Summer sun fun is here! We all want to enjoy these few months of summer sun with outdoor family activities like going swimming at a beach resort, the nearby lake, or our own backyard swimming pool. Read some safety tips for pregnant mothers, babies, and young kids.
It is more important than ever to protect your skin from sun’s harmful ultraviolet ( UV) rays during pregnancy. Melanocyte are cells that are situated in the outermost layer of the skin and provide the pigment for the skin. Increased level of Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone (MSH) during pregnancy makes your skin more susceptible to UV induced discoloration.
Here are the tips for your safety under the sun:
- Use at least SPF 30 and up which stops 97% UVB ray
- Use broad-spectrum to protect against the sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet A (UVA) rays. Exposure to UVA rays can cause discoloration of your skin during pregnancy.
- Use sunscreens with physical / mineral blocks consist of titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. Avoid chemical UV stoppers with chemical ingredients like oxybenzone which can be absorbed by the skin and reach to baby.
- Titanium dioxide in spray forms are not recommended. Inhalation of them can cause harm to you and baby.
- Try to avoid the sun between 10 am to 2 pm, when the sun’s rays are at their strongest.
- Make sure your sunscreen is water resistant if you plan to go swimming.
- Reapply sunscreen if you go swimming or are sweating
- Use oil-free sunscreen, extra oil on your skin can cause breakouts on pregnant moms skin.
To read more on swimming exercise for pregnant women, check out our blog post:
Swimming: Is it Safe during Pregnancy?
Infants (0-6 months):
The best approach is to keep infants under 6 months out of the sun or keep them in the shade. An infant’s skin possesses little melanin, therefore babies are especially susceptible to the sun’s damaging effects. . Most pediatricians suggest that infant’s exposure to the chemicals in sunscreens may be much greater, increasing the risk of side effects from the sunscreen. Taking simple steps now can go a long way toward protecting your baby from the risks of sun exposure.
- Avoid exposure to the sun in the hours between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when ultraviolet (UV) rays are most intense
- Keep the baby under natural shade, create your own with an umbrella or the canopy of the stroller.
- Dress the baby in lightweight long pants, long-sleeved shirts,
- Choose a wide-brimmed hat or bonnet that protects the baby’s face, neck, and ears. A baby who wears a hat during the first few months will get used to having it on.
- Make sure baby is adequately hydrated, give enough breast milk or formula. In the heat, babies are at greater risk of becoming dehydrated. Fussiness, redness and excessive crying can be the signs of dehydration
Toddlers /Pre-School Age:
It is safe to use sunscreens on babies older than 6 months. Although light colored babies are the most vulnerable, every baby is susceptible to sunburn.
- Use broad-spectrum sunscreens with an SPF 15 or higher and apply including face, neck, ears, hands and feet
- If your baby doesn’t have much hair, apply sunscreen to the top of head, or put a hat on.
- Apply sunscreen 15 minutes before going out in the sun and reapply every 2 hours.
- Make sure your child stays in the shade between 10 AM and 4 PM. Get the child play in the shade.
- Make sure long-sleeved, unbleached cotton clothing is cool and comfortable, while also highly protective. Clothing with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) listing on the label offers extra security. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends clothing with a UPF of 30 or higher.
- Don’t forget hats and sunglasses. Choose a wide-brimmed hat that protects face, neck, and ears.
- If you are using a spray sunscreen, it should not be applied directly to the face; sprays should be misted into the hands, and then spread on the face.
- Most importantly, sunscreen must be applied 30 minutes before going outside and reapplied every two hours or after swimming or excessive sweating.
- Maintain caution on overcast days because UV rays can penetrate cloud cover.
Let’s all enjoy the summer time with our families!
Make it memorable. Make it fun. Make it safe.
Written by: Tina I Ureten MD, RDMS, RDCS