The summer weather here in New England has been perfectly glorious and sun-drenched the last few weeks. I’ll find just about any excuse to get out of the house and soak up the sun with my son, whether it’s just a quick walk downtown or an afternoon at the park. At Judah’s one-year checkup, our pediatrician told us that with the bright sunny summer days ahead, there’s plenty we can do to make sure that Judah stays safe in the sun.
Here are the 7 sun safety tips we use with our toddler every time we’re outdoors, so Judah can keep on having sunshine-y fun all summer long!
7 Summer Fun Safety Tips for Toddlers
1. If you’re going to be outside for more than 30 minutes with your little one, sunblock is a must.
Babies’ and toddlers’ skin is particularly sensitive to the sun, and they can get a sunburn must faster than you realize, even on a cloudy day. Our pediatrician recommended a sunscreen or sunblock of at least SPF 15 that protects from both UVA and UVB rays. Some summer baby and toddler clothing, such as bathing suits and rash guards, have SPF protection built right in them, but it’s still a good idea to slather on a layer of sunblock on all exposed skin.
2. Don’t forget the back of baby’s ears…
…And nose, neck, cheeks, shoulders and toes too! Make sure you get cover all of the high points on your toddler’s body that are more likely to be exposed to the sun. Also, if your little one is wearing flip flops or sandals, it’s not a bad idea to spritz some sunblock on baby’s feet, too. (I am notoriously guilty for forgetting to put sunblock on my feet, with flip flop tan lines all summer long!)
3. Hats: functional and fashionable!
Who doesn’t love a baby in hats? With such bright sunny days, I make sure that Judah has a hat on his head anytime we leave the house now, even with his umbrella stroller. Sometimes it’s a battle of trying to keep Judah’s hat on his head – one of his favorite “games” is to pull it off and drop it on the ground – but it’s important to keep his head covered. He’s got a pretty thick head of hair, but his luscious locks won’t protect him from the sun as well as a hat will. We have two nice wide-brimmed hats so that both his head and neck are covered.
4. Drink up, baby!
If you’re hot and thirsty, chances are, your toddler is just as parched for something cold to drink. I always make sure I have a sippy cup on hand when we go out. Many times, I’m able to buy a bottle of ice cold water that Judah is so grateful for when I hand it to him. It’s easy to get quickly dehydrated on really hot days, so I always make sure that we both stay refreshed with cold beverages.
5. Remember the three L’s: Lightweight, Light-colored, Long sleeves.
On especially hot days, it might seem counterintuitive to dress your little one in long sleeves or long pants, but it really helps in protecting his or her skin from the sun. The key is to make sure those long sleeves and pants are lightweight, light-colored materials such as cotton or linen. There’s a reason seersucker is so popular in the summer!
6. “Waterproof” sunblock doesn’t mean it’ll last all day, so don’t forget to reapply.
Most waterproof sunscreens and sunblocks really only last about 30 minutes, so it’s important to reapply liberally if your toddler has been splashing around at the pool or beach. Don’t forget that sweat too contributes to the limited time span for waterproof sunblocks, so even if your child hasn’t been in the water that much, chances are they may have sweated off a good bit already.
7. Remember these sun safety tips even on the cloudy days.
Yes, it’s totally possible to get a sunburn even on a partly cloudy or overcast day. Scientists have even observed on partly cloudy days, UV rays can actually be stronger than on a clear day, so it’s especially important to make sure that you and your little one have adequate protection from the sun’s rays when enjoying summer fun outdoors, cloudy or otherwise.