Baby Sun Care Guidelines

The best way to protect your baby is to keep your baby out of direct sunlight as much as possible, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest. Routinely dress him in a hat, lightweight pants, and a long-sleeved shirt for outings during the middle of the day. Tightly woven clothing protects better than loosely woven fabrics (to see how tight the weave is, hold the fabric up to a light - the less light that shines through, the better). Add UV-protective sunglasses if your baby will wear them. Use an umbrella, stroller canopy, or sun-protective tent to protect your baby while he’s outside.

You can use sunscreen on babies under 6 months if adequate clothing and shade aren’t available, but check with your pediatrician first. If you use organic sunblock you can avoid chemical interaction altogether. That doesn’t mean you should slather your baby in sunblock, though. Just apply a small amount of lotion to exposed areas.

For babies over 6 months, use a waterproof sunscreen designed for children. Choose a sunscreen labeled “broad spectrum,” which means it protects against both ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet A (UVA) rays. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide sunscreens are good to use on particularly sensitive spots, such as the nose and lips.

Specialists of Dermatology recommend an SPF of at least 15, but many experts recommend SPF 30 or higher for babies, and many baby sunscreen formulas have even higher SPFs. If possible, apply sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure and reapply it at least every two hours, especially if your baby has been playing in the water or has been sweating (even if the sunscreen is waterproof).

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