Protecting Your Baby from the Sun
Summers in North Carolina can be brutal with the relentless sun and oppressive heat. With hotter weather being a constant throughout this Spring, many parents are already asking about what type of sun protection is recommended for babies. Read on for some of our top recommendations on how to keep babies and young children safe from the sun this summer…
It is generally recommended that sunblock not be used on babies under 6 months of age; rather, they should be kept out of direct exposure to sunlight. For babies over 6 months, sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher is recommended. Some favorite kid-friendly and gentle ingredient brands include Badger, Babyganics, and Blue Lizard. Make sure to apply 30 minutes before exposure to sun and that the most sensitive areas haven’t been missed (such as the face, neck and shoulders).
Hats can be one of the most effective methods of protecting the face and scalp. Several children’s hats come in UV resistant and light breathable fabrics. If you plan to spend a lot of time at the pool or beach, invest in children’s water hats that have a wide brim and ties under the chin.
UV bathing suits
Skip the cute baby tankinis and go for the baby UV resistant zip up light body suits or two-piece rash guard swimsuits that provide the most coverage over the arms and legs. These fabrics are lightweight and dry quickly to keep your little ones comfortable while also protected in the sun.
There are several types of sunshades to consider, depending on the activities this summer. Amazon and local stores (such as Walmart, Target and Academy Sports) can have great deals on beach umbrellas and sunshade pop-up tents. The pop-up tents are a favorite for many small children and have a barrier from the sandy or grassy ground to keep baby clean. (Tip: These are great for indoor playing on rainy days for toddlers too!).
When selecting your stroller during pregnancy, consider choosing one with a large umbrella that not only covers your baby’s head but also most of the body area too. If you plan to take a family stroll while wearing baby in a baby carrier, many carriers come with a hood that attaches to the carrier itself. Although this can be great for rainy or windy days to protect baby’s face, this may be too hot to use on sweltering summer days. Think about having a hat on baby while in the carrier or bring an umbrella with you to block the sun instead.
Be careful with covers or canopies marketed to use over car seats or strollers as shade protectors. Although these technically can create shade from the sun, even some of the lightest fabrics will quickly trap heat and can dangerously elevate the temperature for baby. Always allow plenty of unrestricted airflow to ensure baby is well ventilated on hot days.
Window shades for the car
If your vehicle doesn’t come with built-in sunshades or UV protective window tint, consider adding window car sunshades to your registry now or investing in one that can be placed on the window next to baby’s car seat. The two most popular types of window shades are the suction on roller shade or the plastic cling shade. Both types are easily found online and they come in standard or extra-large sizes for wider windows.
Get ready for a fun and safe summer!
(More information may be found at: Sun Safety and Protection Tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics)