bamama is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

When Can Babies Wear Sunscreen?

When Can Babies Wear Sunscreen

A baby’s skin is more sensitive than an adult’s. Because of that, you need to be more careful when using baby products on your newborn.

The Philippines is a tropical country. As such, it’s especially important to keep your baby’s skin protected from the sun’s harsh rays.

However, babies can only start wearing sunscreen when they are 6 months old.

In this article, I’ll be talking more about the specifics of putting sunscreen on babies.

When Is It Safe for My Baby to Wear Sunscreen?

When Is It Safe for My Baby to Wear Sunscreen

According to pediatricians and skin experts, sunscreen is safe for babies six months or older.

You can generally use products like baby lotion on babies of any age. However, this isn’t the case with sunscreen.

Putting sunscreen on those younger than 6 months can be dangerous since their skin is at its most delicate. As such, it’s better to follow extra precautions, such as staying in the shade as much as possible.

How Much Sunscreen Should You Apply to Babies? 

How Much Sunscreen Should You Apply to Babies

In general, you should apply enough to cover all exposed skin and reapply every 2 hours

Below are a few more guidelines on sunscreen application depending on how old your baby is:

Babies 6 Months and Older

For babies 6 months old or older, apply about one ounce or the size of a shot glass to the exposed skin. 

Choose a broad-spectrum SPF 15+ sunscreen. Some baby sunscreens have tear-free formulas that won’t sting when they get in your child’s eyes.

If you have a squirmy baby, you can use spray sunscreens. 

However, these should never be applied directly to the face. Instead, you can mist them on your hands, then spread them on your baby’s face. 

Babies Under 6 Months

You SHOULD NOT apply sunscreen on babies younger than 6 months since their skin is still too sensitive for that.

You shouldn’t expose them to direct sunlight yet, either. That’s because their skin still possesses little melanin, which provides some sun protection. As such, they’re more prone to sunburns.

You might encounter some products that claim to be safe for babies below 6 months. If that’s the case, you should consult your pediatrician first before adding it to your list of diaper bag essentials.

There are some cases when you really can’t keep your baby out of the sun. If so, applying a small amount to children under 6 months is okay — just be sure to minimize the use and sun exposure.

But, in general, it’s best to rely on shade and protective gear to protect your baby from the sun until they’re at least 6 months old.

Additional Tips to Protect Babies From the Sun

Additional Tips to Protect Babies From the Sun

Aside from applying the right amount of sunscreen, below are additional tips that can protect your baby from the sun:

1. Keep Your Child Away From the Sun

The simplest and most effective thing you can do is to keep your child away from the sun.

This may mean foregoing those picturesque beach days until they’re a little older. 

However, there are plenty of indoor activities that are just as fun and engaging for your baby. These range from going to the aquarium to playing with them at home.

If you really miss those outdoor vibes, you can always set up a fun picnic or playdate in the shade.

Once your baby reaches the 6-month mark, you can slowly introduce them to the sunny outside world (as long as you still take all skin safety precautions).

2. Cover Your Baby’s Skin

One of the best ways to protect your baby’s skin is to cover it with long-sleeved shirts and pants

Dress your baby in loose-fitting, lightweight clothing that covers as much skin as possible. 

Not only will our baby look absolutely adorable in those cute sun gear, but they’ll also be protected from harmful UV rays. 

Admittedly, this can feel like overkill in the summer months when it gets really hot. In that case, you can dress them however you like, but make sure they’re under a shade as much as possible.

Put on some talc-free baby powder so they don’t feel hot and sticky too.

3. Protect the Head at All Times

The soft spot on a baby’s head (also known as fontanelle or bumbunan) is particularly sensitive. 

Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight might raise the risk of sunburn, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. 

Fortunately, there’s something to keep your baby’s head protected and cute — from floppy beach hats to cute little beanies.

4. Don’t Drape a Blanket on Top of the Stroller

Parents might throw blankets over their baby strollers to shelter them from the sun. You might also want to do the same to keep your baby in the shade.

While this DIY may appear a good idea, it really is not. 

Draping blankets may provide shade, but they may also trap heat. This turns the stroller into a tiny oven which can lead to heat stroke or hyperventilation.

