How to protect your baby from the sun?
Are babies more sensitive to the sun?
Babies can quickly suffer both short and long term damage from sunburn and heat stroke, so protecting them from the sun is crucial.
Sunburn can cause pain, fever, and dehydration. And just one sunburn in childhood increases the risk of melanoma (the deadliest type of skin cancer) as well as wrinkles later in life.
Keep your baby completely out of the sun as much as possible before the age of 6 months. Also avoid sunscreen before this age.
In any case, be particularly vigilant of UV rays when going outside with your baby.
How and when sunburn occurs?
The sun is strongest between 10 and 4 p.m., so when you can, take a walk or play outside with your baby outside of these hours.
When venturing outside, keep in mind that the sun's rays bounce off surfaces like water, snow, cement, and sand.
Your baby's skin may also burn at other times of the day and on cloudy or cool days. Why? Because it is not the heat of the sun that burns the skin, but the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun..
UV rays can damage the skin any time of the day, all year round, even in the middle of winter. And a baby's thinner, more delicate skin is especially vulnerable.
You can't feel them when they hit your skin, but you will see the effects later. (It may take several hours for the redness and pain of a mild first-degree burn to appear).
Keep your baby in safe places
Use the umbrella of your baby's stroller when you are outside. Consider purchasing a stroller sun shade that has built-in UV protection and fits over the roof of the stroller to protect your baby's entire body.
Try to keep your baby in the shade, under a tree or a parasol, for example. You might be surprised to learn that shade only offers partial protection against UV rays. Without sunscreen or other protection, even a baby in the shade can get sunburned.
If you fancy spending your day at the beach or in a park, an outdoor solar tent with built-in UV protection can keep your baby cool and protected.
Dress your baby in protective clothing
Cover your baby's arms and legs with light clothing.
Tightly woven fabrics protect the skin better than loosely woven fabrics. (Hold the fabric facing the light. The less light you see, the tighter the weave).
You can find clothes such as wetsuits, swimsuits and UV protection t-shirts.
Whether your baby is bald or has a head full of hair, a hat is essential. Preferably choose a hat that protects the neck and has a brim wide enough to shade the face. An edge that protects the ears is preferable to an edge that only protects the front.
If your baby wears them, try a pair of sunglasses with UV protection.
For babies over 6 months, put sunscreen on exposed areas
Choose a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Look for a cream that protects against UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays are more likely to cause sunburns and wrinkles, while UVA rays cause damage deeper into the skin.
Apply the sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before going outdoors, and reapply every two hours. Be sure to cover all exposed areas of your baby's skin, including the tips of the ears, the back of the neck and the tops of the feet.
If your baby goes in water, reapply the sunscreen as soon as you wipe it off, even if it has been less than two hours since you applied it.
- Regularly replace your family's sunscreen. The active ingredients lose their effectiveness after a certain time.
- Know what type of sunscreen is best for children.
- Know when to start using sunscreen on your baby.
- Know if you should be concerned about babies putting their hands in their mouths after applying sunscreen.
Protect your baby from heat and sun
It is easy for your baby to get too hot in the summer.
To avoid heat stroke:
- Dress your baby in light clothes
- Keep your baby in the shade as much as possible.
- Make sure the car is cool before going for a ride.
- Offer your baby plenty of fluids (breast milk or powdered milk ensures good hydration; do not offer water before 6 months).
Make sure your baby is protected when in the care of other people
Check with other caregivers to make sure they understand the importance of protecting them from the sun.
Day care centers or nurseries often take specific precautions before going out with children, although most will keep young babies indoors whenever possible. Plan for sunscreen and appropriate clothing for caregivers.
Make your life easier
Pack sunscreen, along with a hat and small sunglasses, if your baby is ready to wear them.
You can also tuck in (or stow in the car) an extra long-sleeved, long-legged outfit for added protection on the go. This can be useful if you decide to stop by the park on your way home and your baby is not covered.