As a travel writer, I am lucky enough to visit warm weather destinations. Although I adore the vitamin D that I get from the sun, I also have to remember that the suns rays can be harmful. I try to wear a hat, put on sunscreen and take breaks from the sun by spending some time in the shade. I will admit, however, I am not as diligent as I should be.
Although this works for me, I will need to make some adjustments when my baby arrives. Babies have sensitive skin and too much exposure can cause heat stroke, fever, dehydration and pain, not to mention long-term damage. 
Luckily, here are some tips to keeping your baby safe in the sun:
- Wear a hat
Choose a hat with a brim that covers your baby’s face, neck and shoulders. As babies love to pull off clothing (this can very easily turn into a game), try to choose a hat that secures under their chin.
- Cover up
Dress your baby in light, loose fit clothing to avoid heatstroke and sun damage. There are many different options when it comes to dressing your baby for the beach. Swimwear such as rompers, rash guards and board shorts let skin breathe and offer UV protection for your baby. If your baby will wear sunglasses, give those a try too.
- Stay in the shade
Because of your baby’s sensitive skin, it is best to spend time in the shade and out of direct sunlight. In a park, this could be under a tree but on the beach, you may have to make your own shade with an umbrella or canopy from your stroller. It is recommended that babies under six months avoid the sun altogether.
- Check sunscreen use with your physician
Most recommendations advise against using sunscreen for infants, since the skin is very delicate. Medical advice typically recommends that infants avoid being out in direct sunlight, especially between 10 am-2 pm. If it is going to be difficult to avoid direct sunlight, you should check with your physician on which sunscreen brands might be best. Ask about products that are chemical free and if they recommend a ‘broad spectrum.’ This means that it will protect against both UVA and UVB rays. You will need to pay attention to SPF. Most recommendations for children are for SPF over 15 and up to a maximum of SPF 30. Anything above that and your baby could be getting more amounts of unwanted chemicals. Ensure that the sunscreen hasn’t reached its expiration date. If your physician has suggested a sunscreen, you could try a testing a small amount on baby’s skin first to check for sensitivity. Also ask about applying the sunscreen – you want to provide good protection to exposed skin, but minimize sensitivity.
- Stay hydrated
Finally, stay hydrated! Just like adults, babies need fluids to keep them cool. If you are breastfeeding, offer your baby milk more often. The same goes for bottle fed babies. Keep their formula cool if you can and expect to feed them more than usual. Your baby will not need water in addition to milk. A hydrated baby is a happy one.
This summer, enjoy the time outside with your little one. Explore parks, beaches, picnics and more. Do remember that your baby’s skin is sensitive and proper sun protection will ensure that you are your baby enjoy fun in the sun all summer long.
Natalie Preddie is a Ddrops guest blogger. She is also a freelance writer who lives with her husband and dog in Toronto. They are expecting their first baby in September and they couldn’t be happier! Natalie has been published in the Toronto Star, Star Touch Magazine, PAX Magazine, Vv Magazine,The Baby Post and her popular travel blog, The Adventures of Natty P. Natalie believes that travel is the best education possible and encourages family and friends to explore, discover and learn in order to grow. Natalie also believes in finding deeper solutions in mind/body instead of just treating symptoms. In 2014, Natalie won the Canadian Public Relations Society: Young PR Pro of the Year Award. This year, Natalie won Travel Writer of the Year 2015 for her series on Ontario’s Norfolk County.