While everyone should use a sunscreen everyday to protect their skin from sun exposure, few people actually heed this advice. Sure, plenty of people slather on sunscreen when they are at the beach or in the pool, but the overwhelming majority of people fail to apply it to protect them against daily exposure. Babies, in particular, have much more sensitive skin than adults and can greatly benefit from the use of baby sunscreens.
Who Should Use a Baby Sunscreen?
Baby sunscreen lotions are typically recommended for children at least six months of age, however, the American Academy of Pediatrics states that it's acceptable to use baby sunscreen on children younger than six months if there isn't a way to avoid the sun.
What Should Baby Sunscreens Contain?
Baby sunscreens should provide broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays with an SPF of at least 30. The active ingredients should contain either titanium dioxide or zinc oxide; these are less likely to cause an allergic reaction in babies. Steer clear of baby sunscreens that contain PABA. While PABA is an effective sunscreen agent, it can cause an itchy rash in both babies and adults; the best baby sunscreens are PABA-free.
Approximately 30 minutes prior to heading outdoors, apply a generous amount of baby sunscreen lotion to only the exposed areas of the body. Even the best baby sunscreen contains chemicals that a baby could have an adverse reaction to, so allow the baby's clothing to act as a sunscreen and shield the body as much as possible. Reapply every two hours or after water exposure to ensure the baby is well-protected; consider a water-resistant baby sunscreen.
Popular Baby Sunscreens
Baby sunscreens can be found online at sites like Amazon.com or at drug and grocery stores nationwide. It's helpful to read online reviews of what actual parents have to say about baby sunscreen lotions they have used. Here is just a sampling of baby sunscreens:
Blue Lizard Baby Sunscreen: A chemical and fragrance-free made with both zinc and titanium oxide, SPF 30.
Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen Lotion: A leading pediatrician-recommended brand, SPF 50.
Loving Naturals Organic Baby Sunscreen: Certified organic, with 100% natural ingredients, SPF 30.
Vivesana Baby Sunscreen: 100% natural with active moisturizers, SPF 42
In Addition to Baby Sunscreen:
- Keep your baby out of the sun during its most harmful period of the day-between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Get your baby accustomed to wearing a wide-brim hat.
- Keep your baby well-hydrated; the sun can quickly overheat a small child. Always have water handy, as well as water-soluble foods for the baby to nibble on.
- Seek shade as much as possible-use the canopy on car seats and strollers to help block out the sun.