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Is your baby as ready for summer as you are? Before you take the newest member of your family outside for some summertime fun, make sure you are prepared to keep your child protected from the sun and heat. Experts recommend that you keep babies under 6 months old away from sun exposure. For older babies, here are summer baby must haves to pack in your tote for a day out.
Summer Essentials for Babies
- Lightweight clothing: You want to keep your baby cool, so you might think less is more when it comes to clothing. Not so true. Choose light-colored, lightweight fabrics to protect their skin, including arms and legs, and keep them cool, too. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, you may want to invest in clothes with built-in sun-protection.
- Summer Hat with Coverage: Don’t leave home without a dependable hat (or even two!). Babies in hats are always adorable, but choose a hat for function, not just fashion. Summer hats are essential and those with big brims or flaps that cover ears and the back of the neck are especially good. Verywell has compiled a list of the best summer hats for babies.
- Sunglasses: If you can get your baby to keep sunglasses on, choose sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays (check the label). Baby Bandz sunglasses have a velcro fastener for easy on and off. If you can’t keep glasses on your little one, a visor or hat with a large brim should help shield his eyes.
- Swim Diapers: If you’ll be hitting the pool, you’ll need swim diapers. Save money and the planet by choosing reusable swim diapers. Reusable swim diapers made from a stretchy swimsuit fabric are easy to change. Some even come with matching rash guards.
- Sun shade with UV Protection: Don’t rely solely on your stroller’s canopy to shade your baby. He’ll, undoubtedly, end up with burnt toes! Amp up the protection by attaching a pop-up stroller shade with built-in UV protection to shelter your baby’s entire body.
- Sunscreen: You can decide between a physical sunscreen (often called sunblock, which does not get absorbed into the skin) and a chemical sunscreen. There’s a debate brewing about whether chemical sunscreens are absorbed and potentially dangerous to babies. While these is no proof that the chemicals are toxic, you can play it safe by choosing sunscreens that are made with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which sit on top of the skin, forming a physical barrier against the sun. Sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide start protecting as soon as you put them on, while the chemical-based products need to be applied 15-30 minutes prior to sun exposure. Lucie’s List provides a list of the best sunscreens for babies. Whichever you are using, be sure to reapply often. BabyCenter has a nice overview article on how to choose sunscreen for your baby.
- Swim Float: To give your arms a rest in the swimming pool, consider a swim float that the baby can safely sit in and enjoy the water. Plus it provides extra sun coverage!
- Hydration: Be especially mindful of keeping babies hydrated when it’s warm outside. The American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t advise giving water to babies younger than 6 months. If your child hasn’t yet reached the 6-month mark, nurse or bottle-feed more often when they are likely to be thirsty. For older babies, be sure to offer water in a bottle or sippy cup throughout the day.
- Lightweight blanket: A lightweight blanket is indispensable. Use it as an extra sun shade, a cover when the A/C’s a bit too chilly, a changing pad, a nursing shield and for an impromptu picnic.
Find your summer babysitter with UrbanSitter. Search for CPR-trained babysitters.
Special guest post from the allergen experts at Ready, Set, Food!
Did you know that every baby is at risk for food allergies?
New research shows that every baby is at risk for food allergies regardless of family history — in fact, over 50% of children with food allergies have no family history. In addition, 1 in 13 children suffer from a food allergy today, and the rate of peanut allergies has tripled over recent years.
The idea of your baby developing a food allergy can be really scary, especially because of how dangerous they can be. Parents with a food allergic child can attest to the daily stress and challenges that come with a food allergy. Thankfully, findings from recent landmark studies on food allergy prevention have changed the way we view food allergies in children away from a place of fear and toward a focus on prevention. These studies show that a baby’s risk of developing food allergies can be reduced by up to 80% through early and frequent exposure to allergenic foods, starting as early as 4-11 months.
This new research on food allergy prevention is exciting, but it can also be overwhelming for parents of infants to know exactly how to follow guideline recommendations. Having a sitter introduce allergens to your baby can also be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Read on to learn about our tips for making early allergen introduction easy for both parents and sitters!
The Basics of Early Allergen Introduction
In order to help reduce your child’s risk of developing a food allergy, according to the landmark studies and medical guidelines, parents must follow early and sustained allergen exposure by:
- Starting Early: Introduce allergenic foods as early as 4-11 months.
- Introducing One Food at a Time: Following pediatric guidelines, only introduce allergenic foods one at a time every few days to determine how your baby is reacting to each new food you introduce.
- Sustaining Exposure: In the clinical trials, infants were continually exposed to allergenic foods 2-7 times a week for at least 3-6 months. Participants who continued exposure were able to maximize their chance of reducing the risk of developing food allergies.
- Managing Dosage: The PETIT study suggested that a stepwise dosing method is best to maximize safety and efficacy. This means starting with a small amount of allergenic food, and then gradually increasing that amount over time.
Yikes. The basics of early allergen introduction don’t seem so basic after all. Once you add in the challenge of feeding a baby new foods and different feeding routines for every baby into the mix–whew! To help make this process as easy and seamless as possible for busy families and their sitters, Ready, Set, Food! has compiled a cheat sheet of tips on early allergen introduction.
