There’s no reason you and your baby can’t have fun in the sun—as long as she doesn’t catch too many rays.
: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies under six months stay out of the sun altogether, wearing clothing that covers their arms and legs even in the shade.
Step 1: Get the right sunscreen Choose a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. It should be PABA-free and labeled 'broad-spectrum,' meaning it protects against UVA and UVB rays. Before applying, dab a tiny bit on your baby’s arm to make sure it doesn’t irritate her skin.
TIP: Physical blocks like zinc or titanium oxide are usually gentler than chemical blocks.
Step 2: Apply sunscreen Thirty minutes before heading outside, apply sunscreen generously over your baby’s entire body. Don’t miss her ears, nose, lips, scalp, and the bottoms of her feet. If sunscreen gets on her hands, wash them immediately so she doesn’t rub it in her eyes. End with a sunscreen lip balm.
TIP: A sunscreen stick is easier to use on a baby’s face than a lotion or spray. If you use a spray, put it on your hands before rubbing it on your child’s face.
Step 3: Pick an outfit Dress your baby in lightweight clothing that covers as much of her body as possible without making her too hot. Dark colors and fabrics with a tight weave block rays better than light-colored fabrics that you can see through.
TIP: The very best defense against the sun is sun-protection clothing or bathing suits, which has built-in SPF. You can also add sun protection to regular clothes by washing them in a special laundry additive.
Step 4: Add a hat Top your baby’s noggin with a wide-brimmed hat. Choose one that ties under the chin, and double-knot it so she won’t be able to pull it off.
Step 5: Shield her eyes Shield her eyes with a pair of shades that are just her size. Make sure they provide 100% UVA protection.
Step 6: Find a shady spot Once you’re outside, stay in the shade as much as possible. Set up an umbrella on the beach. Have your picnic under a tree.
Step 7: Reapply sunscreen Reapply your baby’s sunscreen every two hours, or after she gets wet. She might not like it, but a little wrangling now is better than a lot of wrinkling later.
FACT: Just one blistering sunburn during childhood doubles the risk of cancerous melanoma in later life.
You Will Need
Lip balm with sunscreen
A wide-brimmed hat
Baby-size sunglasses with 100 percent UVA protection