Our favorite sun-safe strategies for a day at the beach, park or pool.
Spending time outdoors is one of summer’s greatest pleasures. If you’re heading outside with your baby, you’ll need to protect your little one from the harmful effects of the sun. Whether you’re going to the beach, park, playground or pool, providing appropriate shade is key, because a baby’s delicate skin has different needs than that of adults.
Baby’s skin contains less melanin, making him or her more likely to burn and more vulnerable to illness from overexposure to the sun’s rays. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), infants younger than six months of age should avoid sun exposure whenever possible. The AAP only recommends using small amounts of sunscreen on exposed areas for babies this young if you find yourself in an outdoor area without shade or sun-protective clothing. If your baby is more than six months old, choose a sunscreen specially formulated for use on babies to help protect his or her sensitive skin.
For sunny days with less stress, check out some of our favorite sun-safe gear.
Natural, organic baby sunblock
For babies six months of age or older – and for younger babies, when sun exposure is unavoidable – having safe, effective and organic sunscreen is key. Earth Baby SPF 30+ sunscreen is carefully crafted from non-toxic, hypoallergenic and certified organic ingredients including mineral agents like zinc oxide, which offers non-irritating, broad-spectrum physical sun protection. This gentle formulation features mango cell and honeysuckle extracts to provide anti-oxidant protection, while shea butter nourishes baby’s delicate skin. Unlike most mineral-based sunscreens, Earth Baby SPF 30+ doesn’t leave a chalky residue after application, thanks to its unique OleoSpheres® technology. Made from naturally derived organic ingredients, this pediatrician-recommended, BSE-free formula is water-resistant for up to 40 minutes. In every case, the AAP recommends doing a patch test on a small area of baby’s skin prior to application.
Go for the shade
You won’t have to worry about finding a shady spot on a sunny beach when you pack your own baby beach tent. On days when you’ll be in the sun for extended periods of time, it can provide a shady place for naptime, snack time and downtime. Look for options that are easy to assemble and break down, provide significant ventilation and UV protection, and are durable enough to stay put on a breezy day.
When you’re strolling down the boardwalk or shopping at a farmer’s market, keep baby safe by getting your stroller fitted with a sun shade. These specialized canopies are made from a heavier mesh fabric than your basic stroller awning. Not only do they offer privacy during naptime, they also provide full-body coverage against up to 97% of the sun’s UV rays.
Sun-safe baby style
Some of the most adorable styles for babies today are made from fabrics that offer built-in Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) coverage. If your little one is six months old or younger, a romper offers maximum coverage – and many styles come with snaps at the bottom for easy diaper changes. For active toddlers, UPF 50+ swimsuits and rash guards are stress-free options for a busy day at the pool.
What’s the most beach-worthy accessory to pair with a romper? A cute baby sun hat. Our favorite options include comfy designs that can be adjusted as baby grows, with chin straps, protective flaps for the back of the neck, and UPF 50+ coverage.
While sunglasses are undeniably a style statement, when it comes to protecting baby’s eyes, they’re also a beach or poolside essential. Choose brands that are designed to stand up to anything a curious, teething or playful little one can do them – with polarized lenses for 100% UV protection, durable construction and free replacement for broken frames. For younger babies, options with adjustable, elastic head straps can help keep sunglasses on during cuddle time.
 Jennifer Linder, MD, “Baby Skin Requires Extra Diligence,” https://www.skincancer.org/prevention/sun-protection/children/infants