Sun Protection

Summer is the time for beach trips, splash parks and backyard play. The summer heat, however, presents added challenges for babies. Our sweat naturally cools us down, but babies have not developed the ability to sweat like children and adults. Babies can easily become overheated and have a higher risk of dehydration. When outside with babies, it is important to take greater precautions.

Below are some safety tips to protect your baby from the sun.

  1. Avoid the sun when its rays are the strongest, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. If you do go outside during those time, seek the shade and take extra precautions.
  2. Use an umbrella or stroller canopy whenever your baby is outside.
  3. Babies younger than six months should avoid sunscreen and be kept out of direct sunlight. Use mineral sunscreen on small areas of the body, such as the face, if full shade is not available.
  4. For babies 6 months of age and older, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen made for children with an SPF of at least 30 to all exposed areas of the body. Sunscreen should be applied 15 minutes before going outside and reapplied every 2 hours.
  5. Offer breastmilk or formula to keep infants hydrated. It is generally recommended to wait to offer water until a baby is 6-months old.
  6. Dress in lightweight, cool clothing that covers the body. For added protection, hats with a three-inch brim shield the face, ears and back of the neck from harmful rays.
  7. Watch for signs of sunburn or dehydration, including crying, fatigue and redness.
  8. For sensitive areas on children, including the nose, cheeks, tops of the ears and shoulders, use sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These sunscreens may stay visible after application and come in fun colors that kids may enjoy. If the sunscreen irritates the skin, talk to your healthcare professional about using a different type.

If your child is under the age of one and gets a sunburn, immediately call your baby’s healthcare professional. For older children, call your healthcare professional if there is blistering, pain or fever from a sunburn. Sunshine offers many benefits to our minds and bodies, but it is important to safely enjoy time outside and teach children to protect their bodies. Comment below advice or suggestions you have for other new parents.

For more information about sunscreen, visit the Food & Drug Administration.

Read more from the American Academy of Pediatrics on the guidelines for sunscreen in children.



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