Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 10.0
Sunburn - Brief Version
What is a sunburn?
If your child spends too much time in the sun without
sunscreen, the skin can burn. You'll see the sunburn about
2 to 4 hours after your child has been out in the sun.
Minor sunburn turns your child's skin pink or red. Even
after 24 hours, your child's skin may hurt, look red, and
swell. A bad sunburn may cause blisters.
How can I take care of my child?
- Give your child ibuprofen (Advil) right away. Keep
giving it for 2 days.
- Put 1% hydrocortisone cream or hand lotion on your child
three times a day. Put it on for 2 days. This will help
reduce the swelling and pain.
- Give cool baths, or put cold, wet cloths on the burned
- Have your child drink extra water. When your child
drinks more water, it helps to stop fluid loss and
- Your child's skin may peel in about a week. Put a cream
on the skin.
For broken blisters:
- Trim off the dead skin with small scissors. First clean
the scissors with rubbing alcohol.
- Wash off the blisters and put on antibiotic ointment two
times a day. Do this for 3 days.
How can I help prevent sunburn?
- Put sunscreen on your child if your child will be
outdoors for more than 30 minutes.
- Some children sunburn easily or are at risk for skin
cancer, especially if they have:
- Red or blond hair.
- Blue or green eyes.
- Lots of moles.
Your child may need to stay out of the sun or use a
sunscreen every day in the summer.
Call your child's doctor right away if:
- Your child starts to act very sick.
- Your child has a fever.
Call your child's doctor during office hours if:
- The sunburn has red streaks or yellow pus
- You have other questions or concerns.