For parents of young children, it can be hard to know what the best practices are for protecting your baby or toddler from the sun. So there are the do’s and don’ts of sunscreen for babies and kids to help you.
The good news is that these days there are many options available! The bad news is that there are a lot of myths and misinformation out there about how to use sunscreen on babies and kids.
In this blog post, we will discuss The Do’s and Don’ts of Sunscreen for Babies, and Kids can make educated decisions about how to protect their little ones as they grow up in our increasingly sunny world.
Tiny Babies, Big Risk
In their first few months, babies are much more sensitive to sun exposure than adults and older children. Their skin contains little melanin, the pigment that gives color to skin, hair, and eyes and provides some sun protection.
You may be tempted to reach for the sunscreen, but The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends waiting until the babies or kids are 6 months old before introducing sunscreen. The best way to keep infants sun safe area to shade and clothing.
Clothing is the first line of defense against skin cancer, and dressing babies in lightweight clothing that covers their arms and legs are a great first sun protection step.
Then add on a wide-brimmed hat that covers the baby’s face, neck, and ears — putting a child in a hat during their first few months will help them get used to having one on.
(Bonus: they’ll look super cute!) When you’re on the move, use a stroller with a sun-protective cover and do your best to schedule walks before 10 AM and after 4 PM, avoiding the strong midday sun.
While traveling in the car, try a removable mesh window shield to block sunlight from reaching your little one. Yes, some damaging rays penetrate glass. The next best thing is to choose a shady spot in the car for longer trips.
No matter what, never allow a baby to get a sunburn. In infants, sunburns can be a medical emergency, with the potential to cause fever, dehydration, blisters, and chills.
Time to use Sunscreen for babies and kids
Once your baby is 6 months old, it’s time to introduce sunscreen. This doesn’t mean it’s OK to forget all the other sun protection methods you’ve been using with your baby — covering up with clothing and seeking shade are still important.
But as your babies or kids gets older and you spend more time outdoors, sunscreen will help protect exposed skin, like the hands and face. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen (meaning it protects against UVA and UVB rays) with an SPF of 30 or higher.
Look for sunscreens with zinc oxide and titanium oxide. These ingredients don’t need to be absorbed into the skin to work, so they’re less likely to cause a reaction on sensitive skin.
Just in case, though, it’s best to test a new sunscreen before applying thoroughly. Apply a little sunscreen on the inside of your baby’s wrist and watch for signs of irritation, which may take as long as several days to develop.
Once children begin crawling and walking, they can be difficult to catch, let alone held onto long enough to apply sunscreen. Getting a little creative with the formulation of the sunscreen you use can help, so try out lotions, sticks, and sprays to see what works for your child.
Stick sunscreens earn points because toddlers are less likely to rub the product in their eyes, and sprays can be convenient for quick application — just be sure to apply in a ventilated space, and don’t spray the product directly onto a child’s face.
Healthy Lifetime Habits to using sunscreen for babies and kids
Though preventing painful sunburns is the most immediate benefit of keeping kids sun-safe, instilling habits like sunscreen application and wearing hats will have benefits that long outlast a child’s early years.
When kids grow up practicing a sun protection routine, they’ll be more likely to continue those behaviors into adulthood, lowering their risk of every type of skin cancer and premature skin aging. So next time you consider your infant’s health needs, don’t forget about a sun protection plan!
The Do’s and Don’ts of Sunscreen for Babies and Kids The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends waiting until the baby is six months old before introducing sunscreen.
The best way to keep infants sun safe area with shade and clothing. Clothing is the first line of defense against skin cancer, and dressing babies in lightweight clothing that covers their arms and legs are a great first sun protection step.
Then add on a wide-brimmed hat that covers the baby’s face, neck, ears — putting your child in a hat during their first few months will help them get used to having one on.
When you’re on the go, use a stroller with a sun-protective cover or do your best to schedule walks before or after the sun is strong, and never allow your baby to get a sunburn. The best time for sunscreen in infants under six months old is once they start crawling and walking outside with their parents because it can be difficult to hold onto them enough to apply sunscreen.
The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using broad-spectrum (meaning it protects against UVA and UVB rays) SPF 30+ zinc oxide or titanium oxide products on children over six months of age if you are spending more than 20 minutes outdoors during peak hours.
Zinc oxide doesn’t need to be absorbed into the skin like other ingredients so there’s less chance that sensitivities will occur but do test this new product first before applying thoroughly!