How can I protect my baby's skin from the sun?

Now that the sun is finally coming out (wahoo), you can stop worrying so much about your baby being cold and instead start worrying that they’re about to be burned to a frazzle! Well, we all like a bit of a change, right?

Out come the cute hats and the suncream, but wait… how much sunscreen should you put on your baby? What if they swallow it? What if they get too hot? What if they need to get some sun on their skin!

These are just a few of the questions that will fly through your mind when the weather turns warmer, especially if you’re planning to go overseas where you might be treated to actual REAL, consistent sunshine!

So, to help you prepare your little one, hare a few answers to the most popular questions on how to protect your baby’s skin from the sun without just keeping them inside!

Which sun hat is best?

There are loads of cute sun hats around and it’s the best way to protect your baby’s head from the sun. Make sure the hat you use is made from a breathable material and has a brim all the way around to protect their whole face.

The are caps with a longer flap at the back which can make your baby look a bit like a mini Lawrence of Arabia and the traditional floppy bucket hats are two of the best.

I love singing (badly) “The Sun Has Got His Hat On” when I put it on them. They love it!

Baby in Sun Hat

Can I put sunscreen on my baby?

A lot of adult sunblock contains chemicals that are probably best not used on your baby’s skin at such a young age. Especially because they will tend to put their body parts in their mouths and ingest it.

Look for mineral sunscreens that use things like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide which form a physical barrier between your skin and the sun.

Try using waterproof sunscreens with a minimum of SPF 30 if you’re in early UK summer and SPF50+ if you’re abroad somewhere warm, or it’s more than 15-20 degrees celsius.

Ideally sun creams shouldn’t be used on babies under 6 months but as this isn’t always practical, you can find some sun creams that are suitable from birth like the Mustela Very High Protection Sun Lotion by Escentual. It contains natural ingredients and is also water resistant.

Breathable clothing

This sounds pretty obvious, but covering the skin as much as possible is the best way to make sure that no sunburn occurs. Covering your baby entirely would probably make them too hot though, so compromising on the right clothes plus using good sunscreen (yes, even if they’re wearing clothes!) is the most practical option.

Make sure clothing is light, loose and breathable Try to use natural fabrics and stay away from materials like polyester which are not breathable and trap sweat next to the skin. If you want to cover up your baby more thoroughly, try using a large organic muslin wrap. These are great to use as a beach blanket, comforter and cover-up so it’s kind of a three in one!

Don’t keep babies in their pram

Don’t leave your baby to sleep in the pram for too long as they may become hot as air can’t circulate around them. Take them out regularly to make sure they’re not getting too warm and sweaty.

Sun Tent

If you’re heading down to the beach, instead of a sun umbrella which is perfect for catching the wind, rolling off and covering everything in sand in the process -  try a sun tent! We use a simple anti UV pop-up baby beach tent and weigh it down with a cool bag.

How to cool your baby down if they get too hot

If you suspect that your baby has heat stroke, look out for tell-tale signs including:

  • Raised body temperature
  • Smaller amounts of urine passed than is usual and dark coloured urine
  • Dry mouth and eyes
  • Being sleepy or floppy
  • Shortness of breath and vomiting
  • Not rousing when being touched or called


If too much water is lost and a baby or child’s temperature rises, it can be dangerous and even fatal, so seek immediate treatment.