Does My Baby Need Sunscreen?
Babies and young children have very delicate skin that can burn quickly when exposed to ultraviolet radiation found in sunlight. Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays cause irritation on the surface of the skin, which can lead to severe inflammation. Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays penetrate the skin and can damage skin cells, increasing the risk of numerous skin problems later in life. Sunscreen can lower the risk of skin cancer, and it can greatly decrease the chance of sunburn when used correctly.
What Kind of Sunscreen is Best for Toddlers?
There are hundreds of sunscreen products available on the market, making it important that you fully understand all of the options available before you shop. Pediatricians typically recommend that parents choose sunscreen products made especially for children, as these formulas are created to be gentle to children's delicate skin.
What Does SPF Mean?
One of the first things you should look for when comparing sunscreens is the SPF level. A formula with an SPF rating of 15 will filter 93 percent of UVB rays, while an SPF 50 product filters 98 percent of UVB. The best sunscreens for kids are those that offer "broad-spectrum" protection. This means that they protect against UVA rays along with UVB rays.
Water Resistant Sunscreens
Depending on your plans for the day, your children may need the benefits of a water resistant sunscreen that won't wash off easily if they are swimming or playing by the water.
Some parents prefer natural sunscreens, which fit their green lifestyles. Natural formulas can also be a good option for children with very sensitive skin.
Sunscreen Recommendations for Babies
Babies under 6 months of age should typically not use sunscreen unless a pediatrician recommends it. Instead, keep your baby in the shade and make sure that his or her skin and head are covered when you're outdoors. Sunscreen can generally be used to protect children over the age of 6 months. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before you go outside to give the formula time to take effect. Reapply every two hours or more frequently if your child is swimming. Some doctors advise that sunscreen should be used even during the winter months and on cloudy days, as UV is always present in the atmosphere during the daytime.
Does My Baby Need Sunglasses?
Ultraviolet radiation can damage children's eyes, but you can help to keep your little one safe with sunglasses. When shopping for sunglasses for babies
, toddlers and older children, look for styles that offer UV protection. The best styles will be able to protect against 99 to 100 percent of UV rays. Large sunglasses and wrap-around styles give the added benefit of protecting the delicate skin around the eyes as well as the eyes themselves. back to top »