Keep that baby shaded!

It’s really hot out, and I’m often asked about sunscreen safety for little ones, so here’s a nice infographic from the FDA, showing us, basically, that the best bet is to keep your baby in the shade; one caveat below the image, for breastfeeding moms.

sun safety

The article goes on:  

Should you put sunscreen on infants? Not usually. The best approach is to keep infants under 6 months out of the sun, especially between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM.

But when you are outside together, here are some of the most important ways to protect your infant from the harmful rays of the sun: an umbrella and brimmed hat for shade, a cooler for liquids, a bottle for hydration, and clothing for covering the skin.

Learn more about keeping babies safe in the sun

Graphic by Michael J. Ermarth, Food and Drug Administration

One thing, though — I’m noting the bottle in the picture, so I’ll add:  if your baby is breastfed, she is really unlikely to need supplemental water.  Breastmilk is 87.5% water, and allowing your baby to nurse when she seems to want to should provide all her hydration needs, even on hot days.  There is a nice summary of guidelines for water use on hot days here, basically saying it’s not necessary, and citing numerous studies to conclude that even at temperatures up to 105, breastfed babies do not need supplemental water as long as they are allowed to nurse (citing multiple studies).  Furthermore, the American Academy of Pediatrics has said 

During the first 6 months of age, even in hot climates, water and juice are unnecessary for breastfed infants and may introduce contaminants or allergens.

On the other hand, the baby pictured here is already sitting up and may be more than six months old.  Small amounts of water, recreationally, or with meals, are fine in older babies, though even an older baby who is still nursing will get plenty of water from breastmilk.

Moms do need water, though!  I am hoping that cooler is totally filled with beverages for that mom and the friends she’s meeting for her picnic!