With the onset of spring, thoughts turn to warmer weather and basking in the sunshine. But with baby in tow, sun exposure can be treacherous business. It takes no time at all for the sun to singe delicate baby skin. And all it takes is one sunburn to risk dehydration, or even skin cancer. Here are some tips to help you protect your baby from that ball of fire in the sky:
- Keep your baby out of the sun completely until they are at least 6 months old, when it's safe to use sunscreen. Cover them up with a wide brimmed hat, a stroller blanket or an attachable shade extension to the stroller hood. Be sure to cover any exposed skin -- even if it's cloudy!
- Generously apply sunscreen with at least 15 SPF (sun protection factor) - no matter the season - when your baby reaches 6 months of age.
- Sunscreens with ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are gentle choices for babies, because they aren't absorbed into baby's skin and don't usually cause skin irritation.
- Before slathering sunscreen all over, test a small amount of sunscreen on baby's arm to check for an irritating reaction.
- Slather on sunscreen at least a half hour before heading out into the sun. Don't miss any exposed spots!
- Be sure to reapply sunscreen generously every two hours, even if it's waterproof.
- Sunscreen ingredients expire yearly, so make sure to keep a fresh supply in your medicine chest.