Effect of sunburn on toddlers

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Sunburn is quite common throughout the year even during the winter since sun reflects off the snow. Always bear in mind that children face the highest risk for sunburn, thus require supervision from parents or adults. This is true for toddlers who are not old enough to understand the potential dangers of the sun. Being familiar with the appropriate protection measures for the toddler as well as management for sunburn is vital. This will ensure that the long-term health of the skin is properly cared for.

What causes sunburn?

Sunburn develops once a toddler spends a lot of time under the sun without proper protection. Always bear in mind that the sun generates ultraviolet or UV radiation. This invisible wavelength strikes and infiltrates the skin, resulting to a rise in the production of melanin.

Melanin is the pigment that provides the skin its color which is why spending time under the sun can darken the skin. The increase in the melanin is meant to protect the skin against the UV radiation. It is sad to note though that the skin could not protect itself and ends up damaged by radiation due to prolonged exposure.

What are the potential risks?

Sunburn develops once a toddler spends a lot of time under the sun without proper protection.

Sunburn can produce various effects. The common is no other than the burning pain that affects both adults and children. If the sunburn is severe, the more intense the pain will be. In severe cases of sunburn, it can lead to the formation of blisters on the skin that can become infected if the toddler scratches or breaks them open.

The more times the toddler ends up with sunburn, there is high possibility that the DNA of the skin cells are damaged. Understandably, this increases the chances of developing deadly skin cancer later in life, especially if the child goes through adolescent and adult years without proper sun protection.


Sunburn can be prevented as long as the proper measures are observed. Any child over 6 months old must have sunscreen on the skin before going out under the sun. All the areas with exposed skin must be covered including the neck, face, legs, arms, feet, hands and the ears.

The sunscreen used must have a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 or 30 for children with fair skin. The child should also wear a hat if possible to shield the scalp from being scorched as well as provide shade to the face. In addition, sunglasses with UV protection are also vital to prevent the eyes from getting burned.


When a child ends up with sunburn, there are various treatment options available depending on the severity of the sunburn. The toddler can be given the right dose of ibuprofen within the initial 6 hours. This medication works by reducing the swelling as well as minimize any discomfort.

A doctor should be consulted first to ensure that ibuprofen is safe for the child. In most cases, a cool bath is also beneficial in cooling down the skin as well as minimizes the pain. Always make sure that the child drinks plenty of water to replace the lost fluids. In case the sunburn appears severe, develops blisters or becomes infected, a doctor should be consulted as soon as possible so that the right treatment can be started.

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