Hi mommas! For those who do not know me, my name is Shelly Hamrick, and I am a pediatrician. I met Leslie when we worked together at Acute Kids Urgent Care. I love educating parents and focusing on the prevention of illnesses and injuries. Since we are in the heart of the summer, I wanted to remind you of a few important things to keep our babies and toddlers safe and happy at our FIT4MOM classes and throughout the summer.
Sun damaged skin starts as soon as a child has their first sunburn and/or tan. Sunburns, tanned skin and freckles are all signs of sun damage. Sun damaged skin can lead to skin cancer and early skin aging later in life. Protection is important now!
Babies 6 months and younger:
1. Avoid sun exposure as much as possible.
2. Dress infants in lightweight long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and brimmed hats that shade the neck to prevent sunburn.
3. Avoid sunscreen if possible, but when adequate clothing and shade are not available, you can apply a minimal amount of sunscreen with at least 30 SPF (sun protection factor) to small areas, such as the infant's face and the back of the hands.
All other children:
- Avoidance is always the best line of defense.
- Wear sun protective clothing
- Wear a hat with a 3 inch brim or a bill facing forward
- Sunglasses with 97-100% protection against UVA and UVB rays
- Apply broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a 30 SPF, 15-30 minutes before going outside. Re-apply at least every 2 hours, and every hour if swimming or sweating. Re-apply to DRY skin.
A few other tidbits:
- Water and sand reflect UV rays and may result in sunburn more quickly.
- Clouds do not completely block UVA/UVB rays and so it is important to stay protected from the sun even when it’s cloudy.
- Look for sunscreens that are fragrance free and use ingredients such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as these tend to be less irritating.
- If using spray sunscreens, spray on hands and then apply to your child. This avoids accidental inhalation and avoids skipped areas.
- Choose a sunscreen that your child will wear. A particular brand is a matter of personal preference.
- Avoid being outside as much as possible during the peak hours of 10am-4pm.
Use EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) registered insect repellents with one of the following active ingredients:
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus (do not use on kids younger than 3 years old)
- Para-menthane-diol (do not use on kids younger than 3 years old)
* Always follow product label instructions
* Reapply as directed
* Do not spray on the skin under clothing
- If using sunscreen, apply sunscreen FIRST.
- When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breast feeding women.
Protecting your children:
- Do NOT use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months old
- Dress you child in clothing that covers arms and legs
- Do not apply repellent onto child’s hands, eyes, mouth, and cut or irritated skin.
- Spray repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face.
Even though our babies aren’t working out with us, they still get hot and sweat. Remember to bring them plenty of water (except babies under 6 months). Babies under 6 months should be fed before and after working out to make sure they remain hydrated. If you are breastfeeding, remember to drink plenty of water to keep your milk supply adequate. Pre-hydrating all kids will help them stay more comfortable and help prevent dehydration.
Fruits and veggies are excellent snacks loaded with extra water.
Also, try to dress your kids in light-weight clothes and keep them in the shade as much as possible. Being under the stroller canopy is great, but having the stroller in the shade is even better.
Occasionally cooling the kids off with a few sprays of water is a great idea. Also, any type of stroller fan will help keep our kids nice and cool.
Finally, don’t forget to continue to hydrate your kids after the work out is over.
Hope this will help keep your kids healthy and safe this summer. As always, please consult your pediatrician or doctor for any questions specific to your child. Have a great rest of the summer!
Resources: CDC, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Dermatology.