Sun and Tanning Safety

sunStay protected to stay safe. The sun brings summertime fun, but also risks for sunburn and skin damage.

Sun Safety for Babies

The American Academy of Pediatrics reports babies younger than 6 months need extra protection from the sun. Their sensitive skin is thinner than adult skin, which causes them to sunburn more easily. Even babies with naturally darker skin need protection.

Here are some specific rules for children younger than 1 year:

  • Babies younger than 6 months should be kept out of the direct sunlight. Keep them in the shade and under a tree, umbrella or the stroller canopy.
  • Dress babies in clothing that covers the body, such as comfortable lightweight long pants, long-sleeved shirts and hats with brims that shade the face and cover the ears.
  • If your baby gets a sunburn and is younger than 1 year, contact your pediatrician - a severe sunburn is an emergency. Apply cold compresses to the affected area.
  • For babies younger than 6 months, the risks or benefits of sunscreen use are not yet known. If your baby needs to be outdoors, discuss sunscreen and other options with your pediatrician. Parents can apply a minimal amount of sunscreen with at least 15 SPF (sun protection factor) to small areas,
    such as the infant's face and the back of the hands.
  • For babies older than 6 months, choose a sunscreen made for children.

Sun Safety for Children

For children older than 1 year, follow these simple rules to protect your family from sunburns now and from skin cancer later in life:

  • The first, and best, line of defense against the sun is covering up. Wear a hat with a three-inch brim or a bill facing forward, sunglasses
    (look for sunglasses that block 99-100% of ultraviolet rays), and cotton clothing with a tight weave.
  • Stay in the shade whenever possible, and limit sun exposure during the peak intensity hours - between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m
  • Choose sunscreen that is made for children, preferably waterproof. On both sunny and cloudy days use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater that protects against UVB and UVA rays.
  • Before covering children completely, test the sunscreen on their back for a reaction. Apply carefully around the eyes, avoiding the eyelids. If a rash develops, talk to a pediatrician.
  • Be sure to apply enough sunscreen - about one ounce per sitting for a young adult.
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or sweating. Use extra caution near water and sand as they reflect UV rays and may result in sunburn more quickly.
  • If a child gets a sunburn that results in blistering, pain or fever, contact the pediatrician.

More Information


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