Baby Sun Safety Tips You Need for the Beach and Beyond (2024)

Need baby sun safety tips for an outdoor adventure? I have all the information you need to have a successful day with baby outside!

So, you’re taking your brand new baby outside and you’re freaking out.

I get it. I was there too.

It’s overwhelming. It’s scary.

But the Type A mama that I am, I have researched the whole internet about this topic, and I’m going to tell you all about it.

Like everything with babies, it just involves a little bit of planning. I cover everything from the best ways to keep your baby cool and hydrated to choosing the right sunscreen and protective clothing.

So, keep reading and get ready to take that baby outside!

Key Takeaways

  • Babies have delicate skin that’s more susceptible to sunburn and UV damage. Shade, proper clothing, and sunscreen are necessary.
  • Avoid the hottest part of the day when the sun is strongest, between 11am and 3pm.
  • Babies can’t regulate their body temperature yet, making them prone to overheating. Offering liquids frequently, taking breaks, and a cool mister help.

Table of Contents

Fast Facts: Sun Safety for Baby

0 – 6 months:

  • The sun is strongest during peak hours, 11am – 3pm. Limit direct sun exposure during that time.
  • No sunscreen for babies under 6 months—always seek shade for infants under 6 months old.
  • Baby should be dressed in lightweight clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses.
  • Babies can’t regulate their body temperature, so overheating is possible. Liquids should be offered frequently.

6 – 12 months:

  • All the protection methods explained above still apply, however now sunscreen use should be incorporated.
  • Choose sunscreen designated for infant skin, with a minimum SPF of 30, UVA/UVB protection, hypoallergenic and fragrance-free. Apply before going outside and reapply every two hours or after swimming or excessive sweating.

⚠️ Heading to the beach for the first time? ⚠️
Check out these posts for everything you need to know:

Tips for Taking Baby to the Beach
Beach Gear Must Haves
Best Beach Hacks for Toddlers and Babies

taking baby to the beach requires some extra preparation but is totally worth it!

8 Baby Sun Safety Tips

1. Get in the Shade

This is THE BEST, most effective way to protect baby from the sun’s rays.

Babies have very delicate and sensitive skin so they should be kept out of direct sunlight as much as possible.

Look for natural shade under trees, bring a beach umbrella, pop-up tent, or rent a cabana.

You should also use strollers or wagons with an umbrella and even better if they have mesh sides too!

2. Know the Safest Sun Hours

Limit baby’s sun exposure as much you can during peak hours and highest UV index times—between 11am and 3pm. That’s when the sun’s rays are strongest.

You’ll avoid the hottest part of the day, make it easier for them to stay cool, and keep baby from overheating or getting dehydrated.

There are products that can help with knowing how hot is too hot for baby—you can put these sun dots on your body after applying sunscreen and they turn purple when they detect UV rays. That way you’ll know to get in the shade, reapply sunscreen, or cover up.

3. Cover Baby’s Skin

Cover that tender baby skin up!

Dress them in loose-fitting, breathable clothing with long sleeves, and long shorts or pants. Rash guards (basically long sleeve swim shirts) are best for swimwear. Consider beach shoes to protect baby’s feet from the sun AND hot sand or sharp objects.

Try to look for clothing with built-in UV protection. Clothing labeled with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating of 50+ are best.

UVSkinz makes a UPF50+ swimsuit that is easy to move in, full coverage (including neck!) and comes with pockets. They also make an adorable UPF50+ Sunzie, a playsuit with a hoodie made of bamboo knit.

In addition, a sunhat with a wide brim or long flap in the back will cover their face, neck, and ears. One with a chin strap helps them from blowing off.

In general, UVSkinz, Coolibar, Jan and Jul, and Patagonia have the best selection of sun protective swimsuits, playsuits, hats, etc.

And to keep baby’s eyes safe, put on sunglasses with at least 99% UV protection. The earlier you start putting them on, the more they will get used to them as they grow up. These baby sunglasses block UVA and UVB rays.

4. Use Sunscreen at 6 months old

At 6 months old, sunscreen can be used on exposed areas.

Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, protects against UVA and UVB raps, labeled “safe for babies” and free of irritants like fragrances and oxybenzone. Mineral-based sunscreens containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are generally gentler on sensitive skin.

The best baby sunscreen brands are Sun Bum, Think Baby, Blue Lizard, Aveeno Baby, and  Badger Organic.

Apply sunscreen to all exposed skin, including the face, neck, top of ears, hands, and feet, before heading outdoors. Remember to reapply every two hours, and again after swimming or sweating. Always do a patch test on your baby’s skin a few days before sun exposure to check for any allergic reactions.

For babies under 6 months old, minimize sunscreen use altogether. Their delicate skin is more prone to irritation and may not absorb sunscreen effectively. It’s safest to prioritize shade and protective clothing for these littles.

