Getting sunscreen on your kids is a big part of parenting in the summertime. In an interview about the importance of sunscreen on kids over 6 months old, pediatrician Dr. Rebecca Carter stated, “It helps prevent damage from the sun that goes beyond the painful effects of sunburn, including increased risk for skin cancers down the line.” But sometimes, getting your little one properly sunscreened can feel like a bit trying to bathe an octopus! And just because it’s important doesn’t mean all moms go about getting their kids slathered up in the same way. Different moms have different parenting styles, and those differences don’t stop when summer break rolls around...
Here are some of the ways moms of all kinds will be making sure their littles stay protected this summer.
“The Pre-Slather” Mom
This method is used by the super-prepared moms. The ones who are greeting their kids on summer mornings with a hot breakfast and a tube of extra-strength sunscreen. You better believe there will be no burnt noses or shoulders on her watch.
How to spot the #preslathermom:
- Applies sunscreen before leaving the house. Probably before her kids are even dressed.
- Always arrives with extra water bottles and organic snacks to share.
- Has sunscreen stashed in her house, purse, van, and diaper bag.
- Never forgets to put sunscreen on ears or scalp parts.
- Sets alarms for sunscreen re-application.
- Has a favorite brand of sunscreen and stocks up early.
- Could explain to you what SPF means. And does. Frequently.
The "Spray-and-Go” Mom
This method is used by multitasking moms. The ones who toss fruit and granola bars to their kids on the way to grab coffee to fuel their day. These moms are excellent at managing schedules and fitting in the necessities along the way.
How to spot the #sprayandgomom:
- Exclusively uses spray or brush-on sunscreen. No one has time for a full slather.
- Always arrives with coffee in her hand and a half-finished to-do list.
- Keeps the sunscreen in the car for the sake of efficiency.
- Teaches her kids to spray their own arms while she dabs their faces.
- Re-applies sunscreen between playdates, sports practice, and errands.
- Grabs whatever sunscreen is the easiest to apply.
- Knows the best parks in town and can tell you when the best time of day to go is.
“The Last-Minute Smear” Mom
If you’ve ever called yourself a silky mom, this method might be familiar to you. It’s the method used by moms who sometimes forget sunscreen exists. The ones who happily eat fruit loops with their kids on summer mornings, because honestly… That stuff is delicious.
How to spot the #summersilkymom:
- Does a quick sunscreen smear upon arrival. Almost never rubs it all the way in.
- Always arrives a few minutes late because she stopped to get everyone french fries.
- Often asks to borrow sunscreen because she forgot where she put hers.
- Makes sure to bring hats in case she can’t find the sunscreen.
- Re-applies sunscreen when she notices her kids starting to get a sunburn.
- Buys the cheapest sunscreen.
- Knows how to find the shadiest spots and comfiest lawn chairs.
Safe Sunscreen for Kids
No matter what kind of #summertimemom you are, knowing what to look for in a sunscreen can help feel confident in your efforts. To avoid the risk of skin reactions, it is recommended that babies under six months old be dressed in sun-protective clothing or kept in the shade instead of using sunscreen.
For children six months and up, using a mineral sunscreen that utilizes zinc oxide and titanium dioxide is the best choice. That’s because chemical sunscreens contain ingredients that absorb into the skin and could cause unwanted reactions.
Make sure any sunscreen you use for your kids is at least SPF 30. If possible, stick to SPF 50 or higher for the best protection. (And remember… If you don’t understand SPF, just ask the #preslathermom. She knows.)
Extra Sun Protection For All
When it comes to sun exposure, you can give yourself and your child a little back-up protection by keeping some additional items handy for your summertime outings. It can be extra important to use more than just sunscreen while spending time in water or being outside for extended periods of time. (Or when you have a bunch of things to do that day like the #sprayandgomom.)
There is a wide range of sun-protective clothing for babies, toddlers, kids, and adults! If your family spends lots of time outdoors in the summer, it might be worth investing in some light-weight clothing that can help protect your little one from too much sun exposure. Sun-protective swimwear is also a great choice for the little water-lovers in your life.
Start your kids young with hats in the summer and make them a part of the getting dressed routine. Not all kids will keep their hats on, but if you get them used to wearing summer hats, you might save yourself a lot of sunscreen re-application! Check out these Urban Infant Bucket Hats for a fun, durable option. They’re reversible and come in two sizes and a range of fun colors so that you can find the perfect hat for your child!
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Keep a fun water bottle on hand and make water breaks a regular part of outdoor play to encourage your child to stay well hydrated. For younger babies, nursing on demand or offering more frequent bottles can help them stay hydrated in the summer months.