Safety: Sun Protection and Car Seats
Infant Sun Safety
Infants require special sun exposure precautions regardless of race. An infant’s skin isn’t fully developed and burns more easily. Keeping infants away from the sun’s strongest impact, between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm exposure is recommended. Plan outdoor activities with your baby for early morning or late afternoon.
Make sure your carriage and stroller have an adjustable canopy. Install window shades in the back seat of your car to provide shade for your baby while you’re driving. Keep a sun shade/umbrella in the trunk of your car to be used at the beach, park, in a friend’s backyard, etc.
Shade does not provide total protection. Dressing your baby properly for sun protection is important:
- Put a lid on ‘em. Your baby should always wear a sun protective hat when outside. To be protective, a baby’s hat must cover the top of the head (no headband visors). Ideally a baby’s hat should have a wide front brim and soft neck flap.
- Arms and legs should also be covered. Loose-fitting natural fiber clothing will help keep your baby cooler, and tightly woven fabrics are more protective than loose weaves.
- Shades are not silly for a baby. Infant sunglasses are available and will help protect your baby’s eyes. They should meet ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standards and block out 99% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
Is Sun Screen Okay on Babies?
Babies under 6 months of age should be kept out of direct sunlight. If adequate clothing and shade are not available, sunscreen may be used in small areas of the body, such as face and back of hands. Use an SPF of 15, apply 30 minutes before going outside and follow the product’s recommendation for reapplication.
Car Seat Safety
Car safety is an important part of your child’s health care. Statistics show that car accidents are the leading cause of serious injury and death for infants and children. Car seats and seat restraints are saving lives. Furthermore, the use of car seats and seat restraints is mandatory in Massachusetts. Please use these life-saving devices for your entire family.
- Always Remember:
- Never hold a child in your lap while riding in either the front or back seat.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for correct installation. Save the toll-free numbers from the instruction booklet and call the manufacturer with any specific questions.
- The center rear seat is the safest place in the car.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants and toddlers ride in a rear-facing car safety seat until they are two years of age or until they reach the maximum weight or height allowed by the manufacturer of their seat.
- Always use the car’s seat belt to anchor the seat to the car.
- Make sure the seat’s harness fits snugly. There should be no slack between baby and harness.
- Use a tether strap if the seat requires it.
- Children under 12 should never be in a seat with an air bag.
- Set a good example by using your seat belt every time you travel. All vehicle occupants must use a seat belt in Massachusetts. It’s the law.
- Studies show that when children are correctly buckled up, they are better behaved, feel more secure, and are less likely to be injured in the car.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends minimizing the time your baby is seated in a car safety seat and using car safety seats only for travel.