Oklahoma heat can be brutal! It’s so important to keep your infant and child protected from that harsh sun. Although a little indirect sunlight each day is healthy and a great source of vitamin D, too much sun can lead to sunburn and overheating, especially in young infants who don’t have the ability to tell you when they are getting too hot.Dr. Dunlap
Follow these guidelines to keep your child safe during the long hot Oklahoma months.
Remember, it doesn’t have to be hot to get sunburned! Any time the sun is up, your child can get burned if out in the direct sun for longer than 10-15 minutes. Although traditionally we have been instructed to defer use of sunscreen until 6 months of age, it is much safer to use a mild infant sunscreen in younger infants than to expose their delicate skin to severe burning.
I love Blue Lizard Infant sunscreen for children of all ages. It’s very mild and unlikely to cause rashes, even in children with sensitive skin (see link below). However, any infant sunscreen is good to use (Aveeno, Neutrogena, Bull Frog). Be careful to avoid the eyes. Sunscreen sprays are NOT considered as effective as creams. Zinc oxide sticks or creams are great for the face/under the eyes. You should reapply sunscreen about every hour and a half for the duration of your time outside. If you start to see signs of sunburn, it’s time to head inside!
It’s extremely important to watch for signs of overheating when outside for long (or even short) periods, especially in your infant who can’t tell you he/she is getting too hot!
Be sure to have plenty of water on hand! Infants under 6 months should NOT drink water. As long as they have their normal breast milk or formula, they will stay hydrated. Infants 6-9 months can drinks 1-2 ounces of water a few times per day in addition to their normal milk intake. Infants over 9 months can be given a cup of water to drink throughout the day as desired.
Signs of overheating in infants: panting, red/flushed face that feels hot to the touch, especially if sweating isn’t present, lethargy/decreased energy, fever, chills/goosebumps – if these happen – immediately take your child indoors to cool off and if you don’t see immediate resolution of symptoms, go to the ER.