It’s summer — time to get outside and soak up the warm weather! But skin can burn in as little as 15 to 30 minutes — even on a cloudy day or while in the shade if the sun is reflecting off a body of water.
Every sunburn your child gets can put them at increased risk for skin cancer later in life. In fact, childhood is when we get more than 50% of our lifetime exposure to damaging ultraviolet rays.
Symptoms of a sunburn usually develop one to 24 hours after sun exposure and can include pain, red skin that may blister and sometimes a fever.
So what are the best ways to protect your child from sunburn? Follow these sun safety tips.
- Avoid sun exposure when UV rays are the strongest, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Apply sunscreen at least 15 to 30 minutes before going outside.
- Use a broad spectrum sunscreen or sunblock with a sun protection factor of 30 or higher that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
- Reapply sunscreen if skin gets wet while swimming or using a sprinkler.
- Replace sunscreen that’s expired or if it looks or feels different or the color has changed.
- Dress them in protective clothing including sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats and loose, long-sleeved shirts and pants with a tight weave.
Despite your best efforts, sunburns can still happen. Most kids recover from a sunburn in two to seven days, depending on how bad it was. The first few days are usually the worst. After four to seven days, your child’s sunburned skin will usually peel.
Babies are also susceptible to sunburns. The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends applying sunscreen if you just use it on small areas of your baby’s skin exposed to the sun that are not protected by clothing. Try to keep babies out of direct sunlight as they can burn easily and are less able to handle the heat.
Call your doctor if:
- Your child has a severe sunburn (with blisters or fever)
- The sunburn covers a large area of the body
- There is increased redness
- There is yellow discharge from blisters and/or swelling (can be signs of infection)
- Your child is very lethargic, begins vomiting or experiences severe dizziness
Make sure to practice sun safety this summer to help protect from sunburn. Your little vampires will thank you.