Babies, toddlers and kids are sunshine of our lives, so it’s alarming that how bad the sun is for them. Their skin is highly delicate which is why they need their own kind of special sun protection before you take them out. South Africa has one of the best climates in the world, but it is alarming that South Africa has the second highest rate of skin cancer in the world after Australia.
Be prepared when your little sunshine finally meets the actual sunshine!
It is important that parents protect their children from the harmful UV rays, starting at an early age. According to pediatric dermatologist Sheila Fallon Friedlander, a professor of pediatrics and dermatology at the University of California San Diego, “Sun exposure is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer, including melanoma”
Make sure that your child is “Sun-Proof”, by keeping sun protective’s near the front door, in your car, pram and diaper bag whenever you are on-the-go.
- Keep your baby in the shade – Keeping your baby in the shade is very important. If your baby is younger than 6 months than it is vital that you keep your baby covered and in shade as much as possible. Improvise by using an umbrella, canopy, stroller hood or throw a towel over your pram.
- Dress your baby in sun-protective clothing – Make use of lightweight, long-sleeved baby grows as well as long-sleeved t-shirts for toddlers and kids. As well as long pants. Ensure that your baby/toddler/kid wears a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses for toddlers and kids with UV protection.
- Minimize the use of sunscreen on children younger than 6 month old – babies younger than 6 months have extremely delicate skin, therefore it is advisable to use sunscreen without any harmful chemicals. Sunscreen containing titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are less likely to cause skin irritations. Do apply a minimal amount sunscreen with a broad spectrum, water resistance and with an SPF of at least 30.
- Stay safe on hot days – take extra precaution and stay safe on hot day by keeping an eye on your baby/toddler/kid when they having fun in the sun by making sure your child is not overheating. If your baby is crying excessively or has redness on any exposed skin, take your baby in doors immediately!
TOP 10 FACTS ABOUT SUN SAFETY
- Apply sunscreen 15 to 30 mins before going outside
- Reapply waterproof sunscreen every 2 hours
- Surfaces such as sand or water can reflect up to 85% of UV rays
- Darkly coloured clothing (preferably tightly woven) provides the best sun protection.
- Avoid sun contact between 10 am – 4pm without any sun protection.
- The minimum SPF recommended is 30
- Begin applying sunscreen to your baby at 6 months old
- A cloudy day or pollution give a false sense of sun protection
- Toy sunglasses worn in the sun may be worse for your baby’s eyes
- Some babies are sensitive to para aminobenzoic acids (PABA), which is found in sunscreens