Whether you’re headed to the pool or just playing in the backyard, you should always be considering your child’s sun safety when spending time outside this summer. Here are a few of the best ways to keep your little one safe and healthy when outside, including whether you should use sunscreen for babies.
Choosing an outfit isn’t just about making a fashion statement; it can also protect your skin from sunburn. Long sleeves and a hat may not be enough defense for young children. There are from specially woven fabrics available that protect against ultraviolet light. These are a great option, and can be used to make hats, swimsuits, and shirts. Look for items that contain an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 50, and be sure to check the labels carefully for washing instructions—the protective elements can be damaged if not handled properly.
Don’t forget about eye protection. Encourage your kids to wear sunglasses (stylish ones they’ll enjoy wearing) when you’re all out catching some rays. Starting this habit at an early age can make sunglasses feel more natural to your child as he grows. If shades aren’t an option, opt for a hat with a wide brim and similar UPF protection.
Living just a few blocks from the beach, my family spends most of the summer in the sun. While on the sand, we always pack our beach umbrella to keep cool and in the shade. If you plan to spend a lengthy amount of time in direct sunlight, make sure you can create your own shade. Umbrellas aren’t the only way to do it: tents of all sizes give you the same relief, and may even be preferable for parents with infants that need a fully enclosed area of protection.
Remember that sunburn travels with you, so consider portable protection when you’re on the move. Though most strollers are equipped with a sunshade, it may not be enough to fully cover your baby from the sun. If you expect to spend a long day walking at an amusement park or on the boardwalk, you may want to add an extendable UV shade that can adjust to the direction of the sun.
When deciding on the best sunscreen for kids, be sure to consult with your pediatrician, and remember that the FDA recommends not using sunscreen for babies under six months old. Like anything you put on or in your body, label-reading is key to making sure you aren’t exposing your children to harmful chemicals. According to CNN Health, you should avoid products with retinyl palminate. You may want to try Tom’s of Maine baby sunscreen with only five ingredients.
It can be tempting to use spray sunscreens on squirmy kids—but a lotion is best, as you tend to miss spots using a spray. No matter what you choose, don’t forget to reapply after activities that can wash it off. This can be a sweaty game of tag, or after time spent splashing in the waves at the beach.
No matter how many precautions you take, it’s always important to watch your little ones for signs that they have had too much fun in the sun.
What types of sun protection do you use for your kids? Share your favorites in the comments.
Image source: Flickr