Summer, you’re finally here! We’re so excited to spend lots of time outside, whether at the beach, laying by the pool or camping in our own backyard. Having fun in the great outdoors also means additional sun exposure, so don’t forget to pack a hat and apply sunscreen. And if you have a baby at home, read on for some important facts on the effect of the sun’s rays on your little one and what you can do about it.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you can apply a MINIMAL amount of sunscreen (at least 15 SPF) to babies 6 months and younger, to small areas like the infant’s face, the back of their hands and the tops of their tiny feet. When outdoors, babies should be dressed in lightweight clothes (long pants & long-sleeved shirts) and be wearing a brimmed hat. If an infant does get a sunburn, apply cool compresses to the area affected.
To babies over 6 months old, staying in the shade as much as possible is preferred, as well as limiting sun exposure during peak hours (between 10am-4pm). Apply sunscreen liberally every two hours (even the waterproof kind).
We love these suggestions from What to Expect:
If your child has sensitive skin, test out the sunscreen first by applying a small amount on a patch of your baby’s skin for 48 hours to check for irritation.
Applying sunscreen 30 minutes before you go outside guarantees that your child’s skin will be protected from the first moment he/she exits the door.
If you have a fast-moving toddler (aren’t they all?), wait until they’re calm before trying to apply sunscreen. You don’t want to accidentally dab it in their eyes!
While you’re at it, why not apply sunscreen all year long? We could all use a reminder that clouds don’t block SVU rays, they just filter them.
The Environmental Working Group has released a “Guide to Sunscreens” that looks at the best and worst sunscreens for children (amongst other age groups) with an eye to effectiveness and environmental standards. We were relieved to see some of our favorites made the list! Ultimately, using good judgment by keeping baby out of the sun during peak hours and slathering on sunscreen will keep your little one from developing painful sunburns, and most importantly, prevent future health issues down the road.
Here’s to covering up and having fun!