A new study conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Miami has found that many parents do not provide new babies with the sun protection that they need. The findings of this study were presented at the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) Summer Academy Meeting in New York City.
This study involved surveying 95 parents. Among the findings were that only approximately 15 percent knew of the sun safety recommendations for infants put forth by the American Academy of Dermatology.
Only 43 percent of parents stated that they routinely placed a hat on their baby to shield him or her from the sun’s harmful rays. Only 40 percent indicated that they dress their baby in long sleeves or pants for sun protection. However, 83 percent of the respondents did state that they regularly found shade for their babies.
Even though sunscreen is not recommended for babies under six months of age, 29 percent of parents responding to the study said that they used sunscreen on their infants.
Most concerning were these findings:
- 3 percent of parents indicated that their baby had suffered a sunburn in the first six months of life
- 12 percent of parents stated that their baby had developed a tan in the first six months of life
- About one third of parents said they purposely gradually increased sun exposure for their infant to help them develop a tolerance to the sun
It is important to remember that purposeful sun exposure is not helpful, and does not help the skin develop a tolerance. In fact, it damages the skin and can contribute to skin cancer.
Most of the respondents of the study were Hispanic or black, which may indicate that those with darker skin tones may feel that they do not need sun protection. However, sun protection is needed for every individual, especially babies.
The findings of this study are considered preliminary until they are published in a peer-reviewed journal.