PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — On beautiful days, it’s great to be outside but doctors say sun safety is important for everyone, especially for babies.
“The big change is that when we talk about the counseling of individuals at high risk for skin cancer regarding sun protection, we’ve now lowered the age to start that counseling to include parents with infants older than six months,” said Dr. Thomas Knackstedt of the Cleveland Clinic.
Infants under six months of age should not be taking in the sun at all.
Doctors say babies are more susceptible to sunburns, because their skin is not fully developed yet. So, it’s important to keep them in the shade as much as possible and covered.
Sunburns at at early age dramatically increases the risk for skin cancer.
“It’s the cumulative sun exposure that causes risk for certain skin cancers, where for others, it’s the number of high-risk sunburns that you accumulate. And so, childhood sun exposure is very dangerous in that regard,” explained Dr. Knackstedt.
The American Academy of Dermatology says the average sunscreen user applies only 25 to 50 percent of the recommended amount, which is one ounce, or the amount that would fill a shot glass, to cover your entire body.
Doctors say it’s also important to check for an expiration date. Sunscreen without one has a shelf life of no more than three years, but it’s shorter if the product has been exposed to high temperatures.