Parenting

How to Apply Sunscreen to Your Baby—in 33 Easy Steps

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Now that the sun is shining and the temperatures are beginning to creep up, most people are remembering to apply sunscreen. It is an important step not only to help slow down the signs of aging, but most importantly, to help prevent skin cancer. While most of us probably spent a good portion of our childhoods burnt to a crisp, we now know better about the importance of sunscreen. (As a side note, my grandmother used to use olive oil when she baked in the sun. We are now light years from that, thankfully…)

But it’s one thing to quickly apply sunscreen to yourself before leaving the house, and quite another to [try to] apply sunscreen to your small, squirming baby. If you have ever had the pleasure of doing so, you know that it is akin to trying to apply sunscreen to, say, a squirrel. Luckily the good people at Baby Center have provided us with 33 easy steps to follow to properly coat our little ones in sunscreen before heading out for some fun in the sun:

  1. Lay down baby
  2. Use one hand to hold baby still and, using “mom magic,” open sunscreen with remaining free hand
  3. Begin to apply sunscreen
  4. Baby squirms, sunscreen ends up in your ear
  5. Grab nearest toy to use as a distraction
  6. Shake toy in front of baby
  7. Begin to apply sunscreen
  8. Baby laughs, grabs toy, and sunscreen ends up in your hair
  9. Sigh, take deep breath
  10. Bring in the “big guns” (a.k.a. your tablet)
  11. Tell self it will be educational programming ONLY and just for a few minutes…plus, you need to apply sunscreen for health reasons so it’s okay
  12. Baby watches educational video
  13. Begin to apply sunscreen
  14. It’s working — but suddenly baby scratches you, prompting you to conclude that since he is distracted you may as well kill two birds with one stone and clip a few fingernails while you’re at it (spoiler alert: it’s a trap!)
  15. Finish nail trim and begin to apply remaining sunscreen
  16. Baby is bored after waiting through nail trim, begins to fidget and sunscreen somehow goes up your nose
  17. Call husband at work and ask if he can come home to help

Click here to find out what the husband said—and to read the rest of the steps.

In all seriousness, here are some helpful tips for applying sunscreen:

  • Babies under the age of 6 months should not use sunscreen or be out in the sun
  • You should reapply it every 2 hours, or after swimming
  • It is best to use 100% mineral sunscreen when possible. This avoids those tricky chemicals that you want to avoid
  • You should apply it 15-30 minutes before going out, so that it has time to absorb and properly do its very important job