Sunshine makes us feel great. It infuses us with Vitamin D, regulates our serotonin levels, reduces our stress, and pours many other vitamins directly into our bodies. Unfortunately, our babies can only soak up a limited amount of sunlight every day.
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Babies’ Eyes and Sunlight
Babies should be kept out of direct sunlight until they’re 6 months old. After that, it’s best to avoid the midday sun. Your baby’s skin will burn very easily in direct sunlight. You will need to watch carefully to make sure your baby’s soft skin only receives a few minutes of direct sunlight every day. In fact, even on a cloudy day, babies can get a sunburn after just 15 minutes of exposure.
Babies can nap in the sun for a few minutes.
In the beginning, your baby’s eyes won’t be affected too much by the sun. It feels luxurious on his skin. He will soak it up for a few minutes while he naps. After that, however, you should move him into the shade.
Light through tree leaves is the best protection.
Of course, sunlight is good for him. You can give him several hours of sunlight as long as it is indirect. Position his blanket under the canopy of a tree. Let the light filter down through the leaves to give your baby indirect exposure.
Sara’s Story: “We always go on picnics now.”
“My son, Michael, used to cry when we sat out in the hot sun. It was uncomfortable, and he was too hot under all the clothes I put on him to protect him from the sun. We finally started going to another park, one with more trees, and he played for hours there.”
The Sun in Baby’s Eyes in the Car
When you’re driving, you may notice the direction of the sunlight a lot less. Pay attention to how light enters your car from different directions. If your baby is crying while in the hot sun, this could be the reason.
Babies will cry if they are uncomfortable.
Babies will protest loudly if they are uncomfortable. They don’t have any other way to communicate with you except through crying. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that you are supposed to regulate the temperature of your body in addition to the sunlight she is getting. Make sure she is not sitting directly in the path of an air conditioning vent. Babies are particularly sensitive to extreme temperatures, even within a controlled climate.
Car seat awnings and pop-up car window shades are good.
Many car seats are designed to be converted into strollers. Even if yours is not designed for this, it probably has an awning that you can pull out to shade your baby. Make sure your baby is in the shade from all directions of sunlight entering your car. If the awning is limiting your view of your child, you can achieve the same result with a pop-up window shade. These are the kinds that are folded into circular spirals. We recommend the Enovoe car window shade from amazon. It’s rated high and should help protect your baby from sun, glare and UV Rays.
Janesha’s Story: “I thought his dark skin would be fine in the sun.”
“I always thought that black people did better in the sun than lighter people. However, my son, Jayvon, was having difficulty when I drove him back and forth from daycare. I finally realized that the sun was too hot through his car window. Ever since then, I keep a wide-brimmed hat on him at all times.”
UV Damage to Children’s Eyes
Ultraviolet radiation is not an immediate danger to children’s eyes. Kids require a great deal of sunshine, and the only risk is when they look at the sun directly. Unfortunately, this can happen accidentally more often than you would think.
Babies don’t know that they shouldn’t stare into the sun.
Babies can accidentally look up at the sun when you aren’t looking. Of course, this is not likely to happen very often because the sun is very bright. However, if your baby is positioned in a carrier without a lot of head movement, he may have a direct line of sight into the sun. Watch the angle of light on him at all times.
A blanket in light shade can be very effective.
Playground equipment, bushes, and trees can all create a nice, light shade. Set up a blanket partly in the direct sunlight and partly in the light shade. This way, your baby can move around slowly in and out of the light as she is comfortable.
Andrea’s Story: “Once my daughter started crawling, sunlight came naturally to her.”
“I used to worry about my daughter, Sally because she can tan very easily. I wanted to make sure that she wasn’t sunburning. However, once she started crawling, the problem went away on its own. She would crawl in between shade and the sun whenever it felt good to her. The problem was solved.”
Baby Sun Exposure Time
Your baby should be getting about five minutes of direct sunlight per day. All other times of the day, he should be covered or have sunblock on him. Make sure to avoid direct sunlight until after 6 months of age.
There are good things your baby can get from sunlight.
