It’s great for children and adults to spend time playing and exercising outdoors, but it’s important to do so safely. There are some simple rules to protect your family from sunburn. First, babies less than 6 months should be kept out of direct sunlight. Find shade under a tree, an umbrella, or the stroller canopy. If keeping babies less than 6 months out of the sun is not an option then you may use a small amount sunscreen on small areas of the body, such as the face.

When choosing a sunscreen for your child use a sunscreen that says “broad-spectrum” on the label, and an SPF of 15 or 30 should be fine for most people. More research studies are needed to test if sunscreen with more than SPF 50 offers any extra protection. If possible, avoid the sunscreen ingredient oxybenzone because of concerns about mild hormonal properties. For sensitive areas of the body, such as the nose, cheeks, tops of the ears, and shoulders, choose a sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Put sunscreen on 15 to 30 minutes before going outdoors. It needs time to absorb into the skin. Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours and after swimming, sweating, or drying off with a towel.

If a mild sunburn does occur use acetaminophen or Ibuprofen (child older than 6 months) for pain relief. You may use an aloe lotion or cool water to help the skin feel better. Also keep the child out of the sun until the sunburn is fully healed. If your baby is younger than 1 year and gets sunburn, call your baby’s doctor right away. For older children, call your child’s doctor if there is blistering, pain, or fever. Any questions or wanting a pediatrician in the area call GCH Clinics 641-332-3920 and we will be glad to see you!

Dr. Silker