Summer is a lovely time to travel with a baby or toddler, but the sun and heat can pose risks of sunburn, dehydration, and crankiness. Here is the latest and greatest in summer baby and toddler travel sun gear if you’re headed to the park, for a road trip, or overseas to a hot climate:
SHADE FOR STROLLERS AND CAR SEATS
My daughter’s legs right now are five times darker than the rest of her body. Even though we use sunscreen, none of the sun canopies on your typical stroller comes with canopies that protect her little legs from the sun (and it’s been glaringly sunny and hot in Chicago). When I recline her for naps, depending on where the sun is and the direction we are walking, sometimes her entire body is being hit with sun despite the canopy.
This shade fits most canopied strollers to extend the sun protection, adjusted to cover the baby from head to toe. It also provides UPF of 50 +, protecting baby from over 99% of harmful solar UVA and UVB rays . Plus it comes with a couple of pockets for storage.
This shade is versatile as it can fit onto most canopied strollers AND car seats. any car-seat. It is made from specially woven UPF 50+ breathable fabric that offers 98+% protection from the sun’s rays and provides full air circulation. The mesh side ventilation panels allow for 70% sun protection, cross ventilation and maximum viewing. A storage bag is included.
This is also available in a twin version for side-by-side twin strollers. If you are concerned about bugs and mosquitoes, it is also available in the Deluxe 3-in-1 version that includes a full length mosquito net.
If you’re traveling in the car, it’s essential to block out the sun’s rays to protect baby and to make for better napping to avoid sun in the face, plus it keeps the temperature cooler. This is a cool shade as it simply sticks to the window with static cling, so it’s easy to pack if you are traveling overseas, easy to install in your own car or rental car, and takes up minimal space.
Other sun shades for car windows worth checking out include: Britax 2 Pck EZ Cling Sun Shades, Brica Stretch-to-Fit Sun Shade, Dream Baby Extra Wide Car Window Shade (2 Pack), Safety 1st ProGrade Soft Solution Roller Shade
This shade is used while your child is not in his/her car seat. It helps to cool and protect the seat from heat and UV rays, keeping the seat an average of 26 degrees F cooler. The cover stretches over the car seat with an elastic band designed to fit most car seats and comes with a built-in elastic strap to secure the shade for easy storage (it folds flat).
BABY SUN AND BEACH ATTIRE
These are excellent cloth swimmers to pack along in the diaper bag whether you are heading to a beach, pool, or an outing where you may just happen upon a water feature. I find reusable swimmers to be convenient as I never have to worry about running out, plus it’s more economical. They come in five different fun unisex cotton print designs, with an interior polyester mesh for easy clean ups and a coated nylon layer sandwiched inside that will hold in the messiest stuff a baby can throw at you. They have an adjustable hook and loop closure for a snug and comfortable fit. Plus, they are made in Canada with fair labor practices using materials that are guaranteed to be lead, phthalate and bpa free. Other cloth swimmers to consider include: Imse Vimse (which also come in fun prints), Applecheeks, Finis Swim Diapers, and Mother-Ease Swim Diaper.
It’s useful to carry one or two small to medium sized wet/dry cloth diaper bags for dirty cloth diapers, used swimmers, and wet or dirty clothes. I like the Planetwise diaper bags, which have leak free seaming to contain moisture and wetness. The inner waterproof material and locking zipper are 100% PVC and lead free. They come in a plethora of fun designs. Medium size fits about 8-9 cloth diapers- they are very roomy.
Babies have thinner skin that is more vulnerable to sunburn than adult skin and special care must be taken to ensure that it’s well protected from the sun, our solid brim sun protection hat is a lightweight upf 50+ fabric, the inner lining is a wickaway microfiber. Also check out the iPlay UPF 50+ flap hat that provides more coverage for the neck, iPlay newborn sun hat, and a variety of other baby, newborn, and toddler sun and bucket hats.
BABY-SAFE SUNSCREEN AND INSECT REPELLENTS
This is water resistant and hypoallergenic. It is PABA free and chemical-free with highly micronized non-whitening titanium dioxide offering UVA-UVB broad-spectrum protection, and the stick makes it easier to glide onto baby’s skin. I also use it on myself. California Baby also makes this in lotion form which I do have and use, albeit a bit more messy (a little goes a long way).
Use a baby-safe mosquito repellent on baby’s skin that is free of DEET, parabens, phthalates, PEG’s, Sulfates, Dioxanes, Propylene Glycols, and synthetic fragrances. You can get them in spray, lotion, or convenient wipes for travel, which is why these Bite Blocker Herbal Repellent Wipes are great. Although there are many baby-safe all natural mosquito products on the market, some other baby-safe mosquito repellents to consider include: Burt’s Bees Herbal Inspect Repellent Spray, California Baby Bug Spray, Bite Blocker Herbal Spray, and Buzz Away Insect Repellent Towelettes.
For night time and naps, make sure baby is sleeping under a mosquito net. Jeep makes a netting that fits most standard play pens or cribs, as well as netting that fits over most strollers and baby carriers. If your family uses the family bed and you are sleeping in bed with baby, you could consider bringing with you a mosquito net big enough for the whole bed. However, this can get big and cumbersome, and it would be preferable to instead make sure that your accommodations come with bed netting, screens, and/or air-conditioning to ensure the family’s sleeping area is protected.
KEEPING BABY HYDRATED
Although breastfeeding is the best way to keep baby hydrated in hot weather, or if you are traveling somewhere and find that baby has traveler’s diarrhea, it’s never a bad idea to keep a few packets of powdered Pedialyte in baby’s first aid kit in the diaper bag. It’s easy to use- just add one pack to 8 fl oz of water. This is for babies older than one year, and it comes in a variety of fun flavors.
BABY BEACH, PICNIC, AND OUTSIDE GEAR
We get lots of use out of this blanket. We use it in Chicago for trips to the beach at Lake Michigan, picnics at outdoor music concerts at Millennium Park, and playing under the shade of the tree in the park. It’s water-resistant, easily wipes clean, and folds compactly. We usually make space in our luggage when we, travel, too, as it comes in handy as a baby/ toddler play mat both indoors and outdoors, and for any outdoor/ beach outings we might have.
There are lots of beach shades/ tents/ canopies on the market, which can be useful when spending a day in the sun or at the beach and need some relief and protection for baby from the sun, especially during nap time. It can also be great for the backyard. This one is great because it is lightweight but roomy, with UV guard protection for SPF 50 + and 2 zippered doors for privacy. It includes a carry bag, sandbags, extra-long stakes, a dry line and floor mat.
Peruse your many beach tent options here, or check out these specific options: Sun Stop’r Kwik Cabana I Instant Beach/ Backyard Cabana w/ UV Protection, Pacific Play Tents One Touch Play Cabana, Pacific Play Lil Nursery Tent, Schylling Infant UV Play Shade, and Sun Smarties Pop-up Cabana and Beach Tent and shaded baby pool options.