Baby Sunburns: 7 Quick Remedies for Healing Sunburns

Babies who are learning to walk want to play and have fun outside. But a tiny baby sunburn may make his time miserable. So, as a parent, how can you protect your little one’s skin from skin sunburn1?

As summer approaches, parents should be aware of baby sunburn. Babies and young children have delicate skin that can easily become burned when exposed to the sun for too long. Exposure to UV radiation2 from the Sun’s rays is one of the leading causes of skin cancer in later life, so it’s important to take precautions with babies’ sensitive skin.

Are you prepared to protect your baby’s delicate skin from the sun? Sunburn can seriously harm a baby’s skin, and lifelong damage may result. Parents must be aware of the dangers of sun exposure and take necessary precautions to keep their little ones safe.

In this blog, I’ll explain exactly what to look for in babies’ signs of sunburn and how to protect them from dangerous UV rays. So strap on your sunscreen, and let’s dive right into understanding more about baby sunburns!

What is Baby Sunburn?

A baby sunburn happens when the child’s skin is overexposed to the sun’s rays. This causes an inflammatory reaction that results in skin irritation, burning, and reddening. A burn usually appears two to four hours after exposure; you’ll find redness where the skin gets sunburned.

Since babies’ skin is thin and sensitive, they are more vulnerable to UV rays. If the sunburn is bad enough, it may begin to form blisters. In a few days, the redness begins to fade, and the skin starts to peel. The skin burn may get more painful over time. A single severe sunburn during infancy or youth doubles the likelihood of later developing melanoma, a form of skin cancer.

UVA and UVB are the two types of UV light your child should avoid. While UVB is typically to blame for sunburns, UVA exposure can result in early ageing symptoms, including wrinkles and discoloration. Both kinds of UV rays increase the risk of developing skin cancer.

What Do Baby Sunburn Symptoms Look Like?

Baby Sunburn
Source: Tim Bish / Unsplash

It’s easy to forget that babies are especially susceptible to sunburns. Unlike an adult, babies may not be able to handle a few extra minutes in the sun. So, after spending the day in the sun, keep an eye out for these signs in your child:

  • Skin reddening
  • Painful skin reaction
  • Swelling of the skin
  • Blisters forming on the affected area
  • Dry, itchy, and peeling skin
  • Fever or chills
  • Severe headaches or confusion
  • Cranky baby
  • Vomiting or dizziness

How Can Sunburn in Babies Be Prevented?

In order to avoid sunburn, prevention is key. Every effort should be made to prevent sunburn in babies. Following are some measures to protect babies from sunburn:

Reduce Sun Exposure

Keeping your child as much as you can in the shade will help to prevent sunburns. You can prevent direct sunlight from entering the room using detachable mesh window shields. You can also limit sun exposure by taking your kids to play or stroll in the early mornings or around sunset time instead of noons.

Apply Sunscreen

Sunscreen is an essential part of baby care, as babies and young children have particularly sensitive skin that the sun’s rays can easily burn. Sunscreen for babies should always offer broad-spectrum protection with at least SPF 30 or higher. It should also contain safe ingredients for sensitive skin and be free from potentially irritating fragrances or other chemical additives.

Additionally, look for sunscreen products specifically designed to be water resistant since babies tend to spend more time in pools and around water than adults do. Furthermore, it is important to remember to reapply every two hours when playing outside or swimming, even if you’re using waterproof sunscreen!

Dress your Child in Long-Sleeved Sun Protective Clothing

Dressing your child in long-sleeved sun-protective clothing is an important way to protect them from skin damage caused by the sun. The extra coverage these types of clothes provide helps shield sensitive areas like shoulders, arms, and legs from harmful UV rays.

Sun protection fabrics are designed to block both UVA and UVB radiation3

while also being lightweight, breathable, and comfortable for kids to wear in all climates.

Use Sunglass, Hats, and Beach Umbrellas

Use a hat with a wide brim that fits your baby’s head comfortably. The hat should completely cover the head, including the sensitive facial skin. Use sunglasses to protect your eyes. You can also use beach umbrellas or similar items to keep your kid as much in the shade as you can.

7 Quick Remedies for Baby Sunburn

Don’t lose hope if prevention fails and your child develops a mild sunburn. Several quick remedies will help to soothe their skin quickly and effectively. Some of these are given below:

1) Apply a Cloth Soaked in Cold Water

Sunburn can be effectively treated with this easy remedy. Simply soak a soft washcloth in cold water for a few minutes, wring it out fast, and place it over your baby’s sunburn. Your child will feel immediate relief and be able to unwind thanks to the cold, damp cloth.

2) Ensure your Baby Gets More Fluids

Your baby is probably dehydrated after being in the sun for too long. Simply providing your child with more fluids will help address this issue.

