Sun and toddlers: how to protect a friendship
Sun exposure and sunburns during childhood magnify the risk of skin cancer. The last figures show an increase of melanoma in children and teens even if it rarely develops before adulthood. All infants have a very vulnerable skin that need to be protected.
Babies have to stay in the shadow as much as possible wearing appropriate clothing when exposed as they cannot use sunscreens.
Once they are six months you can start using a protective cream nevertheless if you are planning to be outside you should avoid peak sun hours (10.00 am to 4.00 pm) or stay in the shadow as much as possible.
Toddlers are difficult to catch and hold still and you may need to be creative with your sunscreen routine. The stick forms work well for the face and hands, as toddlers are less likely to rub the product into their eyes. Sprays are popular, but take care to apply over all exposed skin. Do not spry directly on your child’s skin but rather into your hands and then apply it.
Don’t spare sunscreen, dermatologists say most people apply less than half as much as sunscreen as they should. Half an ounce (should fill the palm of your toddler) of product is enough to cover the exposed skin of a young kid. Remember to apply also to sometimes missed areas including tops of feet, ears, back of legs and use also a lip balm with a SPF 15.
Some sunscreens are better than other for the toddlers and kids. Choose an SPF 30 to 50 with a ‘broad spectrum’ label meaning it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. You should check the ingredients and prefer products with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide that are not absorbed by the skin. Apply sunscreen about 20 minutes before you and your kid go outside and reapply every two hours or more often if your little one is playing in water.
Remember is never too early to set a good sun protection routine with your toddler and it is the best way to start a lasting and healthy friendship.
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