Summer Survival Guide for Parents of Babies and Toddlers, Updated!

Kids need to feel dirt, get sand and grass between their toes, smell the flowers and trees.  Parents and children are the healthiest, mentally and physically when we breathe and play outdoors.  But it also takes a little planning and learning about how to protect our children from the intensity of the sun and insects that go along with outdoor activities.  

Babies' skin is delicate and susceptible to UVB and UVA rays.  A baby's skin can burn in 15 minutes depending on the UV index.  Doctors recommend not using sunscreen on babies under 6 months old.  Some sunscreens are made with harmful chemicals and ingredients that trigger allergic reactions.  A deep dive into the types of chemicals in sunscreen and bug spray is alarming.  It's very important to protect yourself and your baby from itchy bug bits and ticks as well as from the sun's UVB and UVA rays. 

So, what are outdoor summer loving new moms to do?  At Fawn and Doe we think a lot about these concerns and have researched a few tips that you may find helpful.  We put it all together here in our New Baby Summer Survival Guide! 

  1. Avoid peak sun times: 

Try not to expose your baby to the sun in peak hours when the sun's UV rays are most intense. That's usually between 11am and 3pm.  But if you are out and about, even going between the house and car, always have a good fitting hat at the ready!

2- Find some overhead shade: 

Look for a shady spot for the baby, a tree, use your stroller top, an umbrella, a muslin blanket that allows air flow, or a baby beach tent.  This lightweight muslin organic cotton lightweight blanket is a great option to create shade and airflow.

  1. Cover your baby: 

If you are out during peak times, then ensure your baby's skin is protected.  Wear UV protective clothing, for playing in the yard, at the beach and while swimming.

  1. 4.Skin protection

If your baby is older than 6 months, you can use a sunscreen on exposed skin - one containing zinc oxide.  Check with your doctor if you have any concerns about what is safe to put on your baby's skin.

  1. Foot protection

While bare foot running is the best, the sidewalks and sand at a beach can be very hot and be more than uncomfortable for babies and toddlers.  Shoes are better than sandals to protect the tops of feet.

  1. Use a natural bug repellent:   

Again, always check with your doctor if you have specific questions or concerns. Test a small patch of skin before applying all over.  Spray the areas around baby rather than on baby directly; the stroller, carrier, etc...whatever they will be carried in...spray that object. We've even had several mama's tell us they spray the baby's clothes, hat and/or blanket (although we have never done this ourselves so can't attest to whether it stains and/or washes out easily). The thinking is similar to a citronella candle in that the idea is to create a bubble of protection. Just be careful not to spray teethers, toys or objects that will go into the mouth! Try our Take-A-Hike outdoor spray lotion with all natural ingredients like citronella, jojoba, cedarwood and lemongrass. And its DEET FREE!

  1. Keep baby hydrated:

Babies under 6 months old who are breastfeeding or bottle feeding, do not need to drink water.  Breast milk and formula have all the hydration and nutrition baby needs.  Giving young babies (under 6mths)  water even when its very hot, can put them at risk of malnutrition.   Since babies can’t tell you if they are thirsty, watch for irritability or if they are more floppy- this could indicate some heat stress.   If you feel your baby is thirsty, put them on the breast, or bottle more often than usual.  Babies older than 6 months, can have a few ounces of water a day.  It should be boiled first, then cooled.  A good indication of a well hydrated baby is about 8 wet/dirty diapers in a 24hr period, good skin colour and baby is alert and reasonably content. Check out this awesome thermos baby bottle for those hot summer days, keeps liquids warm or cold for 10 hours!

  1. Never, never, never, leave your child in the car while you run into a store, even for a quick moment.


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