Have you though about sun protection for babies? As a busy mum, you’re constantly thinking about all the things your little one wants and needs to be happy and healthy.
But baby sun protection is one of the very important safety items that sometimes slip from parents’ minds, and it's part of your baby skin care. If you don’t already know how important it is, or are unsure of how to protect baby from sun, keep reading to learn everything you need to know on the topic!
Why you need sun protection for babies
Before we dive into how to protect baby from sun, we at CaptainMums need to stress the importance of sun safety for your little ones. You already know that sunburns can be extremely painful, and no one wants to watch their children suffer. But the health risks are much more serious than that. The Skin Cancer Foundation says that children who have 5 or more sunburns before age 18 are 80% more likely to get melanoma, which is the deadliest type of skin cancer, than those who don’t. Also, over half of all 2 year olds will have a sunburn (or in some cases, get a tan) during the year. Babies and young children don’t have as much melanin in their skin as adults; this is the substance in our bodies that provides natural protection from UV rays, so they are at much higher risk of health issues because of sun exposure.
Sun protection for babies: When is it necessary?
One of the most common misconceptions about baby sun protection (and adult sun protection, for that matter!) is that you really only need to pay close attention to the matter when it is hot and sunny outside. Don’t fall into this dangerous error! The reality is that cloudy, cool days are just as dangerous for sun exposure as hot, sunny ones. So make sure to keep your little guy safe every time he will be in direct sunlight. It’s something you should think about every day, even in the winter.
It’s also important to remember that the best baby sun protection practices will change a little as your munchkin grows older. For example, babies under 6 months have extremely delicate skin with very little melanin, so they shouldn’t be exposed to direct sunlight at all. You also can’t use sunscreen yet—not until after 6 months old. However, by the time he’s a toddler, a good waterproof sunscreen will be your strongest defence against harmful UV rays.
Ways to protect baby – numbered, ages if necessary
Speaking of defence against UV rays, you need to know of all the best methods of sun protection for babies. Take a look at this list of easy tools and tips that you can use to keep your little ones safe:
- Avoid being outside, especially in direct sunlight between 10am and 4pm, regardless of the time of year or weather.
- In the car, use mesh window shields that are designed to protect babies from sun. You can see through them so they don’t affect your ability to drive and they are usually held in place with suction cups, so they are easy to remove.
- Use a baby buggy that has a UV blocking cover.
- Dress your baby in clothes that cover his arms and legs, even if it’s hot outside. Lightweight materials, especially cotton, usually won’t cause any overheating.
- There are also clothes that have Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF). It’s best to use 30 or higher.
- Wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses can keep your baby’s face, neck, and ears safe.
- And of course, don’t forget the baby sunscreen! You can’t use this until after he’s 6 months old, but after that it will be your best friend. Always use broad-spectrum coverage with at least SPF 15. Apply 30 minutes before exposure to sun and reapply every 2 hours or every time your baby gets wet or sweaty.
Now that you have learned everything you need to know about sun protection for babies, you have one more tool in your mummy tool belt! Just remember to put these practices into use everyday—not just in the summer or when you plan on being out all day! You’ll keep your little ones safe while they’re young and you’ll inspire the knowledge and good habits in them that will help them take care of themselves when they are adults, too. While you’re at it, why not try setting a good example by protecting yourself from the sun as well as you do for your little ones?