We finally seem to be reaching a point in society where the bulk of parents believe in smearing their kids with sunblock to protect them from skin cancer. So it's time to move on to the next sunny stumbling block for moms and dads. Babies and sunscreen.
It seems the debate over skin cancer and kids has gotten so loud that the FDA is concerned parents are missing some crucial information. Namely, they're not sure exactly when the whole "sunscreen" thing is supposed to start with their kiddos. Pop quiz: would you put sunscreen on an infant?
You shouldn't be doing it!
But with the FDA putting out a major consumer warning about babies and sunscreen this month, advising moms and dads to leave the sunscreen off the skin of babies 6 months and younger, it sounds like parents are!
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The FDA says if you absolutely must take a young baby into the sun (of course the shade and covering up with lightweight clothing is optimal just like it is with bigger kids), it turns out you have to test their sensitivity to the stuff first. Really, considering all the creepy chemicals that could show up in sunscreen, are you terribly surprised that little bitty bodies could have an allergic reaction to the stuff. Me neither. But hey, I get where parents are coming from.
The skin cancer statistics are terrifying. In 2008 alone (the most recent year from which the CDC offers up stats), 59,695 people in the United States were diagnosed with melanomas of the skin. That makes it the most common form of cancer in the country. And no one wants their baby to join those ranks. But if you're slathering the stuff on, thinking "better safe than sorry," stop! Now!
Enjoy these six months. You have plenty of time ahead of you to smear white stuff on a wriggling, eager to go play kid. That's when the "real" fun starts.
Did you realize you weren't supposed to put sunscreen on your infant? What have you been doing with baby this summer?
Image via Joe Shlabotnik/Flickr