Uh-oh – your baby’s looking a little pink! During these hot summer months, it’s possible for even the most prepared of parents to discover that baby has spent a little too much time in the sun. There’s no need to panic, though! Sunburn is easily treatable, and there are a few ways to keep your baby comfy and in minimal pain while you wait for them to heal up!
Below, we’ve collected some of our most valuable advice regarding babies and sunburn to help you through the sweltering summer.
Noticed your baby has a sunburn? Cool compresses are your first go-to treatment. Run some washcloths in cool tap water (not ice cold!) and lay them over the sunburnt area. Don’t rub or otherwise agitate the skin, but leave the cloth on your child’s sunburn, and change them every fifteen minutes.
If you like, you can also give your baby a cool bath, just remember not to rub their skin dry, and instead pat gently with a soft towel.
Right after a cooling bath and while your baby’s skin is still damp, use a gentle moisturizing lotion. Avoid petroleum and oil-based ointments as those can trap heat. Sunburn causes skin to be dry and damaged. A moisturizer will help combat this and soothe the discomfort.
In addition, it’s important to moisturize skin after a sunburn to keep it from getting too dry. Use a gentle moisturizer formulated especially for babies to achieve the best results and avoid petroleum jelly or any other petroleum-based products, because these form a seal over the skin and could increase the risk of infection! The same can be said of old wives’ tales about burns that involve butter or oil. On adults these things don’t work, but in babies, they have an active risk of causing harm.
Aloe vera, another go-to sunburn solution for adults can also work fantastically for babies. This plant derived gel-like ingredient helps to reduce inflammation, bind in moisture, and heal skin.
Before you buy aloe vera, make sure you check your labels. Some aloe vera gels come formulated with topical pain relievers like benzocaine and lidocaine—two ingredients the FDA has determined to be unsafe for infants and young children. They also may irritate your baby’s sensitive skin or cause an allergic reaction.
If you have an aloe vera plant, breaking the leaves and applying it directly to baby’s skin is one of the best ways to obtain natural relief from sunburn.
You can also combine two steps by buying a moisturizer that already contains aloe vera. That’s one less thing to apply to your little one.
If there is a lot of pain or swelling with your baby’s sunburn, it’s all right to give them some medicine. If you’re little one is younger than one year old, call your pediatrician to find out what sort of pain reliever you can offer.
Generally, ibuprofen is recommended for children 6 months and older, but each case is individual, so don’t skip that call to the doctor’s office!
Keep Her Out of the Sun
A mild sunburn can go away in just a few days, but it’s important to limit further sun exposure to give baby’s damaged skin time to heal. Make sure to keep them out of the sun as much as possible and give them ample shade if you cannot keep them indoors.
Remember, a baby’s skin is very sensitive and tends to be thinner than adult’s skin, so it’s much easier for a baby to get sunburn than an adult.
Prevention is the Best Treatment
The best treatment for sunburn is preventing it. Make sure you always have some sort of portable shade when you go out, like a parasol or a stroller with a large overhead cover. If you’re going to be sitting or playing outside, you may consider getting a small tent specifically designed to give your baby their own shade.
The right outfit is also essential for sun protection. The more skin you can cover, the better, but also be wary of heat stroke. That’s where those all-important shade tents and strollers come into play. Also consider investing in a few adorable little hats that will both be Instagram-worthy and protect that delicate little head and those tiny ears from sunburn.
Avoid taking your child outdoors during the peak of sun exposure (about 10AM-2PM) if you can, and most important of all, choose a baby-safe sunscreen and make sure you’re reapplying. Setting a timer on your phone can help you remember this step. The Food and Drug Administration only recommends sunscreen for children older than six months. Talk to your pediatrician before applying to your child if they are younger.
Most babies will get some form of sunburn before they reach toddlerhood, and it’s important to be prepared for when it happens. The most important thing is to have the correct supplies on hand (including your pediatrician’s phone number!) and not to panic.
Keep in mind a few “don’ts” – if your baby has blisters, don’t pop them, and if you see peeling skin, don’t pick at it. Picking and popping can contribute to infections. Try to keep your baby from picking, too. Our littlest ones might benefit from mittens so as not to accidentally scratch themselves!
If you’re looking for a gentle, baby-safe sunscreen, did you know we have a line designed just for babies? You can find it here and should consider it an essential part of your baby’s summer kit!