Sun Safety

How do you protect your baby from the sun?

Our Daddy MD Guide’s reply: Nowadays, we know the sun’s rays can be harmful to the skin. Sunburns during childhood have been associated with an increased risk of getting skin cancer later in life. A baby’s skin is extremely sensitive and can burn easily in the sun. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend sunscreen be used in children under six months of age. In these children, covering up with protective clothing, hats, lightweight blankets and shade to shield the skin is the best approach.

After 6 months of age, sunscreen can be applied. In general, try to use a sunscreen that contains zinc or titanium — these are ideal for sensitive and baby’s skin. Also make sure it says broad spectrum, so it protects against both the UVA and UVB rays and has an SPF of at least 15 to 30. These are the steps that we have taken with our 18-month-old son, and they have been successful so far!

Adam Mamelak, MD, a dad of an 18-month-old child and a dermatologist in private practice with Sanova Dermatology in Austin, Texas.

Q&A by Wyatt Myers