What you need to know to protect your baby from the harmful effects of the sun.
We all know that exposure to UV radiation can have very dire effects on our bodies, the worst being of course, skin cancer. However, even though there is UV radiation in all forms of sunlight, be it a summer’s day or a winter’s day, or any other possible variable, some days and times will inevitably be more dangerous.
In the first year, it is recommended that you keep your baby out of the sun as much as possible.
“There is good evidence that sun exposure in childhood can contribute to developing skin cancer in later life.” – babycenter
However, when you can’t keep your baby out of the sun, these recommendations are in place to reduce your baby’s exposure to dangerous UV radiation.
- Planning your activities to be out of the sun as much as possible, especially between 10am and 3pm.
- Dress your baby in clothes or wraps that cover as much of his body as possible and that are made of closely woven fabric, such as cotton.
- Put your baby in a wide-brimmed or legionnaire-style hat so that his ears, neck and face are protected.
- Sit in dark shade and provide shade for your baby’s pram. The shade should cast a dark shadow and he should still be protected from reflected and scattered sunlight.
- Use a 30+ broad-spectrum and water-resistant sunscreen suitable for babies on the areas of your baby that can’t be covered, like his face, ears and the backs of his hands. The sunscreen should be put on 20 minutes before you go into the sun and reapplied every two hours.
Sunburn is a direct result from overexposure to UV radiation from the sun. If this happens, seek advice from your doctor immediately, but here are some tips. It is also good to remember that a baby’s skin is so thin and delicate, that it is not uncommon for sunburn to occur, despite your best efforts at protection.
For mild sunburn, try soaking a cloth diaper or muslin cloth with cool water, wring it out and place it on the affected area a few times a day. You can also bathe your child in tepid water with a teaspoon of baking soda.
Some more TIPS
- Dress children in sun smart clothing
Cover as much of your baby’s skin with loose-fitting clothes made from closely-woven fabrics. Choose a hat that protects your baby’s face, neck and ears.
- Keep little ones in the shade
Encourage children to play in shaded areas. If good natural shade is unavailable consider building a permanent or portable shade structure. The structure should be big enough so that children can play comfortably within the shadow. Provide shade for your baby’s pram and stroller with material that casts a dark shadow.
- Always use sunscreen
- Keep babies out of the sun
Aim to keep babies out of the sun as much as possible especially during the times of peak UVR.
- Protect your baby from sunburn in the car
Glass reduces the transmission of most UVR, but not all, therefore your baby will still need protection on long trips in the car. Window shades or tinting provide extra protection.
If you enjoyed this article read our other articles:
- What to Look For in The Best All Natural Baby Sunscreen
- How to Keep Babies Cool in the Summer
- What Is the Ideal Pool Temperature for Baby?