Tips for Easy Allergen Introduction for Parents & Sitters
- Find something that fits your baby’s feeding routine: Whether you’re exclusively breastfeeding, using formula, starting with purees, or following baby-led weaning, it’s important to find a way to introduce allergens to your baby. Note: there is a common misconception that breastfeeding is enough to introduce allergens, but unfortunately, there is inconclusive evidence that supports breastfeeding to prevent food allergies alone.
- Start Early: Studies recommend starting as early as 4-6 months to align with an infant’s critical immune window. This window gives your infant the best opportunity to develop a positive response to new foods.
- Pick the Right Time: Choosing the right time to introduce your baby to allergens is crucial. It’s important to talk to your pediatrician before introducing allergens, especially if your baby has severe eczema. Once you’re ready to start, make sure your baby is healthy and pick a time when an adult can watch your baby for at least 2 hours, just in case of a reaction.
- Don’t give up! Babies are often picky eaters at 4-11 months of age, and it’s hard to get them to consistently eat enough of anything. It’s important to not only introduce allergenic foods, but to also sustain exposure multiple times a week for several months.
It’s safe to say that early allergen introduction can be quite the challenge! Between starting at the right time and managing dosage, all while introducing allergens in a way that matches your baby’s normal routine. That’s why Ready, Set, Food! created an easier way to follow medical guidelines on early allergen introduction. They make it as simple as adding a pre-measured stickpack of organic, non-GMO peanut, egg, and milk to your baby’s bottle or food once a day. Ready, Set, Food! takes the stress out of introducing allergenic foods to your baby, for parents and sitters alike.
Ready, Set, Food! makes early and sustained allergen introduction easy for busy families! For a limited time only, get $20 off your Ready, Set, Food! subscription use code: URBANSITTER20.
All health-related content in this article is for informational purposes only and does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the advice of your own pediatrician in connection with any questions regarding your baby’s health. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If your infant has severe eczema, check with your infant’s healthcare provider before feeding foods containing ground peanuts.
Halloween is an exciting holiday and especially fun for kids. If you’re having a trusted sitter celebrate the holiday with your family this year, you’ll want to share these important Halloween safety guidelines before sending her trick-or-treating. They’re also helpful reminders for you, even if you’ve led the candy collecting charge many times before.
Practice Mindful Trick-or-Treating
- Use a flashlight to see where you’re going and take advantage of reflective tape or glow sticks to make kids visible in the dark. This protects them from cars and also makes it easier for you to keep an eye on them in the dark.
- Choose well-lighted neighborhoods with sidewalks and easy accessibility or opt for an organized trick-or-treating event at a local school, park or shopping center.
- Use crosswalks or cross at corners and remind kids to always look both ways before crossing the street. They should know never to dart out into the street.
- Have a Do Not Enter rule for houses and cars.
- Always stay in a group.
- Keep a cell phone on hand for emergencies, but make sure you aren’t glued to it instead of keeping an eye on the kids.
- Remind kids to stay away from candles and jack-o-lanterns with open flames.
- If no one is home at your own house while you’re out trick-or-treating, opt for a jack-o-lantern with a battery-powered candle.
Choose Smart Costumes
- Test make-up before Halloween night to make sure your child is not allergic to it.
- Make sure costumes are safe and easy to walk in. Have kids wear comfortable shoes instead of unprotective slippers or dress- up shoes that can cause blisters and pinched toes.
- Avoid masks or costumes that block or hamper vision. Make sure hats don’t slip over their eyes.
- Check to make sure store-bought costumes are flame-resistant.
- If kids’s costumes include swords, wands or other hand-held props, make sure they are short and not sharp.
Be Selective with Treats
- Feed kids a healthy, satisfying meals before they go trick-or-treating to discourage them from filling up on candy.
- Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them.
- Limit kids from eating too many sugary sweets.
- Avoid homemade treats.
- Don’t allow young children to have hard candy or gum that could cause choking.
- Devise a plan for dealing with the loads of candy your child will bring home. Many families have kids choose a certain number of pieces, and trade the rest in for a toy or special activity.
You can make sure your family has a safe and fun-filled Halloween by taking a few minutes to remind yourself of these safety guidelines and to share them with your sitter.
Part of raising kids to be mindful of their health and safety is teaching them the importance of protecting themselves from the sun’s harmful rays. Nearly a quarter of the damage they receive from the sun in their lifetime will happen before their 18th birthday. Since they are under your care during those childhood years, you can limit their exposure and help them to build healthy sun protection habits that will stick with them a lifetime.
Here are the ins and outs of proper sun protection and helpful tips for giving your kids a healthy dose of sun smarts.
Mastering Sun Protection
- Everyone – regardless of age, race or color of skin – should use sunscreen daily. Even on cloudy days, skin can burn – one bad sunburn in childhood is said to significantly increase chances of a melanoma later in life.
