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Sunburn Prevention and Treatment For Kids

How to Prevent and Treat Kids' Sunburns

You slathered sunscreen on your child, but he still got a sunburn — what should you do now? And how can you prevent it next time? Here moms chime in with their best tips on preventing and treating sunburns.


From the age-old remedy of applying aloe to the less common solution of using yogurt, Circle of Moms members have shared numerous ways to treat a sunburn. One surprising remedy even includes breast milk. As mom Laura B. points out, using breast milk to soothe a sunburn can solve the cumbersome problem of carrying around burn cream with all the other stuff moms already tote in their bags. Melissa M. says using a combination of breast milk and coconut oil not only soothed her daughter's sunburn, but also seemingly made it disappear overnight. For a full list of treatment tips, see our 10 ways to soothe a sunburn.

Preventing It Next Time

Once you've treated your child's sunburn, the important thing is to move on and make a plan to prevent it from happening again. As one mother, Alison L., said to another mom who was feeling bad about her baby getting a sunburn, "Forgive yourself darling. No parent is perfect. I am sure you will be more careful next time." Here are four key tips to remember.

  1. Sunscreen is essential. Applying sunscreen, as Jayne M. explains, should be a a non-negotiable ritual before spending a day in the sun. For recommendations on kid-friendly sunblocks, check out the 10 safest sunscreens for babies and kids.
  2. Be safe about Vitamin D. When Amy K. wondered about how to balance the benefit of getting vitamin D with preventing sunburn and melanoma, many moms responded that children may only need as little as 15 minutes of direct sunlight to fulfill their vitamin D requirement. While I was skeptical upon hearing this, according to the Vitamin D Council, it's true. However, the Vitamin D Council also cautions that skin type makes a difference as to how much sun your child can take before getting burned. They recommend staying in the sun only half as long as it takes for your child's skin to get pink.
  3. Avoid midday sun. Choosing what time of day to spend outside also makes a difference in preventing sunburn. A Circle of Moms member named Joy reminds moms to try to avoid taking kids outside during the time of day when the sun is strongest, which in many places is between the hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  4. Cover up. Other moms point out that sun protection also involves finding shady spots on the playground or beach, making sure your child wears a hat (try a sun hat with a Velcro strap for little ones who like to take them off), and having your child wear protective clothing, like a light t-shirt or cover-up. If all else fails and you can't get your child to keep clothes on over her bathing suit, then invest in a swimsuit or rash guard with built-in UPF protection. That way, you know for sure that her most delicate skin is protected.
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