Useful information on choosing and using sun cream, lotion and block on your baby.
It is best to avoid exposing your baby to the harsh midday sun; ideally you should keep your baby in the shade between 11 am and 3 pm when the sun is at its strongest. However, although ideal, this is not always possible - instead you should cover your baby up with cool, loose fitting clothes, a sun hat and a good sun cream.
Baby's have much thinner skin than adults and so are much more susceptible to damage from the sun. Many brands of suncream offer special baby ranges designed to provide greater protection. Organic baby suncream and suncreams for babies with sensitive skin are also available.
When choosing a sun lotion for your baby you should select one which protects aginst both UVA and UVB damage; this will protect your baby's skin from surface burns and from deeper skin damage caused by the sun's strong ultraviolet rays.
Sun lotions are categorised by their 'Sun Protection Factor' (SPF); this defines the time baby can be exposed to direct sunlight whilst wearing suncream before their skin will beging to burn relative to the time they can be exposed without suncream. However, the level of protection a certain SPF provides depends on a number of factors including skin type (like adults, baby's with fair skin will burn faster), the amount of sun cream applied and the frequency of application.
If in doubt, the higher the SPF the better protection for your baby. On a regular day it is recommended that you use at least SPF 15 on your baby, but if baby is likely to be exposed in the sun for longer periods you should use a higher factor and reapply regularly. SPFs up to 60 are available and these virtually block all of the suns rays.
You should apply suncream between 15 and 30 minutes before you take your baby outside and reapply at least every two hours and after any time spent in the water. You should also make sure that you cover the tips of ears, hands and soles of feet as these are easy spots to miss.
It is important to apply suncream even if you don't think it is very hot - the suns rays can still come through the clouds and burn baby's skin, this can be enhanced on a windy day. If you are unsure, the weather forecast usually estimates the risk of burning during the summer months. However, as with anything to do with your baby's health, it is best to exercise caution and use suncream even if your not entirely sure its necessary.
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