Baby Sun Protection Guide: 9 Tips to Keep Your Infant Sun-Safe This Summer
The risk of sunburn is the same for everyone, but small children and babies may become unwell in sweltering temperatures. They can suffer several serious health risks, which can include heatstroke, heat exhaustion, and dehydration.
Since children are most susceptible to sun damage during childhood, baby sun protection is vital and should be taken special care of. Prolonged exposure to sunlight can result in burns, redness, prolonged heat, and excruciating pain. During extreme situations, blisters, rashes, chills, headaches, and general discomfort may result.
Why Is Sun Protection Important for Your Baby?
Baby sun protection is imperative, since its sensitive skin is prone to severe burns. Excessive sun exposure can cause sunburn, skin and eye irritation, skin cancer, and even a damaged immune system.
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises keeping babies under six months out of direct sunlight for long periods of time.
While it is ideal for minimizing exposing your newborn to the sun, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends applying a small amount of sunscreen with at least 15 SPF (sun protection factor) to small regions, such as the infant's face when required. It also suggests applying sunscreen every 2 hours.
You can shield your child from sunburn by teaching them to be sun-safe and always to use sunscreen when the UV index is 3 or higher.
Spending time outside is a popular summer vacation or spring break pastime, but remember to protect yourself from the sun's rays. While the Food and Drug Administration recommends the liberal and regular sunscreen application to older children and adults, newborns under 6 months of age require specific sun protection—not sunscreen.
Tips to Keep Your Toddler Sun Safe:
- Children under 6 months should be protected from direct sunlight. Their skin contains insufficient melanin, the pigment that gives skin the color and provides some sun protection.
- Babies should also be kept away from the sun as much as possible, especially during the summer and between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun is at its strongest. If you go out in the sunlight, use a canopy or umbrella to keep your infant out of the sun.
- Apply sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 to your baby's skin. You should also ensure that the product protects against UVA and UVB radiation. Apply sunscreen frequently, especially if your youngster goes in and out of the beach water or the paddling pool.
The application of sunscreen to infants and newborns is also not recommended. Babies under 6 months of age should not be exposed to sunscreen.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Wear a large-brimmed sun hat to protect your child's head and neck from the sun.
- Prevent dehydration in babies and children by making sure they drink enough fluids to stay hydrated. Give them plenty of fruits and fluids to prevent their body from dehydration.
- Babies under six months should be kept out of direct sunlight for too long. Place your infant in the shade of a tree, umbrella, or stroller canopy. To avoid sunburn, dress babies in lightweight clothing that covers their arms and legs and wear brimmed hats that shade the neck.
- Remember that it takes 30 minutes to become functional.
- Covering up is the primary and most significant line of prevention against damaging ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure. Do not expose your baby to the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and use a shade hat whenever possible.
- Choose clothing that is closely knit. Look for a hat with a wide brim that may shade the cheeks, chin, ears, and back of the neck. UV-protective sunglasses are also a fantastic idea for protecting your child's eyes.
- Your child's skin that isn't covered by clothing should be protected with sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. Apply with caution around the eyes, avoiding the eyelids.
- Babies and children can stay cool by playing in a paddling pool. During sweltering weather, keep the pool in the shade and keep a close eye on the children. UV radiation is different from the sun's visible light or heat.
- Avoid Peak Times: Sun exposure is at its greatest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you wish to go for a walk with your child, go before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m.
- Accessories for baby sun protection: Use shade-protecting umbrellas and strollers during the day.
- Make sure your youngster stays hydrated by carrying plenty of fluids. When you get a sunburn, fluid is drawn to your skin's surface and away from the rest of your body. Sunburned skin needs extra water to stay hydrated.
- Put on protective clothes. To avoid sun exposure, wear protective clothing instead of sunscreen. Wide-brimmed hats and lightweight long-sleeved shirts and leggings will keep the baby's delicate skin safe. Consider apparel with UV protection incorporated right into the fabric for enhanced protection.
- Apply sunscreen only to regions that cannot be easily covered or shaded, such as the hands and face. Young babies have delicate skin that absorbs sunscreen chemicals more quickly, and is easily irritated, especially by chemical sunscreens. When using sunscreen, search for and choose one with ingredients that physically blocks the sun's rays.
- Keep to the shade. Sun umbrellas, tents, and other shade forms can help you prevent sun exposure, but remember that sand, pavement, and water all reflect the sun's rays.
- Put on your sunglasses. Keep in mind that eye protection is just as important as skin protection. Wearing sunglasses that provide broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection will teach your baby that it is a natural aspect of being outside.
- Make sure that most of your child’s skin is covered with clothing. Keep your child cool by wearing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing.
- For your child's face, arms, hands, and other exposed skin, use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater that covers a broad range of spectrums.
- Sunscreen does not entirely filter out all UV rays, and should never be used as the sole means of sun protection.
