Sun Safety for the Baby Beach Bum

When it comes to sun safety, Baz Lurhmann nailed it: “But trust me on the sunscreen.”

For informed adults, sunscreen is optional.  We know what our bodies can take – some of us tan nicely, others (such as myself) fry the second we step into the sun.  We know the risks, we know the rewards, and we make a decision.  Unfortunately, infants don’t have the experience to make that decision, nor do they have the dexterity to apply sunscreen themselves.

Both the FDA and Mayo Clinic agree that we shouldn’t be using sunscreen on infants under 6 months.  Fortunately there are plenty of options for children over 6 months, but even then it is probably best to limit exposure, so what alternatives do we have?

Sunsuit:

We found this great sunsuit from MEC.  Unlike sunscreen it won’t sweat off and is completely waterproof. The lightweight material is breathable and should help prevent your little one from overheating.

Sunglasses:

A, they’re adorable
B, they’re good for you little one’s eyes

Infant’s eyes are just as susceptible to UV radiation, and it all adds up over a lifetime.  Proper sunglasses now will help them down the road.  That said, if your little one is fighting over wearing them maybe go with a visor to keep the sun out of their eyes.

A Big Floppy Hat:

A hat will not only keep the sun off your little one’s head and out of their eyes, it will help regulate their temperature and create dramatic shadows for family photos.

The Other Bits:

So what’s left – hands, feet, ears and neck?  A little sunscreen won’t cause a problem for those bits left exposed.  Lay it on thick and don’t forget to overlap with the clothes, you don’t want a pant leg getting pulled up and leaving your little one exposed!

Even with all the sun protection available K and I took turns with who got to tan and who got to play with the Wee Baby T in the shade.  Maybe we were a little over-cautious, but dealing with sunburned infant is my definition of hell on earth!

Good luck out there.

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