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Sunny side up: Understanding the precautions your kids should take in Florida's year-round sun

Dr. Emily Sou, a pediatrician affiliated with HCA Florida St. Lucie Hospital shares some tips on how to keep your children protected from the sun year-round.

September 07, 2022

When you think about risk of too much sun exposure, most people typically assume the summer time and tropical vacations are the biggest threats. However, Floridians enjoy the outdoors year-round putting them and especially children at risk of sun damage and future melanomas. Even during the fall and winter seasons, when the Florida temperatures are cooler, kids can still get overexposed to the sun and get a sunburn.  Here are some sun protection methods for you and your children: 

Avoid peak hours

  • Try to avoid being in direct sunlight when the sun’s rays are strongest between the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • If you have a baby younger than six months, keep them out of direct sunlight. 
  • Find shade under a tree, an umbrella, or the stroller canopy.

Wear sun protective clothes and accessories

  • Wear at least 99% UV-blocking sunglasses, according to the Sun Safety for Kids website.
  • The Sun Safety for Kids website recommends using lip balm and sunscreen with at a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher and reapply often. Make sure your sunscreen is labeled ‘water resistant’ if your kids will be in the water.
  • Wear sun-protective hats.

What to do if your child gets sunburned

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, children will still get sunburns. Call your doctor immediately if your child has fever, blistering, or moderate to severe pain. It is also important to call your doctor if your baby is younger than 1 year old and gets a sunburn. Here are some tips for managing a sunburn:

  • Replenish your child’s lost fluids with Pedialyte, 100% fruit juice, or water. 
  • Babies under six months of age do not need any water. Formula and breastmilk are all that they need for fluid intake.
  • 6-month-old babies only need about 4-8 ounces of water per day in addition to their daily breastmilk or formula intake.
  • Children one to three years of age need around 32 oz of beverages per day.
  • Children four to eight years of age need around 40 oz of beverages per day.
  • Children eight years old and up need around 64 oz of beverages per day.

If your child has been in the sun for a prolonged period of time, they may need additional fluids in addition to the normal recommended intake amount. 

To ease the pain of the sunburnt skin, use cool water that isn’t icy to help soothe the burn. You should also use age-appropriate doses of ibuprofen and acetaminophen to help with pain management. Finally, make sure your child stays clear of direct sunlight until the sunburn has completely healed. 

Emily Sou M.D.

About Dr. Emily Sou

Emily Sou, DO is a Florida-based, board certified general pediatrician. She received her bachelor of science in biology with special honors at The George Washington University, in Washington D.C. and went on to complete her medical training at the New York Institute of Technology. She completed a pediatric residency at Maimonides Infants and Children's Hospital of Brooklyn in New York City. Dr. Sou is committed to providing her young patients with the care and attention they need, from infancy to the teenage and young adult years. Her philosophy of care is grounded in compassion and understanding, which provides the ideal environment for health and healing. She has a holistic, patient-focused approach to her practice with special interests in childhood obesity and nutrition.

September 07, 2022
HCA Florida St Lucie Hospital

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