A Sunny Start: Baby Sunscreen Tips Every Parent Should Know - FirstCry Parenting

A Sunny Start: Baby Sunscreen Tips Every Parent Should Know

Sunny days do not have to be about hiding away once you have a baby. While it’s usually the sun that gets a bad rep, the harmful UVA and UVB rays are what you need to be concerned about. Sun protection for babies is slightly different than that of adults, and we’re here to tell you just how you can make the most of those sunny days with your little one while keeping their skin protected.

Why Do Babies Need Sunscreen?

Babies have extremely delicate skin and have not yet developed the mechanism of regulating their body temperature. Thinner skin and low melanin make them an easy target of UV ray penetration. They are easily prone to sunburn, dehydration, and heat stroke when exposed to harsh sunlight. Sunscreen works like a protective barrier, shielding babies’ delicate skin from sun damage.

When Should You Start Using a Sunscreen for Your Little One?

As per the guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), sunscreen should be applied to children aged 6 months or older. Newborn babies below the age of 6 are highly vulnerable to the chemicals in the sunscreen, which could affect their skin’s pH balance or develop contact dermatitis upon reaction. This is why babies under 6 months are required to be kept under the shade and out of direct and indirect sunlight, most importantly, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

If you must venture out with your baby during this time, dress them in protective, lightweight clothing that fully covers their arms and legs and a wide-brimmed hat. A stroller is one of the best options to keep the sunlight away from your baby. It is okay to put a small amount of sunscreen on the exposed areas of your less than 6-month-old baby if you are unable to keep them out of the sun, as long as you do a patch test first.

How to Choose the Right Sunscreen

Choosing the right sunblock for your little ball of joy is an important job. When choosing the right sunscreen, look for a ‘Baby-safe’ ‘Broad Spectrum’ formula to protect your baby from UVA and UVB rays.

Of the two kinds of sunscreens, physical and chemical, most experts recommend using physical, mineral-based sunscreens. Chemical sunscreens are laden with chemicals like oxybenzone and octinoxate, which are popular hormonal disrupters. Therefore, it is best to use physical sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as mineral bases. Unlike chemical sunblocks, physical sunscreens do not absorb into the skin and form a physical barrier to block rays off your little one’s skin. What’s more? Mineral sunscreens are also ideal for sensitive skin types as they are not harsh.

Mamaearth’s mineral based sunscreen for babies is a popular choice among parents looking for the best sun protection for children aged 0-10 years. Dermatologically tested, this sunscreen comes with a hypoallergenic formula for sensitive skin and natural ingredients and fragrance. With Calendula as a top moisturising ingredient, the sunscreen protects as well as hydrates! And, the best part is that Mamaearth’s sunscreen comes with a ‘Made Safe Certification’, which makes it a no-brainer in terms of safety without having to worry about the harmful chemicals that could affect little ones.

In a nutshell, always opt for a mineral-based physical sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as active bases to provide optimal protection.

Are You Applying Sunscreen on Your Little One Correctly?

For babies under 6 months, use sunscreen minimally and only when shade or protective clothing is not available.

For babies 6 months and above, you can be smart with the application of sunscreen all over their sun-exposed areas. You don’t need to wait for 15 to 30 minutes after applying a mineral sunscreen as it works immediately.

Reapply sunscreen every two hours when out in the sun. If your little one is sweating or has exposure to water, lather on another layer. It’s not just the cheeks, arms, and legs, but the nose, ears, top of the head, exposed feet, and neck that need sun cover, too.

Be careful of your baby’s eyes and hands when applying sunscreen, as they may rub their eyes or put their hands in their mouth.

Which Is Better: Sun Cream, Sun Stick, Sun Spray, or Sun Powder?

With the inclusion of sprays and powders in the sunscreen section, you might be tempted to use them to test them out. Sunscreen aerosols (sprays) and powders have a heavy chance of entering the child’s lungs during application. Hence, they are best avoided. Creams and sticks are ideal options to manually put an even coat of sunscreen on those little hands and cheeks.

Sun Protection Beyond Sunscreen

Sunscreen is not the only protection method against the sun’s harmful rays. Experts suggest keeping children safe outdoors with these methods:

1. Protective Clothing

Dress your little one in a lightweight, full-sleeved top and bottomwear during the day and evening. Use wide-brimmed hats to protect your little baby’s skin and head from sun damage, dehydration, and sunstroke.

2. Stay in the Shade

Do not venture out with your baby during peak sunlight hours, I.e., between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Avoid direct and indirect sunlight as much as possible, and keep your baby in a cool, shaded place.

3. Strollers

A stroller with a sun-protective cover or canopy is great to have for those walks outside with your baby.

4. Sunglasses

Even eyes are not spared by the sun’s penetrating rays. Children above 6 months can wear sunglasses outside to prevent retinal exposure to UVR.

As an added precaution, a few dots of sunscreen with any of the above will ensure no harm is coming to your little one’s skin.

How Do You Deal With Unexpected Sunburn

When exposed to sunlight for a longer duration, sunburn can occur. If your little one’s skin turns red and inflamed, immediately apply cool compresses to the inflamed skin and consult a paediatrician without delay. Keep your child away from direct and indirect sunlight until they heal.

A sun-kissed day can be a beautiful memory for your little munchkin when it’s a sun-safe one. Therefore, it’s best to be smart about spending time in the sun, whether summer or winter, with the right sunscreen, application, and additional sun safety measures.

Say goodbye to sunburn fears and hello to sunny smiles!

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