Saturday, July 4, 2009

{Watch for "Son Rays"!}

Your infant's skin is thinner than yours, and has undeveloped melanin, which means that even a little bit of sun exposure can cause them to burn.

Even if you are simply taking your baby out for a walk or to sit in the backyard, be just as careful as if you were hitting the beach.

Even on a cloudy day, UV rays come through and put your baby in danger of a sunburn, so don't think just because the sun isn't shining brightly, that there is no need for sun safety.

In general, the sun is hottest and brightest (and most likely to cause damage) between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so avoiding long periods of exposure during this time can help prevent sunburns or heat illnesses; however, before and after this time period, precautions still must be taken.

Under 6 Months--Cover Them Up!
It is not recommended to put sunscreen on babies under 6 months of age, so dress your infant in lightweight long pants and a long sleeved shirt to keep the sun off their sensitive skin. This is also good advice for older babies, although you can use sunscreen on them as well.

Keeping your baby in the shade is the best advice, preferably under an umbrella or in a that promises 100% UV protection.

Getting your baby accustomed at a young age to wearing a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses while in the sun is also an excellent idea. Find an infant hat and pair of glasses that are labeled "100% UV Protection" and get them used to wearing them every time you go outdoors. It's a habit that they will thank you for later.

If your baby does become sunburned, there are a few things you can do to minimize the discomfort and the lasting damage it could cause.

Here are a few suggestions:
• Keep baby in the shade until the burn is healed; further exposure to the sun can aggravate the symptoms and make the burn worse.

• Give baby a cool (not cold) bath or gently apply a cool, wet towel to the affected areas.

• Apply pure aloe vera gel to the sunburned skin. This can be purchased at any pharmacy or retail store.

• Administer the proper dosage of a pain killer such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen for babies over 3 months old. If you are unsure of the appropriate dosage, contact your baby's pediatrician.

• Apply a moisturizer safe for babies to rehydrate the skin and reduce swelling associated with sunburn.

If blisters develop, call the doctor immediately and try to keep your baby from touching the blisters so they don't pop; sunburn blisters can become very easily infected.

Hope this is helpful!

Happy 4th!



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