The FDA recommends that you not use sunscreen on infants 6 months and younger. Why? Their thinner skin will absorb more of the active chemical ingredients, plus their lower body weight and smaller size makes them more vulnerable to the chemicals in sunscreens. Here are FDA’s sun safety tips for infants:
- Keep your baby in the shade as much as possible. If you do use a small amount of sunscreen on yoru baby, don’t assume the child is well protected.
- Make sure your child wears clothing that covers and protects sensitive skin. Use common sense; if you hold the fabric against your hand and it’s so sheer that you can see through it, it probably doesn’t offer enough protection.
- Make sure your baby wears a hat that provides sufficient shade at all times.
- Watch your baby carefully to make sure he or she doesn’t show warning signs of sunburn or dehydration. These include fussiness, redness and excessive crying.
- Hydrate! Give your baby formula, breast milk, or a small amount of water between feedings if you’re out in the sun for more than a few minutes. Don’t forget to use a cooler to store the liquids.
- Take note of how much your baby is urinating. If it’s less than usual, it may be a sign of dehydration, and that more fluids are needed until the flow is back to normal.
- Avoid sunscreens containing the insect repellant DEET on infants, particularly on their hands. Young children may lick their hands or put them in their mouths. According to AAP, DEET should not be used on infants less than 2 months old.
- If you do notice your baby is becoming sunburned, get out of the sun right away and apply cold compresses to the affected areas.
For more information, go to www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm309136.htm