Both are essential for any decent baby sun protection.
In a pinch once at my mother's house, we dug out a big umbrella and
leaned it against the car seat outside. Anything is better than nothing.
The lighter your baby's eyes, the more sensitive they will be to the sun. Infant sunglasses aren't just for photos! They provide necessary
infant sun protection (not to mention comfort) for developing healthy eyesight.
Yes, she will try to pull them off to gnaw on. Fortunately, I know a few tricks to keep them on her nose.
Although shades are helpful, they shouldn't be your only line of defense. Ultraviolet rays (those nasty UV rays you hear about) bounce around.
They can reflect off sand, water, snow, buildings, bald heads... skin-on-protection is essential. Which brings us to...
Use Sunscreen and Lightweight Clothing. The next layer of infant sun protection lies right against the skin. Dress your baby in lightweight,
loose clothing that will breathe easily. For particularly sensitive babies, long-sleeves and pants will be a necessity.
cloth (dark colors absorb light more, potentially causing dehydration). Cotton is a good fabric for baby sun protection that is still light
enough in texture to avoid overheating.
For pool-side infant sun protection, nothing can beat beautiful spf-protective swimwear.
As for sunscreen, there are about a ba-zillion choices out there. I've narrowed down the must-have ingredients for all-natural infant sunscreens
as well as guidelines for buying a truly useful traditional sunscreen. You can see my baby sunscreen research results here.
Keep Him Hydrated. Besides considering your infant's skin when you go outside, the danger of dehydration should be on your radar. Dehydration
is extremely serious for babies, but can be easily prevented.
If it's hot outside, bring an extra bottle of formula or nurse more often. If you're feeding your baby solids, give him a bottle of water (1-3 oz)
to drink while he's eating.
29 Unforgettable Swimsuits
Searching for a baby swimsuit that's truly unique? Here are 29 of the most beautiful, most original, most creative swimsuits
3 Steps to the Top 10 Baby Sun Hats
I'm amazed that the crap that passes as a "sun hat" these days. Don't waste your money. There are three simple
things that launch these 10 hats into the Smart Buy Category.
Sneaky, Sneaky, Sunscreen...
There are some Sultans out there in the world of baby sunscreens: non-oily, long-lasting, gentle formulas... and then there
are the absolute shams. Here's how to tell the difference.
If I'm going to postulate a fact or make a claim, it's only fair that I share where I found it. That way you know I'm not making it up. And, lets
face it, there are a LOT of people making up a LOT of things on the Internet these days. I happy to not be one of them.
Skin Cancer Foundation. "Sun Protection for Babies and Toddlers" http://www.skincancer.org/Sun-Protection-for-Babies-and-Toddlers.html
Skin Cancer Foundation. "For Parents" http://www.skincancer.org/For-Parents/
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Protecting Children from the Sun" http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/children.htm
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