The National Parenting Center

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Sun protection for kids





Start your child very young on a lifetime of protective skin care. While being outdoors is healthy and necessary, too much exposure to direct sun is not.

• Keep a baby under a year old out of the hot summer sun altogether, if you can. Dress him or her in lightweight, light-colored clothing and, always a hat. If you’re pushing your baby in a stroller, check often to be sure sun isn’t shining directly on his or her face.

• Don’t use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 4 or more on a baby under six months old. Tender skin may absorb the chemical involved and be unable to eliminate it.

• Do use a sunscreen with a higher SPF on a child, but be aware that anything over 15 may simply be overkill. You may find the ones that come in stick form convenient to use. If in a spray container, spray it on your hands and then apply it to children’s exposed skin. Avoid putting it on children’s hands- they often end up in the mouth.

• Cover all exposed skin surfaces except upper and lower eyelids. Help your child accept the necessity for sunscreen by telling him or her that it’s a magic, invisible suit that turns back the harmful rays.

• Use zinc oxide if you wish. It offers complete protection for delicate areas such as nose, cheeks and shoulders. And kids love it! It even comes in bright colors today.

• use protection on overcast days, too. As much as 80% of the sun’s radiation reaches the ground even through clouds.

• Be aware that while a T-shirt will afford some protection (usually about SPF 5) for back and shoulders when dry, once wet, it will only intensify the sun’s rays.

• Watch your child for signs of heatstroke, if you’re out for a long time in hot weather. Most common symptoms are irritability, drowsiness and headache. Get the child into the shade immediately and give cool liquids- water or fruit juice, but nothing with caffeine, because it can lead to dehydration.

Vicki Lansky’s practical, common sense approach to parenting is familiar to millions throughout the world. Vicki’s first book, Feed Me, I’m Yours, published in 1974, and still one of the most popular baby/toddler food cookbooks in the country, was followed by The Taming of the C.A.N.D.Y. Monster, a #1 New York Times bestseller. Her other titles include: Toilet Training, Birthday Parties Best Party Tips & Ideas For Ages 1-8, Dear Babysitter Handbook, Welcoming Your Second Baby, Getting Your Child to Sleep … and Back to Sleep, Trouble-free Travel with Children, Baby Proofing Basics and Games Babies Play From Birth to Twelve Months, Koko Bear’s New Potty, A New Baby at Koko Bear’s House, Koko Bear and the New Babysitter, and Koko Bear’s Big Earache. Vicki Lansky’s Divorce Book for Parents: Helping Children Cope with Divorce and Its Aftermath

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