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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3 quick tips on how to buy a safer sunscreen

Summer is upon the Southland, and it seems like the sun has never been so strong. While many of us might be content to sit out the season under a palm tree, the rest of us are out swimming, surfing, and seriously enjoying Southern California.

So how best to protect our summer skins? Wear a hat, sunglasses and long sleeves. But if that doesn’t work for you, use safe sunscreens highly-rated by the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database. But how best to find them?

First, read the ingredients.

The most important rule of thumb for buying a safer sunscreen (and any product) is to acquaint yourself with the back of the bottle. The Environmental Working Group, a non-profit organization that advocates for health-protective government policies, cautions that there are several ingredients in traditional sunscreens that are toxic.

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