Summer is upon us, and with it, all of the fun outdoor activities that come with warmer weather. Help keep your baby safe in the sun by following our five tips for baby sun safety.
1. Keep babies six months and younger out of the sun.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that infants avoid sun exposure, and are dressed in, "lightweight long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and brimmed hats that shade the neck." Because your infant's skin is very delicate, it is more susceptible to sunburn, so keep her shaded as much as possible. The AAP suggests using a minimal amount of SPF 15 when adequate clothing and shade are not accessible; though please consult with your doctor before doing so.
2. For babies 6 months and older, use a broad spectrum sunscreen with zinc oxide whenever you're outside.
This applies to both sunny and overcast days. Make sure to use a sunscreen that combats both UVA and UVB rays, and has a power of at least SPF 15. It's also a good idea to double-check to make sure that your selected sunscreen contains zinc oxide, as this is one of the most effective compounds in protecting against the sun's harmful rays. The AAP advises using one ounce of sunscreen per application for a young adult. Remember to reapply sunscreen every two hours, and after swimming or sweating.
3. Try to avoid the sun during its peak intensity hours.
The call to avoid the sun during its peak intensity hours (from 10 am - 4 pm) is an admonition that comes directly from the AAP. One of the best defenses against the harmful ultraviolet radiation that can cause sunburns (and worse) is avoiding the sun during this window. If you do find yourself outside during this time period, please make sure your child is appropriately protected with sunscreen and is shaded from direct sunlight.
4. Use rash guards and hats to further protect your child from sunburn.
Another way to protect your baby from the sun is to put her in a rash guard that has a broad spectrum SPF 50+ fabric, and a brimmed hat that also contains sun protection. These SPF 50+ sun suits are another great option for your baby, as they are designed to be swimwear but also keep all of baby's skin protected.
5. Stay hydrated.
Staying hydrated while out in the sun is vitally important. If you're breastfeeding, your own hydration becomes even more important as you are your child's primary supply of fluids. However, whether you breastfeed or bottle-feed, you'll most likely need to feed your baby at more frequent intervals when outside in hot weather.