Sunburn: Treating Your Burned Toddlerby Elizabeth MacDonald
It happens to the best of us, our little ones get a bit too much sun and end up burned. Those little pink shoulders, legs, and toes need to be treated in just the right way until they are back to normal. That precious skin should not have a chemical-filled lotion on it, though - so what is a mama to do?
First off, know that you are not alone. As a mom to five, I have seen my fair share of sunburns. In our house, a black tea bath is the number one choice to soothe the burn. It pulls the redness and any stinging right out and allows for an easy night of sleep with the potential of more swim time the next day.
Important things to know about a sunburn:
- A sunburn is the damage done to the skin from the UV rays of the sun.
- A toddler can be get a sunburn when exposed to the sun for only minutes, but the symptoms may not show up for up to 12 hours.
- Mild sunburn causes redness, but can still be painful and interfere with comfort
- Moderate sunburn causes redness, pain, itchiness, and peeling
- Severe sunburn can cause fever, chills, blisters (do NOT pop the blisters!), headaches, vomiting, and other illness symptoms. If pus accumulates around the burn, it can mean infection is happening.
Sunburn Treatments for Toddlers
Fill a pitcher with warm water and steep a few black or green tea bags (the cheapest kind) until the water is nice and dark. Once it is cool (and dark), pour it into a lukewarm bath tub and stir it up. Let your little one soak as long as possible, dipping wash cloths in the water and laying them on the areas that received the most sun.
You can skip the pitcher step and just throw 4 tea bags into the warm tub and let it steep and get cool. The key to this magic tea bath is to not dry your child off, but let them air dry so that the tea soaks into the skin. Unless you let them play in the tub and had them soaking for a good 30 minutes, then pat them dry!
Why Does a Tea Bath Work, You Ask??
The tannic acid and theobromine in tea works to draw out the heat from the burn. Another compound of tea is catechin, and it actually repairs damaged skin.
ACV and CO
The combination of a cool wet wash cloth splashed with raw apple cider vinegar placed on the skin will remove the sting. Once the area is dry, rub an organic coconut oil generously all over it.
Raw honey has been said to speed healing and reduce pain.
It has natural anti-inflammatory and healing properties that are especially beneficial for burns.
Soothing Your Sunburned Toddler
Hydration: Offer more breastmilk if nursing, water and water based foods (watermelon, cucumbers, popsicles, etc) to ensure adequate hydration levels are maintained.
Yogurt: In a pinch, grab a tub of yogurt from the fridge and slather the burned area. Once it is warm (and gross) rinse it off with lukewarm water. Repeat if needed.
Luke Warm/Cool Bath: Adding baking soda and/or oatmeal into the tub will increase the soothing effect of the bath as well as rehydrate the skin. Do not rub your toddler with a wash cloth or towel – instead, pat them dry, allowing the burned area to stay damp. (A breastmilk bath will also help!)
Moisturize: You can never go wrong with coconut oil. Aloe Vera is normally the go to, as it cools and reduces pain, but make sure it is a high-quality product and not filled with chemicals.
Things you should NEVER do to a sunburned toddler:
- Put ice or iced water on burnt skin, it can cause more damage.
- Put petroleum-based products such as Vaseline on burnt skin.
- Use an antiseptic first-aid product that contains benzocaine
- Pop blisters, because this can expose skin to infection.
- Cut off dead skin.
- Use a moisturizing or antiseptic product that contains alcohol