Babies under 6 months need protection from sunlight, but they should not use sunscreen unless a situation arises where there is no other option for sun protection. When taking your baby under 6 months old outside, you can protect them by wearing a hat, dressing them in loose, lightweight clothing that covers their skin, and keeping them out of direct sunlight.

If you cannot protect your baby from direct sunlight and there are no alternative protective measures available, you can apply a small amount of sunscreen to their face, as preventing sunburn is more important.

Risks of Putting Sunscreen on Babies Too Soon

Babies’ skin is very sensitive and sunscreens can cause uncomfortable rashes. Additionally, their skin may not be able to adequately block the chemicals in sunscreens from entering their bodies.

Benefits of Sunscreen for Babies Over 6 Months

Once babies turn 6 months old, sunscreen application should be a regular part of preparation for sun exposure. The primary benefit of using sunscreen is to prevent sunburn. Sunburns can be very painful and cause fever and feeling sick. Frequent sun exposure during childhood can lead to tougher, wrinkled skin later in life and increase the risk of skin cancer. Using sunscreen can prevent skin damage that increases such risks.

Safety Precautions

  • Apply sunscreen wherever the sun can reach, except around your baby’s eyes. If sunscreen accidentally gets into your baby’s eyes, rinse gently with plenty of water.
  • Since sunscreens take time to penetrate the skin, they should be applied 15-30 minutes before going out.
  • The protective effect of sunscreens does not last all day, it should be renewed every two hours. Additionally, if your baby gets wet or sweats a lot because they spends time in the water, sunscreen should be reapplied.
  • Sunscreens with “broad-spectrum” labels should be preferred to filter both UVB and UVA rays. If possible, the sunscreen ingredient oxybenzone should be avoided due to concerns about mild hormonal properties. A sunscreen containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide should be chosen for sensitive areas of the body such as the nose, cheeks, above the ears and shoulders.


  1. US Food and Drug Administration. Should You Put Sunscreen on Infants? Not Usually.
  2. American Academy of Pediatrics (2023). Sun Safety: Information for Parents About Sunburn & Sunscreen.
  3. American Academy of Pediatrics (2022). Sunburn: Treatment & Prevention.