You’ve heard the saying that something is “as soft as a baby’s behind”. It’s true, a baby’s skin is soft, but it is also thinner, more fragile, and less oily than that of an adult’s. In addition, babies’ skin has less melanin, making them more prone to sunburns. Young babies are in the process of building up their immune system, but until they do, their skin is also less resistant to bacteria and other microbes that cause rashes and other skin irritations.

So yes, there is truth to the fact that a baby’s skin is soft and cuddly; therefore, it needs some extra care. Some tips for keeping your baby’s skin healthy include:

1. Always wash your baby’s clothing and diapers before it’s worn. This includes bedding and blankets. Use hypoallergenic or specific baby laundry detergent that is chemical, fragrance and dye free. Wash your baby’s things separately from the family laundry with an extra rinse. Adult products are too harsh for babies.

2. Your baby only needs a bath two or three times a week, otherwise a sponge bath after meals or after a diaper change is all that’s needed. Too much bathing will remove natural oils that protect the baby’s skin causing possible skin irritation or eczema. When bathing your little one, be sure to get into the little creases, underarms, between legs and diaper area. In addition, you only need to shampoo baby’s hair two to three times a week, unless there is a problem with cradle cap that requires more attention.

3. The best way to avoid diaper rash and irritation is to change baby’s diaper before and after feeding or after each bowel movement. Use a diaper rash ointment after each diaper change to protect and avoid any irritation.

4. Your baby’s immune system is developing during the first several months of life. During that time, avoid using baby products so as not to interfere with early development of immunity.

5. Babies are not efficient sweaters. To protect your baby’s skin, don’t overdress your baby in hot weather, and in cooler climates, layer clothing for warmth as needed.

6. Teaching toddlers healthy skin care habits starts with frequent hand washing using a mild soap. Olive oil soap will help to prevent dryness. Teach your toddler to dry thoroughly and to follow with a mild protective moisturizer kept next to the sink.

7. All children need protection from the sun especially in the summer months. Be sure to apply a sunscreen with a SPF of 30 or above. Look for the ingredients zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, as these block both UVA and UVB rays. Sun products to consider include Mexitan, or California Baby, both of which are all natural and chemical free. Babies younger than 6 months old should be kept out of the sun altogether.

8. Consider protective sun clothing for children, especially hats. There are numerous companies offering children’s protective clothing which can be purchased on line. Check out, Coolibar, LL Bean and Solartex.

9. It’s important to know the ingredients in the products you’re using on your baby. Read labels and get to know what the ingredients are. The better the ingredients and the fewer chemicals you use, the safer your child!