Babies less than a year old should stick to breast milk or formula, while those older than a year should drink lots of mineral water when they have sunburn. The fluids will keep your child’s body healthy and able to repair its sun-damaged skin on its own.

3) Give your Baby an Oatmeal Bath

An oatmeal bath is a great way to soothe a sunburn. Not only does it provide relief from the burning sensation and discomfort, but it also helps to speed up the healing process by reducing inflammation and promoting skin hydration.

To create an oatmeal bath, simply mix 1 cup of oats with 2 quarts of warm water in an old sock or muslin bag. Allow this mixture to steep for at least 10 minutes before adding it directly into your tub filled with lukewarm water.

Then, immerse your baby in the solution for 20 minutes while allowing the nourishing benefits of oat extract to penetrate deep into your skin cells and moisturize them from within.

4) Apply Coconut Oil or Lavender Oil

Lavender oil contains anti-inflammatory properties that reduce redness and swelling, while coconut oil is used as a moisturizer for dry and itchy skin. Combining these two oils can provide quick relief from the stinging sensation associated with sunburns in babies.

To apply either of these oils to the sunburned area, simply dab a few drops of it into the affected area. Doing this regularly can help relieve pain from mild cases of baby sunburn over time.

5) Acetaminophen to Relieve Painful Skin Reaction

Acetaminophen is a very popular choice for treating sunburn in babies. It provides relief from the pain caused by sunburn and helps to reduce inflammation and swelling. This medication works best when given as soon as possible after exposure to the sun to reduce discomfort quickly.

However, parents should always consult with their pediatrician before giving acetaminophen 4or any other over-the-counter medications to their baby.

6) Use Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe vera gel is a great natural remedy for sunburns in babies. It has several properties make it an ideal product to soothe and heal delicate baby skin. Aloe vera gel is anti-inflammatory and helps protect the skin from further damage while aiding in healing existing burns.

Furthermore, aloe vera contains antioxidants 5that help reduce redness and discomfort associated with sunburns while promoting healthy cell regeneration6. Best of all, compared to other types of burn treatments, aloe vera is completely safe for children.

7) Apply Witch Hazel

The herb’s anti-inflammatory characteristics aid in reducing the redness, swelling, and itching brought on by excessive sun exposure. Witch Hazel contains tannins that may help soothe and protect sensitive skin.

To apply Witch Hazel as a topical treatment for your little one’s sunburned skin area, simply moisten a cotton ball or pad with the herbal liquid solution and gently pat onto affected areas twice daily until symptoms subside.

With its cooling and calming powers, Witch Hazel7 can bring much-needed relief from painful sensations due to prolonged exposure to the sun!

Bottom Line

Don’t blame yourself as a parent if your child gets a baby sunburn. Baby sunburns are pretty normal, and while there are remedies to lessen their discomfort, prevention is always the best course of action. If your child is less than a year old, don’t hesitate to take him to a paediatrician since younger babies’ skin is more sensitive and delicate.

If the burn appears severe or is extremely painful, your child may need immediate medical care. Maintaining your composure is important at such times. Call your doctor and go to the nearest emergency room.

That’s it! You now have all the information you need to prevent and treat sunburn on your little one. With this, you can ensure that every outing with your precious bundle of joy will be enjoyable, fun-filled, and, most importantly, sunburn-free!

  1. Gilchrest, Barbara A., et al. “The human sunburn reaction: histologic and biochemical studies.” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 5.4 (1981): 411-422. ↩︎
  2. D’Orazio, John, et al. “UV radiation and the skin.” International journal of molecular sciences 14.6 (2013): 12222-12248. ↩︎
  3. Jenkins, Gareth I. “Signal transduction in responses to UV-B radiation.” Annual review of plant biology 60 (2009): 407-431. ↩︎
  4. James, Laura P., Philip R. Mayeux, and Jack A. Hinson. “Acetaminophen-induced hepatotoxicity.” Drug metabolism and disposition 31.12 (2003): 1499-1506. ↩︎
  5. Halliwell, Barry. “Antioxidants: the basics-what they are and how to evaluate them.” Advances in pharmacology 38 (1996): 3-20. ↩︎
  6. Nir, Tomer, Douglas A. Melton, and Yuval Dor. “Recovery from diabetes in mice by β cell regeneration.” The Journal of clinical investigation 117.9 (2007): 2553-2561. ↩︎
  7. Thring, Tamsyn SA, Pauline Hili, and Declan P. Naughton. “Antioxidant and potential anti-inflammatory activity of extracts and formulations of white tea, rose, and witch hazel on primary human dermal fibroblast cells.” Journal of Inflammation 8.1 (2011): 1-7. ↩︎

Last Updated on by Sathi Chakraborty, MSc Biology


Komal Rajani
Sathi Chakraborty, MSc Biology
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