Keeping babies safe in the sun

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – When the temperatures start to soar, a lot of families want to hit the water to keep cool.  Before you do, there are some things you need to know.  Babies and small children have different skin than we do.  The smaller the child the more their skin is still developing and the more it needs to be protected anytime you are outside!

"Their skin is thinner and it doesn't have the color cells that make it more resistant to sunburn so it burns a lot faster," said Dr. David Matthews of the Children's Clinic.

Tacie Allen said she's had a sunburn before!

"It hurts very, very bad and it doesn't go away very easily sometimes," said Allen.

"I've seen it on cloudy days, I've seen it on people who are under trees at lakesides and pool sides," said Dr. Matthews.

Dr. Matthews said you need to put sunscreen all over your baby even where you think the sun may not hit them.

"The minute you turn pink you've reached the end of your sunscreen.  The SPF factor is how many minutes normal skin will go before it starts turning pink and getting thermal injury," said Dr. Matthews.

He said babies and small children don't handle the heat as well as adults do.  They take in more heat than we do and their temperature can go up really fast.

"If a child's skin is turning pink it's burning already," said Dr. Matthews.

Dr. Matthews said you never want to get your baby to the "pink skin" stage in their first year.  Skin protection is on the minds of some families taking in the sun and the water at Craighead Forest Park.

"She puts on sunscreen so we don't get sunburned and blisters on us," Allen.

"You can pretty much protect your children from having skin cancer," said parent Jill Storer.

"If you get a blistering sunburn in childhood less than fifteen years old your chances of skin cancer in your thirties or forties is quite a bit higher," said Dr. Matthews.

When you're out in the water Dr. Matthews warns sunscreen can come off!

"There's really no excuse not to have sunscreen on your children and protect them.  It's your job as a parent to protect your children," said Storer.

Dr. Matthews said you need to keep a close watch on your children when you are outdoors, especially the smaller one's.  If they get uncomfortable and start to cry, they're trying to tell you something.

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