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Water Babies: How to Protect Your Baby from Sunburn When You Can’t Use Sunscreen

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Dear Mama Greenest,

What should I do about sunscreen? I heard you shouldn’t use it on babies under six months, but I’m afraid my son will get burned (he’s five months).

Good question! Especially since it seems the sun has been making up for lost time now that it’s finally out. Here’s the deal: The AAP doesn’t recommend the use of sunscreen on babies under six months (although for the past several years they’ve said it’s okay to apply a small amount if there’s no way to avoid the sun). The reason why sunscreen isn’t to be used on wee babes is because their skin is extremely sensitive and they don’t yet have the ability to metabolize and excrete the chemicals found in most sun blocks (remember that our skin is our largest organ; it takes less than a minute for what we apply topically to enter our bloodstream).

» Mama Greenest’s best beach tips if you have a baby
» Mama Greenest’s best traveling tips if you have a baby
» Read more from Mama Greenest, our green- and alternative-parenting and health blog
» Read more on Hudson Valley Health
» Read more on Hudson Valley Kids

 

Almost all conventional sunscreens on the market contain one or more chemicals that can be toxic, trigger allergic reactions, or disrupt hormones (for detailed information on these, check out this article from the Environmental Working Group). Among the worst geared toward children are Banana Boat Baby Max Protect and Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection — who would think, right? Luckily, there are a number of non-chemical sunscreens like those from California Baby, Earth’s Best, and Badger Balm (click here for the Environmental Working Group’s rated list of best beach sunscreens). Avoid any sunscreen that contains oxybenzone, Vitamin A, or insect repellent, as well as any in spray or powder form, and those that claim an SPF above 50.

So in short: For now just dress your little one appropriately (thin, long layers and a sunhat) and keep him in the shade whenever you’re outside (a carrier or stroller will do). I took Coraline to Hawaii when she was not even three months old and she made it through a whole week at the beach — sunscreen-free — without a problem.

Green Living Tip of the Day:
Instead of packing snacks or lunches in brown bags and Ziplocs, invest in some cute reusable containers and bags, like these snack bags from Planet Wise or stackable snack containers from Innobaby. You can find these products and more like them at Waddle n Swaddle in Rhinebeck or Poughkeepsie.

» Mama Greenest’s best beach tips if you have a baby
» Mama Greenest’s best traveling tips if you have a baby
» Read more from Mama Greenest, our green- and alternative-parenting and health blog
» Read more on Hudson Valley Health
» Read more on Hudson Valley Kids

boy sunscreen
;
No thank you

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