If you’re enjoying some warm weather, you may be keen to spend time outdoors as a family. There’s nothing quite like sitting in the garden with a cold drink, paddling pool and the warmth of the sun. Your baby will benefit from some time spent outdoors too. Nature is the perfect sensory environment for small children, there are so many different things to see and experience. From the flutter of a butterfly’s wings to the feel of the grass under her feet, your baby will love exploring outside.
If the weather is nice, you’ll need to take some precautions to protect your baby’s skin from the sun’s rays. The following tips will help you to keep your baby safe in the sun this summer:
- Wear a hat
Your baby should wear a sunhat to protect her head and face from the sun. A decent sunhat will also provide shade to her shoulders and neck as well. You may find your baby enjoys removing the hat because babies can make fun games out of almost anything you don’t want them to do. If this is a problem, choose a hat with ties that can be secured under your baby’s chin, this should increase the likelihood of the hat staying on.
- Cover up
The best way to protect your baby’s skin from the sun is to keep it covered up. Beautiful as strappy sundresses may be, they won’t offer much in the way of sun protection. Opt for thin, loose-fitting long sleeved clothing to keep your baby’s skin out of the sun. Make sure your baby doesn’t get too hot by choosing thin clothes that allow plenty of movement. Carry a cardigan with you just in case the temperature drops.
- Stay in the shade
Babies under six months shouldn’t be exposed to the sun because they don’t have much melanin in their body. Melanin is the pigment that provides some protection from the sun’s harmful rays. Even after six months, you need to be careful of how much time your baby spends in the sun. The sun is at its hottest between 11 am and 3 pm, so keep your baby out of the sun during this time. The best way to enjoy time outdoors with your baby is to create a shaded area for her to play in. You could use a sun umbrella, windbreaker or play tent to create a patch of shade for your baby to explore. If your baby is crawling, however, it might be difficult keeping her in one place. Take toys and books out so you can keep your baby entertained in the shade.
- Use sunscreen
Even if you’re planning to keep your baby in the shade, you should always apply sunscreen to your baby’s skin before heading out into the sun. Babies are more sensitive to sun damage and so need a higher SPF sunscreen on their skin. Choose a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 for your baby. This will need to be reapplied every two hours throughout the day. If your baby gets wet in a paddling pool, you’ll need to reapply the lotion when she gets out to ensure adequate protection. Carry the sunscreen with you at all times during the warmer months because you never know when you’ll end up spending time in the sun.
- Stay hydrated
Babies can suffer from dehydration, so you’ll need to make sure your baby stays hydrated throughout the day. If your baby is formula fed, you should offer bottles of cooled water between feeds. If you’re breastfeeding, you won’t need to give your baby any water. However, you may notice that she feeds more frequently during hot weather to stay hydrated.
Do you have any top tips for keeping babies safe in the sun?
Written by Fiona (@Fiona_Peacock), mother, writer and lover of all things baby related.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.