How to Protect Your Baby’s Skin This Summer
The harsh summer sun is a formidable foe for everyone, but especially for your newborn baby. Babies’ skin is very delicate, so it’s important to take extra care and caution when going outdoors with your bundle of joy. Applying sunscreen to a fussy rugrat can be difficult, but it’ll also save you the trouble of dealing with the woes of a painful sunburn. Aside from sunscreen, there are plenty of other ways you can make sure your baby’s skin is healthy and vibrant all summer long.
First and foremost, the best way to avoid sun damage is to stay out of the sun. This doesn’t mean you can’t take your baby outside, though. Every kid loves some time to run in the grass and soak in some sunlight, so you just need to make sure you’re doing it in a safe way.
Clothing can be a big help when protecting yourself or your baby from the sun. Be sure they have a wide brim hat that keeps their entire face, ears and neck in the shade. This can help with avoiding sunburn on particularly sensitive areas as well as keeping their eyes from being irritated in the bright light. You’ll also want to opt for clothing that covers all of their skin. Light materials like linen or summer cotton might be good options for a long sleeve shirt or summer pants. They’ll protect your baby’s skin while still allowing the cool breeze to keep them comfortable and from getting overheated.
When planning your outdoor time, try to avoid the middle of the day when the sun is highest. Usually, it’s hottest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., so plan inside activities during this time. Early morning walks through your neighborhood or evening playdates with friends are great options to get some time outside without having to worry too much about things like sunburn and heatstroke.
Finally, when you are outside, try to always find a spot in the shade. If you’re going somewhere like the beach, then you’ll want to bring an umbrella or tent to set up your spot. Try your best to keep your baby in the shade for the majority of the time you spend outside. Even in their protective clothing and with sunscreen on, the sun can still dehydrate your baby or cause sweating that might lead to chafing, so shade is your safest bet.
Summertime means sweaty babies. And sweaty babies means the potential for being uncomfortable. If you notice your baby sweating excessively in certain areas, you can use talcum powder to help absorb some of the moisture and make them feel more comfortable. Some babies, however, are allergic to talcum powder, so you can either have an allergy test done before using it or apply a small amount and watch for a reaction.
Another easy way to keep your baby happy and healthy during the summer is regular baths. Especially in hot climates, you might want to start bathing your baby more than once a day during the summer. For example, you could give them a bath after your morning walk when they might have sweat in their stroller and in the evening after a fun playdate with friends.
Make sure to use lukewarm water when bathing a baby. Hot water can scald their delicate skin and cold water might send them shivering. Use a washcloth to gently rinse their entire bodies and gentle baby soap to scrub in all their little nooks and crannies. Don’t forget about their ears, behind their knees and in the folds of their neck. These are all areas where sweat can build up and might irritate the skin.
After the bath, be sure to moisturize! Babies’ skin can get just as dry as yours, if not more so, because it’s so sensitive to all the chemicals and clothing it’s exposed to every day. When their skin is dry, it can make them more susceptible to things like sunburns or skin irritation. One popular way to keep your baby’s skin healthy is to do oil massages after bath time. Just like how you might use facial oil to keep your face looking healthy, baby oil can keep your baby’s skin glowing and soft. Use just enough to cover your baby without leaving excess on the surface of their skin.
You might not immediately think about dehydration with a baby, especially since they cannot drink water, but it’s still a concern in the summer heat. If you’ve taken all the precautions you could think of, but you still notice your baby looking flushed, acting restless or breathing rapidly, these could be signs of dehydration.
For babies younger than six months, keeping them hydrated simply means feeding them more often. They’ll get plenty of hydration and nutrition from your breast milk, so try to offer it when your baby looks like they’re getting hot. It can be even more beneficial to step inside to breastfeed so your baby can get a break from the heat as well and cool off in the air conditioning.
It might seem like a given, but always put sunscreen on your baby if you’re going out in the sun, no matter how young they are. Even with a large hat and protective clothing, sunburn is still a possibility. There are approved sunscreens for infants younger than six months that don’t have any of the harsh chemicals or irritants in other sunscreens.
You also want to make sure you’re opting for a high SPF. Baby skin is much more delicate than yours, so you want to block the most harmful sunlight you possibly can. Many infant and child sunscreens come in high SPF amounts for this reason, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a quality option to keep your baby safe.
It might seem difficult to keep your baby’s skin safe in the summer, but if you wear the right clothes, put on sunscreen, stay hydrated and take regular baths, your little one can enjoy the sun every day.