Playing Outside: Baby’s Guide to Fun in the Sun

Your baby is ready to play and have some fun in the sun. Here are some ways you can help your little world explorer stay safe while playing outside. 

Sand and Waves: Playing in the Water 

Water activities can be a fun form of exercise for families. Babies are often water naturals, and some are even born under water! As you venture to the pool and the beach, remember to acclimate your baby to the water temperature by entering water slowly. Be cautious with water that is too cold, though. If you find the water to be chilly, it might be too cold for your baby’s delicate system, so it’s best to limit time in colder water. The air around you may be hot, but submersion in cold water for long periods could pose a risk. On the other hand, hot tubs and jacuzzis may be a treat for you, but they are a no-go for your little ones. 

When you are playing in or near the water, babies and young children should wear some form of floatation device. It’s also recommended that you hold your child’s hand when walking along the beach. The pull of even light tides could be too strong for children. Keep an eye out for things like jellyfish, crabs, and sharp rocks, too. Curious children may be tempted to pick up the fascinating things they find in the water – yikes! 

Sunny Days: Avoiding Sunburn 

Bright, sunny days may attract you to enjoy the outdoors. All people need some level of sun protection when playing outside, and babies and children are even more prone to sunburns. It’s easy to remember your sunscreen for hot, sunny days, but overcast, cloudy skies can also lead to overexposure to the sun. Consider products with high SPF for children, and remember to reapply sunscreen regularly. PABA is an ingredient many people avoid because it may cause skin damage or allergies. For this reason, many people prefer PABA-free products. recently published a list of baby-friendly sunscreens/blocks you might like to try. 

Sunscreen is highly effective, but it shouldn’t be your only defense against the sun. Creating shade can be a breeze. Consider outdoor play under the cover of trees, awnings, overhangs, or sun umbrellas. Some playgrounds offer built-in coverings. Boost your baby’s protection with a cute little hat or sun bonnet. Sunglasses not only look adorable, they can help guard the eyes from damaging UV sun rays. When you’re not in the water, consider using a simple pullover coverup for added protection. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. A way-too-big t-shirt does the job just fine!

Windy Days: Protecting Your Baby 

Wind can pick up quickly before a storm or at the beach. Winds can carry dust, sand, and debris that can irritate the skin and eyes. Shield your baby with a towel or a blanket. If the winds are strong, consider carrying babies and toddlers or secure them in their stroller with the weather guard. 

Beat the Heat: Staying Cool while Playing Outside 

Babies are more susceptible to heat than adults. Natural body temperature and resting heart rates are slightly higher in small children. It is not advised to leave children unattended in hot weather. You will also need to keep a close eye on them to watch for symptoms of heatstroke. To avoid risk, limit outdoor play to shaded areas or choose indoor activities during midday. You can keep babies hydrated throughout the day with breast milk or water. Toddlers and children might also enjoy fresh juices and water, but beware of sugary drinks. The added sugar can increase the risk of dehydration. 

Babies and small children may be less adaptable to abrupt temperature changes. When going from hot weather to cold indoor spaces, keep a small blanket, dry towel, or sweatshirt on hand for your little one. 

Enjoy the great outdoors. Build those sandcastles. Watch those ants try to steal your picnic. Splash happy!