It’s that time of year… Summer! Time to go swimming, camping, play sports, and all sorts of outdoor activities. And with summer comes the increased chance of sunburns. A child (or adult!) can develop a sunburn after only spending 20 minutes outside. It doesn’t matter if it is cloudy or sunny, the sun’s invisible ultraviolet rays are harmful no matter what. Anytime your family goes outside, sunscreen should be applied.
Here are some ways to protect your child:
If your child is under 6 months old:
- Should be kept out of direct sunlight and limit sun exposure
- Look for protective clothing labeled with an Ultaviolet Protection Factor (UPF).
- Have them wear a hat that covers their ears, face, and head.
- Have them wear sunglasses (if they’ll allow it!)
- It is recommended to wait to use sunscreen on babies until they are 6 months old. If sunscreen is necessary, use one that has the ingredients of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
Children over 6 months old:
- Use a sunscreen that is at least SPF 30. Mineral sunscreens are the best choice for children.
- Protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses are heavily recommended.
- Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going out into the sun
Other things to keep in mind:
- Sunscreen is not just for the summer! Anytime
- Sunscreen does expire. Check your bottles to make sure yours will still be effective. If it does not have a date, calculate the date three years from when you bought it and use that as your expiration date.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Have your children drink LOTS of water (or breastmilk/formula if they are an infant) while you are outside.
- Keep your children out of the sun from 10am-2pm (or whenever the sun is at its highest and most harmful)
- Reapply sunscreen every two hours
- Good sun habits start when your child is young. Multiple sunburns throughout life can cause premature aging of the skin and even skin cancer. Exposure to sun is the leading cause of skin cancer in the US and is preventable.
If you are out and about and notice your child is getting a little bit red, do the following:
- Get them out of the sun!
- Take a cool shower
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
- Use aloe or lotion to relieve the pain
Little Spurs Pediatric Urgent Care opened in 2006 in San Antonio, Texas. With multiple locations in San Antonio and Dallas, they are open seven days a week with extended evening hours and see walk-in patients or through an online check-in system. They accept most commercial insurance and Medicaid plans.