NO ONE PUTS BABY IN THE SUN || Sun Protection Tips for Babies!

‘No One Puts Baby in the Sun’, but many times it’s unavoidable. Many mothers have experienced the sickening feeling of realising their babies have been sunburnt. As you may have  recently read one of Australia’s most trusted sunscreen brands has come under fire after an horrified mother took to Facebook to show her gorgeous 3 month old baby suffering the effects of what she describes as a ‘rash/burn’ after using the Cancer Council Peppa Pig 50+ sunscreen to protect her baby whilst outdoors. This story unleashed a barrage of over 1600 comments initiating a dialogue amongst  parents, many of whom appeared to be unaware of how to adequately provide sun protection for their young babies.

The Cancer Council of Australia aren’t the only sunscreen manufacturers on the end of the ‘angry stick’ of unhappy parents who’ve applied sunscreen to their babies, assuming their babies are protected, only to have their children suffer nasty sunburn/rashes….. just the most recent.

Viewing the photos on Facebook it’s easy and understandable for us mothers to apportion blame  on  the sunscreen manufacturer. Its heart wrenching and very emotional to see your, or any baby, hospitalised with such a severe reaction to the sun, especially  as a parent  who is practising the Sunsmart message  of Slip Slop Slap; but for very young babies whose skin is skin is vulnerable to the absorption of chemicals and with no natural protection against the sun’s harmful rays, sunscreen may not be the most appropriate method of sun protection according to the American Academy of Paediatricians.

but first some background….

a melanoma lottery!

One lottery you don’t want to buy a ticket for….!

We now know skin cancer develops as a result of earlier sun exposure and just one blistering childhood sunburn can increase the risk of developing melanoma by up to 50% later in life according to authorities.

Should you apply sunscreen to babies?


Paediatricians recommend avoiding sun exposure altogether in the first 6 months of life. However where sun exposure  is unavoidable, an inorganic sunscreen such as zinc is preferred rather than a chemical sunscreen, on sun exposed areas, which may be less irritating to baby’s sensitive skin.

Why cant I use sunscreen on my baby?

Babies skin differs from adults in that it starts at birth with very little protection and  develops its protective barrier function throughout the first 33 months of life.

The higher skin-surface area to body-weight ratio, and thinner epidermis means greater absorption of chemicals in sunscreens through the skin,  increasing the risk of adverse skin reactions such as photo allergic rashes. These factors together with a lack of melanin (the pigment which gives skin it’s colour and which offers limited natural sun protection) make a baby’s skin far more vulnerable to the suns harmful rays when compared to adults or children.

Melanin offers natural but limited sun protection from the sun’s harsh rays and should not be relied upon for sun protection in adults or children.

Tips to protect babies from sunburn

   less than 6 months
  • Keep babies less than 6 months out of the sun and in the shade as much as possible
  • Use window shades for car windows
  • Choose a pram with a movable hood to provide screening
  • Purchase pram shade covers which are able to block 70% or more of the suns harmful UV rays. These are often a combination of densely woven fabric combined with a  mesh section to allow for air circulation and for baby to see.
  • Dress baby in lightweight protective clothing including hat and protective eyewear
  • Watch your baby carefully for signs of sunburn such as redness or fussiness- this may be a sign they’re uncomfortable with the heat and getting sunburned.

Tip; If you can see through the light weight fabric it probably doesn’t offer much sun protection. 

    Babies 6 -12months
  • Sunscreen may now be used but patch testing is advisable. Patch test using a small amount on the inside of the wrist over a 3 day period, checking for any irritation or redness prior to use.
  • Continue to dress baby in light weight sun protective clothing.
  • A broad spectrum sunscreen sensitive skin/tear free formula is advised to apply to exposed areas such as arms and legs
  • Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before venturing outside and reapply every 2 hours, or after excessive sweating or swimming.
  • Avoid aerosol sunscreens as they don’t provide a reliable coverage

When it comes to sun protection in babies prevention is always better than cure. Practise safe sun protection and if baby shows signs of becoming sunburnt, get out of the sun immediately and apply cool compresses, keep well hydrated with breast milk/ formula/water and see your Doctor.




Summer lovin-skin cancer not so much!

