It's never too early to think about UV protection, and as parents, we should do everything we can to protect our baby's brand new skin from the harsh rays of the sun. A baby's skin is very sensitive and it's still developing making it especially susceptible to sunburns and other problems that arise because of high exposure to UV rays. It can be hard to know what you can exactly use, or do, to protect your baby.
For years studies have shown that sunburns and exposure to the sun leads to a higher risk of developing skin cancer later in life. The scary thing is that sunburns received in childhood are especially harmful (more harmful than in adulthood) and this is what really increases the risk of skin cancer as an adult. Here are a few quick and easy sun protection tips for babies.
Infants six months and younger should be kept out of the sun as much as possible. They're too young to use any sunscreen for protection so hats, shade, and light long sleeves and pants will be your best friend. Dress them in pale-colored, loose, skin covering clothing for the best protection. Keep in mind that because a baby's skin is so sensitive to the sun, they are also sensitive to the chemicals found in sunscreen so it isn't good to apply the lotion until baby is old enough.
PREVIOUSLY: SOME FRUITS SHOULD BE AVOIDED DURING PREGNANCY
Once a baby reaches six months, you can start using a lotion sunscreen on them but you need to check the ingredients first. Use at least an SPF of 30 and look for the main ingredient to be zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Look for physical barrier sunscreens and not chemical sunscreens.
Never use a spray sunscreen on babies or young children. They may struggle with keeping their mouths closed and can find it difficult to breathe out of their nose while getting sprayed down, so they can inhale the sunscreen. And no matter what's in it, no one should be consuming it.
Swimsuits for babies and toddlers are often sunproof and many come in a set with sunproof shirts as well. There are even long sleeve options in the world of baby swimsuits too. These are perfect because you won't have to worry as much during the long days at the pool or beach when water could wash off sunscreen.
Another thing you can do is get your baby used to sun protective clothing like hats and sunglasses now. If they're used to always wearing a hat as a baby, they'll be less likely to rip it off as a two-year-old (well, in theory), although we can't make any promises!
Make sunscreen a routine part of summer and spring so your child learns that they need to wear it. Apply it early in the day and make sure to reapply as long as you're outside. Once it's a routine, it will be easier to get on and remember, and who knows, maybe your little one will start to love their daily sunscreen application!
We hope that these tips help and that your baby stays safe from the sun all summer!