5 Ways to Protect Your Baby from the Sun

by Julie Bookman

It’s essential to protect babies from the hot and humid Atlanta summer. We turned to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for advice.

Never, ever leave your baby in the car, even for a second.

“If you forgot something in the house and need to go get it, unbuckle your baby and take him with you,” Dr. Lennon says. “It takes only 10 minutes for a car to heat up by 10 degrees, which can be deadly in an already-hot car. Keep in mind your baby is in an insulated infant carrier or car seat, which only increases their body temperature.”

Don’t use sunscreen on babies 6 months and younger because their skin is much too sensitive.

Be sure to keep your baby out of direct sunlight as much as possible. But don’t stay indoors all the time; it’s good for babies to be outside – just keep them in the shade of trees, umbrellas, canopies, etc. If you know you’ll be in the sun with little to no shade, dress your baby in long sleeves and pants made of lightweight, breathable cotton.

Do use sunscreen on babies older than 6 months, and apply it every day, even if it’s an overcast day.

The brand doesn’t matter as much as using a product made specifically for children. Dr. Lennon adds, tha you should choose a product that’s at least an SPF of 15 or greater, and a waterproof formula. Apply sunscreen in the morning before your child gets dressed so you can be sure she’s covered everywhere. It should be reapplied every two hours and again after your child has been swimming or sweating a lot. When you reapply sunscreen, be sure to go under the hem lines or leg holes of a bathing suit and under any straps or collars.

Babies of any age should wear a hat when outdoors in summer.

Dr. Lennon recommends the hat has a 3-inch brim to protect the entire face. “While I would love to see all babies protect their eyes with UV sunglasses, the reality is that most will pull the sunglasses off within minutes,” says Dr. Lennon. That’s why it’s so important to protect the head, face and eyes with a hat.

Choose swimsuits and summer clothing with “SPF” built into them.

Dr. Lennon has seen several cases in which a child was burned through a swimsuit, so she recommends parents opt for clothing that contains the “SPF” component. But you should still apply sunscreen underneath that clothing, too.