How to Protect Baby from the Sun

How to Protect Baby from the Sun

July 05, 2019

If the weather where you are is anything like it is down here in Austin, Texas, it’s HOT. The high temperatures of summer in this area last for several months. This makes it all the more important to protect yourself from the sun’s strong rays. Babies, whose new skin is more sensitive than the rest, are especially vulnerable to damage from the sun. But what sunscreen is healthy to use on babies? And what are the best practices for protecting the skin of our littlest loves? Read on for all the details you need to know to keep your baby’s skin safe when the risk is highest.

Can I Put Sunscreen on My Baby?

If your baby is under 6 months of age, the use of sunscreen is not recommended. For these tiny babies, it’s important to minimize direct sun exposure. Keep infants in the shade whenever possible and dress them in clothing that covers their skin (preferably clothing that contains UVA, UVB, or UPF protection). Your baby should also wear a lightweight, broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses to maximize sun protection. 

If your little one does need to wear sunblock, apply a minimal amount. When used for the first time, you’ll want to test it out ahead of time on just a small patch of skin to make sure they don’t have an allergic reaction before covering their exposed skin with it.

The Safest Sunscreen for Babies

When choosing a sunscreen for your little one, there are a few things to look out for. You’ll want to look for a mineral sunscreen (as opposed to a synthetic sunscreen) to put on your baby. Synthetic sunscreens contain non-natural, chemical ingredients that can cause health problems while mineral sunscreens use minerals as their active ingredients. Baby sunscreen ingredients should include zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which are found in mineral sunscreens. These ingredients sit on top of the skin rather than being absorbed by it, meaning they’ll protect your baby’s skin and eyes from becoming irritated.

The SPF of your newborn sun protection should be at least 30 and up to 50 (beyond 50 has been shown to not have an effect). You’ll also want to choose a broad-spectrum sunblock for protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

General Sunny-Day Tips for Baby

The sun’s rays are strongest between 10am and 4pm, so it’s best to avoid direct sun exposure during that time frame. When you are outside, keep your baby covered with protective clothing (i.e., clothing that you can’t see through), but beware of overheating. Avoid draping a blanket over baby strollers to provide shade, as this can lead to overheating and suffocation. Instead, use the shade provided on your stroller or attach an umbrella to the side. When you do apply sunscreen to baby, don’t forget to cover that sensitive skin around their eyes.

As us parents know all too well, our littlest ones can’t tell us what’s wrong so we have to be aware of their needs all the time — and being outside in the heat is even more reason to be extra vigilant. Signs of dehydration include excessive crying, redness, and fussiness.

While lounging in the sun can be one of life’s joys, it can also be dangerous — and for babies, it’s never a good idea. Following these tips will keep your little one healthy and free of skin damage. Do you have any other advice on sun protection for babies? Feel free to share in the comments below!

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