When babies are under six years of age, their skin is about as tender and perfect as it ever gets. It has very little melanin – the pigment that causes the skin to look darker – meaning that there’s very little in the way of protection from UV rays. So, naturally, you’ll need them to wear kid’s sunscreen, right?
Actually, no, that’s not the case because until they reach the 6-month milestone, they should always be kept in the shade – meaning that sunscreen isn’t even in the picture.
Clothing Instead of Kid’s Sunscreen
Rather than bothering with trying to safely apply sunscreen to your baby’s delicate skin, you should be looking to cover them – meaning putting light-colored, loose-fitting clothing on. That should be topped off with a wide-brimmed hat, too, so that your little one’s face, neck and shoulders are also properly shaded from the sun.
Not only does putting on clothing like this make your baby look amazingly cute, it will also ensure that you’re not always worrying about how long you’ve been outside.
Avoid The Day’s Hottest Hours
Another way you can protect your baby’s skin is by avoiding the times of the day when the sun is highest in the sky and at its most intense. This generally happens between 10 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon, but again, it’s about covering up instead of considering putting kid’s sunscreen on them.
Most good strollers will have a sun cover that you can use or some kind of parasol to shade your baby. Combined with those loose-fitting clothes we mentioned earlier and you get a setup that gives your bundle of joy all the shade he or she needs.
But It’s Ok to Use it After 6 Months?
Absolutely it’s ok to use after 6 months of age, although that doesn’t mean you can forget about all your young kids using clothing and shade. Rather, it means that you should be gently introducing sunscreen into the equation – particularly as they grow older and you’re spending more time in the outdoors.
Whatever you do, however, the aim is always to stop your baby from getting burnt, as it can actually turn into a very real medical emergency. We’d recommend, for the first year or two, routinely using clothing, shade AND sunscreen to protect the hands feet and arms.
Use Kid’s Sunscreen As the Manufacturer Intended
So, when it comes down to it, you should be remembering these basic facts; 1) children under the age of six months shouldn’t wear it because they’re not ready to go into the sun just yet, 2) your main aim is stopping sun exposure, so while you can’t use sunscreen, you can use shade, parasols, hats and clothing, and 3) avoid the middle of the day when the sun is at its peak.
Follow these rules, and you won’t have to go through the misery of dealing with a baby with sunburn. What’s more, your little one won’t be put at higher risk of developing cancer later in their lives – something that jumps dramatically after just one bout of sunburn.
After 6 months, it’s something to consider, but before then, just do everything you can to ensure they’re never in direct sunlight – even when they’re indoors. UV rays can do just as much damage through a window as when you’re outside, so always have this in mind.