When you bring your baby home for the first time, you’ll finally understand why your own mother was always such a worrywart. No matter how much baby-proofing you do in your home, everything is a threat. The slippery tile, the deep bathtub and the distance from the changing table to the floor all suddenly seem like major threats to your child’s life. You’ll be tempted to make your child live in a plastic bubble for safety, but it’s okay to relax. With proper supervision and care, your baby will be fine. For example, it’s perfectly fine to take even a newborn baby to play outside in the fresh air. He or she will be delighted, and you’ll have a great time watching him or her explore the world around them. However, as soon as you take baby outside, you need to make sure he or she is protected from the sun. Even quick jaunts outside put your baby at risk for sunburn.

A baby’s skin is delicate and thinner than that of an adult. Especially before your baby is six months old, his or her skin should be fully protected every time you go outside. Always use the cover on a stroller if it’s a sunny day, and keep your baby in the shade if you sit outside for a while. It’s also a good idea to make sure he or she is wearing long pants and sleeves, as long as it isn’t too hot outside. A hat is also necessary, as your baby’s bare head isn’t protected at all on its own.

Even if you do follow these precautions when taking your baby outside, you should still make sure he or she is fully covered in sunscreen as well. If you happen to come into contact with the sun for even a few minutes, sunscreen will help prevent burns. Talk to your baby’s doctor about the best sunscreen for infants, and make sure you apply it fifteen minutes before going outside so that it’s effective.

Don’t be afraid to take your newborn baby out into the park or the backyard. The fresh air will feel great and he or she will be introduced to a whole new world of experiences. You need to be careful about his or her sun exposure, but by taking the proper precautions, you can provide a safe and exciting experience for you and baby.

Source: Amy Paller et al: New Insights About Infant and Toddler Skin: Implications for Sun Protection. Pediatrics Volume 128 Issue 1 July 2011

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