Sun protection is not just for the summer months. Even though the days are shorter and cooler, the risk of sunburn and sun damage is still present. Children and adults should wear sunscreen before heading outdoors, year-round. Even when it’s cloudy, UVA and UVB rays can penetrate the clouds and damage skin. However, for infants under the age of 6 months, the risk of sunburn is great, but sunscreen is not recommended.
Infant skin is less pigmented than older children and adults, making them more susceptible to sunburns. Infants also have thinner more delicate skin, that more easily allows absorption of harmful chemicals found in sunscreen. This increases the risk of allergic reaction and inflammation. Ideally, infants should stay out of the sun altogether. While ideal, it is near impossible, but there are a number of things you can do to protect your baby:
- Wear a Hat – A wide brimmed hat is best. Make sure the neck and ears are covered.
- Long Clothing – Cover their skin with long sleeves, long pants and socks. In the summer months, use cool, lightweight clothing. Choose a long-sleeve rash guard when taking baby for a swim.
- Use a Cover – The Blushing Baby Multiuse Cover can be placed over their car seat, providing protection from the sun. This a great when walking with baby in the car seat from point A to B. If your baby is napping outside in the car seat with the cover, check-in every few minutes and ensure the temperature remains comfortable. Never leave your baby unattended.
- Sunglasses – If your baby will tolerate sunglasses, the offer great protection for their little eyes. Look for sunglasses that offer SPF 50 protection or higher.
- Limit Exposure – The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 am and 4 pm. Plan your outings accordingly. Aim for early morning or late afternoon outings.
- Sunscreen for Older Babies – Apply a broad spectrum sunscreen made for babies liberally. Ensure all exposed areas are covered, and reapply every few hours.
- Aloe – In the event that your baby does get a sunburn, apply a cool compress and soothing aloe as needed.
As always, the best sun protection you can provide for your little one is no sun at all. When life’s adventures call, follow the steps outlined above and be sure to keep your baby covered year-round. Sunburn can happen at any time of the year, especially in babies.