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6 sun and water safety tips for baby

Even though summer is almost over, sun and water safety are important year-round. Here are are 6 sun and water safety tips for baby:

Sun

1. Keep children under 6 months out of the sun. Infants’ skin produces little melanin and is too sensitive for sunscreen. Therefore, infants’ skin is highly susceptible to the sun. Keep baby covered in lightweight clothing that covers her arms and legs, and use a wide-brimmed hat for additional sun coverage. Shade is also your friend; be aware that water can cast a reflection, so position your child accordingly.

2. Use broad-spectrum SPF 15+ sunscreen for children over 6 months of age. Whenever possible, keep your children in shady areas during peak sunlight time (10 AM – 4PM) and utilize rash guards and hats that provide additional SPF coverage. Use a broad-spectrum SPF 15+ sunscreen on all areas that are exposed to the sun.

3. Properly apply and reapply sunscreen. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes prior to sun exposure to all areas that are uncovered, and reapply every two hours, or after swimming/sweating. If you are using a spray sunscreen, do not apply it directly to your baby’s face. Sprays should be misted onto hands and then applied because children have the potential to breathe in the spray, which can be harmful to their lungs.

Water

1. Kids need constant supervision around water. While this point may seem obvious, it’s a good reminder nonetheless. Young children can drown in water less than two inches deep, so it’s important to watch your kids in places where drowning may seem less obvious. Tubs, sinks, toilets, fountains, buckets and other standing water can all pose a risk, so make sure you’re constantly watching your children in the bath and around those other potential hazards. Never leave your child unattended in or around a water source.

2. Be aware of waterborne germs. Infants can be particularly susceptible to diseases spread through water (pools, lakes, etc.) so make sure you are vigilant when your child is in the water. Try to avoid having your little swallow any water, or get any in her mouth. Also, make sure you are using waterproof swimming diapers and changing them frequently (far away from the water source) to prevent spreading germs.

3. Water temperature is a big deal. When you are planning on swimming, make sure you test the water by entering it slowly. Always test the bath water before placing your child in the tub. In general, water around 82-86 degrees F is desirable for recreational swimming, and infants are more comfortable on the warmer side of this range. When bathing your infant, the water should feel like your body temperature, so it shouldn’t feel cold, and it shouldn’t feel hot. Be aware of any shivering that may occur, and remove your child from the water immediately. Water colder than 70 degrees F should be avoided.

At the end of the day, vigilance is important. Try your best to be aware of your surroundings, and make sure you’re prepared… but don’t forget to have fun!

—Contributed by Lauren Soderberg

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