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Protect Your Baby's Skin from Sunburn

Alison Wood |11, May 2013


As the weather heats up, take care to keep your baby's delicate skin covered. Too many rays from the sun can cause fever, pain and dehydration. Studies have also shown that only one sunburn during childhood can raise the risk of melanoma and increase their chances of more wrinkles in the golden years.

Babies younger than six months of age are the most susceptible to sun damage. Before six months of age, aim to keep your baby indoors between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm as these are the hottest hours of the day.

Your baby also needs lots of Vitamin D to ensure a healthy body, but catch that vitamin D when the sun is not so overpowering. Plan some morning and evening strolls with your bundle to get that Vitamin D, and be sure to keep the shades and blinds in your house open to help your little one enjoy the sun while staying in a protected environment.

How can I protect my baby from harmful rays from the sun?

If you are traveling outside with your bambino, use the sunshade on your stroller and consider buying a pop-up stroller that has a built-in UV protection shade that can fit over the stroller's canopy. This will shelter your baby's entire body.

While you are out and about, keep your eyes out for shady areas. Trees provide a natural shade and can help prevent your little one from getting sunburned.

If you know that you will be spending a good bit of time outdoors where there are little or no trees, try an outdoor sun tent. These are built-in with UV protection and can help your baby stay cool as well as protect him or her from sunburn.

What should my baby wear?

A baby's clothes can also be a tool to protect his or her delicate skin from the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Choose light-weight, light-colored clothing for your baby's summer wardrobe. Light colored fabrics reflect heat and dark colors absorb it. Think pastels and whites for the beach and the park outings. Also, be sure to check the weave of your baby's clothing. A tighter weave protects against the sun better than a looser weave. Some outdoor clothing for babies comes with built-in sun protection. These can be very helpful if your lifestyle requires a lot of time outdoors with your bambino.

Are hats just for bald babies?

No matter if your baby is bald on top or has a head full of curly locks; keep a hat on him or her during outside play time. Look for a hat protects the front of the head as well as the small, tender ears. Ensure the hat fits properly -- not too tight, and not too loose.

What about sunscreen?

Keep a bottle of baby-friendly sunscreen in your purse or diaper bag. Apply as often as needed and look for a sunscreen that is SPF 15 or higher. Some sunscreens are not suitable for babies, so double check the labels before applying to your little one. Water-proof and broad spectrum are great choices for babies.

FDA Issues New Advisory on Sunscreen for Infant

Do babies need extra water during the hotter months?

Exposure to the sun can quickly lead to a dehydrated baby if you are not careful. Keep the liquids coming by breast-feeding or giving your little one a bottle of juice or water.

What if my house is hot?

Keeping your baby inside during the hotter parts of the day is ideal if you want to protect him or her from sunburn. However, if your home is lacking air condition and it is extremely humid, travel to a public place that is air-conditioned until your house cools down.

The library and shopping mall are a great option for cooling down. You can pick a corner at the library and look at some baby books with your little one. Also, if it's lunch time, go out to eat and take your time.

What about other care-givers?

Whether it's grandma or the teenager next door baby-sitting your little one, make sure they are aware of how the sun can damage a baby's sensitive skin. Do a quick run-down of sun safety for them and make sure you have provided sunscreen, hats and other sun protection items for the care-giver to use while watching your baby.

Alison Wood is a stay-at-home mom of six and freelance writer and blogger. She enjoys raising her six children and desires to share her experiences to help other mothers.

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