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Sunscreen can leads to overheating and dehydration in new born

Sunscreen can leads to overheating and dehydration in new born

by: Dr. Sorabh Goel
Consultant - Neonatology-Paras Bliss, Panchkula

With summers coming up the most the most common query of parents of newborns and infants is how to enjoy being outdoors without allowing the baby to get sunburned. The most common answer which they get and assume is ‘Sunscreens’. These days, if you want your child to indulge in outdoor activities, opting for a sunscreen, is important. Moreover, the skin of newborn babies is soft and delicate and needs the extra care.

What the doctors recommended?

However, up to 1999 the AAP (American Academy of Paediatrics) strictly condemned the use of sunscreen lotions in babies which are less than 6 months old. Thereafter a slight modification in the recommendation is made. It now advocates the use of small amounts of SPF 15 sunscreens can be applied to the areas which are directly exposed to Sun and cannot be covered with clothing, such as face and back of hands. However, the use should be restricted and kept as minimal as possible. There is still lack of data supporting the use of sunscreens in babies less than 6 months of age also it cannot be conclusively commented that benefits of avoiding sunburns outweigh the risks associated with sunscreens.

Don’t use sunscreens in excess!

Sunscreens also contain certain chemicals which can be harmful to the premature baby skin. Sunscreens with para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) must be avoided, it can lead to itching redness and rash.Other chemicals which must be looked for and avoided are benzophenones like dioxybenzone, oxybenzone, or sulisobenzone, and homosalate, octy-methoxycinnamate (octinoxate), and parabens (butyl-, ethyl-, methyl-, and propyl-). These chemicals can affect the development of the brain and reproductive organs.

Important points for parents taking their newborn outdoors:

Young Babies can’t regulate body temperature, this makes them prone to overheating and dehydration, thus FDA (Food and drug authority) had laid down certain guidelines which are as follows –

  • Parents need to keep infants and babies out of the sun as much as possible.
  • If in case the infants need to go outside, the sun must be avoided when ultraviolet rays are strongest i.e. between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
  • Parents can create a canopy over baby’s carrier or stroller.
  • The babies must be dressed in lightweight, tight-weave long pants; a full-sleeve shirt and wide-brimmed hat
  • The parents must watch carefully for signs of overheating and dehydration (Nonpassage of urine).
  • The baby must be given breast milk or formula regularly.
  • In case the baby develops a sunburn, the baby must be moved out of the sun immediately, and a cold compress should be applied as soon as possible.
  • Lastly, parents should try to limit the outdoor activity to 30 minutes.

Sometimes, even with the best of intentions, a baby/newborn / infant may get sunburned.  Usually, this is because of light. This can be relieved by the use of cold compressions. However, if the burn is severe, it will require medical attention, so be sure to contact your pediatrician if your baby becomes sunburned.

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