Sun protection awareness for babies and young children

This afternoon, I took Kaia to the playground to get some energy out. She said she wanted to take her scooter, so I put her helmet on and took the scooter out with her. Unfortunately (or fortunately for her…), the fountain was on given it was such a hot day, and she immediately made a beeline for the fountain and completely abandoned her scooter. She still had her helmet on, so it provided a little sun protection, but I was getting a bit concerned with how much sun exposure she’d get given she was soaking.

A neighbor came and met me with her husband and six-month-old daughter. Her daughter turned six months just a few days ago and had gotten her six-month vaccinations. The baby is extremely fair-skinned, and her face, neck, arms, and legs were completely exposed to the sun. I asked her if she had any sunscreen or a hat for the baby. She said she thought it was in the stroller but needed to go check. Her husband was pretty indifferent and responded, “Does she really need sunscreen? I don’t think so.”

I couldn’t believe how much he didn’t seem to know; it was borderline embarrassing for me to hear this. I lightly nudged them that they should get a hat on her and put some sunscreen on. She went to grab the hat and sunscreen and started spraying her baby with it. Before six months of age, it’s strongly recommended to keep babies out of direct sunlight and to keep a hat on them to protect their face and eyes. And from six months onward, sunscreen is highly recommended, along with a face/eye cover. They’re so young — they’re just babies. And the sun can be so damaging for them at such an early age. It’s not even just about serious concerns like skin cancer or sunburn, but just keeping their skin looking young, supple, and healthy. I’m in my late 30s now, and even though I am obsessive about sunscreen application, I’m already seen sun damage on my skin in the form of these stupid freckles, which I hate. Now, I always wear a hat to protect my face. I used to resist it because my head would get hot, but now my vanity has overtaken my distaste for a hot head.

I look at my Kaia Pookie’s face, and I just want her to look sweet, cute, and pore-less forever. I love that she’s been more tolerant with my applying sunblock on her. She still doesn’t love it on her face, especially the rubbing in part, but she doesn’t resist me anymore when I apply it on her arms and legs. It’s all progress in the right direction!

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