Summer is almost upon us and it will soon be time to unwind, relax, and soak in some buttery sunshine. However, many parents are too busy fretting over how to take care of their kids in hot weather. We understand your concern!
New parents, in particular, are worried about their baby's skin and how it will respond to the change in weather. The most asked question by new parents across the world is "can my baby use sunscreen?"
Most parents are diligent about applying sunscreen to their kids when they're spending time outdoors. The terms 'skin cancer' and 'sunburn' are the primary reasons why parents rush to lather their children with sunscreen. And it's true — the sun's harmful UV rays can cause a host of skin-related problems.
But some parents might wonder whether it is necessary for babies to wear sunscreen. After all, babies have delicate skin, and sunscreen can sometimes cause irritation.
So, at what age can you put sunscreen on a baby? Should babies wear sunscreen at all? Let's find out.
Should I Put Sunscreen On My Baby?
When it comes to putting on sunscreen or not, it's necessary to look at the baby's age.
According to doctors and health care professionals, you should NOT put sunscreen on a baby that is under the age of six months. Their skin is just too sensitive to be able to handle the ingredients in sunscreens and will most likely break out in rashes due to them.
Additionally, there has not been enough research regarding the use of sunscreen in very small babies, which is why its use is not recommended.
In short, newborns and infants younger than six months DO NOT need sunscreen.
So, how will you protect babies from the sun if you can't use sunscreen on them? We'll explain.
Protecting Your Newborn from the Sun
Newborns and babies under six months should be kept out of direct sunlight as much as possible.
If they have to go out for whatever reason and encounter the sun's rays, physical barriers like shady trees, umbrellas, or strollers with canopies are the best way to achieve sun protection.
The right kind of clothing is also an important and effective way to protect your baby's delicate skin from the sun. Use soft, lightweight clothing made of cotton that covers your baby's torso, arms, and legs properly and shields them from the sun's bright rays. Think long sleeves and pants!
A wide-brimmed hat is also a good way to protect your baby's face, neck, and ears.
To sum it up, loose but well-fitting clothing that covers the body combined with physical shields (like shade) is your best bet when it comes to sun protection for babies.
If you're going for a walk, keep your baby in the shade. If you're travelling in a car with your baby, use a window shield to block out the sunlight. Yes, it's not just direct sun that can cause problems! Sunlight that comes in through windows and screens can also lead to skin damage.
It's best to avoid taking your baby out between 10 am and 4 pm — it is between these hours that the sun's rays are brightest and harshest.
It is important to practice sun safety and avoid sun exposure every day if you have a little one to take care of.
What Kind of Sunscreen Should I Choose for My Baby?
For babies over six months, sunscreen is considered safe and can be used as needed. However, before making a purchase, speak to your baby's paediatrician or dermatologist about the use of sunscreen.
Be sure to choose a broad-spectrum (which will shield your baby from both UVA rays and UVB rays), water resistant sunscreen that's specially formulated for older babies and toddlers, with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 30 or higher.
Additionally, make sure the kid-friendly sunblock is free of chemicals and is comprised of titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which are two naturally occurring minerals that act as physical blockers.
Apply the baby sunscreen generously to the exposed skin of your little one's body. And yes, you can (and should!) apply sun scream to your child's face, neck, and ears. Just make sure you avoid the baby's eyes and mouth. Reapply sunscreen every two hours or after the baby gets wet (due to sweating or swimming).
Make it a habit to put sunscreen on your child's skin before going out — it's better to prevent sun damage than to cure it!
Also, don't forget to apply sunscreen on your own skin too. On hot days, there's always the risk of sunburn and dehydration.
Additionally, continue to follow the extra precautions pertaining to sun protection that we previously recommended for babies under the age of six months.
Even if you have an older baby or a toddler, it's always a good idea to use a hat, umbrella, and full body-covering clothes to protect the children's skin. There's no harm in going the extra mile to prevent sunburn.
Beware and Be Aware of Sunburns
Sunburns are a serious matter and can cause long-term damage to the skin, so they should be avoided at all costs.
Babies and small children have sensitive skin with lesser amounts of melanin that is prone to sun damage, dehydration, and rashes.
Mild sunburns and heat rashes can be dealt with at home, but anything a bit more serious needs to be handled by a doctor.
To soothe the pain and discomfort of a mild sunburn, give your baby a cool (not cold!) bath. You can also use a damp cloth to soothe the characteristic red patches caused by a sunburn. If you have to use soap, choose a mild one.
Afterwards, dress your baby in loose cotton clothes; you can even keep them unclothed for a while. Also, don't forget to moisturize your baby's skin! You can use a fragrance-free baby lotion or go for natural remedies like aloe vera and coconut oil to hydrate and soothe your little one's irritated skin.
If the sunburn is severe, blistering, or painful, call your doctor. If your baby has a fever, seems extremely unwell, is crying excessively, and/or is vomiting, rush them to a hospital because these could be the symptoms of dehydration or a heat stroke.
Keep Your Baby's Skin Nourished with Nature's Baby Organics
Although sunscreen is a must to prevent sun damage, it's not enough on its own to keep your baby's skin healthy and hydrated — you also need to nourish your little one's skin with the right products. So, look for baby skincare items that are natural, organic, and free of harmful chemicals!
At Nature's Baby Organics, we have a range of plant-derived, minimally processed baby care products that are specially formulated for the delicate skin of little ones.
USDA Certified Organic, our cruelty-free products do not contain harsh chemicals and derive their efficacy from natural ingredients such as aloe vera, coconut oil, lavender oil, jojoba oil, calendula extract, and tamanu oil.
Head over to the Nature's Baby Organics website to check out our products and allow your baby's skin and hair to experience the power of natural goodness!