We love our son... and the sun, too. We spend countless hours playing in the backyard, building sandcastles at the beach and swimming each summer. Monkey did not inherit my olive skin, and he turns red just thinking about being exposed to the sun. Chunky has a natural tan, but it is still important to keep him in the shade and put on his sunscreen before we go out. One blistering sunburn during childhood can double your baby's chance of developing melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer.
Sun Safety Tips:
1.) Apply a broad-spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen 30 minutes before heading outside on all children over 6 months of age. If your child is under 6 months keep them in the shade and away from damaging sun rays. A newborn's skin is too sensitive for sunscreen. If your tiny little one has to be out in the sun, apply baby sunscreen only to areas directly exposed to the sun. Cover baby in loose, cotton clothing as much as possible.
2.) Look for products containing zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. Avoid products containing Vitamin A or oxybenzone. If you have questions regarding the safety of your sunscreen or would like to see how yours compares, check out: Best Beach and Sport Sunscreens from ewg.org for a comprehensive list of the safest sunscreens on the market and product comparison ratings. Lotions and creams are better than sprays - but anything is better than nothing!
3.) Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours. Sweat and water decreases it's efficacy. Remember to cover the often forgotten areas - ears, neck, feet, and cowlicks!
4.) Wear UVA/UVB protective clothing like the long-sleeved rash guard Monkey has on in his flying sun pictures. Look for swim garments and rash guards that have UPF 30+ on their tags for extra protection.
5.) Head for the shade during the peak hours of 10am and 4pm. If that isn't possible invest in a tent or canopy for the backyard/beach/park to provide a cool, shady place to play while you are outside.
Disclaimer: I do not recommend throwing your son high enough to reach the sun... It will result in a really bad sunburn.