Long, lazy, summer days spent outside are the best. Nothing beats fresh air and a little sunshine! But when you have a baby, ensuring that she’s safe from the sun’s rays is crucial. Luckily, there are lots of ways to get outside and still keep your baby safe. Here are ten of sun safety rules to live by this summer.

Photo: Heather Dixon

1. Find sun protective swim wear that’s UPF 30 or higher. Buying cute, tiny-human-sized swimsuits for your baby is really fun. But the key to keeping your baby safe in the sun is covering them up with sun protective swim wear. Look for swim wear that has a UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) of 30 or higher for the best protection.

2. Try to choose one-piece, full-coverage swimsuits. The more exposed skin there is, the more that needs to be slathered with sunscreen, and therefore, the more you’ll have to struggle with a wriggly baby. Plus, one-piece, full-length swimsuits are super cute these days! And many of them cover all the important parts: shoulders, neck, back, torso, arms and legs.

3. Get a really great sunscreen – and reapply often. The search for the perfect sunscreen for your family can be a tough one – but after you find the right type for you, be sure to reapply after swimming, or approximately every two hours if you’ll be outside all day long. Tip: Set your phone’s alarm to remind you when it’s time. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that in general, infants 6 months and younger shouldn’t wear sunscreen – so if you can, stick to shade and protective clothing. However, if unavoidable you can apply a small amount of SPF 15 to your baby’s face and back of hands.

 
Photo: Brad Greenlee via Flickr

 
4. Find a wide-brimmed bucket hat – preferably with a chin strap. 
Baby hats are perfect for covering up cute little noggins – especially the bald ones. But there are a few things you should definitely try to look for in your baby’s sun hat. A wide brim is key – and the wider, the better. Also look for a hat that’s made of a lightweight material that will dry quickly and also offers UV protection. A chin strap is extra helpful to hold hats in place – but try to avoid sun hats with a one-piece strap, due to safety concerns over it being a strangulation hazard. Instead, try to find a two-piece strap that attaches in the center with a clip or velcro.

5. Stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day. The sun’s rays are strongest from approximately 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. And since that’s pretty much most of the day, it can be hard to stay indoors the entire time. But if you can squeeze in a nap during this time frame, it helps to keep your little ones out of the sun at the most important time.

6. Have them stay in shady, protected spots as much as possible. If you can’t be indoors during the hottest part of the day, try a few other handy tricks for protecting them, like using a big sunshade on your stroller to keep them covered, or try to keep them in the shade under a tree or an umbrella. It’s important to remember that you can still get a sunburn in shade, since shade only provides partial protection against UV rays – so sunscreen is still key.

Photo: Dennis Jarvis via Flickr

7. Consider a sun canopy. These little tent-like canopies are great for the beach, at picnics and even camping. They do the double duty of keeping your baby out of the sun, and also providing a cool place for a nap, nursing or a quick diaper change.

8. Keep them hydrated. Keep your babes topped up with breastmilk or formula to avoid dehydration. Water is best kept to older babies and toddlers. 

Photo: Marco via Flickr

9. Try out some baby sunglasses. Protecting babes with sensitive eyes is also important when you’re out in the sun. Try sunglasses that have a band or strap to keep them on securely. When your little gets to toddler age, you’ll have lots of options for sunglasses without the band because they’ll be used to wearing them.

10. Bring everything with you, wherever you go. Don’t leave home without any of the essentials mentioned above and you won’t have to worry too much about how much sun your little one is getting. We like to keep a summer bag pretty much packed and ready to go at all times by the door so you just have to add a few things here and there before heading out for some summer fun.

What other sun safety tips do you have to share? Let us know in a comment!

–Heather Dixon