The latest consumer update from the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) discourages the use of sunscreens in infants. Using natural shade is advised as a better alternative.
Now that it's summer time again, there is a huge rush for everyone to throng the beaches and get some sun 'n' sand! Of course, that also means you will be making sure to coat your exposed skin with enough sunscreen to beat the UV rays. For families with an infant in tow, should they be covering her too? Not really, if we are to go by the latest USFDA consumer update. Hari Cheryl Sachs, M.D., a pediatrician at the FDA says, " The best approach is to keep infants under 6 months out of the sun and to avoid exposure to the sun in the hours between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when ultraviolet (UV) rays are most intense."
Apparently, there is a difference when it comes to infants, even as sunscreens are recommended in adults and children. Baby skin is not as mature as that of adults and since infants have a greater surface-area to body-weight ratio than adults and older children, this means that their exposure to suncreen chemicals is much higher. The risk of side effects from the chemicals is consequently higher.
The paediatrician advises that the best way to protect infants is to keep them under the shade - natural if possible or by using a beach shade or canopy of the baby stroller. In the desperate situation where no shade is available, Sachs recommends using a small amount of suncreen with at least an SPF of 15 to smaller areas such as the cheeks and back of the hands. Most importantly, never forget to check for sensitivity first by applying a small amount on the inner wrist and watch for any untoward reactions.
The American Academy of Paediatricians (AAP) also recommends adequately covering up younger infants on a summer outing and ensuring that they are kept well hydrated. And if you notice that the child has got a sunburn, the best thing to do is to get out of the sun immediately and apply a cold compress to the affected areas.
Source: USFDA Consumer Update dated 06 May 2014