It's almost time to take your little one out into the bright, warm sun. To many, the sun is a welcome source of warmth, vitamin D, and all-around happiness. In all of our basking and beach-going, however, it's important to not forget that the sun is also a merciless, constant source of Ultraviolet rays. Those rays can be harsh on everyone's skin, especially your kiddos, and that's why I'd like to take a moment and dish some sage sun-protection advice.
It's all about Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF)
You may have heard your pediatrician tell you that babies under 6 months of age are too young for traditional sun block lotion or spray. If you can't slather up, what are you to do?
I found this sage advice from The Skin Cancer Foundation: "Don't forget hats and sunglasses. Choose a wide-brimmed hat that protects face, neck, and ears." I agree that regardless of the UPF coming from the fabric, it does the most good the more skin it covers.
Chemical sun block is not always a viable option in young children,
so we turn to clothing to save their skin from sunburn.
If you are planning on being outdoors for a long period of time with your young babies, do your best to stay in the shade and always wear a hat, long sleeves and long pants made of breathable material. If the day is particularly hot, try to stay cool near shade and return indoors as much as you can. Seeking the shelter of shade between 10AM and 4PM should be a top priority for babies and young children. Remember that water and sand will reflect the sun rays, and reapply sun screen to your children over 6 months of age (and yourself) often.
“Children are more sensitive to the sun, and the sun’s rays are strongest during the summer months, when children tend to spend ample time outdoors,” says Perry Robins, MD, President of The Skin Cancer Foundation. “Teaching children to adopt a sun-safe lifestyle when they’re young will prevent skin cancer and encourage them to begin lifelong healthy skin habits.” (source)
Now lets talk about fabric.
Natural and synthetic fabrics will both offer sun protection, but natural fibers will offer more UPF over time as they are washed. With each wear and wash, the small spaces between threads become occupied as threads expand and soften. In the end, it is most important to "consider the fabric’s weight and density — light, sheer silky gauze fabric will provide far less UV protection than heavy cotton denim" this is because the tiny holes left in the loose weave of the fabric will let in UV rays causing sun burn and irritation that may not be noticed before its too late.
I have intentionally designed Little Sun Hat headwear with heavy weight cotton and denim, and added a full cotton lining to double protect your babies and young children from the harmful UV rays. You can decide if the Sun Bonnet or Cap will suffice, or choose full coverage with our new Bucket style (coming in May 2017).
Yes you can wash your Little Sun Hat cotton headwear! Here's our full washing instructions. I know that washing a hat may seem like a daunting task, send us a message (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we'll walk you through the process if you're feeling nervous.
I am also having our fabrics tested for an accurate Ultraviolet Protection Factor number. This test takes some time, and will be updated in this article soon.
Leave a comment if you have questions about keeping your children sun safe or about the fabrics we use, we're here to help you find the best solution to sun safety and many enjoyable summers to come.
The images here are from our Summer 2016 collection, we will be releasing these and new prints this summer.