Just because you have a baby does not mean you have to forego your favorite activities. With the summer looming large, going to the beach is a real temptation. And there is no reason you cannot enjoy a few hours on the beach, or, in fact, anywhere out under the sun!
But with a baby in tow, things do change! The sun can harm adult skin drastically. Imagine what it can do to your baby’s delicate skin.
Sunburn is one of the most serious effects of spending too long in harsh sunlight. Fortunately, with a little foresight, you can keep your baby safe from sunburn!
What Are The Symptoms Sunburn In Babies?
Did you spend a bit too long under direct sunlight with your baby? Well, if your baby gets sunburned, you can expect the following symptoms:
- Redness in the exposed part of the body that manifests two to four hours after exposure.
- Skin redness that get worse 12 – 14 hours after sun exposure.
- Pain and burning sensation in the affected area.
- Skin blister that develop around 10 to 14 hours after exposure.
- Peeling of skin about two to three days after being exposed to the sun.
Treating Sunburn In Babies:
If your baby does get a sunburn, there are some easy ways on how to treat baby sunburn that will alleviate her symptoms and hasten her recovery.
1. Water Is Your Best Friend:
When it comes to sunburn, water is your best friend. You can apply tap-water (make sure it is cool) on the affected area for about 10 to 15 minutes every day. You can repeat the step three or four times a day for maximum benefits. You can also give your baby a cool shower if she has a fever.
You can use an aloe vera based gel or a hypoallergenic moisturizer at the exposed area of the skin to help alleviate the burning and pain.
If your baby develops a fever as well as swelling, you can give her acetaminophen or ibuprofen. But make sure to consult your pediatrician first.
4. Prevent Dehydration:
If your baby has been out in the sun for long enough to get sunburn, she can also get dehydrated. So make sure to give her plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
5. Stay At Home:
Till your baby recovers completely, keep her away from sunlight.
When To Call The Doctor:
If your baby has a sunburn, you should at least call your doctor and explain the symptoms. If your doctor suspects a serious burn, he may ask you to come for medical treatment. But most mild cases of sunburn does not need a visit to the doctor.
But do go the doctor if:
- Your baby is under six-months-old.
- Your baby develops blisters or sores on her skin.
- She starts sweating, vomiting or faints.
- Your baby shows signs of dehydration like cracked lips, a dry mouth and tongue, sunken eyes, no tears and a sunken soft spot on the scalp.
- The affected area covers more than 10% of the little one’s body.
Can You Prevent Sunburn In Babies?
When it comes to sunburn, prevention is surely the best bet. A case of a bad sunburn early on in life can set the stage for skin cancer later (1)! So the best you can do is keep your baby protected from sunburns. Here’s how you can prevent newborn sunburn:
1. Don’t Overstay Your Welcome:
The sun can become a nasty host if you overstay your welcome. If you have to step out into the sun, make sure it is before 10 am and after 3pm. Also, try not to spend more than one to two hours under the sun.
2. Use Sunscreen:
Make sure you are using a good quality sunscreen every time you step out of home with your baby. Look for a sunscreen which offers full spectrum protection and has an SPF of 30 and above. A waterproof sunscreen, made for sensitive skins will be perfect for your baby. But if your baby is younger than six months, use sunscreen sparingly. Many recent studies have indicated that skin cancer rates have increased with increased use of sunscreen. Don’t let this statistic scare you! The simple fact is that sunscreen gives us a sense of security and we tend to stay out under the sun longer (2), which in turn can cause sunburn or skin cancer. So, ask your doctor about the safe amount of time you can spend outdoors with your baby.
3. Dress Appropriately:
The best bet to protect your baby from sunburn is proper clothing. Go for wide rimmed hats. Make sure your baby is wearing comfortable clothes. Opt for long-sleeved shirts and long pants to keep most of the little body covered.
4. Stay In The Shade:
Look for shade, wherever you go. It can be a tree or a large house! If you cannot find any shade, make your own! Take along your umbrella if you can. A poolside umbrella will be a good option for little ones. You can also buy a portable tent to keep the entire family protected!
5. Look For UV Clothing:
Certain clothes offer more sun protection than others (3). So, look for appropriate brands and clothes to get maximum sun protection.
With a little care, you can enjoy the best summer has to offer, without putting your baby at risk. Yes, you can treat sunburn. But protecting your baby from sunburn is a much better idea, in the long run.
Has your little one ever had a sunburn? How did you treat your baby with sunburn? Share your tips with us!