As many as 85% of Americans are planning vacations as a family in summer 2023. This means lots of laughter, memories, and plenty of sunshine.
Although having fun in the sun is great, it also comes with many dangers. Especially when traveling with young children, you need to take sun protection seriously.
This article covers in detail how you can help protect your children from sun exposure. We talk about everything from clothing to the best non-toxic baby sunscreen.
How to Dress Children for the Sun
If you are traveling with young children, pack plenty of options for what they can wear. There are a few areas to consider, so let's take a look at each one in more detail.
Choose Protective Clothing
Knowing which are the right clothes for your children is challenging. Here are some pointers on choosing their clothing this summer.
Sun Protection Factor
When picking outfits for your children, pick materials that have a high UPF rating. UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor. This tells you the level of protection the clothes have against UV rays.
Much like sunscreen a UPF of 50+ is ideal, as this will provide the most protection.
Picking the Right Fabric
Usually, it is best to choose tightly woven fabrics. This means that it is more difficult for the sun's UV rays to penetrate it.
This includes fabrics like synthetic blends, such as polyester or nylon. Denim, wool, and canvas are also good options.
Some fabrics are also treated with chemicals which absorb UV for better protection.
Contrary to popular belief, dark colors offer great sun protection. They tend to absorb a lot more UV than lighter colors.
Breathability is essential for keeping your children cool. Cotton-based fabrics tend to be the most breathable. Also, some synthetic materials have moisture wicking which can help keep them comfortable.
Getting Good Coverage
Coverage is also an important factor to consider when picking your child's clothes. If you are going to be out for extended periods, or during the hottest part of the day, then go full coverage.
Full-length pants or skirts and long-sleeved tops are the best option. Items with items a collar or extended cuffs are even better. Opt for loose-fitting items, so there is more breathability.
Although full coverage is great, it may not be practical for all activities.
Enjoy sports like hiking or cycling in lightweight, flexible clothing. You don't want anything that will restrict your children's movement.
Sun Protection Accessories
Wide-brimmed hats offer great protection for your child's head. Choose one that has a brim of at least 3 inches. This means it will shade their face and ears completely.
They usually come with neck flaps which can protect the back of the neck as well. These are often detachable if they want to run around.
You can also get ones that have a toggle, so the hat won't fall off in the water or during play.
Sunglasses are also an essential summer accessory for your child.
The sun's UV rays are very harmful to our eyes. Children's eyes are much more sensitive to light.
So, they could risk long-term damage without sunglasses.
Find glasses that offer a UV protection rating of 100%. This will offer full protection from UV rays in the summer.
Sunglasses also reduce glare, especially those that have polarized lenses. This stops children from squinting, preventing uncomfortable eye strain.
Sun Safe Swimming
One time where children's skin can get a lot of sun exposure is in the water. Whether you are at the pool, or relaxing at the beach they will likely only have swimwear on.
Wearing a rashguard can be excellent for sun protection in the water. They have a tight fit, so they won't irritate the children whilst swimming or playing.
They are often made with materials that have a high UPF. Plus, they work great both in and out of the water.
Children's Sun Skin Care
Taking care of the skin during summer is very important staying safe and healthy. Here are some pointers on how to build the ideal skincare routine for your family.
Test Skin Care Items
Children's skin is often more sensitive than adults, so can react to new products. When you buy a new product, always do a patch test.
This allows you to check that they won't have any reactions if you put it on their whole body.
You can always read reviews of different products online to see what other parents say. They can guide you to the best sunscreen for kids.
The good news is if you use some of the best non-toxic sunscreens for babies, this is unlikely to happen. They have skin-friendly ingredients which should work for all ages.
You can also search for sunscreen for babies with eczema if you need one for a skin condition.
How to Apply Sunscreen
It may seem obvious how to apply sunscreen, but often people do it wrong. They may put on too little, or miss places on the body.
To enjoy your toxin-free sunscreen, you need to follow these steps.
- Always choose a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or above.
- Put on sunscreen about 15 minutes before sun exposure so it can absorb.
- Use around 1oz of sunscreen (about a shot glass full).
- Use sunscreen on all exposed areas including ears, neck and feet.
- Don't forget lip protection, such as an SPF lip balm.
You should also make sure that your product is still in date. Expired products are much less effective and even harmful.
Create a Stress-Free Routine
Children, especially when very young, can feel resistant to sunscreen. They might not like having something on their skin, especially if they are playing.
Getting them into a sunscreen routine will make this easier for everyone. Try and apply sunscreen around every two hours.
You should also apply cream after being in the water. Even if the bottle says water or sweatproof, you still need to put on more after 40-80 minutes.
You should use sunscreen even on cloudy days. UV can still be strong on those days, so you don't want any unexpected burns.
Don't forget to moisturize the skin before going out in the sun. Aloe vera can be very soothing for the skin in the evenings after sun exposure.
Sun Protection Habits for Children
Developing a healthy attitude towards the sun is valuable for children to learn at a young age. Help them to build good habits with the following tips.
Keep it Shady
Exposure to a small amount of UV is good for our health, as it stimulates Vitamin D production. But too much-prolonged exposure can be very bad for us, especially children.
Using shade is important during the summer months for this reason. Shade can help you to avoid sunburn and also helps prevent you from overheating.
Overheating is often a big problem for children if they are playing, as they don't know when to stop. Put in place regular sun breaks so that they don't get sunstroke.
If you are on a beach you could take a beach umbrella or tent to create shade. You can also use trees or shade from buildings if available.
Choose the Best Time of Day
When planning to do outdoor activities, go out when the sun is less intense. Mornings before 10 am and evenings after 4 or 5 pm are the best times.
Do note however that babies under the age of six months should not be in direct sunlight. It is also recommended that only children older than six months use sunscreen.
Keep Them Hydrated
Hydration is vital during the summer months for keeping your children's bodies healthy. Dehydration can cause some uncomfortable symptoms like headaches, dizziness, and fever.
Make sure that your kids are drinking at least six cups of water per day. They may need to drink more depending on how hot it is and how much activity they are doing.
If you are finding it challenging to get them to drink water, there are a couple of ways to encourage them.
- Use a fun and colorful water bottle.
- Give them crushed ice cubes or low-sugar ice pops.
- Occasional sports drinks to help them regain electrolytes.
- Add mint, lemon, or orange slices to water.
Teach Children Healthy Habits
When children are young, they may not understand the dangers of sun exposure. As parents is your responsibility to educate them about sun protection.
The easiest way to do that is to be a role model with your own sun protection. They will look up to you for taking care of yourself and will want to follow suit.
Find the Best Non-Toxic Baby Sunscreen
As parents, we all want what is best for our children when it comes to sun protection. We hope this article has highlighted some easy ways to keep them safe this summer.
A combination of sun-protective clothing and good habits will help keep them safe. Using the best non-toxic baby sunscreen helps protect little ones, whatever they're doing.
Here at Minou & Lily, we are passionate about caring for your skin. We have a huge range of products, at amazing prices so don't miss out.
Check out our full range of sunscreens for both adults and children. That way, you will be ready for your family vacation!