Protecting your baby in the sun
The tips you need to ensure your baby is protected when out in the sun
We all love to be out and about in the sun, soaking up warmth and Vitamin D, but it's important for new parents to be very careful to keep their baby’s delicate skin safe. It can be painful and dangerous to expose your new baby to too much sun with dangers of sunburn, overheating or even increased risk of skin cancer later on in life. It’s therefore really important to make sure your baby is properly protected from the sun’s ultraviolet rays (UV), even on cloudy days.
Babies under six months old should be kept out of direct sunlight, taking particular care around noon when the sun is highest in the sky and shining most strongly. This is because they haven't had a chance to produce enough melanin which provides pigmentation and protection.
Cover up with sun safe clothes
Protect your baby by dressing them in sun safe clothes. Depending on their fabric, content, colour and weave, clothes range greatly in their ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) rating. Also consider how much skin you can realistically cover.
A very basic test of how sun safe a garment is, is to hold it up to the light, and see how much, if any, gets through; the more light generally indicates more UV will be getting through to the skin. Fabrics such as dark denim or close knit lycra offer far more protection than chiffon or some knits, and some clothes give a UPF rating.
Remember that sun often equals a hot day, so choose clothes that will be comfortable but still provide the most suitable level of protection.
Shade your baby
Keep direct sunlight off your baby by sheltering them from the sun when you’re out and about. Hats can shade your baby’s head and neck if you choose styles including neck and ear flaps or a wide brim. Use a parasol or sunshade on your pram when you’re on the move.
Ideally you should sit inside, but find a tree or awning to shade your little one under if you’re not. Keep an eye on the sun as you might have to reposition your baby as the shadows move throughout the day.
If you’re somewhere bright be sure to shield your baby’s eyes using sunglasses. Just make sure that the shades you choose have the CE mark, as this guarantees they offer UV protection.
Use SPF 15+ suncream
Suncream can protect your baby from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Cover any parts of your baby’s body not covered by sun safe clothes with Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 30 or 50, even on days with cloud as UV rays still come through.
Be sure to pat the suncream until it is fully absorbed, and make sure you haven’t missed any spots; tinted sunscreens make areas without protection more visible.
When playing in or around water use a waterproof suncream, and reapply it every time they’re towelled off.