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Cool It, Baby! Keeping Safe Under the Sun

Babies have the most vulnerable skin and can quickly suffer the short- and long-term damage of sunburn and even heat stroke. Hence, when you’re out and about with your precious bundle, do take the necessary precautions to keep the little one away from the sun’s harsh rays.

Sunburn does not only affect a baby’s skin on the outside, but it is also capable of causing pain, fever, and dehydration. That’s why it’s crucial you keep your baby completely out of the sun as much as possible before six months of age. When you do go outdoors, be particularly careful about taking all the necessary precautions.

What causes sunburns

While the sun is strongest between 10 and 4 o’clock, a baby’s skin is vulnerable enough to get burned at other times of the day and on cloudy or cool days. The reason is, it’s not just the heat from the sun that is damaging, but the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays are just as capable of burning the skin. Keep in mind too, that the sun’s rays bounce off surfaces like water, roads, cement, etc. These UV rays can damage the skin at all times of day, all year round and a baby’s thin and delicate skin is especially vulnerable.

Protect your baby

Although it may seem unnecessary as a parent to be particularly cautious about sun exposure, especially if you yourself grew up enjoying the outdoors in the sun, keep in mind that there was less damage in the ozone layer during your childhood. We suggest you follow these guidelines to ensure that your baby’s skin is adequately protected from burns from the sun.

Utilise the stroller sunshade! – The sunshade on your baby’s stroller is an indispensable feature whenever you’re outside with your baby. So, if you happen to be shopping for a stroller, do pay due attention to this feature and choose a stroller with a well-functioning pull-over canopy for much-needed shelter.

Stay in the shade as much as possible – Any shade will do when you’re out and about with your baby, such as under a tree or umbrella, for example. If you’re longing to spend your day at a beach or park, an outdoor sun tent with built-in UV protection can keep your baby cool and protected.

Dress baby in cool, protective clothing – Choose light-coloured cotton clothing that cover baby’s neck, arms and legs. Light colors reflect the heat and keep skin cooler than dark colors, which absorb heat.

Use a hat! – A hat is a must for a baby who is outdoors during the day. Choose a hat with flaps in the back for neck protection and a brim that’s wide enough to shade the face and the ears as well.

Be diligent with sunscreen – Choose a baby sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. Look for the words “broad spectrum” on the label. “Broad spectrum” means the product protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Apply it on all exposed areas of your baby’s skin 15 to 30 minutes before heading outdoors, and reapply it every two hours.

Did you know?

A single sunburn incident during childhood raises the risk of skin cancer later in life.

Sunburn fact:

A sunburn is not necessarily felt on the spot. It can take several hours for the redness and pain of a mild first-degree burn to appear.

Fabrics that protect

Fabrics with a tight weave protect skin better than loosely woven fabrics. To see if a fabric is suitable, hold it up to the light. The less light you see shining through, the tighter the weave and the better it is at protecting baby’s skin from the sun’s rays.

To avoid heat stroke:

  • Dress your baby in light, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Keep your baby in the shade whenever possible.
  • Make sure the car is cooled off before you go for a ride.

Important tips on baby sunscreens

There are various types of sunscreen available today for babies and each claim to do the trick. Any one of them should work just fine, but when it comes to baby sunscreens, there are a few things to keep in mind and they are:

  • Replace your baby’s sunscreen periodically. The active ingredients lose effectiveness after a while.
  • Ask friends or relatives for recommendations for the best brands.
  • Find out whether you need to worry about babies putting their hands in their mouth after sunscreen is applied.

When your baby is in the care of others

Check with your baby’s caregivers to be certain that they understand the importance of protecting your baby from the sun. Provide them with sunscreen and appropriate clothing for your baby’s use.

Tote some sun-safe essentials around

Carry sunscreen and spare protective clothing in your diaper bag, along with a hat and little sunglasses, if your baby’s willing to wear them. That way, you’ll always be prepared for some unplanned time outdoors with your baby.


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