With an early kick off to summer and soaring temps it’s an important reminder to apply sunscreen correctly…..yes there is a technique!

I’ve shared my 13 top sunscreen tips to keep you Sunsmart over summer!



The Cancer Council launched it’s recent Sunsmart campaign of ‘National Skin Cancer Action Week’ providing preventative guidelines and the correct technique of sunscreen application, highlighting the importance of being Sunsmart.

Telling the kids to apply sunscreen is a bit like telling them not to run around the pool; what starts in fun ends in tears! Or worse skin cancer!

A recent study found only 30% of women and 15% of men apply sunscreen before going out into the sun….no surprises… 2/3 Aussies get skin cancer before the age of 70.

What will it take?

Disappointingly, another study shows, for some, even with a previous diagnosis of skin cancer it wasn’t enough to get a lather up!

Dermatologists agree that most people aren’t aware of the correct application technique, nor that reapplication is necessary for adequate protection, or that sunscreen products vary in their directions of usage.

How much is enough?

7 teaspoons or 35mls is enough sunscreen to keep you covered!

Experts advise applying sunscreen liberally to exposed sites 15 to 30 minutes before going out into the sun, followed by reapplication of sunscreen to exposed sites 15 to 30 minutes after sun exposure begins.

This reapplication during sun exposure is key to providing optimal sun protection and a tip most sunlovers aren’t aware of.

Active sunlovers remember sweating, swimming and rubbing may remove sunscreen so keep that tube handy for reapplication!

I keep a couple scattered throughout the house…. under the sink in the kitchen and in the bathroom. Keeping it in the bathroom means it doubles as my body moisturiser post shower. Like any skin care product, applying to damp skin makes sunscreen more easily absorbed and if clothing moves around during sun exposure, you’ve got it covered! Keeping a tube in the kitchen, the busiest room of the house, means I can supervise and police application…..everyone’s gotta eat !

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 My top 13 tips

1. Shake the bottle before use as this mixes the ingredients evenly throughout the sunscreen

 2. Check the expiration date-if there is a change of consistency ,colour then chuck it; like most things left in the car, they expire! Once the sunscreen reaches 30 degrees and above, the ingredients become inactive.

3. Choose the sunscreen which best suits your skin type or activity .If your activity sees you outside for extended periods or in the water, ensure you use a water resistant broad spectrum 50+ protection, reapplying every 40-80mins.

4. When applying sunscreen to your face, a sunscreen designed specifically for the face often has a higher SPF value and is less irritating to the eyes.

5. A shot glass or 35mls is a good guide of how much you’ll need to cover exposed areas, be generous, rubbing the sunscreen into the skin until it’s no longer white.

6. If you have oily skin or suffer from acne, keep away from thicker sunscreens favouring instead a zinc based which has healing benefits in addition to it’s sunscreen properties.

7. Play particular attention to the tops of ears, back of the neck, feet, and even even the part in your hair….anything which is exposed to the sun; Bob Marley died from melanoma underneath his big toe nail!

8. Wear clothing designed to block the sun…thin clothing such as a T-shirt only offers a UV protection of 7.

9. Application 20-30 minutes before you go into the sun and then again 15-30 mins after sun exposure begins. Titanium and zinc based sunscreens offer immediate protection.

10. Time poor? I advise my clients to buy a sunscreen which doubles as a daytime moisturiser, forming part of their daily skin care routine.

11. Spent a bit of time on your makeup and don’t fancy reapplying sunscreen over the top during the day? Colorscience  make a great mineral based powder which provides broad spectrum water resistant 50+ sun protection, combined with a great makeup finish…whats not to love?

12.  Hand washing removes sunscreen….just a reminder!

13. The use of insect repellants can reduce the efficacy of sunscreens by 33% – reapply more frequently and with a higher SPF.

Sun damage is a creeper, accumulating over time, which is why many  Aussies are often diagnosed with some form of skin cancer later in life. It’s a case of ‘if you snooze’ in the sunscreen game…..’you lose’!

Rain hail or shine….no excuses….dont get – Slip Slap Sloppy.Lather up liberally and often when it comes to applying sunscreen!

Remember the best sunscreen is the one you’ll use!

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