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Helpful Summer Safety Tips
Summer is finally here after the very long winter! How exciting for you and your little one to finally be outdoors enjoying the warm weather and fun outdoor activities. It is also important to stay safe! Here are some of my tips on some important and always talked about summer topics!
Sun Protection and Sunscreen
Infants younger than 6 months should stay out of the sun as much as possible. If outside, ensure they are kept in the shade and have a hat and sunglasses and other sun-protective clothing. They should not use sunblock as it is not recommended to use sunblock on children less than 6 months old.
For children over 6 months, when outside, avoid peak sun hours – 10 AM -3 PM generally – and ensure your child is well protected with a hat or sunglasses and sunblock. Buy a product that is ‘broad spectrum’ and protects against both UVA and UVB rays. It should be SPF 15 or higher.
It is important to apply the product 15 minutes before going outside, as it needs to absorb to start working. Put in on thick all over. I always make sure that I see white on the skin as I rub it in. Don’t forget to reapply every two hours and also after your child sweats, goes in the pool or gets wet.
Another option is a sunblock with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These both provide UVA and UVB protection and are not chemicals, so they are great for children with sensitive skin and won’t usually cause a reaction. You don’t have to apply it in advance because sunblock with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide works by sitting on top of the skin to protect from the sun. It is not absorbed and will start working as soon as you put it on.
Try to test the sunblock first: If you have time before the sun season begins (not always possible) , test your sunscreen on a small part of your child’s skin to test for any reactions. If you see any rash, try a different product. Also, it is important to look at the ingredients and discuss with your pediatrician to review what ingredients you should avoid for your child in the future.
As a pediatrician and mom, I totally understand the battle of putting on sunblock on a young child! This is one battle worth fighting. I find the stick options of sunblock work wonders. In addition to making it easier to put the sunblock on and less of a fight for your child, it really decreases the eye irritation that some children get when rubbing their eyes after having sunblock on their face.
Some of my favorite sunscreens are Beautycounter sunscreen for the whole family and Babyganics mineral based sunscreens and Neutrogena wet skin sunblocks for children.
Bug bites of all kinds are quite common this time of year and while your children are out and about. This is for sure the time when your children will be itchy! If your child does develop a bite, most are bothersome but not serious. Try Benadryl or calamine lotions or oatmeal baths (such as Aveeno). Cool compresses or ice packs help the itching as well. Other anti-itch creams, such as hydrocortisone, are available but refer to your pediatrician first to see if it is necessary. Most bug bites heal quickly. Rarely they can get secondarily infected so if there is any concern of increasing redness or infection, contact your pediatrician...
By: Alison Mitzner MD
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Dr. Alison Mitzner