The summer has begun and while we hope everyone is having fun in the sun, there are some parts of summer safety we would like to highlight for the coming months to keep kids safe. We start with the hallmark of Texas summers, the sun, and how to protect children from the UV rays that come with the summer heat.
Especially in Texas, make sure that children are applying sunscreen at least 15 minutes before they head outside. It is important to choose a sunscreen that is between SPF 30 and 50 and is “broad spectrum”, which means it protects against UV-A and UV-B rays. It is also recommended that time outside between 10:00am and 4:00pm is minimized because this is when peak UV rays occur.
If you are swimming, be sure to reapply sunscreen after drying off. The secret with sunscreen is to make sure you are using enough, so try to reapply liberally every 2 hours to allow for maximum protection.
For babies under 6 months, protective clothing is preferred for sun protection. Sunscreen can be used on small areas that are exposed.
For children and babies over 6 months, sunscreen can be used all over the body, with caution when used around the eyes.
Sunburns can happen, especially if your child isn’t wearing sunscreen or isn’t reapplying regularly. This can look like skin that is red, warm, and sensitive to the touch after your child was outside.
For mild sunburns, use cold water to soothe your child’s skin. It is also important for them to drink more water if they have a sunburn and stay out of the sun until their sunburn is healed. Tylenol can be used as your child heals if the sun burn is painful.
Call the office for sunburn if your child is under 1 years old or if you see blistering or fever associated with the sunburn.
For more information about the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations for Sun Safety, https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/Pages/Sun-Safety.aspx
For more summer safety information, https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/Pages/Summer-Safety-Tips-Staying-Safe-Outdoors.aspx
Uma Reddy is a second year medical student and former West Plano Pediatric patient. West Plano Pediatrics wishes her the best of luck in the future!