- Slap on a hat. The hat should fit your child's head size, cover your child's face, back of the neck, eyes, and ears, as well as cover their ears and eyes.
- Seek shade: Whenever feasible, employ shade. Choose a shady area for your youngster to play in, such as under a tree, shade sail, or umbrella.
- Even in the shade, UV radiation can cause sunburn, so make sure you and your child use sunscreen, a hat, and proper clothing.
- If you are concerned about your child's vitamin D levels, or think they may be at risk of deficiency, speak to your primary care physician.
- Babies under 12 months should avoid direct sunlight when UV levels reach three or higher.
- Many dermatological institutes worldwide do not suggest sunscreen on newborns under six months. Infants are best protected by shade, clothing, and broad-brimmed hats, with sunscreen applied to minimal areas of skin.
- Some parents are concerned that their child's skin will react to sunscreen. Numerous sunscreens are explicitly designed for babies and toddlers that are mild on fragile skin. To ensure that your child does not have an allergic response, test the sunscreen on a small area of their skin. Apply essential sunscreen to all exposed skin at least 20 minutes before going outside.
Quick Tips That Will Help You in Case of a Sunburn:
The American Academy of Dermatology suggests that exposing your skin to too much sunlight without adequate protection from sunscreen and clothing can cause sunburn. It is critical to start treating sunburn as soon as you see it to help heal and soothe hurting skin. The first step should be to get out of the sun—preferably indoors.
Source: American Association of Dermatology
Once inside, the following dermatological tips can help ease the discomfort:
- Sunburn can occur in children in as little as 10 minutes, and depending on the severity, it might take many days or weeks to heal. The goal of treatment is to make your child feel more at ease. If you are sunburned and experiencing symptoms, get emergency medical attention.
- The skin should be cooled. Make your kid take cold baths or showers frequently to assist in reducing soreness. When you get out of the bathtub or shower, gently pat their skin dry while leaving a little water on their skin.
- Apply a moisturizer to assist the skin in retaining the water. This may help alleviate the dryness. Apply a clean cloth soaked with cool tap water to the afflicted skin. Take a cool bath with it. Add 2 ounces (60 grams) of baking soda to the tub. Cool the baby’s skin for 10 minutes multiple times per day.
- Close the blinds or curtains in your child's bedroom during the day to keep it cool.
- Limit the amount of nightwear and bedclothes your kid wears.
- If necessary, offer your child a mild pain reliever, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.
- Keep your child indoors to avoid further UV damage.
- Symptoms of severe sunburn include swelling, blisters, and extreme discomfort. Take your child to the doctor if any of these symptoms appear.
- Give your kid a pain reliever as soon as possible following overexposure to the sun. Alternatively, try a gel pain reliever that you rub on their skin. To relieve burned skin, apply a moisturizer containing aloe vera, calamine lotion, or soy. Cool the product in the refrigerator before using it.
- If your baby becomes sunburned, remove them from the sun immediately and provide a cold compress to the afflicted regions. Contact your child's pediatrician right away.
- Children might suffer from heatstroke, as well as sunburn. A fever, headache, nausea, and vomiting accompanying sunburn may require medical attention.
- Symptoms, such as increasing pain, headache, nausea, fever, vomiting, eye pain, and blisters should be immediately evaluated by a medical professional.
Take extra precautions to keep burned skin safe as it recovers. When going outside, wear apparel that covers the baby’s skin. Tightly knit materials are ideal.
As stated by the American Association of Dermatology, exposure to too much sunlight without adequate protection from sunscreen and clothing can result in sunburn. It is critical to start treating sunburn as soon as you see it to help repair, and calm hurting skin. The first step should be to get out of the sun—preferably indoors.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is it safe to apply sunscreen to my 3 month old?
There is a risk of serious burns if you apply sunscreen on your infants sensitive skin. Sunscreens should not be used on babies younger than 6 months old. Safeguard your baby from the harsh rays by taking other protective measures.
What is the best way to protect my newborn from the sun?
Don't expose your baby to direct sunlight. To keep your infant out of direct sunshine, attach a sunshade to their stroller. Always keep a shade hat or sunhat in your baby bag. Minimize going out in the sun and in case your baby is exposed to sun make sure you cover them up with sun protective clothing.
At what age can babies be exposed to direct sunlight?
Spending time outside is really beneficial to young children. Older infants and toddlers can withstand sun exposure provided they are suitably shielded. Babies should be kept out of the sun until they are six months old. Children older than six months, on the other hand, can go outdoors if they are properly guarded from sunlight.
The baby sun protection tips listed above are an excellent resource to keep your babies and toddlers safe from the sun. However, remember that you can approach your health advisor, or another health expert for guidance on any baby care concern; the advice will then be tailored to your baby's sun protection needs. You may help protect your infant from unpleasant sunburn right now by following the above suggestions.