By Vincent Iannelli, MD - Reviewed by a board-certified physician.
Updated March 01, 2017
While it is best to simply try and avoid exposing your baby to the sun, the American Academy of Pediatrics states that when necessary, "a minimal amount of sunscreen with at least 15 SPF (sun protection factor) to small areas, such as the infant's face and the back of the hands."
When to Start Using Sunscreen on Your Baby?
It used to be advised that you should not use sunscreen on babies less than six months old, but the AAP now states that sunscreen is probably safe to use on younger children, especially if you just use it on small areas of your baby's skin exposed to the sun and not protected by clothing.
This has more to do with avoiding the dangers of getting too much sun and allowing your baby to get sunburned, though. In fact, the latest AAP policy statement about infants under six months of age and the hazards of UV radiation states that "Parents may apply sunscreen when sun avoidance is impossible and, then, only on exposed areas. "
Younger children should be kept out of direct sunlight because they can burn easily and may not be able to handle getting overheated as well as older children.
So even though it is likely safe to use sunscreen on kids less than six months old, it is safer to keep them out of the sun.
Even when you are out and about on a sunny day, find ways to keep your baby in the shade.
Best Baby SunscreenIf you do use a sunscreen, which is best for your baby?
In general, you should get a sunscreen:
Sun Safety Tips for BabiesOther tips to keep your baby safe from the sun:
American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement. Ultraviolet Radiation: A Hazard to Children and Adolescents. PEDIATRICS Volume 127, Number 3.
American Academy of Pediatrics. Sun and Water Safety Tips. https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/news-features-and-safety-tips/pages/sun-and-water-safety-tips.aspx.