A Guide to Sun Protection for Babies – Solly Baby

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A Guide to Sun Protection for Babies

A Guide to Sun Protection for Babies

Everyone’s mood brightens up when the sun comes out, babies' included. Whether they’re crawling around in the grass, playing at the splash pad, or enjoying a wrap ‘n’ walk with you, spending time outside is a great way to spend time with your little one. But with such delicate skin, it also brings up valid questions about the appropriate sun protection for babies.

Here, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about sun care for your little one, including when to start using sunscreen on babies, the best methods for protecting newborn skin, and the best baby-friendly sunscreens recommended by our team of parents. Let’s dive in! 

Should I put sunscreen on my baby?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you should avoid using sunscreen on babies less than 6 months old and keep them out of direct sunlight when possible. That said, you don’t have to keep your baby locked inside during those early months! Instead, the AAP recommends using physical barriers to protect baby’s skin. Try hanging out in a shady spot if you’re outside between 10 am and 4 pm when UV rays are strongest. If shade from a structure or tree isn’t possible, create your own using a stroller umbrella or a UV-protected tent. Never drape a blanket over your stroller, as it can trap heat inside and pose a risk of suffocation or overheating for baby.

Physical barriers also include clothing. Consider dressing baby in a large hat that protects their face, ears, and neck from the sun. This one is affordable and offers UPF 50+ protection. Sunglasses are another great way to protect their eyes if your little one will tolerate wearing them. These rash guards are perfect for days at the beach, pool, or splash pad.

What are the best sunscreens for babies?

For babies over 6 months, it’s best to use a mineral-based sunscreen to limit baby’s exposure to harmful chemicals such as oxybenzone. If possible, opt for sunscreens that contain titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which are hypoallergenic and sit on top of the skin instead of being absorbed by it. Because they sit on top of the skin, mineral sunscreens start working immediately upon application and are safe for sensitive skin. This also means they aren’t completely sheer and tend to leave a white residue on top of the skin. Just note that the lack of sheerness is a trade-off for safer ingredients.

With that said, here are a few things to look for when choosing a sunscreen for baby:

1. Mineral-based: Look at the ingredients to see if it contains titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.
2. Broad spectrum: This means that it offers protection from both UVA and UVB rays—both of which are damaging to skin.
3. SPF 15 or above: Preferably SPF 30-50 to ensure baby’s delicate skin is thoroughly protected. 

4. Water resistant: This is helpful even if you aren’t planning to be near water!

As a team full of parents here at Solly, we know how meaningful the products you use on your baby are, which is why we try to always recommend ones that we’ve used and loved with our own babies. Here’s what the team had to recommend when it came to the best sunscreens for babies:

Tubby Todd SPF Collection: Includes SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 30 Sun Stick (great for using on baby’s face + ears), and SPF Lip Balm

Badger Baby Mineral Sunscreen Cream: Broad spectrum, SPF 40, water-resistant, made with zinc oxide

Pipette Mineral Sunscreen: SPF 50, made with nano zinc oxide

Thinkbaby SPF Collection: Includes SPF 30 + SPF 50 Sunscreen, SPF 30 Sunscreen Stick (for face + ears), and Aloe Vera

Things to Remember

  • Reapply sunscreen often—every two hours, after spending time in water, or if you notice baby getting pink.
  • Do a patch test on a small area of skin before using sunscreen all over baby to ensure it isn’t irritating. 
  • Always wash sunscreen off at the end of the day as it can be drying to baby’s skin.

What should I do if my baby gets a sunburn?

First off, don’t be too hard on yourself! Take it as a lesson learned and remind yourself that stuff like this happens to the best of us. It’s going to be okay!

If your baby is under 1 and gets a sunburn, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends calling your pediatrician right away. For older children, they recommend calling your pediatrician if they are experiencing blistering, pain, or a fever.

Here are some ways to provide relief to a sunburned baby:
  • Use cold compresses (not ice) on the sunburned area. A cool bath may provide added relief as well.
  • Only use medicated lotions if recommended by your pediatrician.
  • Offer baby plenty of water or milk to replace lost fluids. (Babies need extra fluids in general when it’s warm out.)
  • Keep baby completely out of the sun until the sunburn is fully healed. 
  • You may offer medicine, such as acetaminophen for babies 1 year or younger, if baby is in pain.

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