The weather is warm, and the pool is open. You're ready to spend your first summer with your baby. Giving babies fresh air and new places to play are essential for their development, but the sun can be especially dangerous for their skin. Make sure you are prepared for taking your baby out in the sun this summer.

 

Sunscreen

The FDA recommends not using sunscreen on babies younger than six months. Their skin is not as mature, and they are more likely to experience side effects from the chemicals in sunscreen. For older babies, apply a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 50. It is better to use a lotion than a spray because it is easy to accidentally spray sunscreen into a baby's eyes or for the baby to inhale the spray. There are rarely differences between children's and adult's sunscreen products, so you do not need to select a children's sunscreen specifically.

 

When buying sunscreen, look for a mineral product made with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Mineral products stay on top of the skin, blocking the sun's rays immediately after you apply it. Sunscreens based on other chemicals must be absorbed into the skin before they start working. If you use one of these products, make sure you apply it 15-30 minutes before taking your baby outside. You may also want to test these products out on a small portion of your child's skin to ensure they will not cause a reaction or rash. 

 

Every child needs sunscreen, no matter how dark his or her skin is. All skin types are susceptible to sun damage. Continue to reapply sunscreen every two hours, or every hour if you are swimming.

Other Sun Tips

If you have a baby younger than six months, you will need to find different ways to take precautions in the sun. These tips are also useful for older babies to help them stay relaxed and comfortable.

 

1. Find a cute bucket hat. Bucket hats are lightweight, keep the sun out of the baby's eyes, and shield the baby's face from the sun. These are especially helpful for babies who have no hair, as it keeps their whole head protected.

 

2. Find some shade. You can enjoy the park or other outdoor venues by sitting under a tree or in a sheltered area. If these are not available, bring an umbrella. You can also buy a baby tent for your baby to sit or lay in while you are out in the sun.

 

3. Get a covered stroller. Many strollers and car seat travel systems come with a sun shade on them, helping keep your baby cool and protected. You should never cover your stroller with a blanket to block the sun. Blankets can cause your baby not to get enough air or become overheated, so consider a lightweight sheet.

 

4. Avoid going outside in the middle of the day. The sun is hottest and most active from late morning until around 3 p.m. Plan to enjoy the fresh air early in the morning or later in the afternoon.

 

Using these tips, you can safely enjoy summer with your baby. Stay cool!

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