Q: Is it OK to continuously use sunscreen on a baby? Are there adverse side effects for doing this?
A: Nancy Snyderman, M.D., F.A.C.S: It is not all right to use sunscreen on babies younger than 6 months old. We do not know yet whether it is safe to apply sunscreen to a baby’s very thin skin.
Infants should be kept out of direct sunlight and protected with brimmed hats, clothing and the stroller hood. For older babies, you should definitely apply sunscreen, since sunburn and overexposure to the sun can cause skin cancer and other problems when your child grows up.
Use a sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 15. Apply it 15 minutes or before taking the baby outside. Use a product that is waterproof, but reapply it if you take the baby in the water. If your child has a fair complexion that easily burns, it may be better to use a sunblock on certain areas. Whenever trying a new product, always test a small amount on the baby’s wrist, to check for allergies or sensitivity.