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The Blog

Sun Safety and sunscreen for babies and children

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Fun in the sun is possible with some precautions!

Everyone is at risk for sunburn, so it’s important to learn about sun safety for our little ones!

Did you know that most skin damage occurs in childhood? That’s why it’s so important we take care of our baby’s skin for them and learn about sun safety.

For information on sunscreen myths, check out this post on Instagram.

So now, let’s discuss sun safety in baby’s first year!

Under six months

  • I prefer keeping them out of direct son under 6 months if possible, but sometimes this is not possible so follow the tips below!
    • Always use sun safety measures that I will discuss below.
    • A small amount of SPF 30 sunscreen is okay on the hands, cheeks, or any exposed areas if adequate clothing and shade are not available. I often times have families who are having outdoor events for an older sibling so my biggest advice is to take an umbrella, go underneath a big tree, or create shade for optimal sun protection for our little babies.

Over six months

  • Sunscreen is recommended for any exposed areas or under clothing that is not “sun-safe.” Make sure to apply and reapply as stated on the packing (including if they get wet).
  • Continue using sun safety measures as often as possible.

Sun Safety Measures

  • It is important to avoid times when UV rays are strongest. This would be 10 am to 4 pm in the U.S.
  • Make sure that if you’re able to, you utilize the shade of a tree, umbrella, or stroller canopy.
  • Dress babies in lightweight clothing that covers their arms and legs (some clothing has a UPF rating: sun-safe) and use brimmed hats that provide shade to the neck, if going to be outside for a day of fun in the sun! For older children, hats and longer sleeves are useful too such as UPF Swim wear.
  • Monitor your comfort and their comfort: If you’re too hot, they’re likely hot too! Monitor their hydration and behavior. If they are seeming listless, tired, or showing signs of exhaustion it’s important to listen to this and move indoors into cooler temperatures.

And remember, we will still need protection from UV rays on overcast days!

Sunscreen Tips: What to look for in sunscreens for babies and children

  • Broad-spectrum coverage (this blocks out UVA and UVB rays)
  • SPF 30-50
  • Water-resistant
  • Ingredients like zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide (these are mineral or physical sunscreens. Mineral sunscreens are preferred for younger children as they sit on the skin rather than get absorbed in; however in a bind–a non-mineral sunscreen is okay!) I discuss more about sunscreen and the composition and formulation of sunscreen on this podcast episode! Check out this blog for more about chemical vs mineral sunscreens.
  • Great for sensitive skin
  • I prefer lotion when purchasing a sunscreen, although spray sunscreen may be easier. If using spray sunscreen, make sure you apply outdoors to limit inhalation.

Sunscreen tips to remember!

  • Apply sunscreen 15 minutes before going outside. This is ideal, but in real-life I know it’s not always possible. Do your best!
  • Reapply every two hours (or as stated on packaging).
  • Reapply after getting wet.
  • Rub into skin and don’t forget the ears, nose, cheeks, back of the neck, and exposed scalp where hair doesn’t cover. Mineral sunscreens may leave a white sheen that may not rub in. Even as a person with darker skin, I personally don’t mind it as it reminds me of summer and is a physical reminder that Ryaan has sunscreen on. I use a make-up brush to get Ryaan’s nose, ears, and spots on his scalp where his hair whorls are located.
  • Don’t forget other sun safety measures. Sunscreen is a part of the other layers of protection such as shade and clothing choices.

My favorite sunscreens are below. I usually use lotions vs. sprays out of personal preference. All of these have broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection and contain ingredients great for babies and older.

We use Coppertone Pure and Simple Baby for us too! 

Which sunscreen you ultimately end up buying may be based on your own research or your baby’s skin type. With all skincare products, patch-test a small area of your baby’s skin with the sunscreen before using as indicated. 

Checkout this podcast episode where I discuss the research and development behind children’s sunscreen.

P.S. – Follow the PDT Instagram, where I provide posts, fun reels and even highlights on different topics – including an entire SAFETY HIGHLIGHT!

Dr. Mona Admin

Hi there!

I’m a Board Certified Pediatrician, IBCLC, and a mom of two.

I know the ups and downs of becoming a mom and raising kids.

I help moms ditch the worry and second-guessing so you can find more joy in motherhood.


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All information presented on this blog, my Instagram, and my podcast is for educational purposes and should not be taken as personal medical advice. These platforms are to educate and should not replace the medical judgment of a licensed healthcare provider who is evaluating a patient.

It is the responsibility of the guardian to seek appropriate medical attention when they are concerned about their child.

All opinions are my own and do not reflect the opinions of my employer or hospitals I may be affiliated with.