We all know just how important skin protection is and how susceptible our skin is to damage from harmful UVA and UVB radiation. This is especially important in children, as this is the time when their exposure to UV radiation is more likely to contribute to skin cancer later in life.
As active outdoor activity is important for the overall health and well being of children, we have put together four recommendations to help guard your child’s skin against the long-term consequences of early skin damage when they are playing outdoors.
1. When it comes to sunscreen, many brands offer products specifically formulated for children or infants or for sensitive skin. Always try a small amount of the cream on a patch of the baby’s skin, such as their arm or leg. Remember to apply the sunscreen 20 minutes before heading outdoors and reapply every two hours.
2. Infants wearing mini-sized sunglasses are adorable; however, sunglasses are more than just a fashion statement. Sunglasses with a high Eye Protection Factor (EPF), a comfortable elastic band to hold them firmly in place without being irritating and big enough frames to cover the entirety of the infant’s eyes will offer the best protection. Whilst those pink fairy sunglasses or dinosaur shades are cute, always choose protection over fashion.
3. Seek shade and keep babies out of the sun. There are times when you might think you have placed your infant out of the way of harmful UV radiation when in fact, they are still being exposed to the sun; such as during a car trip, or if your baby is by a window. Make sure you use a visor or blanket to cover your car windows as a barrier to the sun. When choosing a pram or stroller, look for one with an adjustable hood to provide more sun protection. Sun Smart Victoria states that pram covers are generally made of a mesh section which offers 70% UV radiation protection and a fabric section which blocks 100% of UV radiation.
4. Dressing your infant in a closely woven fabric, such as cotton that fully covers their body and limbs, will offer them good protection from UV radiation. A legionnaire-style hat is a better option for babies as it will offer a similar protection to a broad-brimmed hat, but will be more comfortable and practicable for them.