Metro Mama & Metro Baby

By Missye K. Clarke

Ah, summer. Flowers are in full bloom and humidity’s not yet an issue. Though the pollen counts are a drag, take heart, the end is near … and lovely, warm summer days and balmy nights await you and baby.

Summertime blues come in all forms: rainy days, broken hearts, endless mosquito bites and prickly heat rashes—and nasty sun burning. It’s bad enough for adults suffering from overexposed skin to the sun, but the crying of a baby suffering from this preventable fate is overwhelming and an emotional freefall on Mom and Dad.

Sun exposure is great and desperately needed for maximum health and wellness. Too much, though, like with anything, is painful to the sunburned and a big inconvenience to the caregivers. Sun protection for the under 5 jet-set is paramount to beat these sun-toasted summertime blues.

Coppertone
FAQs and great suncare tips can be found on Coppertone.com. Most sunscreens for kids 6 months and over need a sunscreen of SPF or higher. Sunscreens are available in the spray bottle varieties as well, for the squirmier angels in your care, including a Coppertone Kids sunscreen spray of SPF (sun protection factor) of SPF 50. Naturally, babies under 6 months need special care to guard against overexposure to direct sunlight. Indirect, diffused or filtered sun exposure for babies isn’t a problem, but as always and with anything, consult your pediatrician prior to sun activity. Lastly, when you do go out with baby, run their heads, ears, neck and other overlooked places for sunburned spots. Their sensitive skin’s not yet developed enough dermis to handle that much sun exposure.

Swimeezy
At www.swimeezy.com, this site from South Africa offers swim products with built-in sun resistance. These full LYCRA bodysuits – they go on the kids from mid thigh to mid forearm – are brightly colored for great ocean visibility and offer sun protection most sunsuits for kids don’t have. Priced at USD #30 and up, the site has floaties, fins, rash vests and other goodies for water lovers to swim safely (and recreationally) with the fishes.

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Pepeny
Of course Aussies know how to protect their skin; aside from the U.S. Southwest, Hawaii and South Africa – let’s not neglect higher elevations – Austrailia’s one of the Earth’s most exposed sun regions. The Pepeny is a stroller canopy that protect babies from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays (UVR). The Pepeny also provides protection from rain, snow and cold breezes. The Pepeny also reduces light and glare that can be distressing to your baby. Found at www.pepeny.com, imagine it’s like a giant baseball cap visor for the baby’s stroller or carseat mount. Just look for the United States flag logo and shop away for baby’s summer skincare.

Sunburn in a Haze
Hazy days – where cloud cover across the sun looks more like mosquito netting, causing the world to have a seeing-through-gauze glow – are just as bad if not worse, than bright sunny days. It’s misleading that these days offer substantial cover where sunscreen and other sun protection’s not necessary. Yes it is. On these days, sunburn’s way worse for the false sense of security offered in this flimsy cloud cover. Best rule: When in doubt, sunscreen before you venture out.

Shallow Waters Ain’t No Picnic
David Blaine’s recent “Drowned Alive” stunt garnered him more damage than his body could handle, including sun damage. Blaine suffered multiple blisters and severely sunburned skin on his back, arms and torso. When in and near shallow waterplay, sunscreen and watch babies and kids in the kiddie pools, sprinklers or other outdoor water play. Because water acts as a natural magnifier to UV rays (and it’s meant to warm that water for the aquatic life living under the surface), if you’re in that water long enough and shallow enough, sunburn is inevitable.

When The Summertime Blues Are a Deep Pink…
Sunburn comes home to you and It. Hurts. Like. @#$!. The sunburnt is ultra crabby as well as traffic light red, it’s don’t-blow-on-me painful, and the slightest touch sends the sensitive one into spasms of pain and screaming expletives to follow (Yes, my beloved audience, I’ve several times over been there). These remedies helped when I was where some of you may be at the conclusion of this beach season. Chilled aloe vera from the fridge rubbed over the affected area as often and generously needed, helps instantaneously. Sheets won’t be necessary that night, as that sunburn will be hot enough to keep the affected one warm enough in a well air conditioned room. This treatment – and Noxxema as well as 2nd degree burn cream works well, too – should last from three to five days, depending on length of sun exposure and where you were exposed. Yes, I mentioned burn cream. If the burn’s a deep red to purplish pink, better get to a doctor. You have a three alarm fire scorching your skin and a 2nd degree burn level to treat it requires a doctor’s visit. This treatment may or may not prevent blistering and/or peeling skin. For babies with this deep a burn, run, do not walk to a pediatrician, as this could be serious sun poisoning you’re dealing with.

Planning a frolicking time in the sun? Use prudence about sun exposure. Proper clothing and sunscreen applications equal a sun-splashed blast had by all… and a restful night sleep almost guaranteed to follow, as often lots of sun and surf play are sure to do.

Originally published June 2006
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