Toddlers and Sunburns: Dos and Don'ts

Christine Coppa and Jack Domenic
Your toddler is always slathered with SPF, wearing a protective hat, and taking shade breaks. Good for you -- and him.

But on the off chance he gets a sunburn this summer, follow these basic dos and don'ts to ensure a quick and comfy recovery.


Do give your tot a big drink of water, cold sports drink, or ice pop. This will help him recover from the inside out and replace fluids lost by being exposed to heat and harmful rays.

Do apply a cool compress to the infected area. Submerge a soft washcloth into cool, not ice cold, water, then wring it out and let stand for a moment. Apply the compress to the skin and remove after about 12 minutes. Do this multiple times a day.

Do pamper. Offer up a lukewarm bath with oatmeal. After the bath, apply a water-based (always non-alcoholic) lotion.

Do medicate. Say no to aspirin, but if your child is in pain, give him the preferred dose of Motrin or Tylenol to ease discomfort.

Don't use sprays or topical ointments that contain the ingredient benzocaine -- this will irritate the child's skin more.

Don't dress your child in form-fitting clothes. Even if your toddler lounges in training pants and a sleep shirt, he'll be better off because he won't be subject to further irritation from garments.

Don't apply oil, butters, or jelly-type ointments: All of these products trap in heat and even prevent your child from sweating. The idea is to keep him cool.


Note: These tips are based on one mom's experience. You should consult with your doctor.


Has your toddler ever suffered from sunburn? How did you treat it?

Image via Christine Coppa

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