Babies, and very young children, need special care to prevent the sun’s rays damaging their skin.
Babies, in particular, have tender skin which burns easily. A baby was burnt in the shade of a veranda recently — from reflected light off a nearby wall.
Babies should not be left outside, and certainly not left unwatched. It is easy to lose track of time. For instance, if you are holding a baby and having an extended conversation with a friend, it is better to do it indoors.
A small baby should never be left lying on its back in the sun. Babies do not have the reflexes to close their eyes automatically and they can often be looking directly at the sun, which can cause serious damage to the retinas and a lifetime of sight problems.
For children, have a sheltered section in your front garden or back yard. Suggest play which can be done indoors, or which involves hats or dressing up when done outdoors.
Zinc cream is good to use with children and this seemed an effective way of getting children to use it.
Are moisturizers really necessary for protection against skin cancer?
Despite the skin’s natural barriers, water evaporates from it quickly in any atmosphere with low humidity and particularly if it is windy or one is in a centrally heated room.
Moisturizers help stop the skin from drying out, by slowing down the rate of dehydration — acting as a barrier to water loss.
A moisturizer cannot put water back into the skin for any length of time, as it is virtually impossible to penetrate farther than the outermost layers. But with it acting as a barrier, water is eventually replaced from below, so that the skin works to rehydrate itself.
Useful during and after prolonged sessions in the sun, moisturizers come in different forms and textures — watery solutions, emulsions, creams and oily solutions.
Is your child old enough for the sun?
Myths about the sun
1. Children need sunlight exposure to toughen their skin for long-term protection.
False: Quite the opposite happens. Continued exposure tends to damage and weaken the skin. It increases the risk of skin cancer later on.
2. Suntans are healthy
Not true: A suntan is merely a fashion.
3. Some Skin types are immune to skin cancer.
Wrong: Most people risk of developing skin cancer. Pair skinned people are more at risk of developing skin cancer than others. Everybody should protect their skin regardless of skin types.
Facts about the sun
- Americans have the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. Most skin cancers are among adults, but even young children have developed Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer.
- Having a suntan as a child does not prevent the development of skin cancer as an adult.
- A child’s skin is more sensitive to sunlight exposure than an adults skin
- A young child’s skin will receive enough sunlight to cause burning, after only a few minutes exposure to full sunlight.
- The best protection is natural protection
- Sunscreen should be used with shade and clothing, not instead of them
- Use the shade to protect your child. Clothing, hats, indoors, umbrellas, covered prams and trees.