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Sunscreen for Babies?

Should you be putting sunscreen on your baby this summer? The answer depends on the age.

Younger than 6 months

Babies younger than 6 months should NOT wear sun screen. Instead, parents should employ other methods of sun protection such as:

  • Keeping them out of direct sunlight
  • Protective clothing
  • Hats with brims
  • Sunglasses

Older than 6 Months

If your baby is 6 months or older, they should wear sunscreen and lots of it! When putting sunscreen on babies, make sure to:

  • Pick an SPF of at least 15
  • Reapply every 2 hours (more if they’re in the water)
  • Use sunscreen that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as to avoid skin and eye irritation

Sunscreen Guidelines

Broad Spectrum

To help narrow down your choices, pediatrics doctors recommend that you always select a broad-spectrum sunscreen. These types will help to provide the best overall protection against both types of harmful ultraviolet rays, which include UVA and UVB.

Sunburn Protection Factor (SPF)

The SPF tells you the amount of protection provided against UVB rays specifically, which are the rays that cause burning. For example, a bottle with SPF 15 tells us that a person can be exposed to the sun 15 times longer than someone that hasn’t applied this sunscreen before they start to burn. Choose an SPF with a minimum of 30 for kids.

UVA Protection

While there is no rating used for UVA rays, which are the rays that cause aging of the skin, there are products that can offer protection from these harmful rays. Choose sunscreens that contain avobenzone and ecamsule.

Water Resistant/Water Proof

To ensure that sunscreen stays on and protects your child while they play outdoors, especially while swimming, it is important that you select a water resistant or water proof sunscreen. Water resistant sunscreens maintain their protection levels for approximately 40 minutes upon immersion in water. After this time, it is necessary to reapply. Water proof sunscreens last a little longer, with a time of about 80 minutes.

A portion of this blog was originally posted on June 6, 2014.

Posted in Baby Care, Blog, Safety on May 21st, 2018