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Sun Protection for the Baby Years

Tips for ensuring that your little one has the proper defense against the sun.

Jim Williams

HealthKey.com contributor

May 21, 2010

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Don't you just cringe when you see a sunburned infant? It happens. But so do car wrecks, airplane crashes and child drowning. Too melodramatic? Not really. Fact is, just one blistering sunburn during childhood doubles a child's chances of developing melanoma later in life. And given that melanoma is the most deadly form of cancer, this is a gravely serious statistic.

Dr. Perry Robins, president of the Skin Cancer Foundation, believes there's no excuse for overexposing a child to the sun. "Children should not be getting sunburned at any age, especially since there are a range of very effective sun protection methods that can used," Robins said in a statement on the foundation's Web site. "Parents need to be extra vigilant about sun protection all the time."

Sun Protection Tips by Age

So, what's the best way to protect your child from the sun? The Skin Cancer Foundation offers these tips:

Age 6 months and younger:

It's simple: they should not be in sun. An infant's skin is too sensitive for sunscreen. At this age, an infant's skin possesses little melanin, the pigment that gives color to skin, hair and eyes and provides some sun protection--making them especially susceptible to the sun's damaging effects.

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Age 6-12 monhts:

Note the tips above, but now is the time to introduce sunscreen.
Toddlers

At this age, you're setting the foundation for the rest of your child's life in terms of understanding sun safety.
For more information visit the Skin Cancer Foundation