Spending a day at the beach or swimming in the local pool is a great way for children to spend a hot, summer afternoon. However, their fun can quickly come to an end if they develop a sunburn that leaves them unable to go outside or even worse in pain. Although the best treatment is to prevent sunburn altogether, there are some ways for you to treat a sunburn and help your child cope with the pain it causes.
First, follow guidelines to prevent suburn in children:
- Seek shade, especially between 10 A.M. and 2 P.M.
- Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths.
- Use a broad spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day.
- Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours. Cover up with broad-brimmed hats and UV-blocking sunglasses.
- Keep newborns out of the sun. Apply sunscreens on babies over the age of six months.
Despite your precautions, if you can’t prevent sunburn in your children, then the most important thing you can do in treating a sunburn is to remove your child from the sun as soon as you notice a sunburn developing. Many times sunburns won’t be noticeable until hours after the child has come inside. This is especially true for children in and around water, as the water lowers their body temperature and makes them appear more pale. However, if you do notice any reddening of the skin it is best to go inside.
Making your child comfortable once they have developed a sunburn is important. Cool baths and showers along with soothing gels and lotions that contain aloe vera can help relieve any pain associated with your child’s sunburn as it helps to cool the skin. In addition you may need to give your child a pain reliever or reducer such as Tylenol to dull the pain and allow them to resume normal activities. However, they should not be out in the sun until their sunburn has completely healed.
It is also important that you make sure your child drinks plenty of fluids after a sunburn so they don’t get dehydrated. Sunburned skin needs plenty of moisture to heal, and making sure your child is properly hydrated can help. You also may want to find a moisturizing lotion that your child can apply to the affected area to help keep it moist.
If your child does develop a severe sunburn you may need to seek medical attention. The sun has the power to give your child severe burns similar to what they would receive from hot water, stoves and other objects. If your child can’t do normal activities even with the help of a pain reliever or they develop intense blisters or a rash in the sunburned area, you should consult a doctor. Medical care may be needed.
Once your child has gotten a sunburn and healed from it they can resume outdoor activities but proper precautions should be taken to prevent sunburns. Make sure that your child has applied sunscreen every time they go outside regardless of what time of year it happens to be.
You should also take time to learn about sunscreen and find the one that is best for your child. Sunscreens are not all alike, and some provide much better protection than others. Anthelios by La Roche Posay and Ombrelle by L’Oreal offer sunscreens that have been especially formulated for children. Use a good sunscreen to ensure you don’t have to spend time treating your child’s sunburn again.