Sunscreen can bring a lot of benefits to your baby if you use it the right way. It will protect their delicate skin against dangerous UV/UVB sun rays and help them enjoy their time playing outside in a safe manner. But in order to get all these benefits, you need to consider several things such as when can your baby wear sunscreen? How much sunscreen should you have them wear?
A baby’s skin is extremely sensitive and it requires extra care. Many parents make mistakes out of the desire to protect their children more than they actually have to. However, by following the guide in this article, you reduce potential risks to a minimum.
So, let’s see all the things you need to know before applying sunscreen to your baby’s soft skin!
For babies younger than 6 months old
The most delicate ones are the babies that are newborns or younger than six months old. Their skin not only requires special care but it can also be harmed quite easily since it is so sensitive. When it comes to sunscreen used at such an early age, opinions are split.
In the past years, AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) advised parents to avoid sunscreen on such young babies and use shade and adequate clothes instead. The reason for this precaution is that the baby’s skin is more prone to absorbing chemicals before they are six months old.
But in the recent years, things changed and AAP recommends parents to apply a small amount of sunscreen made for babies, with minimum 15 SPF protection. The reason for this change is also the fact that producers have come up with safer sunscreen types for younger babies. If you use a sunscreen based on zinc oxide as the main active ingredient, these are fairly safe for your little one.
The sunscreen should be chosen carefully (top 9 sunscreens) and applied only to some parts of the body such as the face, back, hands and feet. It is important to avoid sensitive areas like the intimate ones which should be protected by proper clothing.
For babies that are 6 months and older
The difference when it comes to babies older than six months is strictly about the parts of the body that can be covered with sunscreen. Unlike younger babies, after six months of age, you can apply the sunscreen on all body parts.
When your baby is six months or older, pediatricians actually recommend using sunscreen and there is no debate about it.
However, there are certain aspects to take into account. For instance, pediatricians recommend applying the sunscreen on a small patch of skin 48 hours before exposing your baby to the sun. This test is very efficient in order to see if your little one develops some irritations or allergies. If you notice such reactions after applying the sunscreen, refrain from using it again and contact your pediatrician.
The older your baby gets, the more changes you can make when it comes to the sunscreen they wear. As soon as they will start walking and running, which typically happens after they are one year old, you will want to consider using a stronger sunscreen since they will be harder to keep in one place. This is also when their skin starts to be more resistant so you can worry less.
What time of the day to use of sunscreen for babies
Besides your toddler’s age, you also need to consider weather conditions when it comes to applying sunscreen on their sensitive skin. When it comes to young babies, you should avoid exposing them to strong UVs or UVBs altogether.
The best time to have your child play in the sun is in the morning and late afternoon or evening. Try to avoid the time between 10 am and 4 pm when the sun is at its most powerful intensity.
Even when your baby spends time outside during morning and evening hours, you should make sure they are adequately equipped even if they wear sunscreen. Have them wear a hat with a brim and sunglasses and keep them in the shade as much as possible to avoid certain side effects from UVs and UVBs.
Weather conditions to keep in mind
As for season wise, you might be amazed to find out that summer is not the only time of the year that requires applying sunscreen on your baby’s skin. If you notice clouds outside, you should still consider the option of having your baby wearing sunscreen. Even during cloudy days, your baby can be affected by strong UV radiation even if they are not so obvious.
To be more specific, UVA is a particular type of radiation that can cross clouds easily. This type of UVs might not burn your baby’s skin but they can cause long-term effects such as premature aging of the skin cells. And because a baby’s skin is not so well developed, they will absorb a lot of this radiation which can definitely harm them.
Sunscreen can be very useful during winters as well, at least in certain conditions. Sometimes really white snow can reflect sun rays and produce burns for your baby’s exposed body parts such as their face. Considering that during the winter your baby will be mostly protected by the clothes they are wearing, you might want to have them wear sunscreen only on the small visible parts of their body. But you should definitely think twice before skipping it!
Also, in order to obtain efficient results from your sunscreen, apply it to your baby even if they are indoors. Most parents wait until they get outside to put the sunscreen on their children and that is risky.
First of all, the sunscreen needs some time to get in your baby’s skin and get absorbed. This means you should put it on them half an hour before leaving the house. To be sure and well protected, apply another layer of sunscreen every two hours as they are spending time outside.
As for the quantity of sunscreen, you should apply, two tablespoons of lotion will be more than enough for your baby’s entire body. The norm is to apply 2mg of sunscreen per each cm2. By considering these aspects you should be able to protect your baby just the way you want to!
Other measures to consider
Even if you are using the best sunscreen for babies and at the right time of the day, there are still several measures that you can take to make sure your little one is well protected! And while most parents are happy enough to use sunscreen, you can be a step ahead and follow these tips for the safety of your child:
Shade is priceless
The best way to deal with any problem or potential problem is prevention. And this logic can be applied when it comes to protecting your child in the sun. Especially while your baby is younger especially less than six months, try to keep them in the shade as much as possible. Direct sun exposure can be dangerous for babies and it is always recommended to be precautious.
Have them wear a hat with a wide brim
This tip applies or should apply to adults as well. No matter the age of your baby, have them wear something on their head every time they are exposed to strong sun rays. This is extremely important for young toddlers as they tend to be more sensitive and not fully developed. A cap or a hat with a wide brim or visor will suffice for the times they play outside. This way their head and also their face are protected against UVs and UVBs.
Make sure they stay hydrated
Make sure your child stays hydrated every time they go in the sun in order to maintain the correct balance of water in their body. If they skip drinking water and they sweat a lot, they risk getting dehydrated! This can lead to other health problems so you shouldn’t neglect such a condition. Always bring a bottle of water with you when you spend time outside with your child. It is important not to offer them cold water but rather room temperature one, because cold water is not so efficient when it comes to hydrating their little bodies.
The tips and advice above don’t replace the usage of sunscreen but they can very well go together with it for better protection. And if you notice any signs of problems, don’t hesitate to talk with your pediatrician in order to get the best treatment for your baby!
As important as choosing the right sunscreen is, you need to stay informed regarding other aspects as well. Don’t neglect the weather conditions, time of the day or your baby’s age when choosing the safest sunscreen for them!
Luckily, nowadays, the market offers a variety of options to choose from and there is something for everyone! But it is equally important to follow your doctor’s advice when choosing such a product and make sure that your baby doesn’t have any allergy or skin condition. By using the tips above, protecting your child from dangerous radiation will never be a problem again.
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