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For summer babies born in the delightful months of June, July and August, parents have likely fantasize about taking their new bundle of joy to experience all the wonders of the outdoors including the park, the lake, the beach and on vacation, but a top question in parents minds is also “At What Age Can I put Sunscreen on my Baby”
When first baby was born in September (a prime beach month here in Southern California), I was shocked to discover that it is not recommended to put sunscreen on baby before the age of six months! Even more shocking not one single delivery nurse or pediatrician mentioned this to me. I found out on my own when I was researching the safest sunblocks for kids and babies.
Why Isn’t Sunscreen Safe for Babies?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, sunscreen is not safe for babies under 6 months. According to several pediatricians, infants are at greater risk to the side effects from sunscreen since they have a “higher surface-area to body-weight ratio compared to older children and adults”. That’s right, the little chubby cherubs have so much skin exposed relative to their weight that they could actually absorb chemicals at a much higher rate than say an adult who has a more even surface area to body weight ratio.
At What Age Can I Put Sunscreen on my Baby?
The FDA, Mayo Clinic and AAP all agree that you should not use sunblock on your infant until they are at least six months old.
How do I Protect My Baby from The Sun Until He/She is Old Enough to Wear Sunscreen?
Luckily there are plenty of ways to enjoy being outside while still protecting your little one from damaging sun exposure. In addition to looking for shaded areas and keeping baby in the shade, you can keep baby protected with items such as:
The Perfect Sun Hat for Baby
There are many, many hats on the market for babies, but it’s essential to find a hat that offers UPF/UVP protection. I am a tremendous fan of SwimZip hats. Both the SwimZip Kid’s Flap Hat and the SwimZip Kid’s Wide Brim Sun Hat offer UPF 50+ sun protection material and actually STAY ON! You can get 15% off on all merchandise on the site using this link and DISCOVER15.
If you need a hat more quickly, I have ordered this iPlay Sun Protection hat from Amazon several times. It also offers and does tend to stay on baby really well. It is also water resistant! The white seems to reflect the sun and keep baby cooler. (IMAGE LINK)
If you can get your baby to wear sunglasses, that will offer an additional layer of protection. There are many options with straps to help keep glasses on baby like these ones.
So, to answer your question, no you don’t have to remain quarantined in your house for the next six months (or at least most of you won’t, depending on what part of the country you live in), but do take the proper precautions.
Once your baby is old enough to wear sunscreen, check out this list of safest sunscreens according to Consumer Reports and be cautious about selecting a cute sounding brand like Babyganics.
The Best Sun Shelters and Pop Up Tents to Protect Baby from the Sun
If you are planning a trip to the beach, park or camp with your baby, it’s great idea to invest in a pop up tent with UVP/UVF protection. These tents are super lightweight and a great place for baby to nap as well. They can also protect babies from the wind blowing sand into their faces.
The highly-rated Schylling UV Play Shade offers SPF 50+ protection is one of the best. It’s super lightweight (weighs just over 2 pounds and takes three seconds to pop up! It also includes a privacy curtain for nursing, changing baby, etc.
For a cheaper alternatives, check out the NEQUARE Baby Beach Tent which also offers UPF 50+ sun protection and is small enough to roll up and fit in your beach bag.
The Best UPF/UV Protectant Swimsuits and Sun Clothes for Baby
While infant bathing suits can be suuuppper cute, they are best for times where you are guaranteed to be in the shade. Since newborns can’t wear sunblock, it’s safest for them to be covered in lightweight clothing that can help protect them from the elements. If they do wear a bathing suit – check that offers SPF protection like this line from RuffleButts. It’s always great to grab a lightweight Muslin blanket and wrap it around your baby when outside or in the sun as it can protect without adding too much heat!
Sun Safety Tips for Infants
- Keep them hydrated with formula or breastmilk when out in the sun for longer periods of time. Be sure to use a cooler to keep breastmilk or formula cool.
- Keep baby in shaded areas. Pack a small pop-up tent with SPF/UVP approved material.
- Make sure your baby is wearing protective, lightweight clothing and has a well-fitting hat that stays on well and provides sufficient shade. If your infant will keep baby sunglasses on, that adds an extra layer of protection.
- Do not use sunscreen or sunblock on an infant less than six months old.
- Be aware of the signs of overheating in newborns. These include fussiness, redness and excessive amounts of crying.
- If your baby shows any signs of overheating, sunburn or dehydration get them out of the sun immediately and apply a cold compress to any red areas.
- Map a plan out in advance. If you know where you are going take a drive by to scope out shaded areas. Check the weather in advance to determine the proper clothes you need for baby. If your baby will need to take a nap while you out and about plan accordingly with extra milk and pacifiers.
Cheers, mama. And happy summer!