Elementary

I Scream, You Scream, We all Scream for Sunscreen

By: Nicole Nassif, MD

Who doesn’t LOVE having their kids play outside in the sun? It’s a great way for them to soak in vitamin D, burn off some energy, and explore the world around them. At Parkside, we love the sun too, but we do want to educate families on the importance of sun protection for all ages-not to mention the value in using it properly!

Let me start out by saying, that even on cloudy days, the sun’s rays are still at play and can cause damage to you and your child’s skin. Therefore, you truly cannot be overly cautious when it comes to protecting your little one’s complexion.  

As always, age is an important factor to consider when protecting your child from the sun’s harmful rays. See below for guidelines depending on age range…

  • For children under 6 months of age, sunscreen is not the first recommendation. The best thing to do is to avoid direct sunlight altogether (i.e. keep them under a tree, canopy, or umbrella). If you do need to venture out into the sunshine with your spring or summer baby, we advise to dress them in long sleeved, lightweight clothing and wide brimmed hats to protect them from all angles. If you can not get them in the shade, do not have access to the appropriate clothing, and find yourself in a situation where direct sunlight is unavoidable, you can apply sunscreen to small areas of exposed skin, such as hands or face.
  • For children 6 months and older, we recommend sunscreen! While slathering on sunscreen seems simple enough, there are still some specifics to keep in mind.
              1.  Invest in sun screen that is “broad spectrum” and has a sun protection factor (or SPF) of at least 15 or higher.
              2. Sunscreen takes about 30 minutes to be absorbed by the skin and be effective. It truly is a good idea to lather up before you leave the house to ensure the best possible protection of your little one’s skin.
              3. Watch the clock. Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours (sooner if your child is swimming or sweating).
              4. Sunscreen expires with time so make sure to check the date before applying it (if there is no expiration date printed, a good rule of thumb is to toss unused bottles 3 years after purchase).
              5. Despite the positive preventative effects of sun screen, it is still a good idea to avoid the sun’s rays when they could be the most harmful. Peak intensity of the sun is from 10AM to 4PM, so try to limit sun exposure during these hours if possible.
              6. Cover up. Dress your kiddo in tight-weaved clothing, wide brimmed hats, swim shirts, and sunglasses with UV protection.

Now, nobody is perfect and accidents happen. So, what do you do if your child does get a little burnt? Well, if the sun burn is mild, you can apply cool compresses, calamine lotion, or Aloe Vera based gels. If your child gets a sunburn resulting in blistering, severe pain, or fever, please give us a call as we can discuss further treatment.

Here at Parkside, we encourage you to enjoy the outdoors with your child. Just develop safe habits for your family to follow and utilize sunscreen and sun protective gear whenever possible.

Until next time,

Dr. Nicole Nassif

Parkside Provider, avid beach goer, and soon-to-be boy mom

RELEVANT TAGS
  • Elementary
  • Infant
  • Preventative Care
  • Summer Safety
  • Teen
  • Toddler