A few weeks ago, the Food & Drug Administration released a statement on its Consumer Updates page reminding parents that becoming sunburned, dehydrated, or severely overheated is bad for a baby.
This statement runs in direct contrast to the prevailing view that human infants are the hardiest organisms on the planet. An oft-repeated bit of wisdom states that that the only creatures capable of surviving a nuclear holocaust are babies and cockroaches. It turns out this is a myth.
The FDA's article starts with an explanation of why sunscreen does more harm than good to infants under six months. (Their skin is very thin and, therefore, super absorbent.) It also featured a great line about how babies "have a high surface-area to body-weight ratio," (meaning their exposure to chemicals absorbed through the skin is greater than it is for adults), which is a great thing to say about a baby if you can't bring yourself to say it is "cute" but do feel you must say something.
But then the FDA got a little cocky with its summer fun tips.
Hari Cheryl Sachs, M.D., a pediatrician at the FDA, recommended that rather than leaving your baby lying on concrete in direct sunlight at high noon, as you might a crayon you were trying to melt, you instead put it in an area that offers some shade.
If natural shade is not available, Sachs explained, it is theoretically possible for man to create his own, "using an umbrella or the canopy of the stroller."
The FDA also noted that when it's hot out (in other words: when the babies are in heat), there's a chance infants will become dehydrated. To make sure your infant stays hydrated, the FDA recommends taking care of it as you normally would:
To make sure they're adequately hydrated, offer them their usual feeding of breast milk or formula, says Sachs.
By the end of the article, the FDA was offering fashion tips for this season's hottest babies.
For example: Hey, baby, don't wear a fucking baseball cap, even if you think it looks cute on you.
"Keep in mind that while baseball caps are cute, they don't shade the neck and ears, sensitive areas for a baby."
And, for the baby who does not wish to look a hot mess, a word about weaves:
"Tight weaves are better than loose."
(In the FDA article, that line applied to clothing material, but it's great life advice in general.)
If you suspect your baby has become sun damaged, simply discard it and try another baby.