I take my baby and toddler on long car trips occasionally. Should they be wearing sunblock when they're riding along? Can you get a sunburn in a car?
Yes, you and your children should actually wear sunscreen while riding in a car. How much sun you and your children are exposed to depends on the type of tinting you have on your windows and if you use a sun-blocking shade on the windows.
UVA and UVB rays emitted by the sun can both cause damage to your skin. Luckily, glass will block UVB rays, which are the ones that can cause sunburn. But UVA rays, which can penetrate much deeper into the skin and lead to skin damage and even skin cancer, are not blocked by glass.
For older babies and toddlers, make sure to use a sunscreen with SPF of at least 15 and look for products that are broad spectrum. (A broad-spectrum sunscreen will protect from UVA and UVB rays.) The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends avoiding sunscreen for babies until they are six months of age, but says if sun is going to be unavoidable to use only small amounts on the face and backs of hands and to try to cover the rest of her body with lightweight cotton clothing.
More Sun Safety Tips
In addition to protecting your skin by wearing sunscreen, you can try using these other sun safety items:
- A window shade will make riding in the car a much more pleasant experience for you child who may become overheated, fussy, and irritable if the sun is coming through the window for a prolonged length of time.
- Sunglasses with UV protective lenses and light cotton floppy hats are other good options for keeping the sun out of your little ones eyes and off their face.