How to Protect Your Beach Babe from the Sun's Harmful Rays

As we embark on the hottest months of the year, make sure your summer plans include protecting your baby from the sun’s harmful rays. Of course we all know sun protection is important at every age; however, babies’ skin is especially delicate and sensitive to the sun.

When it comes to sun protection, most of us immediately jump to sunscreen as the best defense against the summer sun, but there are several other ways to keep your baby’s skin safe and healthy. According to Gwinnett Medical Center’s Women’s Health Navigator, Sheila Warren, RN, BSN, LCCE, below are some important things to keep in mind before your baby soaks up sunshine.

  • You’re already up early, why not enjoy the outdoors earlier rather than later? While it is best to keep infants, especially those under 6 months old out of the sun, that can be nearly impossible. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is to avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when ultraviolet (UV) rays are most intense.
  • Babies will put anything in their mouths, but how does their skin react? Babies’ skin is less mature than adults, meaning they are not only more sensitive to the sun, but also the ingredients in sunscreen. Before using a large amount of sunscreen on baby, be sure to test a small area to ensure they don’t have a reaction. Look for redness, rash, itching, blisters, welts or difficulty breathing as these could be signs of irritation from sunscreen.
  • Don’t you want to keep those cute chubby cheeks sunburn free? Before using sunscreen on your baby, consult your pediatrician. In addition, keep in mind that SPF between 15 and 55 should be used and reapplied every two hours. Lotion is recommended instead of sprays as they are more controlled. Focus on applying the sunscreen to exposed skin and delicate areas, including cheeks, inner thighs and the back of hands.
  • We all know they’re adorable, so why not use them? Hats provide sufficient shade at all times. Make sure the hat covers their face, ears and neck, too. Protective clothing should be used to cover sensitive areas, such as the chest, stomach, groin and upper thighs. Sunglasses, which prevent long-term eye damage, should be worn at all times.
  • Is your baby grumpier than normal? They may be more than just sleepy. Remember—sunscreen can only help with UV protection, not heat protection. Monitor your baby’s temperature by watching for signs of dehydration and overheating. Unlike adults, infants cannot regulate their body temperature, so keep a lookout for symptoms such as fussiness, redness and/or excessive crying.

These helpful summertime tips are important for both you and your baby. Even better, enjoy the shade while outdoors as a great way to stay cooler, safer and much more comfortable. Stay proactive in protecting your baby’s skin this summer as it’s easier to prevent a sunburn than to treat one. For more helpful tips on infant summer safety, utilize the expertise of our Women’s Health Navigator at the Gwinnett Women’s Pavilion


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