Sunburn can begin after just 15 to 20 minutes of sun exposure. However, symptoms of sunburn like redness and skin discomfort might not be noticed for a few hours.
Sunburn may not seem like a big deal, but repeated burns can lead to skin cancer.
Possible signs and symptoms of mild sunburn are:
- skin redness and warmth
Possible signs and symptoms of severe 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 moisturizing cream or aloe gel to provide comfort.
Call 911 immediately and then the child's parents, if the burn is severe.
To help prevent sunburn:
- Don't let kids play in the sun between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM, 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 kids 15 or 30 minutes before they'll be playing outside in the sun.
- Re-apply sunscreen 30 minutes after kids have been in the sun or after they've been swimming or sweating.
Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD
Date reviewed: October 2010
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2016 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. All rights reserved.