As a red head, and the mom of a fair skin strawberry blonde, it is very important for us to have sun awareness in my household. Skin cancer does run in my family. Also, having my son in my late 30’s, I’d prefer not to look like his grandmother by the time he’s in his teens. Important tips I follow as a ginger, a mom, and a nurse in the warm months.
#1 Hats. For my son, I minimally keep a wide brimmed hat on him when he’s out side. I like one that has adjustable strap around
the head and adjustable chin straps. Also, a bonus if you can find a hat that has a safety pull away on the chin strap. This reduces the risk of potential strangulation hazards. You can adjust the chin strap snug so the little one can’t just pull it off, yet if the hat or strap were to get caught it will release at the ear.
#2 Rash Guard. Gone are the days of those cute little bikinis. Those little toddler bikinis are really stinkin cute. Functionally, there are much better options available…that are also cute. I prefer to use a long sleeve rash guard and swim shorts for my little guy. Rash guards are sporty, functional, and keep the sun off his skin. This means less worrying if I missed a spot or if I forgot to reapply. How hard is it to pull your little one from the water in the middle of all that fun, reapply sunscreen, and wait for it to absorb before they can go back in the water?
#3 Sunscreen of course. Apply and reapply. We all need protection from harmful UV rays, no matter age or race. Personally, I prefer spray sunscreens. They are convenient, and easy to reapply. My hands stay clean and my son has less chance of rubbing sunscreen into his eyes. If we are going to be out for a long period of time, I’ll often use a sun lotion, apply it thoroughly just before we get to our fun in the sun location. I’ll then use the spray for reapplying for the convenience factor. I also keep a small sunscreen stick in a purse, diaper bag, jogging stroller for an easy grab. Just in case we get stuck outside, or I forgot to bring sunscreen lotion or spray. I always have access to a sunscreen stick in a pinch.
#4 Sunglasses. If your child will wear them…mine won’t. You can pick up a set with UV protection for super cheap.
#5 Muslin swaddle blankets. They are great for the wee ones. They can be used for swaddling, nursing covers, burpees, and can be loosely draped over a stroller or carrier to help block the sun. I liked to tie the corners up to the handles of the infant carrier. They allow for some air to flow in, and are light weight for hot days. Please use caution, check on baby frequently, make sure the cover is not going to lay over baby’s face, and always keep baby carriers and strollers parked in the shade.
#6 Be a role model. For parents, really sun safety is the same. Use sunscreen, wear hats, keep covered up. Look at the trends. People who actually live in warm states are covering up on the beach more and more. There are so many more fashionable options available then ever before. Take a queue from other cultures where covering up in the sun is the norm. You can be cute, but still protect yourself. When swimming or paddle boarding try wearing a rash guard. When boating/fishing I personally love a light weight UV protection shirt with a hood. I like to buy them in white to help reflect sun away. They are cool, and when the sun comes from an angle your hat just can’t cover such as your neck, you can pull the hood up creating a sun barrier. Staying protected, yet not too hot. When your kids see you keeping safe in the sun, they will be more likely to follow in your footsteps.
I don’t get paid to advertise any of these products. These are products that have worked for myself and my family, or that I’m interested in trying. My pediatrician hands out a list of recommend sunscreens during check ups, I used that to help guide my product decisions. I have been using Coppertone Water Babies SPF 50 lotion and spray. For a stick I’ve been using Neutrogena Pure and Free Baby SPF 50. All of which were on my pediatricians list. 2 years and no sunburns for my son so far. I just use his baby sunscreens for myself, they work, and I like to pack light. Newly ranked well by Consumer Reports and also very reasonably priced is Trader Joe’s Nourish Spray Sunscreen SPF 50. I’m always excited to buy a good quality item for a deal. I may give that a try this season. I have links to the top ranked sunscreens for 2019 by Consumer Reports below, as well as some other helpful resources for sun safety. Here’s to a great summer!