Southern California environment news and trends

FDA: Sun and sunscreen is bad for babies under six months old

With the summer season peaking, kids out of school on vacation and temperatures soaring across the country, outdoor activities are in full swing. But if that family outing includes a baby under the age of six months, a recent consumer update from the U. S. Food & Drug Administration says extra precautions need to be taken in order to keep them safe from the sun’s harmful rays, including not exposing them to sunscreen.

“The best approach is to keep infants under 6 months out of the sun,” said Cheryl Sachs, a pediatrician at the FDA in the consumer update, “and to avoid exposure to the sun in the hours between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when ultraviolet (UV) rays are most intense.”

The thinness of a baby’s skin makes them much more susceptible to the chemicals found in most sunscreen products, as does as a high surface-area to body-weight ratio compared to older kids and adults. The FDA recommends keeping little ones in shaded areas as much as possible, and to dress them in hats and clothing that protect sensitive skin areas.

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Rattlesnake season arrives early in the Southland

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Now that spring is in full swing and the unofficial arrival of summer is upon us with Memorial Day weekend, outdoor enthusiasts aren’t the only ones getting an early start on sun-kissed activities. According to the L.A. Zoo and California Poison Control System, the local rattlesnake population is coming out of hibernation early this year, with the potential of a larger snake infestation than usual.

“Fatality, loss of limb, some really severe injuries, medical procedures are necessary to save limbs and life,” said Fish & Game biologist Kevin Brennan about the grisly results of a rattlesnake bite to CBS Local. Officials estimate that California sees one or two fatal rattlesnake bites annually.

Hikers and anyone spending extended time roaming through brush areas are encouraged to wear long pants that cover shoe tops, and to bypass areas where the ground is not fully visible. With a “bumper crop” of baby rattlesnake births expected this season, don’t think the little ones are any less dangerous. Their venom is just as poisonous.

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