Q: When should I start using sunscreen on my baby?
A: Although doctors used to recommend avoiding sunscreen on babies younger than 6 months, this recommendation has now changed. Doctors still believe it's best to keep babies this young out of the sun, or to cover them up in long sleeves and a hat, but if you can't, it's fine to use a little sunscreen at any age. Choose a hypoallergenic formula with an SPF of at least 15. Pediatricians also recommend doing a patch test on a small area of your baby's skin about 30 minutes before applying a new sunscreen all over just to be sure it won't cause irritation. Remember that just because your baby is wearing sunscreen doesn't mean she can be out in the sun for long periods. Treat the sunscreen like an extra precaution, and know that the best way to protect your infant is to keep her in the shade (in her stroller, under a tree, etc.) and properly covered up.
Copyright 2009 Meredith Corporation.