Every baby’s skin is different. When in doubt, consult your pediatrician for specific sunscreen recommendations for your child.

5. Take Breaks and Cool Down:

Young babies can’t regulate their body temperature yet, so overheating is a concern.

Because of this, be sure to prioritize shade breaks. Plan for frequent breaks under trees, umbrellas, or that cute beach cabana you rented. These breaks are perfect for feedings, a little relaxation, and checking for any signs of overheating.

Other ways to cool down using water are: 

  • Use a small spray bottle with cool water to mist baby down. A quick spritz can do wonders for bringing down baby’s temperature.
  • Use a portable fan for more airflow. These battery-powered lifesavers create a gentle breeze that can keep baby comfortable. Just make sure it’s positioned safely and not blowing directly on them.
  • If baby is old enough, a small wading pool in the shade can also be a fun way to cool down too. Just make sure the pool stays shaded during the hottest parts of the day.
  • A cool bath before bedtime can also help baby unwind and regulate their temperature after a day of sunshine.

6. Keep Baby Hydrated

Babies can get dehydrated faster than you think, especially when they’re busy having fun.

For babies over 6 months, bring plenty of water and offer it frequently, even if they don’t seem thirsty. For babies under 6 months, bring extra bottles or breastfeed more often.

Also, know dehydration clues. If your baby starts to pee less, their mouth seems dry, or they get extra fussy, it might be a sign they need more fluids. Just keep offering it to them.

7. Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Sand actually reflects sunlight, making the sun’s intensity even stronger than it might seem. This means your little one can be getting more UV exposure than you realize.

The tricky part? Reflected sunlight isn’t just a beachy concern. Water, concrete, and even snow can all bounce UV rays around, increasing your baby’s sun exposure. Be mindful of these hidden sunbeams.

Consider using a stroller shade or pop-up tent for added protection, especially on reflective surfaces.

8. Don’t forget the transportation 

While car glass does a great job of blocking UVB rays, it allows UVA rays to pass through. Sun blockers for the car windows would help block these out.

And when you’re strolling around, a stroller/wagon with a canopy works wonders. Look for one with a UPF rating for added sun protection. Some also come with a removable mesh window shield to block the rays coming in through the sides too.

If you’re looking for a beach wagon, check out my 11 favorite options here!

FAQs: Sun Safety for Baby

How do I keep my baby safe in the sun?

Seek shade whenever possible, cover up that cute little body, use sunscreen on babies 6 months and older, keep baby hydrated, and take breaks and cool down.

 

How can I protect my baby from the sun without sunscreen?

For babies under 6 months old, it’s best to minimize sunscreen use altogether. Their skin is very sensitive and may not absorb sunscreen effectively.

Instead, seek shade! This is your best defense against sunburn. Cover baby up and plan your outings and beach time for early mornings or later afternoons when the sun’s rays are weaker.

 

How hot is too hot for baby?

Generally, it’s best to avoid exposing baby to temperatures exceeding 85°F (29°C). Baby might be getting too hot if you see:

  • Fussiness or irritability
  • Flushed cheeks
  • Excessive sweating
  • Lethargy or drowsiness
  • Decreased urination

If you notice any of these signs, take your baby to a cool, shaded area immediately. Offer fluids and splash cool water on them.

one of the best baby sun safety tips is to cover baby's skin

Wrapping Up: Sun Safety for Baby

Ok mamas and papas, you’re ready! With all of these essential sun safety tips, you can conquer any outdoor adventure with baby.  

Remember, a little planning goes a long way in ensuring a happy (and safe!) day for both of you.

Happy memory making!

besa at beaches and babies

MEET BESA

Your Go-To Girl for Beach Travel

Hi! I’m Besa. I’ve always been a travel-loving beach bum… and then I had kids. Two boys, born 19 months apart. But I didn’t let that stop me. I still travel, even with a couple little boys in tow – and I want to help other parents like you do the same!

I’ll be sharing all my travel tips, beach hacks, and guides for some of my favorite family vacation beach spots.

POPULAR POSTS

FAVE PLACES

Why Trust Beaches and Babies?

Why Trust Beaches and Babies?

Besa has been a frequent traveler for almost 20 years, and the last five years of her travels have included her two toddler boys, 19 months apart.
Years of flying and beach bumming with her kids has given her plenty of hard-earned experience in the travel world.

Need Help Booking Your Trip?
Use My Favorite Resources!

FLIGHTS
Kayak searches hundreds of travel sites for the lowest prices plus the flexible calendar tells you which days are the cheapest to fly.

LODGING
booking.com is easy to use and gives options for all types of lodging. When I know I want a big rental house, I use VRBO.

RENTAL CARS
rentalcars.com scans multiple agencies at your destination to give you the best price.

ACTIVITIES
Viator lets you search for a specific activity at your destination or scroll all available.

Read over my full list of the best sites to book with on my Resources page.