my Facebook page regarding baby sunblock, and how I'm protecting Baby J for the summer. This reader had seen the Environmental Working Group's exposé on the dangers and false promises of some sunscreens, which becomes all the more scary when it is no longer just your own skin you have to protect. Like everything else on a baby, their skin just feels so pristine and unscathed by life, and it is a big responsibility to keep it that way as long as possible. My attitude towards the summer sun is that it is something to be savored, not feared. We need Vitamin D from the sun's rays, and no childhood should be without sand-covered PB&Js and drip castles. With a few good purchases and some common sense, there is no reason not to have a beach baby. My approach is three-fold:
1) No more dawn-til-dusk beach days. I myself could spend an entire day, every day of the summer, out on the sand from my first iced coffee to my first cocktail. However, it is no longer all about me. The hottest sun of the day is from 10-2, and so I'm planning my beach days to either start early and end by lunch-ish, or start late and go into the cooler part of the afternoon; limiting sun exposure this way is effective and easy.
2) I cover the little dude up as much as possible. This means trunks + rash guard + hat. Old Navy has a ton of reasonably priced swimwear for the little ones. The trunks and rash guard being modeled above were each less than $10, and the rash guard has UPF 50. I decided to splurge a little on the hat, as I wanted one that would stay on, totally cover his neck, and hold up for more than one season. For that kind of quality, I love Patagonia all the way. Their Baby Sun Bucket Hat provides amazing coverage, stays in place with a soft chin-strap, and is reversible (always a plus in baby gear). As you can see, this get-up leaves only his forearms and calves exposed, which leads us to...
California Baby SPF 30+ Fragrance-Free Sunscreen this summer. California Baby is a fantastic company which makes all kinds of natural care products, and this sunscreen is PABA free, non-chemical, non-staining and very water-resistant. It soaks in quickly and doesn't sting little eyes. California Baby gets highest marks from the Environmental Working Group for their sunscreens, making this an excellent choice all-around.
Hey, we all survived the 70s with our front-seat riding in airbag-free cars, eating of God only knows what, and long, glorious days at the beach. I realize the ozone layer has gotten thinner and life in general has gotten scarier since then, but I refuse to be robbed of a good old-fashioned summer. I say, take a few steps to prepare yourself, and then get out there and live. And don't forget your PB&J.