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Sunburn in babies, how to prevent and treat it

  • Bonitas
  • Category Advice Column, Baby, Bonitas, Health, Lifestyle, Parenting, Pregnancy & Baby

Living in sunny South Africa, worrying about your baby being exposed to the sun’s rays is a valid concern. Too much unprotected time in the sun can be harmful to your baby, leading to painful sunburn and, even skin cancer later in life. Here’s how to prevent and treat sunburn if your little one has spent too long outside.

How to treat sunburn 

Babies and toddlers are more sensitive to the sun as they have less developed skin than adults. Prevention is better than cure when it comes to sunburn, however, if your baby has spent too much time in the sun, the reddy, painful burn will only show up a view hours later. Those who have darker complexions tend to be less sun sensitive, however, everyone has some risk of sunburn.

Redness, swelling of  the skin (warmth) and pain are all symptoms of sunburn. If the sunburn has caused fever, chills, blisters and headaches its best to consult your local health practitioner.

You can treat mild sunburn with a cooling bath, moisturiser or aloe gel – all of which will help cool irritated and inflamed skin. Giving your baby extra fluid in the days following the burn should prevent dehydration. It is recommended that you keep your baby out of the sun until the burn has healed.x

Tips for preventing sunburn

Sun is strongest between 10am and 4pm so limit your little one’s sun exposure during this time. When your baby is spending time outdoors in the sun, be sure that they are wearing a hat and sunblock with an SPF of higher than 30, if your baby is older than 6 months (if they are younger you will need to find alternative protection for them).

Try to find sunblock that is formulated for kids (as this will work best for sensitive skin) and do a patch test on their skin before using it. If your child doesn’t like the feel of sunscreen (or is younger than 6 months), sun protective clothing is the better option.

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