Written by Girl Birthday Gift
We live near the beach in Southern California, meaning we spend A LOT of time outside and at the beach. Meaning we use A LOT of sunscreen and take every precaution to keep our skin protected. Come to think of it, we've always lived in the sun since having babies. That's definitely over 10,000 hours of soaking up those vitamin-filled rays, which technically makes me a professional. ;)
But seriously, we have our set rules for sun safety and I want to share them with you! I remember freaking out and being completely overwhelmed about sun exposure when Luke was first born and these are my tips if you are clueless (or need a reminder) like I once was.
1. Always use a long sleeve swim shirt or full cover suit and hat on your infant until they are at least 12 months. I would even say do this until they are two years old, but that can get tricky. Wes refuses to keep a hat on, and he has figured out how to pull off the ones with the strap under the chin. If you are spending a full day at the pool or beach, I would even recommend keeping a full coverage swim shirt or suit on toddlers and little ones up to four years. Wes is one and a half and always wears one, and Luke is three and usually wears a rash guard at the beach, especially when we are there at peak hours between 11 am-2pm.
2. Apply sunscreen to your little ones every morning during the sunny months. (Or year round if you live in a warm climate like we do.) It is best to simply work it into your morning routine so it becomes a habit. I always apply an additional coat right before we leave for the pool or the beach so it has time to settle in, and we don't get sand and gunk all over the cap. (That is the worst!) I personally recommend using a heavy sunscreen cream for little ones. It should be SPF 50+ and reapplied every few hours. (I don't like the sprays—makes me feel like I am breathing in toxic air!) We have recently been using the sunscreen from Mustela, which you can get on Diapers.com. It is 100% mineral based, so it is made from natural ingredients and isn't full of synthetic garbage that can be harmful and harsh on sensitive skin. My pediatricians have always advised me to not use sunscreen until six months. I feel like that is the old general rule of thumb, but those recommendations are changing. My personal opinion? Use a safe, natural-based on an infant anytime you are in the sun. Which leads me to my next thing...
3. If you are going to be in a sunny place and you have a baby under the age of 12 months, bring an umbrella or find a shady place to sit. And that is in addition to all of the sun-protecting clothes. This may seem like common sense, but I see tiny babies out in the sun at the beach all the time without an umbrella or tent to shade them and it gives me a slight case of mom anxiety. Their skin is so sensitive and needs the utmost care and guard from the sun. Even with Wes being 18 months old, I still refuse to go to the beach without an umbrella. Yes, I will literally return and go home if I don't have it. He obviously walks around and plays now, but I only let him play for about 30-50 minutes at a time before having him take a break in the shade for a little while.
4. Make sure your kids are drinking plenty of water and fluids on the days they spend an adequate amount of time in the sun. The last thing anyone needs is for a case of heat stroke to strike. That is incredibly dangerous for a little child, and good hydration and regular breaks from the sun are key to preventing it. The recommended fluid intake for a toddler is about four cups per day.
5. Use a hydrating spray and body lotion after bathtime on the days you have spent in the sun. This helps keep the skin moisturized and smooth. Even after all of the above precautions are taken, certain areas of the skin were still exposed, which means skin damage occurred. That is what a tan is after all. It is inevitable, so it is best to put good sun safety tips for your little one into practice from the beginning.
To celebrate Mother’s Day, Mustela wants to hear from real moms like you! Head on over to their Facebook page to enter into their Mustela Moms Know Best contest to win a bundle of products (over a $100 value!). There are two winners every day, so be sure to enter into the contest daily with your tips, tricks and advice.
Hope the days ahead of you are full of sunshine!
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