Protect Your Kids From the Summer Sun With These Easy Tips
A baby’s skin is untouched by the sun and naturally delicate. While skin changes as we age, no one can erase or reverse damage caused from the sun. What happens to our children’s skin during their earliest years will stay will them for a lifetime.
Protecting your child’s delicate skin begins at birth and continues throughout their school years. While parents are a child’s first line of defense when it comes to keeping their skin protected from the sun and everyday irritants, they also must instill the importance of sun protection and teach children how to keep their body’s largest organ healthy.
Skincare regimens exist at every age level, and it’s never too soon to begin caring for your child’s skin. Find your child’s age range to discover ways to protect their precious skin:
Birth to One Year:
Baby’s skin is sensitive and soft. Use products developed for a baby’s delicate skin and include a moisturizer to keep skin hydrated. Also be on the lookout for any skin issues or irritations. Eczema is a common skin condition, and it often feels scaly and rough. Report any new rashes or irritations to your pediatrician. Stay away from fabric softener, which often contains chemicals or fragrances that also may irritate baby. Fabric softener also destroys the flame resistance of sleepwear. Be sure to wash baby’s clothes and linens in hypoallergenic laundry detergent (free of dyes and fragrances). According to the Mayo Clinic, babies six months and over may use sunscreen (opt for an SPF of 15 or higher). Younger infants need to remain out of the sun or be protected in other ways. If the family is headed out in the sun, always dress baby for the weather and make sure baby wears a hat!
The DermaNetwork advises parents of toddlers to be on the lookout for poison ivy and poison oak rashes! Toddlers love to explore and are extremely curious. But they could stumble into some not-so-nice plants. Teach little ones the rhyme: “leaves of three, let it be.” However, if you notice the tell-tale poison ivy rash, be sure to treat it immediately. Wash the area to remove any oils…and wash your child’s hands, clothes and any other items that may have touched the plant. Call your pediatrician to see what medications the practice recommends, but usually an over-the-counter steroid anti-itch cream works well. Toddlers also tend to get scrapes and cuts from falls. Make sure to use antibiotic ointment on cuts and use a bandage when necessary. Some cuts may result in scarring…welcome to toddlerhood! Of course, protect little ones from the sun with a water resistant sunscreen that offers an SPF of 30 or higher…and cover little heads with a hat!
Grade School Kids:
As kids reach grade school, they also reach the age range to learn how to care for skin. Make sure they always apply sunscreen when outside. And make sure you help them cover any areas that they might miss. This age group is fairly autonomous, and the emphasis should be on healthy habits like practicing good daily hygiene (regular bathing!). As kids grow into pre-teens and teens they also may face othe skin issues like acne and ingrown hairs, which may result in more skincare products in the medicine cabinets. You won’t be able to micromanage their daily habits for long, so you must instill good habits that will last a lifetime!
Skincare begins at birth, and parents strive to preserve that baby soft skin. For babies, toddlers and grade school kids, protecting skin from the sun is one of the most proactive measures parents can take to ensure healthy skin. We can’t reverse sun damage. But we can protect our child’s skin from the beginning…in the best ways possible.