Sunscreen and Sun Safety Tips

Sun Safety for Babies

  • Babies under 6 months of age should be kept out of direct sunlight.
  • It is okay to apply a small amount of sunscreen on infants under 6 months if there is no way to avoid the sun.
  • Be careful about surfaces such as sand, water, and concrete around a pool, which can all reflect sun rays onto the face of a shaded infant.
  • Dress babies in lightweight clothing that covers the arms and legs, and use brimmed hats.

Sun Safety for Kids

  • Choose sunscreen that is made for children, preferably waterproof.
  • Consider testing the sunscreen on your child’s back for an allergic reaction. If a rash develops, talk with your pediatrician.
  • Select clothes made of tightly woven fabrics. Cotton clothing is both cool and protective.
  • Sunglasses with UV protection are also a good idea for protecting your child’s eyes.
  • If your child gets sunburn that results in blistering, pain or fever, contact your pediatrician.

Sun Safety for the Family

  • Sunscreens should be used for sun protection and not as a reason to stay in the sun longer.
  • Put on sunscreen 30 minutes before going outdoors – it needs time to work on the skin.
  • Reapply a water-resistant or waterproof sunscreen (sun protection factor SPF 15 to 50) every two hours.
  • There is currently no evidence that SPF greater than 50 provides additional benefit.
  • The sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Try to keep out of the sun during those hours.
  • The sun’s damaging UV rays can bounce off water, sand, snow or concrete; so be particularly careful of these areas.
  • Most of the sun’s rays can come through the clouds on an overcast day; so use sun protection even on cloudy days.
  • When choosing a sunscreen, look for the words “broad-spectrum” on the label – it means that the sunscreen will screen out both ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet A (UVA) rays.
  • Avoid sunscreens with oxybenzone, which has mild hormonal properties and can also cause rash.
  • Zinc oxide, a very effective sunblock, can be used as extra protection on the nose, cheeks, tops of the ears and on the shoulders.
  • Rub sunscreen in well, making sure to cover all exposed areas, especially the face, nose, ears, feet and hands, and even the backs of the knees.
  • Advise teens that sometimes their topical or oral antibiotic treatments for acne can make them more susceptible to sunburn.  Ask your doctor if you are unsure about this.

Treating Sunburn

  • Be sure to keep your child well hydrated and replace fluid losses with extra fluids.
  • Use cool water or compresses on the skin.
  • Pain medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be helpful.
  • Keep your child out of the sun until a burn is completely healed.
  • If your child is under 6 months, call our office for advice.
  • For older children, please contact us if there is blistering of the skin or fever.