Things You Need to Know About Sun Care for Your Baby
by Jodie Gibson// Writer, editor, poet, lyricist, designer, artist
We’re shedding some light on sun care for your baby; including when throwing some shade is a good thing! Your baby's little bodies need protection! Especially from the sun’s Ultraviolet (UV) rays and heat. Here are some bare bottom facts, starting with sunscreen.
Mixed messages in a bottle: Okay, so there’s no way to make this part fun. In the name game: The US Food and Drug Administration and The Skin Cancer Foundation recommend using sunscreen only on children older than six months; the Foundation further recommends keeping babies out of direct sun for the first six months.¹ The American Academy of Pediatrics, on the other hand, reports data that supports the suggestion that “In situations where the infant’s skin is not protected adequately by clothing, it may be reasonable to apply sunscreen to small areas, such as the face and the back of the hands”.²
There is also a lot of information on sunscreen vs sunblock and Nano vs Non Nano particles. Too much to list here, and really, the point is not to see your head spin! But it is important for parents to know that terms are often interchangeable in advertising, so it is, as always, important to read your labels.
Searching the web you can find a number of alternatives and lower toxicity sunscreen recommendations for your baby, including through the Environmental Working Group (EWG) which rates sunscreens. (TIP: Download EWG’s Healthy Living app!) And be sure to check out our organic baby and kids sunscreen, handmade, with all natural ingredients! Just like adults, our babe’s little bodies can absorb things easily through their skin, but their bodies are even more vulnerable than ours.² Take some time to do your own research, check in with your pediatrician to get sign off, and always skin patch test new sunscreen.
Throw some shade: Keeping your baby cool from the heat of the sun is important, and it is equally important to protect their skin. It’s the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays that burn the skin. The sun's rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., even when it’s cloudy, cool or overcast!
Interesting fact: UV rays can penetrate through clouds and also bounce off of things like snow, cement and sand! This type of bouncing is not a good thing!
Be sure the hood that’s on your stroller can be adjusted to block out the sun. Check into a pop-up stroller shade that fits over your stroller's canopy to shelter your baby's whole body. Look for shade under trees and store awnings when you can and when you are going to the beach or going to a picnic at the park, use a cabana or other tent-type structure to protect your baby. And don’t forget sun shades for your car windows.
Dress the part: Clothing is still one of the best ways to protect our skin. Props to Goth, but to keep your baby cool, avoid dark colors; they tend to absorb the heat! Cover your baby’s arms and legs but keep the clothes loose to keep them cool and use light colors and light weight fabrics like cotton. (Have you seen our light colored organic cotton items?) Sometimes labels list an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF), but you can also check its potential protection value by holding the fabric up to light; the less light you see, the tighter the weave. The tighter the fabrics weave the better it shields UV rays. Genius, right?!
Whether your baby has a full head of hair or none; their head needs protection. Baseball hats are cute and do provide some coverage but look for sunbonnets or hats with more coverage for their ears and the back of their neck. Wide brims and hats made of soft cotton are better for baby’s overall comfort and for when they lie down. Bonus for using organic cotton head coverage!
Word on the street: The earlier you start them wearing hats the more use to them they become.
Sport some shades: Check out some eye-wear for your baby’s eye protection! Look for a close fitting wrap-around style that has soft elastic to keep them in place. Run any specs by your pediatrician to avoid any safety hazards. Toy or fashion labeled sunglasses that don’t list an Eye Protection Factor (EPF), should not be used for sun protection.
Stay hydrated: Talk to your pediatrician about your baby’s hydration and anything else that needs clarification.
Make sure your baby’s caregivers also know sun care, and hey, while you’re here, check out our lightweight, light color and comfy clothes along with our scrumptious beanies and sunbonnets!
Protect your baby from the sun; we’ve got your baby covered here at Nobel Carriage!