Just like babies bring extra smiles to all areas of life, they can also bring extra splashes and fun to your swimming pool this summer! However, they can also create added risks, such as drowning and contamination (see Part 1). As long as you take the necessary precautions to keep your baby safe in and near the pool this summer, though, those splashes and smiles can keep coming!
Protecting Babies from Sun Exposure
An added risk for infants at the pool is related to exposure to direct sunlight; with the added reflective properties of water, the risk for sunburn is even more extreme than other places where your baby might be in the sun. Not only is sunburn uncomfortable now, but sunburn during the early years can increase your child’s chance of getting skin cancer later in life. The Skin Cancer Foundation warns that babies of all skin tones are especially susceptible to sun damage, because their skin’s natural sun protection pigment, melanin, is not yet fully formed.
While it’s best to keep your infant under shade during the hottest part of the day — between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. — you can also take some additional steps to offer protection by the pool. Make sure to consistently cover your young baby with a wide-brimmed hat and lightweight clothing that covers both the arms and the legs as well as UV-filtering sunglasses.
Applying Sunscreen to Babies
Babies over 6 months old should still be in the shade a lot of the time and covered as much as possible, but they can also benefit from having exposed skin covered with sunscreen. The key is to make sure that the sunscreen has these characteristics:
- SPF of at least 15
- zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as active ingredients.
Make sure to apply sunscreen to any exposed areas. Easily forgotten body parts include ears, necks, and backs of hands. Sunscreen should be applied at least 30 minutes before sun exposure and should be reapplied at least every 2 hours, but more often if exposure to water occurs.
Making Your Poolside Safer from Sun Exposure
To help ensure that your youngest friends and family members aren’t unnecessarily exposed to the sun’s harmful rays, you might want to consider adding a pergola or pavilion to your poolside landscape. If you’re not ready for a construction project, you could also opt for some large umbrellas. Many have tilt features, and some even have solar-powered LED lights for nighttime benefits!
Otherwise, you can at least bring out a simple travel sun canopy to help shade your little one while you’re by the pool.
Continue reading with Part 3.
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