Until they reach age 3, infants do not have a fully developed skin defense system, which leaves them highly vulnerable to the sun’s rays. As a result, doctors strongly recommend that young children be kept out of direct sunlight. If your activities require your baby to be in the sun nonetheless, be sure to take special precautions to protect that delicate skin! By following a few simple rules, you can preserve your baby’s skin and help maintain his natural defenses against potentially serious sun damage. And since childhood is the best time for learning, if you always follow the same steps now, your child will adopt them automatically in the future.
Rules for sun safety
- Avoid exposing your baby to the sun, especially between 11:00 AM and 4:00 PM.
- Always look for shade when the sun is intense.
- Never leave your baby naked or in a bathing suit in the sunlight. Dress your child in loose-fitting clothing made of thick cotton to filter UV rays, plus a wide-brimmed hat and appropriate wide-brimmed or goggle sunglasses.
- Apply a thick layer of a sunscreen product with an appropriate SPF index (50 or above), 20 minutes prior to exposure. Focus on sensitive areas that receive extra exposure (forehead, cheekbones, nose, lips).
- Protect your child even in the shade or cloudy weather: more than 80% of UV rays pass through clouds, and a parasol does not provide adequate protection.
- Avoid potentially allergenic sun protection; instead, use mineral or organic mineral sunscreen.
- Reapply the sunscreen product generously every 2 hours and after the child has been in water.
- Make sure your child drinks regularly, even if he doesn’t ask to.
- Take proper care of your sunscreen products: be sure to close the tube or spray cap tightly, don’t leave products in full sunlight, and never reuse a product the year after you opened it.
Choosing the right sunscreen
Your child has delicate skin that’s thinner than yours and especially vulnerable to sunlight. So it’s vital to choose sunscreen that’s optimally effective against the sun’s harmful rays, but that also respects your child’s delicate skin and preserves its supply of healthy cells.
The right sun protection for your baby should meet the following criteria:
- It should offer SPF 50+ and UVA protection combined with protection of the cutaneous barrier to preserve the skin’s natural defenses and prevent any cell damage that could result from exposure to the sun.
- It should offer a guarantee of high tolerance: the formula should be hypoallergenic, alcohol- and paraben-free and dermatologically tested.
- It should be suitable for a child’s activities: the product should be water- and sweat-resistant and visible when applied, to be sure you don’t overlook any area of the skin.
- It should be appropriate for your child’s skin type: if your baby has very light or sensitive skin, choose a product specially designed for intolerant skin types.