Sunburn can begin after just 15 to 20 minutes of being in the sun. However, you might not notice signs of sunburn (like redness and skin discomfort) for a few hours.
Sunburn may not seem like a big deal, but repeated burns can lead to skin cancer.
Possible signs of mild sunburn are:
- skin redness and warmth
Possible signs of a more serious sunburn are:
- skin redness and blistering
What to Do
If a child has sunburn:
- Take the child out of the sun right away.
- Apply cool compresses to the reddened areas as often as needed.
- Apply a cream that has aloe vera in it to soothe the child's skin.
- Ask the parents if you can give the child ibuprofen for pain.
- Call the parents right away if you think a child has a serious sunburn.
To help prevent sunburn:
- Don't let kids play in the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., especially without the use of sunscreen.
- Use hats, sunglasses, and other protective gear on kids.
- Apply sunscreen that blocks both UVB and UVA rays and has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30.
- Apply sunscreen on dry skin about 15 or 30 minutes before the child will be playing outside in the sun.
- Re-apply sunscreen every 2 hours while kids are in the sun or right after they've been swimming or sweating.
Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD
Date reviewed: May 2013