Two girls and baby sister sit outside on a sunny day in matching swimsuits

Summertime likely has you daydreaming about all the outdoorsy fun you can have with your little ones, like eating popsicles in the sunshine, running through the spray of backyard sprinklers, and playing in the sand at the beach.

But whatever you’re daydreaming about, don’t forget to make sun safety habits a top priority.

Properly shielding your children from the sun can help prevent sunburn, heat exhaustion, and dehydration. In this guide, we’ll explore our top five sun safety tips so that you can focus on fun without risking damage from the sun.

#1 Apply (and Reapply) Sunscreen

Let’s start with SPF and babies or kids. Applying sunscreen should always be a part of your summer sun safety plans and should always be one of your nursery must-haves, whether you’re spending one hour riding bikes or an entire afternoon splashing around at the waterpark.

Sunscreen is a necessary defense in your arsenal against sun damage because it:

  • Creates a barrier on exposed skin, making it harder for the sun’s UV rays to cause skin damage.
  • Can be chemical (meaning it’s absorbed into the skin) or physical (meaning it stays on top of the child’s skin and acts as a shield).
  • Is available in a variety of formulas, from waterproof kids sunscreen to baby-specific broad spectrum sunscreen (although you should hold off on any sunscreen use to your little one until they’re over 6 months old).

While the American Academy of Dermatology recommends kids older than 6 months wear a broad-spectrum 30 SPF sunscreen or higher,1 you should also be mindful to:

  • Apply regularly (every 2–3 hours)
  • Consider a zinc oxide-based sunscreen if your child has sensitive skin
  • Use waterproof sunscreen if your child will be swimming or sweating
  • Cover every part of the body that’s not shielded by clothing (including the ears!)
  • Use enough to ensure total coverage
  • Apply even when the sky is overcast
  • Read the directions on your broad spectrum sunscreen to apply early enough (some sunscreens can take up to 20 minutes to work effectively)

#2 Get Under Cover

Children have thinner and more sensitive skin than adults, so while applying sunscreen is a great way to provide skin protection from damaging direct sun UV rays, dressing your kids in such a way that keeps them cool and protected is also super important.

Like sunscreen, some types of clothing for outdoor activity offer a shield against UVA rays and UVB rays. So, be sure to include these as well in your list of must-have baby products. Rated using a UPF system (similar to the SPF system), these sun protective clothing come in a variety of styles, including:

  • Rash guards
  • Swim shirts
  • Coverups
  • Hoodies
  • Hats
  • Kids or Baby Swimsuits and swim trunks

Don’t forget to bring a change of baby clothes with you so that you can put your little one into clean, soft clothes at the end of the day.

#3 Put a Lid on It

In general, children have thinner and more sensitive skin than adults, but the skin of the face, neck, and ears is the most delicate. Wearing a sun hat—particularly one with a 50+ UPF rating—is the best way to protect this easily-damaged skin and promote sun safety for kids.

In addition, a hat can help shield the scalp and hairline, which can be difficult to protect from harmful rays using traditional sunscreen.

When shopping for a kid’s summer sun hat, look for one that:

  • Has a wide brim to protect the ears and neck
  • Features a chin strap to ensure it stays put