How Much Time Can Baby Be in the Sun?
One of my favorite memories from when my kids were babies was the slow time we had together. Walks around the park. Swinging on the swings. Splashing at the pool.
But at the very same time, one of my biggest baby worries was how much time should baby really be in the sun?
I reached out to Anne Hartman, PA-C, to find out the exact answer to this all-important question.
Anne Hartman, PA-C is a wife, a mom of thee, and has been a Family Medicine Physician Assistant for 11 years. So she’s like the smartest new friend you and I should be adding to our friend group.
Hartman explains that baby sun exposure depends on several factors. I’ll break them all down right here.
3 Things To Consider About How Much Time Baby Spends In The Sun
Hartman says, “babies under 6 months should not be in direct sun for any extended amount of time.” This is so good to clarify and understand! The how-to, however, may feel tricky. So Hartman digs into that as well. She says, “It’s important to have young infants in the shade or make use of protective options including sun umbrellas, sun hats, and SPF clothing or bathing suits.” I love these tips so very much because they’re a great reminder that there are so many resources available to us to keep babies safe in the sun!
Now, how about slightly older babies? Hartman explains that babies over six months should not be exposed to the sun for more than 30-60 minute increments depending on the day and temperature. She also says that babies should always be protected with 30+ SPF and sun-protective clothing. Such great rules and reminders, right?
Time Of Day
I actually remember considering the time of day for my own (now cringe-worthy!) sun tanning habits of my youth! But when it comes to baby, timing absolutely matters. Hartman says, “It’s best to try to avoid being in the sun during the hours of 11:am – 4:pm, which is typically when the sun is the hottest and the UV rays are their strongest.” I love how clear this timeline is — it makes it simple to remember and to make this non-negotiable.
Because sometimes schedules and activities are out of our (Mama) control, Hartman also adds, “If you are going to be out during that 11:am – 4:pm time, limit the time in direct sunlight and try to find shade as often as possible.”
Type Of Day
It’s such an easy-to-fall-for myth that cloudy days don’t “count” as sun exposure, so I was so glad that Hartman addressed this one. She said, “A significant amount of sun rays can get through clouds, so people need to take care to reapply sunscreen on those days.”
And, of course, those bright, sun-shiny days that we all long for, require our extra sun-care attention. Hartman says, “On hot days with lots of sun, sunscreen should be applied more frequently and infants should be placed in shade as much as possible.”
The bottom line is taking care of our precious babies’ skin as best as we know how to! Hartman summed it up perfectly with, “Infants and toddlers have sensitive skin and are not able to regulate their body temperature as well as adults so they have a higher likelihood to get sunburned or overheated quickly.”
I don’t know about you, but I feel so very much more confident making sun-based decisions for baby with Hartman on my side!