Sunburn

Young children are more likely to get sunburned than adults. Sun causes aging of the skin and changes that can lead to skin cancer in later life.

Precautions

Protect the skin from harmful exposure to the sun by:

  • wearing hats
  • wearing long-sleeved shirts
  • applying sunscreen or sunblock

Take these precautions when you or a child will be exposed to daylight:

  • Remember that sunburn is possible on even cloudy days.
  • Plan for playtime in the shade, frequent fluid intake, and skin cooling.
  • Don’t rely on watching for sunburn to appear. Because it takes several hours for a sunburn to show, watching for reddening of the skin is not a dependable way to tell when a child has been in the sun too long. By the time you notice any change, it is too late.
  • Be particularly cautious at the following times:
    • At midday, between 10 am and 2 pm, when the sun’s rays are most intense.
    • Near water or sand. Reflections of the sun’s rays from water and sand increase sunburn dangers.
    • On cloudy days. Cloudy days can fool you; clouds don’t stop the sun from burning.

Sunscreen and Sunblock

The number on the sunscreen or sunblock indicates how many times the normal exposure time the product will provide protection. Use products with number 15 or more. Do not apply sunscreen or sunblock to broken skin.

Treatment

There is no cure for sunburn, but the pain and itching that accompany a burn can be treated with a cool bath or cold compresses applied three or four times a day for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. Severe burns may be accompanied by intense pain, blistering of the skin, nausea, chills, and fever. If a child has these symptoms, ask the child’s family to consult their physician.

When a child has a sunburn, do not apply medications to the skin without a doctor’s recommendation.