Sunscreen in infants and children is critical for a number of reasons. Behaviorally this is the opportunity to instill in them the importance of sun avoidance, proper sunscreen application and being comfortable in sun protective clothing. Let's take a look at each of these.
Sunlight is most intense from 10 a.m. through 4 p.m. and while it may be tempting to take that mid-day stroll create a habit of taking the stroller out outside of this critical time frame when ultraviolet light is the most intense. Also, if you choose to be outside during this time frame seek shade. It is a very simple practice to participate in and covered playgrounds and parks are becoming more and more common.
So if you choose instead that you have to get out of the house and escape for a moment these are a few tips on sunscreen to help keep your baby safe. There are a variety of products available for babies and here is what you need to look for. Choose a sunscreen that is "water-resistant" to 80 minutes. Sunscreens that are water-resistant will specify a time frame of either 40 or 80 minutes per new FDA guidelines. Next, read the label and look for titanium dioxide or zinc oxide as these provide the broadest spectrum of protection against ultraviolet light. Now for the easy part. Choose at least a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher when shopping.
Lastly, sun protective clothing is gaining momentum and a bit of fashion-influence. There are many brands available to choose from and you have to balance what you choose against the temperature outside. The rule-of-thumb is that if you hold a garment up to the sunlight and you can see the sunlight through it then the fabric will permit ultraviolet light rays to pass through. So the tighter the woven fabric the better, but be cautious not to choose something too heavy that could result in overheating. Certainly take into consideration amount of sun protection when choosing a stroller as well as this could provide a source of mobile shade and allow for adequate ventilation and cooling.