Long, lazy summer days spent outside are the best. But babies’ tiny bodies and sensitive skin need careful consideration. Here are the top sun-safety rules to live by this summer, to keep your baby comfortable, covered up and well hydrated.
1. Baby sunglasses! Not only are baby sunglasses all kinds of adorable, they provide important protection against the sun’s harsh rays. If your little one likes to fling them off, try sunglasses with a band or strap to keep them on securely. We love Weefarers sunglasses (above), which come with a removable strap and carrying pouch in two sizes (age 0-2 and 2-4) and polarized or not. All styles provide 100% UVA and 100% UVB protection.
2. Choose sun-protective swimwear. The key to keeping your baby safe in the sun is sun-protective clothing. Look for swimwear that has a UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) of 30 or higher for the best protection. One-piece, full-coverage suits and rash guards cover more skin, which means less time struggling with applying sunscreen to a wriggly baby.
3. Dress in light layers. Look for breathable fabrics, like cotton, which soaks up sweat and can help keep baby cool. And dress kids in layers, covering as much of their skin as is comfortable. You can remove any excess clothing when you’re in the shade.
4. Apply, and reapply, sunscreen. Check out our favorite sunscreen for babies, and reapply after contact with water, or approximately every two hours if you’ll be outside longer than that. Pro tip: Set your phone’s alarm to remind you when it’s time for more sunscreen. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants 6 months and younger shouldn’t wear sunscreen, so keep the little ones in the shade and in sun-protective clothing instead.
5. Pop on a wide-brimmed bucket hat, preferably with a chin strap. Baby hats are important for all kids, especially little baldies. The wider the brim, the better. Also, look for a hat that’s made of a lightweight material that will dry quickly and offers UV protection. A chin strap is extra helpful to hold hats in place, but avoid the ones with a one-piece strap, due to safety concerns over it being a strangulation hazard. Instead, get one with a two-piece strap that attaches in the center with a clip or velcro.
6. Limit time in the sun during the hottest part of the day. The sun’s rays are strongest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. And since that’s pretty much most of the day, it can be hard to stay indoors the entire time. But if you can squeeze in a nap or some shade during this time frame, it helps to keep your little ones out of the sun at the time when it can be most dangerous.
7. Expand your shade options. A big sunshade on your stroller or a shady spot under an umbrella or tree can keep babies comfortable. But to protect the whole family, we love ShelterLogic’s pop-up canopies. They provide shade for 6-7 people, with ample room for playing.
8. Consider a pop-up play yard. These little tents are great for the beach, park picnics, backyard fun and camping. They do the double duty of keeping your baby out of the sun and also providing a cool place for a nap, nursing or a quick diaper change. We love the Veer Basecamp (above) for its ease of use and UPF50 protection. Here are more of our favorite play yards.
9. Keep them hydrated. Keep your babes topped up with breastmilk, formula or water (if they’re old enough) to avoid dehydration. Fresh fruit makes a hydrating snack.
10. Keep your summer bag packed. Stay ready for adventure by choosing a summer bag and keeping it mostly packed, with a change of clothes, sun hat, sunscreen and packaged snacks so you just have to add a few items to get you on your way.