If you’ve been on any mommy blogs lately then you’ve probably seen the great sunscreen debate…ahem…wars. “Store bought is toxic!”…“I love the spray stuff!”…“Use coconut oil!”… “I will not put anything on my children!” The opinions are numerous.
We’re not here to get into a debate, but instead to give you some practical information, regardless of whether you’re choosing to use sunscreen on your littles or not.
According to the FDA, CDC, and Pediatricians across the board, avoiding the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. is best. During this window the UV rays are at their peak. If you do choose to be outside during this time of day stay in the shade as much as possible, wear protective clothing on you and babes, wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, and stay hydrated.
*These seersucker hats and diaper covers from Pottery Barn Kids are stinkin’ adorable, if you ask us.
If you do choose to use sunscreen, use a broad spectrum lotion with an SPF between 15-50. The higher SPF sunscreens don’t actually protect you any better, but often contain anti-inflammatory ingredients that will keep your skin from reddening, but still expose you to the UVA and UVB rays. They also trick you into thinking you can stay out longer without reapplying. Not cool. And while the spray on sunscreen can be super convenient, doctors warn that they do not provide an even protection and can be inhaled causing harm to your lungs. If you’re going the more natural route with your sunblock and using zinc based products, make sure to keep them away from you pups, as zinc is toxic to dogs. Whatever sunblock you use, pediatricians discourage putting any your babies under 6 months of age. Their little bodies aren’t as mature as their older counterparts (shocking, right?) and are more susceptible to skin reactions.
If the no sunscreen route is for you, use light-colored, loose-fitting clothing that covers most of the body. There are some pretty nifty clothes out there with UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) for you and your littles. Check out Coolibar, they have lots of great options for the whole family!
And don’t forget to stay hydrated! This means drinking lots of non-caffeinated (sorry Cold Brew) fluids before you plan to go outside, and while you’re out continuing to drink so you get thirsty. If you’re in the sun with an infant make sure and give them breastmilk or formula as often as you can. Babies and children get overheated faster than adults because their surface area is smaller and need to remain hydrated to be protected. Having your kids take several big gulps of water every 20 mins is a good rule of thumb.
Whatever method you choose to protect yourself and your kiddos stay safe, drink that H2O, and have fun! It’s only getting hotter from here…