Sun protection is especially important for young infants. An infant’s skin is 20% thinner than the adult skin which predisposes it to water loss and sensitivity from environmental elements. Furthermore, infants under 6 months of age do not yet have the protection of melanin in their skin. Experts agree that sunburns in the early part of life are a leading risk factor for skin cancer. Early, consistent sun protection is the best protection against skin cancer, which is 5X more prevalent than breast or prostate cancer. In fact, intermittent, severe sunburns in childhood have been considered to pose the greatest risk, although sunburn throughout life likely contributes to melanoma development (Autier 1998, Dennis 2008). Promoting consistent, healthy sun protection behavior is one of the most important messages that parents can teach their children.
The American Academy of Pediatrics states that it is best for infants under six months of age to avoid periods of direct sunlight. (http://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/pages/Sun-Safety.aspx). However, the AAP has recently softened their previous messaging advocating against sunscreen use for young infants. In cases whereby direct periods of sunlight cannot be avoided, the AAP states that small amounts of sunscreen are preferred to no sunscreen use at all. Parents should apply sunscreen on small areas of the body, such as the face and the backs of the hands. Use a product with safe ingredients and avoid applying to the inside of the hands and be careful around the eyes. What are key steps parents can take to protect infants and young children from the sun? Click here for a one-page handout to share with your patients:
New Sunscreen ratings – what do they mean?
New FDA labeling guidelines for sunscreen go into effect this summer. http://www.fda.gov/
Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/BuyingUsingMedicineSafely/UnderstandingOver-the-CounterMedicines/ucm258468.htm#Q3_What_does_the_SPF. What does this mean for parents who are shopping for sunscreen for their infants and young children? Both UVB and UVA radiation is emitted by the sun. Traditional SPF ratings on sunscreen products only address UVB protection, which causes sunburn. However, UVA radiation is also dangerous because it contributes to premature aging and the most dangerous forms of skin cancer. One aspect of the new FDA labeling regulations will offer a ‘broad spectrum’ test rating on products. Sunscreen products allowed to be labeled as "Broad Spectrum” will protect against both UVA and UVB rays. It is important for parents for look for the new UVA “star” rating system on the label. The more stars, the better:
What else do parents need to be aware of when shopping for sunscreen products?
Need more tools to help you navigate the maze of sunblock products?
Written by Kim Wilschek, RN, CCE
Owner of Chicago Pregnancy & Chicago CPR
Childbirth educator at Edward Hospital and Swedish Covenant Hospital, in Illinois
It is natural to want to be back to a pre-pregnancy size after childbirth. Remember to give yourself some credit for growing a human being. Be patient with yourself in shedding your baby weight. Here are some tips that will help you get back into your pre-pregnancy clothes in no time!
– Kim Wilschek, RN, CCE
Owner, Chicago Pregnancy
Chief learning officer, Safety Squad