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Health & Spirit

Sun protection, not sunscreen, for infants

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

In 1959, 3-year-old Cheri Brand was the first Coppertone Kid, promoting the (now quite unacceptable) slogans, "Don't Be a Paleface," and "Tan, Don't Burn." You've seen the image? It was of a pigtailed tyke having her swimsuit bottom pulled down by a playful puppy, revealing her snow-white backside.

We've come a long way from those attitudes, thank heavens. We know that whatever your natural skin color, protecting yourself from a tan is the smart move in order to dodge wrinkles and skin cancer.

That's especially true for infants and younger children! But you don't want the protection that comes from lathering on chemical-loaded sunscreens. They can be dangerous for young 'uns! In fact, the Food and Drug Administration cautions: Do not use sunscreens on infants. The many chemicals in sunscreen can harm newborns. For example, nine of the 15 UV filters in sunscreens are known hormone disruptors. Bad for grownups, terrible for infants and kids. So:

--Keep infants out of the sun. Dress them in lightweight, tight-weave long pants, a long-sleeve shirt and wide-brimmed hat. Put a canopy over the stroller.

--Watch infants carefully for signs of overheating or dehydration. Feed your child breastmilk or formula regularly. (Store it in a cooler.)

--If your infant becomes sunburned, get out of the sun and apply cold compresses to the area. Call your pediatrician.

--Toddlers need extra protection from the sun, too. Use protective clothing and hats, stay out of the sun and apply minimal amount of sunscreens made with micronized zinc oxide and titanium dioxide only.

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Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit www.sharecare.com.

(c) 2017 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2017 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
 

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