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Sun Protection Tips for Babies and Kids

by kelly / April, 2 2014 01:30

Little boy standing on the beach

I wish I started using sunscreen as a child. I didn't become a daily sunscreen user until my 30s and the effects of sun damage are cumulative. So parents, it's really important to start protecting your kids from the sun from day one. Yes - day one. Trust me, they will thank you later on in life when they have no fine lines, wrinkles or skin damage in their 40s!

There are different rules for suncare depending on the age of your kids. We want to provide a few tips from our research to help inform you:

Infants 0 - 6 Months

The recommendation by the FDA and Skin Cancer Foundation is to keep them out of the sun. According to Hari Cheryl Sachs, M.D., a pediatrician at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA):

"Babies' skin is less mature compared to adults, and infants have a higher surface-area to body-weight ratio compared to older children and adults.  Both these factors mean that an infant's exposure to the chemicals in sunscreens may be much greater, increasing the risk of side effects from the sunscreen."

Side note, at Block Island Organics we make mineral, not chemical, sunscreens. Regardless, we still believe the doctors recommendations of not using sunscreen on infants under 6 months is a good one. Now, if for some reason there is no shade or way to keep your baby out of the sun during the day, make sure they are covered up by lightweight clothes and a hat. Of course also make sure they don't get overheated at the same time and keep them hydrated.

Infants 6-12 Months

The Skin Cancer Foundation says its safe for babies this age to use sunscreen. Our recommendation is to use a mineral sunblock like ours to avoid chemicals as much as possible. The Environmental Working Group has expressed concerns over the use of chemical sunscreens. Babies even at six months likely still have more sensitive skin. If you want to be ultra careful, some dermatologists say zinc oxide is the safest mineral sunscreen active ingredient.

Titanium dioxide, the other mineral sunscreen active ingredient, is safe as well but some say zinc oxide is slightly better and a naturally occurring compound in the body. Plus zinc oxide is said to have antimicrobial properties that help to enhance wound healing.

At Block Island Organics our sunblocks are made with zinc oxide only as our active ingredient. FYI many baby branded sunscreens you'll find in drugstores are very often chemical based.

Toddlers and Up

It's definitely safe for them to use sunscreen and while we would recommend using a mineral sunblock, why expose your child to chemicals if you don't have to, there are no real restrictions.As kids get older they get more active and they want to play outside longer so remember to apply sunscreen on them every two hours.

Applying sunscreen should continue for the rest of your children's lives and I believe that healthy habits start at a young age. I hope these tips will help you and your kids into the future.

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