Your child will receive Vitamin D, a strengthened immune system, and better-regulated serotonin levels when he is in the sun a lot. It is worth it to get a little bit of exposure every day.
Margarita’s Story: “I had no idea that my son could get a sunburn. Now I do.”
“I’m a Hispanic mom. I didn’t think my son could get a sunburn. After he started to look rosy, I still took him outside but for much shorter periods.”
Can Babies Wear Sunglasses?
Every kind of baby clothing is available to purchase. Yes, even sunglasses for babies have come out. Is this a good idea for you?
A baby can move sunglasses easily.
It’s not a good idea. Even if you find a perfect little pair for him, he can easily move his head around and twist the sunglasses on his head. This can actually be painful if the sunglasses are wedged between his head and the baby carrier or car seat.
We’ve found one way around this is to get something like the Baby BANZ infant sunglasses. These are meant for children ages 0-2 and use a wrap around design to make sure they stay on.A floppy hat is a good option for children under four.
Every child under four should have a nice, floppy hat that protects more than their eyes. Their floppy hat will protect their face, neck, and part of their shoulders, too. We recommend the “i play. Flay Sun Protection Hat“. It’s rated the best, provides sun protection and is inexpensive.Janey’s Story: “She was so active, I had to tie her hat under her chin.”
“My daughter was always on the move. She never stopped! I finally had to make a light elastic tie and tie it under her chin. The elastic had to be very loose, though. I didn’t want it to pull on her neck if it got pushed back.”
Side Effects Of Sunscreen On Infants
Sunscreen can be a balancing act when it comes to your baby. On the one hand, you don’t want to be using very many chemicals on your baby’s skin. On the other hand, you want to prevent sunburn. First Cry Parenting discusses the health benefits of having your baby in direct sunlight. Sunscreen would be natural to use on a fairly regular basis.
Our recommendation for baby sunscreen is Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen SPF 50+. It’s rated the best out of all children’s sunscreen on Amazon and is a strong SPF 50+.You don’t want too much chemical buildup on your infant, but make sure the SPF is strong enough!
You will want to use sunscreen that is specifically designed for infants. Baby sunscreen is designed to be sensitive to your baby’s sensitive skin. It is also designed to be protective against more than five minutes in direct sunlight per day.
Rinse sunscreen off your baby as soon as you bring him inside.
This is a great way to make sure that it is not soaking too much into your child’s system. Just use a soft, warm washcloth and gently rub away any residue after you bring her back inside.
Amber’s Story: “I freckle a lot myself. I used a higher SPF on my daughter.”
“I know you’re not supposed to use very much sunscreen on your baby. However, I have red hair and pale, freckled skin. My daughter is just like me. I use a higher-than-recommended SPF on her skin, and she’s been fine with it. I’m glad we can finally play in the mud together.”
Coconut Oil As Sunscreen For Babies
Coconut oil is both a protective layer for dry skin and a light skin tanner. You can put some coconut oil on your baby’s exposed skin to keep it hydrated and healthy during play in the sun.
If you decide to go the Coconut Oil route for your baby, we recommend the Coconut Baby Oil Organic Moisturizer by Coconut Essentials. It’s the best rated baby specific coconut oil on Amazon.Coconut oil can help keep her skin from drying out.
While coconut oil cannot actually prevent sunburn, it can still prevent an early burn. By keeping your baby’s skin well oiled, he’s more likely to get a little tan before the risk of sunburn arrives. Always use coconut oil on exposed skin when there’s a family outing.
Michelle’s Story: “My son’s skin used to get so dry. I finally protected it with baby oil.”
“My son, Sam, was always so dry and flaky. I found that coconut oil was a great alternative to sunblock when I just wanted to keep him a few minutes longer in the sun.”
In conclusion, your baby and the sun should meet each other regularly. However, babies cannot take as much sunlight as adults can. Begin with five minutes every day. When a tan or tolerance sets in, increase to ten minutes of full exposure, direct sunlight per day. Do not go above ten minutes until she’s a toddler. Happy Playing!