Baby Sunburn: Natural Treatment & Prevention

image001Parents need to know that babies are more susceptible to sunburns than adults or older children. Just a few minutes of exposure to the sun’s rays can cause an infant to develop a mild sunburn.

This does not mean that parents should be paranoid about sunburns. Instead, it is possible to treat most baby sunburns at home and help them recover quickly.

Symptoms of Baby Sunburn

Sunburn is simply the damage that exposure to solar rays can do to your skin. Its main symptom is a change in color of the skin. This might be accompanied by pain and discomfort.

If the skin simply turns red, the baby sunburn is not serious, and you can treat it at home. If blisters develop, the child has a lot of pain, or the child starts exhibiting other symptoms, such as vomiting, fever, or a headache, the problem could be more serious. Another symptom to watch for is the accumulation of pus on affected areas because that could indicate an infection.

How to Treat and Sooth Baby Sunburn

1. Things You Should Do If Your Baby Gets Sunburned

  • Make sure the baby gets plenty of fluids—breast milk if he or she is still teething or water or formula for older children.
  • Give the baby a bath in lukewarm or cool water. Adding baking soda can increase the soothing effect. Make sure you pat the child dry, so you don’t aggravate the burns.
  • Put a clean washcloth soaked in cool water on the affected areas of the baby’s skin for 15 minutes.
  • Dress the baby in loose clothes that will not irritate the skin.
  • Use a water-based moisturizing lotion, such as an Aloe Vera or calamine lotion, to relieve itching.
  • Keep the baby out of the sun until the burn heals.
  • If the baby is over 12 months old, you can give him or her the recommended dose of a child’s pain reliever.
  • If a blister pops, treat it with an antiseptic ointment that does not contain alcohol or benzocaine.

2. Things You Should Never Do with a Sunburned Baby

  • Putting ice or iced water on burnt skin; it can cause more damage.
  • Putting petroleum-based products such as Vaseline on burnt skin; this can make sunburns worse.
  • Putting any product that contains oil, including butter or margarine, on sunburns. This can make them worse.
  • Using an antiseptic first-aid product that contains benzocaine because that toxic chemical can irritate skin or cause an allergic reaction.
  • Popping blisters, because this can expose skin to infection.
  • Cutting off dead skin.
  • Using a moisturizing or antiseptic product that contains alcohol to treat sunburns.
  • Giving a pain reliever to a child under 12 months of age without consulting a doctor.
  • Giving aspirin to children; it can cause a serious problem called Reye’s syndrome.

3. Ten Natural Soothers for Baby Sunburned Skin

Here are ten natural remedies for baby sunburn that are known to be safe and effective.

Natural Soother

How to Apply


A bath or shower in cool or lukewarm water can alleviate sunburns. Make sure you pat the child dry gently in order to avoid aggravating the burns.

Cool water

A clean washcloth or towel soaked in cool water. Simply put this on affected areas for around 15 minutes.

Aloe Vera

The gel from the Aloe Vera plant is a great treatment for sunburned skin. You can either make your own or buy Aloe Vera products. Make sure these products do not contain oils or alcohol.


There are some studies that indicate that honey can speed healing and act as a natural pain reliever. Make sure the honey used is pure.


Finely ground oatmeal is a natural inflammatory agent that can reduce swelling and pain in a bath. To be effective, the oatmeal must be pulverized.


If you wish, you can soak a cloth in cool milk or breast milk instead of water and apply it to burned areas.

Baking soda

Mixing baking soda with bathwater can enhance the effects of a cool bath on burnt skin.


There are studies that indicate that adding cornstarch to bathwater can be as effective as using baking soda.


Adding white vinegar or apple cider vinegar to water or bathwater can reduce pain, itching and inflammation.

Coriander oil

Some experts believe that rubbing this oil to burnt skin can reduce inflammation.

Watch this video and learn how to treat baby sunburn:

How to Prevent Your Baby from Getting Sunburned

The best way to help your baby is to keep him or her from getting sunburned in the first place. Taking a few basic precautions can prevent most baby sunburns.

These precautions include:

  • Use a really good sunscreen. Choose a waterproof product that has a skin protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Make sure the sunscreen protects against both UVB and UVA radiation.
  • Apply the sunscreen regularly, and follow the directions on the package.
  • A thick layer of sunscreen should be applied to every area of potentially exposed skin before the baby is taken outside. The sunscreen should be applied about 30 minutes before taking the baby out.
  • Make sure you add an extra layer of sunscreen every few hours for extra protection.
  • Try to keep the baby out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. when the sun’s rays are strongest.
  • Keep babies under six months of age out of the sun completely because their skin is far more sensitive.
  • When you go out in the sun, make sure the baby is wearing clothes that cover up the all the skin.
  • Have baby wear a wide brimmed hat to protect his or her face and neck from the skin.
  • Older babies should wear sunglasses to protect their eyes from UV radiation.

When to Seek Medical Treatment for a Sunburned Baby

There are times when baby sunburns can lead to serious and potentially life threatening health problems. In such a situation, you will need to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Fortunately, there are some symptoms that can tell you when you will need professional help for a sunburned baby:

  • Blisters--these show that the skin has been badly damaged.
  • The presence of pus or very red skin in burned areas--this is a sign of infection.
  • Excessive pain, discomfort, or sensitivity
  • A fever or headache
  • Sunburns that do not heal or go away
  • Visible signs of sickness, such as nausea or vomiting

Babies that exhibit any of these symptoms might have serious health problems that will require professional medical care.