sun and babyIt makes perfect sense for the Month of May to be designated as Skin Cancer Awareness Month.   It is still spring, but the sun is starting to shine and summer is just around the corner.  Jackets are turning into short sleeve shirts and everyone is heading outdoors.   We need that simple reminder to follow appropriate sun protection practices.  But, what does that mean for you newborn?

Keep Your Baby Out of the Sun!

Infants can easily get a sunburn that will cause short and long-term skin damage.  Most dermatologists will tell you that just one sunburn during childhood increases the risk of developing melanoma.  They also don’t recommend using sunscreen on infants under the age of 6 months.  Therefore, it is crucial to keep you baby safe from the sun.  The best way to do that is to keep your baby completely out of the sun as much as possible during the first 6 months of their life.  This isn’t the easiest advice to follow.  If you do take your baby outdoors, the following precautions will help protect your baby from the sun’s harmful rays:

  • Avoid the sun between 10am and 4pm.  This is the time when the sun’s rays are the strongest.   Avoid scheduling outdoor activities during this time.  Your baby can still get a sunburn at other times of the day and even on cloudy days.   So, following other sun protection practices are important.
  • Use protective clothing to dress your baby.   There are clothing lines that have fabric with sun protection built into them.  But, a tight weave fabric that is lightweight and light-colored clothing will also help protect your baby from the sun’s harmful rays.
  • Have them wear a wide-brim hat.  This is a must for protecting the top of their head.  The wide-brim will also provide shade for your baby’s face, ears, and neck.
  • Keep your baby in the shade.   Even if that means creating your own shade with an umbrella or the sunshade on your baby’s stroller.

All these tips are important for you to follow too.  Just be sure that your baby is protected when being cared for by others.  I would recommend to go as far and discuss sun protection with  caregivers.

Learn more skin cancer prevention tips from, “Skin Cancer Foundation