It’s Summer time, which means beautiful days to be outdoors enjoying the sunshine. But what about venturing into the hot sun with a newborn? Should you be applying sunscreen? What’s the best way to protect them?
Let’s unpack this a little more with 5 Sun Safety Tips for your Newborn Baby.
- Speak to your pediatrician before using sunscreen. The FDA doesn’t typically recommend the application of sunscreen for babies under 6 months of age because of their greater risk of sunscreen side effects, such as a rash. Infant’s skin, however, is very vulnerable to serious burns. The FDA and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggest keeping newborns and babies younger than 6 months out of direct sunlight with the best sun protection for them being to stay in the shade, whether that’s natural shade or under an umbrella, pop-up tent or stroller canopy. Talk to your pediatrician before using any sunscreen on your baby.
- Avoid the Sun between 10am and 2pm. The sun is at its strongest and the ultraviolet (UV) rays at their most intense between 10am and 2pm. If you do need to be outside in the sun during these times, take extra precautions.
- Dress Your Baby Properly: Cover Up. The AAP suggests dressing infants in lightweight clothing, such as long pants and long-sleeve shirts, preferably in tight-weave fabrics. If you hold the fabric against your hand and it’s sheer enough to see through it, it probably doesn’t offer enough protection. Babies should also wear a hat with a brim that shades the ears and neck to prevent sunburn.
- Be Aware of Dehydration. As adults, our sweat naturally cools us down when we’re hot. But younger babies don’t sweat like adults do. Their bodies haven’t fully developed that built-in heating-and-cooling system, so they can become easily overheated – and have a greater risk of becoming dehydrated. Fussiness, redness, and excessive crying are all signs of dehydration. To avoid dehydration, give your child formula or breast milk if you’re out in the sun for more than a few minutes. And remember to pack a cooler to store your liquids!
- Don’t ignore sunburn. If your baby does become sunburned, get out of the sun right away and apply cold compresses to the affected areas. Hydrate your baby and call your baby’s pediatrician right away.