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the eric update - day 331: the unofficial start of summer! or what to do about those pesky solar death rays?

the end of birthday week is punctuated by memorial day is the u.s. which is officially a holiday to commemorate u.s. service men and women who died in military service and unofficially the holiday weekend is traditionally thought to mark the start of summer; perhaps not suprisingly it's also the weekend that many americans choose to "open" their backyard pools in anticipation of A Long Hot Summer ( not that you can swim in a newly "opened" pool, mind you, as the water is freezing and dirty ).

but we did get a chance to sit on the diving board, admiring the sparkling bluish hues with odin who certainly hasn't seen anything like it in his entire life; it occured to me as i watched the pool reflect on his face that i only had the vaguest idea of how to keep an infant safe while out in the sun. sure wide-brimmed hats ( are sunglasses practical on an infant? ) are important, but what about sunscreen?

it seems like most sources follow the american academy of pediatrics recommendations and advice "caution" only if the infant is younger than six months; prior to six months , it's generally accepted that sunscreen isn't dangerous, but it hasn't been proven safe either.

so i guess it's o.k. to slather odin in sunscreen if the situation warrants. but surely one or two of you must have a hot summer tip for keeping your infant cool and comfortable while enjoying the outdoors.

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5/31/2005 07:52:00 PM 7 comments


They actually do make sunglasses with a neoprene strap for babies :). They're called 'babybanz'. Check out

We own a pair and they've held up very well. My son wore them fairly well when the sun was in his eyes and ripped them off at any other point. If distracted, he'd wear them for up to an hour.

By Blogger pumpkinhead, at 8:32 PM  

Slip, Slap, Slop

Slip on a t-shirt, slap on the sunscreen and slop on a hat..teach them this very early.

I use to teach wilderness skills to families wanting to take thier young children on backcountry canoe trips.

The one thing to always keep in mind is that a child/infant is not a mini adult as I know you are well aware. They are affected by temperature and exposure much faster than an adult body. Dehydration of fluids quicker, heatstroke, even hypothermia in the middle of a hot summer day.

Once you start feeling the heat your child has probably been hot for quite awhile..unless protected.

Layering is your best protection and constantly monitoring conditions.

Great ways to cool kids down is with big squishy sponges they can play with a pan of water..and shower them. Always have water and nuitritional snacks available to replace lost energy.

Sunglasses for infants is an excellent idea if used at the appropriate times and not all the time which could lead to weakness.

Sunglasses should be worn by both children and adults when on the water on sunny days. The reflection off the water into the eye is magnified by the surface of the water and can cause significant damage including blindness do to retina damage.

The same for sunscreen. Reflection off the water can cause serious sunburns. A little zinc on the cheeks, shoulders etc. is a good form of protection.

I guess the basic premise is just be aware that your young child's body does not regulate it's temperature the same way an adults would. Also, that the sun treats your young man like a roast on a barbecue his wee body ever so slowly...nasty analogy but quite accurate. So make sure Odin takes cover..under clothing, umbrella, sunscreen..whatever.

You guys are so great with Odin I am sure he is going to have a super summer exploring with you!!!

This post isn't too's off the top of my head...I'm packing for Florida and the humidity! I will remember to Slip, Slap, Slop!!


HeatherM - in Halifax

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:21 PM  

Heather: " Slip, Slap, Slop"

wow! thanks for the great advice heather - it's very much appreciated. of course, the scientist in me is fascinated by the fact that the skin surface area to body volume ratio of an infant is much greater than an adult which can have repurcussions for just about everything related to summertime safety, from absorbtion of sunscreen to dehydration etc. but hopefully a little common sense, liberally applied, will keep us safe and sunburn-free in the summer sun.

have a great trip to florida!

By Blogger e3, at 10:33 PM  

For the record, it's actually slip on a t-shirt, slap on a *hat*, and slop on the *sunscreen*...but I'm somewhat pedantic. ;)

I know for adults, you're supposed to apply 1 oz of sunscreen each time (most of us don't use near enough), which is about a shot-glass full. I don't know the rules for babies though.

By Blogger Emy, at 11:59 PM  


That works! *G* Anyway you say it just remind people to do it!

Here is a great link regarding sun protection for kids:

and I was wrong isn't the retina that gets is the cornea of the eye.

In any case..slip, slap, slop!


HeatherM - who,yes, hopes to have a great trip to florida although conference related.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:30 AM  

Try this site for great infant sun products:


Remember that a T-shirt provides VERY little protection:

Research shows a white cotton T-shirt only provides the same protection as applying a sunscreen with SPF 5. If the shirt is wet, it loses about a third of its already weak sun-blocking properties. At the same time, the sand almost doubles your sun exposure by reflecting 80% of UV rays back at you.
According to:

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:46 AM  

anonymous: "Research shows a white cotton T-shirt only provides the same protection as applying a sunscreen with SPF 5. If the shirt is wet, it loses about a third of its already weak sun-blocking properties. At the same time, the sand almost doubles your sun exposure by reflecting 80% of UV rays back at you."

now that's what i'm talking about! that's quite informative and certainly new news to me. thanks!

By Blogger e3, at 10:50 AM  

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this site chronicles the continuing adventures of my son, odin, who was unexpectedly born on the fourth of july at 25 weeks gestation, weighing 1 pound 7 ounces.

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