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What should you look for in a baby sun shade for a pram?

What should you look for in a baby sun shade for a pram?

One of the first things a parent (or parent-to-be) will buy is a pram or stroller so that they and their newborn can enjoy being outdoors when the weather is nice. But did you know that special considerations apply to sun care and babies? This is because babies are especially vulnerable to the heat and UV effects of the sun which can result in heat stressed babies and sun damage to delicate baby skin.

Of course, the best health advice of all is to stay inside with your baby when the weather is hot, but with our busy lifestyles, this is not always a realistic option. A sun shade for the pram can be a particularly useful tool in protecting babies as they create a physical barrier between the baby and the sun.


We found that, in fact, covering a stroller can help block some of this direct heat from getting through to the baby

In our previous blog post (Should you cover your pram this summer?), we looked at whether the common practice of covering your baby’s stroller in a blanket or thin cloth caused any issues with direct sunlight and overheating. We found that, in fact, covering a stroller can help block some of this direct heat from getting through to the baby. In our testing, it was the blanket that blocked the most heat radiating from the sun because it was the thickest. Does this mean a blanket is the best type of sun protector for a stroller or pram?

The answer is no, because blocking direct heat from the sun is not the only (or even the most important) factor to consider when choosing a cover. So what is? 

Musluv baby sun shade cover, blanket and normal muslin

What important factors should you consider when choosing a stroller sun shade cover?

Airflow and air permeability are the key factors when choosing a pram cover and aiming to prevent overheating. This is because the direct sun is not the only heat source to consider; the baby itself is also a source of heat and you’ll also need to think about the normal surrounding (or ambient) temperature and even how hot the pram itself is.

Hot air in the pram will rise, and high air permeability in a pram sun shade helps this air to escape (as well as aiding a good flow of air for your baby’s comfortable breathing – breathing stale gases has also been identified as a possibly contributory factor to SIDS). If your pram has been sitting on the verandah facing the sun and heating up, before your trip out to the shops, good airflow is important so that this super heat is not trapped in the pram. Ok, so it sounds as if we should buy a pram cover that blocks maximum direct heat from the sun and is very air permeable, right?

Unfortunately, the more a fabric is able to block direct heat, the less air permeable it is.  Out of these two factors, air permeability is the more important one as airflow has been identified by many SIDS organisations as being a major factor in preventing SIDS.

So if we shouldn’t use a blanket which might be stifling, what should we do to combat the heat from the direct sun?  The sensible thing to do is to not let your (covered or uncovered) pram face towards direct sunlight for long periods, and to stick to shaded areas as much as possible.


"Only cover your baby's pram or stroller with a light cloth that still allows the air to circulate."
NSW Government Guidelines

The other major consideration is whether the pram cover chosen has high resistance to UV rays. The UV exposure outdoors can be too high for a baby’s thinner skin even if the stroller is facing away from direct sunlight or is in the shade – this is because they can be exposed to UV rays reflected by surfaces such as grass, sand or concrete. Even on a cloudy day the UV exposure can be more intense than on a clear day because UV rays can bounce off the edges and bottom of a broken cloud layer. 

Using a baby sun shade cover to create a barrier between UV rays and the baby’s skin is one of the most effective ways of protecting your baby’s skin against sun damage and your pram shade should have a UPF 50+ rating, which means it blocks out the majority of all UV rays.  

What makes an ideal pram shade?

Blankets come in various thicknesses and might not in themselves allow good airflow. Owing to their thickness (and the fact that they are not purpose-made as pram shades) it can be difficult to secure them to the pram with adequate ventilation. They can also be made of different materials such as cotton or wool, and are generally not rated for their ability to block UV rays.

By contrast, a normal muslin wrap will have superb breathability and air permeability, however as they are too thin and porous, they will not provide good UV protection.


It is usually best to choose a commercial pram shade (particularly one that has been tested for air permeability and ability to block UV rays)

For these reasons, it is usually best to choose a commercial pram shade (particularly one that has been tested for air permeability and ability to block UV rays) over general purpose cloths like blankets, ordinary muslins and sheets.

Some commercial stroller shades attach all the way around the pram and this might make it difficult to create gaps when you need extra ventilation in the pram. Flexibility in how to create these gaps (rather than having a single, fixed opening) helps to both enable a through-flow of air and avoid direct radiation from the sun shining through the gap. 

Your baby sun shade cover should also be easily adjustable as the angle of the sun hitting the pram shifts depending on the direction you are walking in or the time of day, so even the most carefully positioned stroller shade may have to be constantly adjusted according to the direction of the rays.

The design of your pram sun shade ideally would allow you to easily (and quietly!) check your baby inside the stroller, and be adjustable to allow your baby to look out of the pram if they’re the sort that like to watch the world go by – some health organisations (such as Red Nose) advise that the baby remains visible to you when it’s hot.

Mum looking in on pram covered with musluv baby sun shade cover


Overall an ideal stroller sun shade should allow good airflow (through high air permeability and the ability to create extra ventilation gaps when needed) and have excellent UV protection (UPF 50+). It’s also useful if it allows you to easily see and check in on your baby.

Overall an ideal stroller sun shade should allow good airflow (through high air permeability and the ability to create extra ventilation gaps when needed) and have excellent UV protection (UPF 50+). It’s also useful if it allows you to easily see and check in on your baby.

General pram and hot weather recommendations

The primary recommendation remains to keep babies indoors in hot weather.  However, if you do choose to go out with the pram in hot weather then (alongside the official health general recommendations such as those of the NSW Government) the following additional guidelines may help:

  • Limit the baby’s time outside in hot weather or when the UV is moderate or above. The higher the temperature/UV level and the younger the baby, the shorter the time the babies should be spending outdoors.
  • Use a baby sun shade for your stroller or pram that has the following features: (i) good air permeability to aid circulation of air; (ii) the ability to easily increase ventilation in the pram if needed; and (iii) excellent UV protection (UPF 50+). Ideally it should also make it easy to see and check on your baby.
  • Check on the baby frequently to ensure that their body temperature is comfortable and create extra ventilation gaps in the shade cover if needed. You could also try to cool the pram down before putting your baby inside, especially if it has been sitting outside the house heating up for any length of time; a fan or cooling pad may help.
  • Never leave the stroller stationary facing the direct sun and stick to the shade of buildings and trees whenever possible.
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1 comment

Jul 17, 2017 • Posted by Viviana

We live in Spain with hot summer. Our baby is only tow months

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