- The exception to applying sunscreen is babies under six months. Keep them out of direct sunlight until they are old enough to safely wear sunscreen.
- Look for sunscreen that shields against both UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreen that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide (rather than chemicals that are absorbed into the skin) will physically block the harmful rays by acting as a shield.
- Apply sunscreen about 30 minutes before going outside, so that a layer of protection can form. Don’t forget to cover lips, hands, ears, feet, behind the neck, and the top of the head.
- Make a habit of taking a break every two hours while you’re outside so you can reapply sunscreen. You’ll need to reapply more often after swimming.
- Wearing sunglasses is important, even for kids. UVA light can damage the eyes and the skin around them, even on overcast days.
- While we feel protected from the sun when we put on a shirt, we’re not giving ourselves much more than a SPF of 4. You can better protect by buying clothing with extra SPF protection, such as the Coolibar line.
- Keep kids hydrated. They can’t sweat like adults do, so they are more prone to dehydration, especially when they are in the hot sun.
- If your child gets a sunburn (despite your best efforts), avoid over-the-counter pain relievers, which can cause sensitivity to the sun – rub aloe vera gel on the burned areas, instead.
- Give a sunburn time to heal by keeping your child out of the sun for three to four days.
Tips for Teaching Your Kids Sun Safety & Building Healthy Habits
- Talk to kids about the importance of protecting their skin and eyes from the sun and remind them to incorporate sun protection into the every day, not just on sunny days or during the summer.
- Get them in the habit of applying sunscreen as part of their morning routine and make sure they have extra sunscreen on hand to re-apply throughout the day. Stash a stick of sunscreen in their backpack and make sure childcare providers are well versed in the importance of applying it.
- Teach kids to avoid being outside during peak UV hours – 10 am and 2 pm. Schedule visits to the park or pool in the morning or later in the afternoon so that they relate those times of day when the sun isn’t its strongest as the times to play outside.
- Encourage kids to take shade breaks when they are outside for long periods of time.
- Wearing sun-protective clothing, like rash guards, is an effective way to reduce sun exposure. You can find really cute SPF clothing for kids, too. Make sure their swimwear includes a protective option.
- Be a good role model by practicing what you preach. Let kids see you apply sunscreen regularly, wear sunglasses and opt for a hat and long sleeves when you’ll be in the sun for long periods of time.
- Tell your sitter to have sippy cups and water bottles handy and get your kids in the habit of packing a water bottle for school and daytime outings. Kids can quickly learn that sunscreen and water go with them when they leave the house.
Practicing sun smarts doesn’t have to be tedious or complicated. Kids can learn to enjoy the sun while being protected with just a few easy steps added to their daily routine. Don’t forget to share your family’s sun protection routine with your sitter, and make sure she’s well prepared to protect your kids while you’re away. They’ll all enjoy the sunshine a lot more if they don’t have to worry about a burn!
Give yourself a break this summer and hire a sitter to take over a day of pool duty, run the kids to the park or just spend an afternoon playing with them in your own backyard.
But, before you take off for your well-deserved time-away, make sure you have a responsible sitter. UrbanSitter enables you to find sitters whom friends or other local parents recommend, plus you can see if the sitters are First Aid and CPR-trained. Those added layers of comfort go a long way when choosing someone to care for your kids, especially at a pool or beach.
Once you have your kids in good hands, follow these helpful guidelines to communicate summer safety with your sitter:
- Share your emergency plan. If your child falls off the monkey bars at the park and the sitter can’t reach you, whom does she call? Where’s the nearest ER? Leave her an emergency contact list that includes cell phone numbers, your home address and instructions on what to do in case of an emergency.
- Pack a ready-to-go tote bag of safety essentials for your sitter. You’ll both feel good knowing she’s prepared. Include a first aid kit, sunscreen, insect repellent, water bottles, snacks and your emergency contacts.
- Practice sun smarts. Even on cloudy days, children can burn and just one bad sunburn in childhood is said to significantly increase chances of a melanoma later in life. Protect kids with hats, sunglasses and a sunscreen that shields against both UVA and UVB rays. Babies under six months cannot wear sunscreen, and should not be exposed to sun.
- Never leave kids unattended at the pool or beach, regardless of age or swimming ability. Swim vests and arm floats are helpful, but should never, ever replace a watchful sitter. Is your sitter certified for child/infant CPR? If not, consider paying for them to take a course.
- Keep kids hydrated. Children can’t sweat like adults do, so they are more prone to dehydration. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids have something to drink every twenty minutes when they are active. Tell your sitter to have sippy cups and water bottles handy and replenish often. She should watch for signs of dehydration – listlessness, redness in the face and irritability – and know to respond quickly.
- When riding bikes or scooters or skating, mandate a helmet. The AAP advises parents that 85 percent of all bike-related injuries could have been prevented if a helmet was worn.
- Prevent bug bites and stings. Provide your sitter with non-toxic repellents to apply after sunscreen. Be watchful of any allergic reaction to stinks or bites, and know what to do if a reaction occurs. Include single-dose Benadryl in your summer tote.