05 August 2008

Too much sun is particularly harmful to very young children. Protecting them not only prevents painful sunburn, but also significantly reduces the risk of developing skin cancer later in life. Acoording to research, 50% of total lifetime sunlight exposure occurs in childhood.

How to protect them?
  • Remember that infants must be kept out of the sun entirely, while children with light skin will burn easily.
  • Put on Sunscreen. Choose a Sunscreen with a SPF 15 or higher and apply it 30 minutes before going outside. Make sure to apply it on your baby's hands, ears, nose, lips, and the area around the eyes and make sure it is rubbed in well. If the child is not exposed to direct sunlight, sunscreen is not usually necessary.
  • To ensure that baby is not allergic to the sunscreen you are using, apply a small amount on their arm the day before you plan going outside with the baby. If baby has an allergic reaction seeks advice from dermatologist on the proper type to of sunscreen to use.
  • Children should be encouraged to play in the shade wearing good protective clothing.
  • Sunscreen use does not allow an increase in the time spent in sunlight.
  • Babies under the age of 6 months should not wear sunscreen; protect them with pants and with hats be careful to ensure that the clothes are "breathable". You do not want your baby to overheat.
  • Make sure you use enough sunscreen; half a handful (approximately 20ml) is usually enough for the child's entire body.
  • Remember that some sunscreens come off through contact with water, sweating or rubbing with a towel.
  • Re-apply sunscreen several times during a day in the sun.
  • Use a lip balm on their lips that has a 15 SPF or higher.
  • Keep children out of the sun between 10am and 2pm, when the sun's rays are at their strongest.
What to do if a child gets sunburn ?
  • Always consult a doctor if a small child or baby has been sunburnt.
  • Consult a doctor if blisters or a rash appear.
  • Consult a doctor if the skin is very red and painful. Consider calamine lotion to cool sunburn.
  • Cool the sunburnt area in tepid water (approximately 25ÂșC) for 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Be careful the child does not get cold.
  • A pharmacist will be able to provide advice about aftersun products, some of which may be useful for cooling and remoisturising the skin.

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