Summer = sunshine and while we love the feeling of warmth on our skin, the sun can be very dangerous, especially to babies and toddlers.
Not only is there a risk of sunburn, as baby’s skin is thinner and more sensitive to the sun, there’s also a much more immediate danger of dehydration and heat stroke.
With that in mind it’s essential to follow a few key steps to keep your baby safe in the sun.
- Newborns and babies younger than 6 months old should never be in direct sunlight.
- Keep your baby in the shade as much as possible when outdoors. Use the pram sun shield or sit them under a tree, umbrella or pop-up tent.
- Always limit time in the sun for children of all ages.
- Avoid being outdoors between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when the sun is at its’ strongest.
- Don’t let babies get overheated. Get them out of the sun immediately if they show any signs of sunburn or dehydration, including fussiness, redness, and excessive crying.
- If your baby’s skin does get red or burned, move to the shade right away and apply a cold compress to the pink patches as soon as you can.
- Dress your baby in clothing that is not see-through and choose protective swimwear that blocks out UV rays.
- Cover up with a wide-brimmed hat – make sure the hat fits and is comfortable.
- Make sure your baby stays hydrated with breastmilk or formula and encourage toddlers to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
- Never use sunscreen on babies under 6 months old, rather use other forms of sun protection.
- Always apply sunscreen generously on babies and toddlers over 6 months old every time they are outside. Remember, clouds don’t block UV rays, they just filter them.
- Apply a sun cream of at SPF30 – SPF50 on all areas of exposed skin 15 – 30 mins before exposure to the sun.
- Reapply sunscreen every two hours, more often if your child is in and out of water.
- Be extra cautious when applying sunscreen to the face to avoid getting it in eyes. Wait until your baby is calm or distract with a toy before applying sunscreen.
- If sunscreen gets in your baby’s eyes, wipe them gently along with a clean, damp cloth.
- To avoid irritating your baby’s skin and eyes, use a sunscreen created for babies and children that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These hypoallergenic ingredients sit on top of the skin rather than being absorbed by it like chemical sunscreens.