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Do You Know What You’re Putting on Your Baby?

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Moisturizers and Sun Protection continued...

Try to keep babies less than six months old out of the sun. When that’s impossible, apply a small amount of sunscreen with at least 30 SPF to exposed areas like the face and back of hands, after first trying a small amount on your baby’s wrist to check for sensitivity. For older babies, choose a sunscreen labeled “broad-spectrum” with an SPF of at least 30, and reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating. Look for sunscreens that contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

Keep your baby in the shade, if possible. Their skin is thinner and more sensitive. Cover them up with clothes and a hat, limit their time in the sun (especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun is strongest), don’t let them get overheated, and get them out of the sun right away if they show any signs of sunburn or dehydration, including fussiness, redness, and excessive crying.

Protect Baby's Tender Bottom

If your baby develops a diaper rash, make sure to change your baby’s diaper every three to four hours, and immediately after a bowel movement. Wipes can be irritating to raw skin, so use unscented wipes or a soft cloth with water until it heals. Allow baby’s bottom to air dry. A cream or ointment with zinc oxide can help protect the area. For prevention, petroleum ointments should do fine.

For the first three months, or longer, if your baby has sensitive skin, avoid baby wipes that have fragrances. You can also skip the wipes altogether and just use wash cloths and a squirt bottle of water at the baby's changing table.

If you use baby powder, pour it out carefully and keep the powder away from the baby's face. Talc or cornstarch in baby powder can injure a baby's lungs.

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Reviewed on February 14, 2011

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