photo by JayGirlsMom
When the sun is shining (which will hopefully be all summer long), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that you limit your baby's exposure to the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when UV rays are strongest, and don't head out without this must-have gear:
1. Sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. The AAP used to recommend against using sunscreen on babies under 6 months, but that has changed. Now, the AAP recommends that sunscreen be used on small areas of the body (like the face and the backs of your baby's hands) if you can't keep your baby completely in the shade. For babies over 6 months, the AAP says it's safe to use sunscreen (test it on a small patch of your baby's back before using it all over to make sure he isn't allergic).
2. A Hat. Babies of all ages should be kept in the shade as much as possible, and the AAP recommends that they wear hats to keep their heads and faces protected from the sun.
3. Sunglasses. These aren't just for looks—some eye doctors and pediatricians recommend sunglasses for babies as young as 9 months. They'll help protecting baby's eyes from damaging UV rays and could even prevent early cataracts. Look for shades with at least 99% UV protection, and choose a pair that has a velcro strap so your baby can't keep pulling them off.
3. An Umbrella—whether it's an umbrella on a stroller or a beach umbrella that you can play under. Use it to keep your baby in the shade as much as possible.
4. Lightweight clothing with a tight weave. It might be hot, but dress your little one in loose, comfortable long-sleeve shirts and pants. They'll stay cool and protected from the sun. You can also look for clothing that offers sun protection from brands like Coolibar and SunBusters.
5. A Beverage. Whether it's water or formula in a bottle or sippy cup, or milk from your breast, be sure to keep your baby hydrated.
What must-haves do you bring out to play with your baby? Is there a toy or gear that you love and recommend?