Think your baby can’t sunburn in the shade? They can! How it happened, what we did PLUS Tips for preventing and treating a baby sunburn, too!
From a mild baby sunburn to tips on how to take care of a baby sunburn in shade, here are some ways that you can protect your baby from the sun’s harmful rays.
Since Sydney has been born, our social life has been pretty non-existent. Basically, we have been eating, sleeping, pooping, and crying. (yes – both of us!)
So, when some friends of ours invited our entire family to their house for a birthday party and an afternoon of swimming and eating, I decided it would be a good first outing for us.
If it didn’t work out and I was spending more time inside than outside, I’d just take her home and the big kids and Brian could come home later.
To my surprise, Sydney had a great day! She was scooped up by our friend and was immediately asleep. So, we spent the day poolside, under an umbrella in complete shade. It was the most relaxed I had been since Sydney made her arrival. A blessing, for sure!
As the day went on, I started to get warm and figured Sydney was too, so we headed inside. While I nursed her, I noticed her cheek was red and seemed to be getting redder as I sat with her.
I started to panic a little, wondering what was going on. Then it was getting more apparent that she may be sunburned.
But, HOW?! She was under the huge shade umbrella all day! People take their babies to parks, beaches and stroll around in strollers – HOW could she be sunburned?!
Can babies get a sunburn?
Yep, that’s what it was – she was sunburned for sure. You could see the line on her cheek where the sun did not get to and it was clear. I was sick. I felt horrible AND I had no idea how it happened.
She didn’t seem to be uncomfortable, but my baby’s face was getting redder by the minute. We had, however, sat outside for 3 HOURS!
It wasn’t until a friend mentioned that maybe the sun had reflected off of the pool water and onto Sydney’s face, that we realized that had to be how it happened!
It never once crossed my mind or any of the several other adult’s minds at the party that would happen! I just couldn’t believe it…but that had to be it.
Calling a pediatrician about your baby’s sunburn
After a call to the pediatrician, they said the same thing. Must have been the pool. I was told to keep her comfortable and keep an eye on her and to watch for signs of fever, dehydration, blisters and pain. OH how horrible I felt!
Here, I was this 5 week old’s mamma, and I was supposed to keep her safe and secure and she was burnt by the sun!
Even though I knew that it wasn’t anything I purposely did or even had a clue about, I felt bad.
Paying attention to the signs
Luckily, Sydney never seemed uncomfortable or developed any other symptoms except redness and some peeling. Both of which were gone in a few days. Now, I am extremely conscious of watching where the sun is and how it’s rays may be on my baby.
I don’t think this will ever happen again to us and want to spread this caution to other parents. As crazy as it sounds – it can happen and did!
Tips for Preventing and Treating Sunburn in Babies
Even though it was intentional on my part, there are a few things to watch out for when having your baby outside.
Preventing Sunburn in Babies:
- Limit outdoor sun exposure – babies, like older kids and adults, can get a sunburn in very little time being outside. Limit your time outdoors when the sun is out – even on overcast days. Babies under 6 months of age should be kept out of direct sun.
- Use sunscreen – There are so many healthy and safe sunburn options for babies. Be sure to apply before sun exposure and during your time outdoors. (Be sure that you’re using sunscreen that is safe for babies – so talk to your pediatrician first.)
- Stay in the shade – Keep baby in the shade as much as possible and be aware of the sun reflecting off of water or other bright surfaces onto your baby. (as in my case above!)
Treating Sunburn in Babies:
NOTE: If your baby is under 1 year of age and gets a sunburn, it is important to contact your pediatrician for direction and if necessary, an appointment.
- Apply cool tap-water compresses for 10 to 15 minutes, three to four times a day.
- Use aloe vera gel or a gentle hypoallergenic moisturizer to soothe the skin – DO NOT apply heavy ointments or lotions as this traps in heat.
- You may be able to give Tylenol or Motrin for pain and swelling if directed by your pediatrician. Give them a call to see if this is appropriate.
- Keep your baby out of the sun until the sunburn is fully healed.
Make sure that you’re aware of your surroundings and understand that even in the shade, a baby can get sunburnt. Being prepared and aware is the best way to prevent it from happening!