How to protect your baby from the summer sun

As summer approaches, one thing that is on the minds of new parents is protecting their babies from the harsh effects of the summer sun. According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, just one instance of sunburn over the course of a child’s life nearly doubles his or her chances of developing melanoma later in life, which is why it’s so vital that parents take the appropriate steps to protect their kids.

“Children should not be getting sunburned at any age, especially since there are a range of very effective sun protection methods that can be used,” said Perry Robins, M.D., President of The Skin Cancer Foundation. “Parents need to be extra vigilant about sun protection all the time.”

Developing a sun strategy for your infant

Depending on the age of your baby, this will be a major factor in determining whether or not you should purchase sunscreen in the coming months. The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that babies under six months of age should not be exposed to any sun whatsoever, and even at this age, baby sunscreen is not strong enough to compensate for the lack of melanin in a newborn’s skin. When venturing outdoors in the summer, it’s essential to use a stroller with a visor for sun protection, light-colored lightweight clothing to reflect sunlight and hats to protect sensitive areas. Be mindful of the time of day when you venture outside as well – the peak sunlight hours are between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so plan early morning and late evening walks with your infant.

Choosing the ideal sunscreen

When your child reaches the age of 6 months and older, he or she will be ready to soak up a bit of vitamin D, but you should still be vigilant about your sun protection regimen. If you or your significant other has a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), baby sunscreen is covered by your benefit and you can pick it up from FSAstore.com just in time for your outdoor summer excursions!

  • As for your choice of sunscreen, there are a few key selling points you should search for as you shop for FSA eligible items. First and foremost, you should search for “broad spectrum” sunscreen. This refers to a product that can block out both UVA and UVB rays, which are the primary wavelengths that can damage skin. Waterproof sunscreens are usually the best choice, as these will stay active after swimming and even being exposed to sweat. You should endeavor to apply sunscreen at least 15 to 30 minutes before heading outdoors, and be sure to cover sensitive areas like the tops of the ears, neck and feet. Make an effort to reapply consistently throughout the peak sunlight hours to prevent any lasting damage to your baby’s skin.
  • Last but not least, be sure to replace your sunscreen periodically, as these ingredients can sometimes lose their effectiveness over time. Luckily, your FSA can cover a huge range of sun care products for the whole family, so be sure to check out FSAstore.com this spring and summer for great deals on seasonal items you’ll use all summer long.

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