If you’ve started singing ‘the sun has got his hat on’ to your little one, before you start ‘hip hip hooray-ing’, you’re going to want to make sure you’ve got sun safety down. Dig out your notebook and let’s kick off my sun safety essentials masterclass – one of my most requested articles. So, here’s what you need to have to hand for those scorching summer days:
If your baby is under 6 months…
Before we go any further (and if you follow me over on Insta, you would have heard me say this already but…) babies under the age of 6 months should be kept out of direct sunlight. Always seek out shade, because their skin is oh-so-delicate and doesn’t contain enough melanin to offer any natural protection against the sun. And always check products like lotions to see if they’re suitable for 0+.
No two sun lotions are ever the same, and what works for one baby might not work well for another. My advice is to learn how to read the labels on the bottles so you can make informed decisions when shopping around and to always patch test any formulations your baby is yet to try before slathering it on.
OK, so let’s talk labels. You’re looking for sun lotions that offer BOTH UVA and UVB protection (the sun’s most harmful rays). Also, check if they’re age-appropriate because ‘kid’s sun lotion’ differs from ‘baby’s sun lotion’ in the way the formula has been created and tested. In the marketing world, brands are not allowed to simply stick labels without doing meticulous research and testing beforehand so if they claim ‘suitable for 0+’ or ‘6 months+’ this is the age range it has been tested and proven to work for. In terms of SPF number, you want a minimum of 30 for your baby but I would go as high as possible which is typically 50+ as this means you’re offering maximum protection for a longer stretch of time. If your baby has sensitive skin, you might prefer to go for an ‘unfragranced’ formula or for sensitive-specific formulas.
Caps, straw trilbys, bucket hats, the choice is endless. And seeing your baby in a sun hat is VERY adorable – for all of 2 seconds. I like to go for a wide-brim hat with an adjustable toggle, so it’s harder for them to wrench it off or at the very least it stays on them and not caught up in your pushchair’s wheels.
My top tip is to always pack a travel-friendly hat in your go-everywhere baby bag whatever the season, because sunny spells can sometimes come on unexpectedly and catch you off guard and a sun hat is an easy way to create some much-needed shade.
Keeping your baby’s skin protected against harmful UV rays doesn’t need to stop at suncare lotions and potions. Look at their summer-wardrobe and opt for brands and fabrics that offer extra shielding power against the sun. My favourite go-to is Sunuva, their swimwear designs offer 50+ UPF (UV protection factor) and are also super stylish too.
The best way to keep your baby cool and comfy in the sun is to be able to offer them relief (aka shade) from the sun. Things like the savvy SnoozeShade for your pushchair (and if you use code millie10 you can get 10% off) and sun shades for car windows, can work wonders.
Does baby really need sunglasses or is it just for the ‘gram? Well, yes it’s recommended by the experts to protect their developing eyes from harmful rays and UV. But, I’d go for function over style any day so go for quality UV-protecting lenses and handy stretchy straps and bendy frames. Odds are your baby is going to want to pull them off at first, so if all else fails then keep persisting with a sun hat and a distraction approach (‘hey, look is that Duggee over there’) to help keep the suncare gear perfectly in place.
Sun safety tips
If you’re stocked up on all the essentials, you should also:
- Up your baby’s water intake when temperatures start soaring. Just like you get thirstier and lose water in the heat, so does baby so keep topping up their water bottle (for babies 6 months+) and up the feeds if you’re breastfeeding/bottle feeding.
- Keep an eye on the forecast and avoid the sun when it’s at its strongest. Typically, during the summer this can be between 11-3pm, so try to keep baby out of the sun during these times.
- Try cooling down your baby with a spot (or should that be splash?) of water play. And you don’t need a paddling pool or dreamy beach nearby for them to get involved, just a bucket of water and some bath toys can do the trick. But, of course, do not leave them unattended and go on, get involved, you know you want to!
Want more tailor-made advice?
Book in a 1:1 session with me and we can talk about anything that’s on your mind.