Tags: sunscreen | baby | infant | fda

FDA: Sunscreen bad for Infants

Friday, 29 June 2012 01:39 PM

With beach and barbecue season in full swing, federal health officials this week issued an advisory aimed at new parents, warning them against using sunscreen on infants and young babies.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory noted the skin of infants under 6 months of age is much thinner than that of older children and adults. As a result, it absorbs the chemical ingredients in sunscreen more easily. What’s more, infants have a higher skin surface-area to body-weight ratio than older children and adults. Both factors increase the risk of inflammation and allergic reactions to sunscreen.
A better alternative: keep your baby in the shade or under an umbrella or stroller canopy. If that’s not possible, apply only a small amount of sunscreen — with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 — to small areas such as the cheeks and back of the hands, FDA advises. But it’s a good idea to test your baby's sensitivity to sunscreen by first trying a small amount on the inner wrist.
"The best approach is to keep infants under 6 months out of the sun," said Dr. Hari Cheryl Sachs, an FDA pediatrician. "And to avoid exposure to the sun in the hours between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when ultraviolet [UV] rays are most intense."
The American Academy of Pediatrics also suggests dressing infants in lightweight long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and hats that shade the neck to prevent sunburn.
Summer's heat presents other challenges for babies. Sweating naturally cools the bodies of children and adults to prevent heat stroke, but babies haven't fully developed that ability. They are also at greater risk of becoming dehydrated.
Other things to keep in mind this summer when outside with infants:
• Watch babies carefully to make sure they don't show warning signs of sunburn or dehydration – such as fussiness, redness and excessive crying.
• Give babies extra formula, breast milk, or a small amount of water between feedings to keep them hydrated, if you're out in the sun for more than a few minutes. Check urination levels; if they’re less than usual it could be a sign of dehydration.
• Avoid sunscreens with the insect repellant DEET on infants, particularly on their hands. Young children may lick their hands or put them in their mouths.
• Treat sunburns by applying cold compresses to the affected areas.

© HealthDay

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Health officials warn parents against using such sunscreen on infants and young babies.
Friday, 29 June 2012 01:39 PM
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