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Sun Safety for Children

Sun Safety for Children

Safety Savvy
The American Academy of Dermatology estimates that 80 percent of harmful sun exposure occurs before age 18. That's because kids spend more time outdoors than adults do, especially in summer. Babies and young children can't protect themselves from sunburn, so the adults have to do it for them.
The most important thing you can do for your child outdoors is protect her from sunburn. It's not hard, but requires diligence. Many parents are conscientious about skin protection when they take their kids to the beach or the swimming pool but neglect it when the children are playing in the backyard or on a sports team. Sun protection is needed all the time.
We all know how painful a sunburn can be. And children are more likely to suffer because their skin is more sensitive than adults' and burns more easily.
More important is the potential long-term effect. Adults who get skin cancer typically got too much sun when they were kids. Just one or two blistering sunburns in childhood can greatly increase the risk of developing skin cancer in adulthood. If that sounds scary, we mean it to be. Skin cancer is the most common kind of cancer in the United States. Some types can be deadly.

The basic prevention steps include using sunscreen lotions, wearing hats and other protective clothing, and limiting exposure time. Avoiding the hours when the sun's rays are strongest, 10 A.M. to 4 P.M., is a good idea, but not always practical.

Special Issues for Babies
Until babies are 6 months old, pediatricians usually don't recommend using sunscreens because the risks of these chemicals on infants are not known. Covering up an infant and keeping her out of direct sun for the first six months are much preferred.
Keep your baby in the shade of a tree, under an umbrella, or in a stroller with a canopy. Even on cloudy days, harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause sunburn. If you're on sand, water, snow, or concrete, be especially careful because UV rays can bounce back from these surfaces.

When you're outdoors, dress your baby in light, loose-fitting clothing that covers his body. Clothes with a tighter weave offer more protection. You can check this by holding the garment up to the light and noticing how much passes through. Always have him wear a hat with a brim because that will shade his face and also protect the ears.

A young child can get a sunburn while riding in the car. Juvenile products stores carry a variety of sunshades for car windows. Using one not only protects your child from the sun's rays and shades out some of the hot sun, but also increases the likelihood of him napping comfortably, making your car ride a lot more pleasant.
 

Once your baby is past the 6-month mark, you can start using sunscreen. You'll want a broad-spectrum, waterproof lotion with an SPF of at least 15. If your child is fair-skinned or has freckles, an SPF of 30 is better because it offers more (although not twice as much) protection. Broad-spectrum means the sunscreen works on ultraviolet A (UV-A) and ultraviolet B (UV-B) rays. The shorter UV-B rays are what cause sunburn on the skin's surface. UV-A rays penetrate to deeper skin layers, causing skin to age. Both types contribute to skin cancer.
You don't need to buy a special “for kids” brand unless your child is sensitive to regular brands and needs a hypoallergenic formula.
It's best to apply sunscreen a half-hour before your children go outside, so it has time to be absorbed. Make sure it covers all exposed areas, including hands, feet, and the tops of the ears. Be careful around the eyes, avoiding the eyelids. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that, if your baby rubs sunscreen in her eyes, you wipe the hands and eyes with a damp cloth. If the sunscreen burns her eyes, the AAP suggests switching to a sunblock with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.

Safety Savvy
Kids don't universally enjoy interrupting play to have sunscreen slathered on. If yours resist, you might try the kid-friendly lotions that come out of the bottle in bright colors that disappear once they are rubbed in. Some have kid-pleasing scents and animal-shaped bottles. You also can buy lotions that combine sunscreen and bug repellent to save time with a squirmy child.
Don't worry if your baby sticks her hand in her mouth after you've rubbed in the sunscreen. It won't hurt her, but, as with any over-the-counter medication, you should keep the bottle out of the reach of young children.
The biggest mistake people make with sunscreen is not using enough. It should be reapplied every two hours. Don't wait until your little one starts to look red, because sunburn may not appear until hours after the fact. If your child has been swimming, dry her off and then reapply the lotion. Put a roomy T-shirt or cover-up on her when she's not in the water. Kids who burn easily should wear a shirt even in the water.
Make sure other people who care for your child, such as baby-sitters or grandparents, also know the importance of sun protection. Keep them adequately supplied with sunscreen to put on your child.

Soothing a Sunburn
If a baby under age 1 gets a sunburn, you should call your pediatrician immediately because this can be an emergency. For a child older than age 1, call the pediatrician if there is blistering, pain, or fever.
Remedies for kids with sunburns include soaking in cool water and drinking lots of liquids to replace lost fluids. Don't use medicated lotions on your baby unless your doctor okays it. Older children can be treated with hydrocortisone cream and children's pain reliever. Don't let your child go out in the sun again until the burn has healed.

Global , Others

Date: 1/15/2011 11:33:10 AM

By: YASA WEB , YASA
 
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