Sunny days are an almost year-round thing in South Florida, but the summer months bring more time spent outdoors – and a greater risk of exposing children to harmful rays. Here’s how to minimize the danger:
Birth to 6 Months
• Babies under 6 months of age should be kept out of direct sunlight; when outdoors be sure to keep them in the shade under a tree, umbrella or stroller canopy.
• Dress babies in lightweight clothing that covers their arms and legs and use brimmed hats that shade the neck.
• If adequate clothing and shade aren’t available, apply a minimal amount of sunscreen with at least 15 SPF to small areas, such as the face and back of the hands. Note: Test sunscreen on your child's back before application to test for any allergic reactions.
• It takes 30 minutes of absorption or “sink in” time in order for sunscreen to be effective; plan accordingly.
• The first and best line of defense against harmful ultraviolet radiation exposure is covering up. Keep kids in the shade whenever possible, and limit sun exposure during peak intensity hours – between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
• Apply a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater to areas of your child's skin that aren't covered by clothing; be especially careful around the eyes and avoid the eyelids.
• Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or sweating, and be sure to use enough – about 1 ounce per application.
• Most of the sun's rays can come through the clouds even on overcast days, so use sun protection even when it’s cloudy.
Source: The American Academy of Pediatrics.