Fun in the sun: Protecting yourself and baby

Photo courtesy of the Bump
Photo courtesy of the Bump

In Northeast Florida, families spend many hours at the beaches, parks and zoo. Protection against the sun’s dangerous rays is important especially if you are pregnant or have young children.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), kids often get sunburned when they are outdoors unprotected for longer than expected. It is important to take precautionary measures when planning a trip out because just a few serious sunburns can increase you and your child’s risk of skin cancer. Sunburns are particularly dangerous for infants because they are prone to burn more easily and have an increased risk of heat stroke.

According to the March of Dimes during pregnancy, an expecting mother’s skin is more sensitive to sunlight which can increase the risk of skin cancer, sun burns and signs of aging. Pregnant women are encouraged to take extra precautions when being out in the sun.

Tips for safe fun in the sun:

Apply sunscreen: Sunscreen can protect the skin from dangerous ultraviolet (UV) rays. The CDC recommends using sunscreen with at least SPF 15 and UVA and UVB protection every time your child goes outside. Sunscreen should be applied 30 minutes before going outside. Sunscreen is not recommended for infants, especially if they’re under six months old.

Wear a hat: Wearing a hat that shades the face, scalp, ears, and neck gives great protection. Although baseball caps are popular, they do not offer protection to the ears and neck area.

Seek shade: UV rays are the strongest and most harmful during midday. Seeking shade underneath a tree, umbrella, or a pop-up tent can offer protection from the sun. Although shade can offer a form of relief from UV rays, it doesn’t provide full protection.

UPF Clothing: Clothing is the first line of defense against UV rays. A long sleeve shirt with a high neckline can be a great barrier for the skin. The UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) is a rating system that measures the UV protection provided by fabric.

Think 20:20: Protect your baby’s eyes from UV rays by putting on a pair of sunglasses that blocks as close to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays as possible.

If your little one will be attending a summer camp or summer daycare, remember to pack these items into their backpack or nursery bag.

For more information about sun safety and to find more helpful hints, visit the CDC’s website.