Infant sun protection

Infant skin is different than adult skin. It is thinner, lighter and more sensitive. A sunburn on a baby can become a medical emergency from blisters, fever and dehydration. The best way to prevent this is to protect your baby from ever becoming sunburned.

Ways to protect your baby from the sun include:

·       Shade and shelter

o   Keep your baby out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m - These midday hours have the strongest UV radiation from the sun.

o   Shade can come from patio covers, a long hood, umbrella, trees, awnings or stroller covers.

·       Sun safe clothing

o   Lightweight, breathable long sleeve gowns or onesies offer some protection.

o   Hats and sunglasses also help to protect the delicate skin of the eyes, scalp and face.

·       Road safety

o   Keep your baby protected from the sun by applying a UV-blocking shade or film to the window closest to your car seat.

o   Keep your baby hydrated and cool on the road.

You may be wondering about using sunscreen for your baby and the best answer is that it should be used with caution. The US Food and Drug Administration and the Skin Cancer Foundation only recommend sunscreen for babies older than six months of age. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests small amounts of sunscreen on exposed skin, but only if appropriate clothing and shade are not available.

This is because your baby’s skin is thinner and more sensitive, meaning the chemicals in skin products can go deeper and create skin reactions. Sunscreen should not be ingested and babies may lick or suck sunscreen from fingers, toes or other reachable body parts.

There are many ways to protect your baby from the damaging effects of the sun. The earlier we protect our children, the more likely they will continue sun safety actions throughout their lives. With more than two million people diagnosed with skin cancer in the United States every year, these good habits can keep them safe over their lifespan.

Always consult your pediatrician or your baby’s family practice provider for the best information for your baby. If you need a health care provider for you or your baby, please call Lovelace Care Concierge at 505.727.2727 to schedule an appointment.

As always, reach out to Labor of Love for support accessing community resources before, during or after your delivery. Our goal is to provide our families with the best resources our community has to offer. / 505.727.7677

Submitted by Kym Halliday Clear, RN / Manager Outpatient Programs, Lovelace Women’s Hospital.


1.       American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Environmental Health. Ultraviolet light: a hazard to children. Pediatrics 104(2) 1999:328-333.//

2.       Rudy SJ. Skin care for infants and young children: using new evidence to address common myths. Medscape Education. Available at://

3.       Hoath SB. Physiologic development of the skin. In: Polin RA, Fox WW, Abman SH, eds. Fetal and Neonatal Physiology. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2004.

4.       Consumer Updates. Should you put sunscreen on infants? Not usually.// Last updated June 25, 2012; visited April 30, 2013.

5.     American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Figures 2011.//

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