How to Keep Your Baby Safe in the Sun

Misbah Akhtar

The phrase ‘as soft as a baby’s bum’ didn’t come out of anywhere! It’s no secret that a baby’s skin is one of the softest and most fragile of skin types, and that extra caution must be exercised to keep it safe. The sun is the number one culprit in many of these cases. While they are joyfully playing and giggling, you may not even realise that the sun is leading to reddening and burns. So, it’s much better to be safe than sorry! Here are some top tips on how to keep your baby safe in the sun.

Don’t Put Them in the Sun at All!

If your baby is between 0-6 months, it is recommended to not put your baby in direct sunlight at all. Their skin is hypersensitive, to the degree that not even the highest of sunscreens can be guaranteed to do an adequate job of protecting them completely. In fact, most paediatricians do not recommend using sun cream on newborns at all. Instead, you should aim to stay out of the sun altogether, especially between the hours of 10 am – 3 pm.

However, that does not mean that you have to be stuck indoors through the summer! Just be sure to place them in a shaded area. In your garden, you could invest in a canopy or a shade sail. At the beach, remember to bring a wide-span umbrella. If you are doing a lot of walking or exercise outside, then make sure their pram comes with an optional covering.

Sun Cream! Sun Cream! Sun Cream!

Of course, we all knew this one was coming! A fabulous source of health and protection, sun cream is the number one agent in fighting against sunburns. After your child reaches the six-month threshold, they will most likely be starting to wiggle and crawl about, and it can be hard trying to contain them beneath a small shaded area. So, the best choice for any parent is to generously and regularly apply sun cream on them.

There are many options to choose from in today’s market. For strong protection, choose SPF 30 – 50. For UVA protection, it should be rated 4 stars to be advisable for babies. Waterproofing capabilities are also a big bonus too. For active ingredients, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are considered to be very good, as these ingredients create a natural mineral layer of protection over the skin, instead of relying on chemicals and absorption.

Clothing and Accessories

Baby and toddler fashions are one of the biggest growing markets today, and there is more choice than ever before for cute outfits which also protect from the sun! While it might be irresistible to put them in little frilly dresses or cute shorts, it is actually advised by many health organisations to keep toddlers arms and legs covered up.

To protect their face, try a wide-brimmed hat, a cap, or even a headscarf for a particularly stylish look! There are also specially made sunglasses for very young children too, in order to protect their eyes from particularly sharp bright sunlight.

What to Do if Your Baby Does Get Sunburnt

Research has shown that it only takes one sunburn during childhood or adolescence for the chances of developing melanoma later in life to increase significantly. In the short term, sunburns for babies can result in redness, blistering, and pain that can be very distressing for the child.

If your baby does get sunburnt, it is advisable to call a paediatrician as soon as possible for a check-up. Children can get overheated very easily, so keep them cool and hydrated. Remember, a sunburn can sometimes take between two and four hours to show up and can take between 12 – 14 hours to peak. This is why prevention is so important, as you may not even realise your baby is getting burnt if you get momentarily distracted.

In order to keep your baby’s skin ‘as smooth as a babys bottom’, it is always best to adhere to that old adage that ‘prevention is better than cure’. Keep your newborn baby sheltered beneath shade as much as possible. For six months and older, invest in a good quality sun cream and provide an optional shaded area for them to take breaks in. Keep their clothing practical with good coverage over most skin areas. It is a parent’s worst nightmare for their baby to be in pain, so take charge, prepare, and stay safe. And most importantly, don’t forget to have fun in the sun too!

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