Do Toddlers Need Sunscreen?

When stepping out in the sun it is important to protect the tender skin of the toddler from its intense rays. It is fine to use sunscreen on the babies of 6 months or above. Babies younger than this age should use other things for protection from the sun such as protective clothing, hat with brim and sunglasses.

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Sunscreen protects the skin from the harmful ray of the sun. Using sunscreen regularly reduces the risk of melanoma by 40 percent in young adulthood.(1) Kids love to play out, they can play for hours on the swings, run through the park or toddle on the beach without even thinking of getting any rest. All this fun in sun is safe only if your child is wearing sunscreen; as the toddler’s skin is much thin than adult and more susceptible to burning.

Sun rays, from 10 am to 4 pm, are the strongest, and if during this time your child needs to stay out, wearing sun protection is very important.

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What Type Of Sunscreen Is Best For Kids?

Sunscreen comes in various types such as gels, creams, sprays, and sticks. When looking for a sunscreen, make sure it has the following properties:

  • Sun protection factor (SPF) should be 30 or higher
  • Protects against both UVA and UVB rays
  • It is water resistant so that it protects the kids in water for 40-80 minutes

Do not use sunscreens with PABA, as they can lead to allergies. Also, for sensitive skin look for products which contain titanium dioxide.

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How To Use Sunscreen for Toddlers?

Sunscreens should be used correctly so that they deliver what you expect out of them.

Apply sunscreen whenever the kids go out in the sun, and make sure you apply it 15-30 minutes before they step out. Do not skip the areas such as ear, feet, shoulder, and behind the neck, also lift up the bathing suits and apply sunscreen beneath them. Also, use a lip balm with a sun protection factor.

Apply sunscreen in a generous amount which is one ounce, recommended by the dermatologist, to cover the exposed areas of the body. Reapply it after every 2 hours.
Use a water-resistant sunscreen if the kid would be around water, as they last for up to 80 minutes. Reapply it if the kid comes out of the water.

How To Protect Toddlers From The Sun?

If planning a vacation or a picnic with your toddler, protect him from the sun by the following mentioned tips.

  • Try and stay inside during the peak sun hours i.e. for 10 am to 4 pm.
  • Stay in shade wherever possible or move out in sun in breaks. Put umbrellas on the beach or have picnics under the tree, so that you get some protection from the harmful sun rays.
  • Apply sunscreen in a good amount and also put it underneath the toddler’s shirt.
  • Make the child wear a hat with a forward-facing brim that shields the face.
  • Have your toddler wear sunglasses with at least 99 percent UV protection.
  • If the toddler is in a stroller, make sure you use a stroller’s shade to protect him from the sun.

Make it a habit to use sunscreen yourself so that kids develop this habit, and develop a sun protective behaviour.(2) This would help him when he grows to know well how to protect himself. Also, when out in sun make the child drink plenty of water and keep an eye on signs of dehydration (fussiness, redness, excessive crying). If the child becomes sunburn, move him out of the sun immediately and apply a cold cloth or compress to red patches as soon as possible.

Kids enjoy outdoors, help them be safe by protecting them from the harmful and skin damaging rays for the sun.

Also Read:

Sheetal DeCaria MD

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

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Last Modified On: August 19, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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