Babies and the Sun – Take Extra Care!

Have safe fun in the sun!
Have safe fun in the sun!

It’s so important to take even more care with a baby in the sun than yourself clearly. Their skin is just so new and delicate.

With the weather predicted to be amazing this weekend I’ve been doing some research around how to look after N in the sun and thought I’d share it with you.

Why Take Care

In the immediacy the obvious reason to take care is that a lack of care could result in their skin being burned. This can cause your baby pain which of course we want to avoid!

In the longer term you’ll be very aware of the link between the sun, getting a tan (or burning) and skin cancer. Anything we can do now to help the baby can surely only help with this in the long run, right?

How Can Parents Help?

Well, there are a number of things we can do as parents to help protect our babies but also ensure they can have fun outside.

  • Play in the shade. The sun is at its strongest between about 11am and 3pm so best to avoid this time if possible with young babies. Try finding trees, an umbrella or maybe a sun tent. If they want to crawl off the best thing is just encourage them to play in the shade
  • According to SkinCancer.org babies under the age of six months should avoid the sun as their skin is too sensitive for sunscreen. After six months you can start using appropriate suncream (see section below)
  • Sunglasses. “Sunglasses on a baby, don’t be ridiculous!” I hear you cry. Actually, not ridiculous in reality. You can get some good quality sunglasses that are wrap around ones to stay on their head. Just do your research and check for the UV label (should be 400) and that they meet the British Standard (BSEN 1836:2005)
  • Invest in a sunscreen for in the car. This has a double benefit of shielding their eyes (N cries a lot when he gets sun in his eyes!) and, if you get the right screen they can provide UV protection
  • Buy a stroller/pram with UV protection cover, or attach an umbrella
  • Cover your baby in light materials which won’t make them too warm but will protect them. Babies can’t regulate their own temperature at an early age so be careful of covering them with thick warm material in the sun
  • Buy them a hat or two. Ideally the shade from the hat should cover their head entirely to give them good protection

Suncream

Get the right suncream!
Get the right suncream!

When it comes to suncream it’s important to get the right kind and do the right thing when you have it.

Based on my research, including at Baby Centre, getting a suncream with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 is best. Also a good sign of an appropriate suncream is that it is a broad spectrum band usage (so is effective against UVA and UVB), and gets a good number of stars for the rating. If you’re like me I’d just stick at 5 stars.

When applying you’ll have to put loads on, and try to put it on 15 minutes before you go out. It’s better to put too much on than not enough!

It’s also best to reapply after going in the water even if it says it’s waterproof – best to be over cautious.

Have Fun

So there are some tips from my research for you on how to have some safe fun in the sun. Now take your precautions and get out there!

But before you go…do you have any other tips you’re happy to share?

Do you know anyone who might find this useful? Feel free to share…

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