Officially, the NHS advises that you keep your baby out of direct sunlight until they’re over the age of 6 months.
This particularly applies around midday, between 11am and 3pm, when the sun is at its hottest and the damaging UV rays are at their strongest.
Therefore, the implication is that you wouldn’t really need to put any sunscreen on them.
“The NHS recommends that you keep very young children under 6 months out of direct sunlight,” explains Nikki Smith, Senior Health Information Officer at Cancer Research UK.
“So, in that case, if they’re covered up in the shade with clothing, a little hat and t-shirt, then they’re not going to need sunscreen at that point.”
What if your baby is out in the sun, though?
Inevitably, there’s every chance your baby will be out in direct sunlight at some point before they turn 6 months though.
What happens when you’re out and about at the park and suddenly the sun starts shining through the clouds and you’re caught without a hat?
Or you’re out running errands, and you’ve got an hour’s worth of jobs left to do when the weather picks up, and you can’t just park up your buggy in the shade?
How do you protect their skin from the dangers of the sun then?
Cancer Research UK’s health experts clarified to us that it IS actually OK for you to use suncream on babies if that’s the case.
“For babies under 6 months, the best way of protecting their skin from the sun is to keep them out of direct sunlight,” they reiterate.
“But when that’s not possible, sunscreen can also be used, alongside shade and clothing to help protect babies’ skin.”
There you have it. You shouldn’t often need to, but if you have to, you’re fine to pop a bit of suncream on your baby if they are caught out in the sun.
What kind of sunscreen should I use on my baby?
There are plenty of baby-friendly sunscreens available: see our pick of the best baby suncreams here.
But, as Nikki explains, the advice for what kind you need to use remains the same for everyone:
“You need to look for one that’s at least SPF15 and has 4 or more stars, which reflects the UVA rating (read more about the UVA rating).
“Those stars are usually on the back of the bottle.
“Remember, this is a different type of UV rating from the sun than the UVB rating, which is what the SPF relates to.”
We’d also suggest considering a higher factor – like SPF30 or SPF50 – just to get that little bit of extra protection.