Furthermore, draping a blanket over the stroller might get your baby tangled in the cloth or slipping off, which can be a safety problem

When choosing strollers, pick one with a built-in canopy or a clip-on sunshade.

To keep your baby cool while they’re lying down, use baby powder since it can absorb sweat.

5. Keep your Baby Hydrated With Breast Milk

You can also keep hydrated by having them drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.

This can be in the form of water, breast milk, or formula.

It is also a good idea to give them fruits with high water content, like watermelon or cucumber. You can even make homemade popsicles using pureed fruits and breast milk. 

Frequently Asked Questions

From the right kind of sunscreen to use to alternative methods of sun protection, there are many ways to keep your baby safe from the sun.

Below, I’ve answered some FAQs that can help you navigate the literally sunny side of parenting:

What Kind of Sunscreen Is Safe for Your Baby? 

First and foremost, you must look for sunscreen specifically formulated for babies or young children. 

These sunscreens typically have gentler ingredients, making them less likely to irritate your child’s sensitive skin.

Make sure to pick one labeled “broad-spectrum” and has an SPF of 15 or higher. 

A mineral-based sunscreen that uses zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as the active ingredient is what experts recommend.

Some good products include baby sunscreens by Mustela and Johnson’s.

Avoid sunscreens with harmful chemicals such as oxybenzone. That’s because these will likely cause skin irritation and allergic reactions in our little humans.

Additionally, some sunscreens may contain insect repellents. It’s best to also avoid them. 

That’s because insect repellents may have different ingredients and concentration levels that may not be safe for babies and can irritate their skin. 

Are There Any Alternatives to Sunscreen You Can Use for Your Baby? 

Aside from the additional tips to protect babies from the sun listed above, you can also try natural alternatives like coconut oil or shea butter.

However, they have a low SPF and don’t provide a lot of protection from the sun’s rays.

You can also give your babies the right food that can help boost their skin’s natural defenses against harmful UV rays.

Baby oil isn’t an alternative to sunscreen. However, it can help moisturize your baby’s skin, which can help lower the risk of dehydration.

NOTE: If you have concerns about skin reactions to sunscreen or sun exposure for your baby, it is best to consult your pediatrician before using other alternatives. 

What Foods Offer Protection From the Sun? 

Certain foods help boost our babies’ natural defenses against UV radiation. 

Some of them include:

  • Tomatoes: contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that helps protect against UV damage.
  • Fish: especially fatty fish like salmon and tuna, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that keep the skin hydrated, and help reduce inflammation caused by UV rays. 
  • Watermelon: is also a great source of lycopene and vitamins A and C, which help protect against sun damage and boost collagen production.
  • Dark Chocolate: contains flavonoids, which help protect against sun damage and improve blood flow to the skin.
  • Herbs and Vegetables: parsley, sage, and carrots are rich in antioxidants that help protect against sun damage. 
  • Green Tea: contains polyphenols that help protect against UV damage and reduce inflammation.
  • Berries: are rich in vitamin C, which helps protect against sun damage and boost collagen production. 
  • Broccoli: this green leafy vegetable contains sulforaphane, which also helps boost the skin’s natural defenses. 
  • Almonds: contain vitamin E, which helps protect against sun damage and keep the skin hydrated.

However, while these foods may offer some protection, they are not a substitute for sunscreen

Conclusion

Babies 6 months and above can wear sunscreen safely. 

But regardless of your baby’s age, there are many ways to protect them from the sun. 

These range from keeping them in the shade to feeding them foods that can help boost their skin’s natural defenses against harmful UV rays.

Josie Mariano
Josie Mariano

Hello, my name is Josie Mariano, and I’m proud to say I’m a soon-to-be mom.
Although my partner and I are still waiting for our firstborn to arrive, we’re already doing whatever it takes to prepare for our baby’s needs.
I’ve been joining a lot of parenting forums and asking my doctors for advice on how to prepare for my baby. They’ve all been very informative and I was able to spot the areas I still need to work on.
At the same time, I also rely on my mom for tips on what to do during my pregnancy journey.
With everything that I’ve learned so far, I’d like to share these experiences to fellow parents and soon-to-be parents!