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Baby 101: How to protect your baby from the sun


   Wide brimmed hats offer some protection.        by Darby Herrington
For babies and children, sun protection year-round is recommended.  During the hot summer months it is absolutely essential. 
Babies have vulnerable, sensitive skin that needs extra protection from the harmful rays of the sun.  Follow these simple guidelines to help reduce baby's risk of sun damage:
  • Infants under 6 months of age should be kept out of the sun as much as possible.  The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that sunscreen not be used on infants under 6 months of age, except in very limited quantities when necessary.  If you cannot keep them indoors or in the shade between the hours of 10 am and 4pm (they aren't vampires, after all), keep baby covered with light-weight, light-colored long sleeve shirts and pants, especially when the UV Index is at high levels.  Keep track of the UV Index and UV Alerts in your area HERE to stay informed of when you should avoid being out in the sun.  When you do go out, baby should wear a large-brimmed hat to protect his face, scalp, eyes and ears.  Depending on your infant's age, sunglasses with UV protection should also be worn.  Use an umbrella or the sun/rain shield on strollers, backpacks and carriers to provide extra shade.  Always remember that water, sand, pavement, and other surfaces can reflect harmful UV rays even when baby is in the shade.
  • Babies 6 months and up should be monitored by the same rules as younger infants above, except that sunscreen may be used regularly.  Use SPF 15 at a minimum and be sure to check your sunscreen's expiration date.  Sunscreen that has been opened for more than a year should be thrown out.  Apply sunscreen liberally and evenly, making sure to get the easy-to-miss areas such as the face, ears, back of neck, tops of feet and scalp.  Apply sunscreen before going outside and re-apply every 2 hours.

These sun protection tips apply even when it is cloudy outside as clouds only reduce UV rays by 20-40%.

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Copyright ©2010 by E. Darby Herrington.  All rights reserved.


  • Debi 5 years ago

    This is such good information! I do hope ALL the Moms and Dads out there are protecting the little ones. I wish I had protected my skin better as a lifeguard, waaaaaaaaay back in the day!

  • Rena F. 4 years ago

    Excellent article. And great picture!

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