It’s springtime, when the weather is getting prettier, the outdoors is calling, and the longing to be in the sunshine is stronger than ever. While we can’t deny the urge to be outside, you can avoid that dreaded sunburn for you and your baby. Remember, just one or two childhood sunburns can significantly increase the risk of melanoma (skin cancer) development later in life. Sunburn equals tissue or DNA damage. Most of us have experienced a painful sunburn at some point in time, and we can’t imagine our precious baby experiencing one.
Here are some tips for how to apply sunscreen on babies:
For babies less than six months old:
- As a general rule of thumb, keep babies out of the sun as much as possible. Avoid those peak, intense sun hours of 10 am to 2 pm.
- Seek shade for your baby. Whether it’s a lovely tree or a cover on the stroller, keep delicate newborn skin out of direct sun light.
- Cover up! Use lightweight, breathable pants and shirts and broad-rimmed hats. Babies this young won’t rip them off yet so make the most of it.
For babies six months and older:
- Use a chemical-free sunscreen with the active ingredients of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These two components are the best in providing the broad-spectrum protection against the harmful UVA and UVB rays and are safe in sunscreen for babies. Babies have more sensitive, thin skin and a larger surface-area to body-weight ratio. This makes them more prone to irritation from sunscreen components. Zinc oxide and titanium oxide are both hypoallergenic and non-irritating. They also won’t sting the eyes like other sunscreen components with chemicals.
- The American Academy of Dermatology recommends a sunscreen with a SPF of at least 30. Baby Pibu’s Baby Sunscreen has an SPF of 30+. An SPF number is the theoretical amount of time you can spend in the sun without getting sunburned. But be aware, double the SPF doesn’t necessarily mean you can stay out twice as long. It’s important to reapply sunscreen every 1 ½ to 2 hours or after water exposure – even sweat. Many sunburns occur because of the lack of reapplication.
- How much sunscreen does your baby need? A 1 ounce shot glass full of sunscreen is required to cover an adult so a quarter to half that is needed to cover a baby or toddler. Many people get sunburns because they are not using enough sunscreen. Be sure to slather your baby.
- Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going out in the sun. It takes a bit of time for the ingredients to bind to the skin and provide protection. A good tip is to apply the sunscreen while putting on the swimsuits. This ensures you cover all areas, especially around those swimsuit lines. If you wait until you reach the pool or beach to apply sunscreen your skin is actually exposed for a bit until the sunscreen takes effect.
Follow our helpful tips for putting sunscreen on infants and you and your baby can safely enjoy the great outdoors this spring.