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Protecting the Little Ones: A Guide to Baby Sunscreen

As we welcome the warmth of summer, it's crucial to remember that our little ones need extra care when it comes to sun protection. Babies and young children have delicate skin that requires special attention to shield them from the sun's harmful rays. One of the essential tools in our arsenal against sun damage is sunscreen. 

A baby under a towel


Why Do We Need Baby Sunscreen?

Baby and toddler skin is thinner and more sensitive than that of adults, making it more susceptible to sunburn and long-term damage.


The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) currently recommends using physical barriers above sunscreen for babies less than six months old. Physical barriers include shading objects like tents/umbrellas, stroller shades, rash guards, hats, and sunglasses. However, per the AAP, it’s better to use little sunscreen than none at all with direct sunlight exposure, even at less than six months.


Some of our favorite brands for physical barrier clothing include Honeysuckle Swim Company for rashguards and Coolibar for sun hats.


For babies over six months who are exposed to the sun, sunscreen becomes an essential tool.


Key Features to Look For in Baby Sunscreen:

  1. Broad-spectrum Protection: This means the sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays can prematurely age the skin, while UVB rays are primarily responsible for sunburn.

  2. SPF 30 or Higher: Choose a sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30. SPF 30 blocks about 97% of UVB rays, and higher SPFs block slightly more.

  3. Physical (Mineral) Sunscreen: Look for sunscreens containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as active ingredients. These minerals sit on top of the skin and physically block the sun's rays, making them less likely to cause irritation.

  4. Hypoallergenic and Fragrance-Free: Baby skin is sensitive, so opt for sunscreens that are hypoallergenic and free from fragrances and harsh chemicals that could cause irritation.

  5. Water-Resistant: Choose a sunscreen labeled as water-resistant, especially if your child will be playing in water. Water-resistant sunscreens maintain their SPF after 40 or 80 minutes of water exposure, as indicated on the label.

Favorite brands include: Think Baby, Babo Cream Sunscreen, and Hello Bello Cream Sunscreen 


Application Tips:

  • Apply Generously: Use enough sunscreen to cover all exposed skin, including the face, ears, and back of the hands. A good rule of thumb is about a shot glass (one ounce) for the entire body of a small child.

  • Reapply Frequently: Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours, or immediately after swimming, sweating, or towel drying.

  • Sun Safety Practices: Remember that sunscreen is just one part of sun safety. Seek shade during peak sun hours (10 am to 4 pm), dress children in lightweight clothing that covers their arms and legs, and don't forget wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses.


Choosing the Right Baby Sunscreen Product:

There are many sunscreen options on the market, ranging from lotions to sticks and sprays. When selecting a sunscreen, consider your child's skin type, any allergies they may have, and their age. Try to opt for a lotion for baseline. You often can see application better to prevent any spots from being missed. You can use sticks or sprays for touch ups if needed. 


Protecting our children from the sun's harmful rays is a year-round responsibility, but it becomes especially important during the sunny summer months. By choosing the right sunscreen and following proper application techniques, we can help ensure our little ones enjoy outdoor activities safely. Remember, sun protection is an investment in their long-term health and well-being.

So, as you gear up for fun in the sun with your family, make sunscreen and sun prevention a top priority.


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