Spending time outside is a great way to increase your family's level of physical activity. But before you hit the beach, pool, or backyard, make sure you're aware of this sun safety advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
For babies under 6 months
- Avoid sun exposure when possible.
- Dress in lightweight long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and brimmed hats that shade the neck to prevent sunburn.
- Apply a minimal amount of sunscreen with at least 15 SPF (sun protection factor) to small exposure areas, such as the infant's face and the back of the hands.
- If an infant gets sunburn, apply cool compresses to the affected area.
For other children and adults
- Wear a hat with a three-inch brim or a bill facing forward, and cotton clothing with a tight weave.
- Wear sunglasses and/or contact lenses with total UV protection.
- Stay in the shade whenever possible, and limit sun exposure during the peak intensity hours - between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Every two hours or after swimming, apply one ounce of SPF 15 or greater (adults should use SPF 30 or greater) that protects against UVA and UVB rays – even on cloudy days. Be sure to reapply often.
- Use extra caution near water and sand as they reflect UV rays and may result in sunburn more quickly.
- Remember that 80% of a person's lifetime sun exposure is acquired before age 18. Be a good role model and protect both your skin and your child’s.
This article first appeared in the July 2013 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter and was updated in July 2020.