Sunburn Babies and Children

Sunburn is caused by too much exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun. It’s caused by not wearing enough protection. Sunburn can be very uncomfortable and is serious in the case of babies and infants, whose skin is thinner than an older child or adults. Repeated sunburn in young children can lead to more serious problems in later life.

Signs and Symptoms

  • redness or pinkness of the skin
  • skin feels sore when touched
  • sometimes with swelling and blistering
  • sunburn can take 24 hours after exposure to reach it’s worst
  • fever is sometimes present
  • the dead, dried skin can start to peel away after about 3 days

The worst thing you can do is to try and peel away the skin if it starts to peel. Let it come off in its own time, no matter how unsightly it is. Cool baths help a lot, especially immediately after exposure to the sun. On areas that aren’t submerged in baths such as the face and neck, use cold compresses.


Run a cool bath, and add neat lavender essential oil:

Age and Essential Oil

  • Up to 5 years – 3 drops
  • 6 years – 4 drops
  • 7 years – 5 drops
  • 8 years – 6 drops

The older your child, add 1 extra drop per year – to a maximum of 12 drops. If any lavender gets into the eyes, it will sting, so make sure your child is aware they should not splash about. If your child is young, stay with them to make sure they don’t.


To 1 ounce water, add 5 drops lavender essential oil. Swish the water around. Soak the compressed material in this, and squeeze it out. If you place the compress over the face, make sure our child keeps their eyes closed.

Hydrolat Compress

If you have lavender or chamomile hydrolats {or “waters”}, use them in the compress method. Soak the compressed material in the hydrolat – either lavender or chamomile, or a combination of both. Squeeze out, and place gently over the burnt areas of skin.

Prepare a lot of compresses and keep them in the refrigerator. Use them throughout the day, until the child’s skin has cooled down.

This method is particularly helpful in cases of sunburn on the face or eyelids – making sure the eyes are closed.

Aloe Vera

The aloe vera plant is used all over the world to soothe the skin after too much exposure to the sun. The plant grows easily and doesn’t take much looking after, and you can cut a leaf anytime, to extract the gooey healing juice inside the thick hard leaves.

Mix together:

Smear the mixture over sunburnt skin. {Gently}

Calamine Lotion

Calamine lotion is readily available, and essential oil can be added to it.

Mix together:

  • 8 ounces calamine lotion
  • 10 drops chamomile german
  • 30 drops lavender

Shake the bottle well and apply to affected areas.

Essential Oils That Help

When to Get Help

Get medical help if the skin is very sore, or is blistering. Also get medical help if your child has a headache or other pain, a temperature, dry mouth, or if they are shivering.


It’s important to use common sense when going in the sun with children.

  • Don’t take young children and infants in the sun without high factor sunscreen, hats, other protective clothing, and a sunshade.
  • Sunscreen should not be used on babies less than 6 months old, so make sure your baby is kept out of the sunlight and wears protective clothing.
  • Put sunscreen on all children in any strong sunlight. Keep all children out of the strong sun between the hours of 11 A.M. to 2 P.M.
  • Take adequate clothing when going in the sun, including a hat, and a T-shirt to wear at the beach or swimming pool.
  • Make sure your child drinks often if they are in the sun.
  • After being in the sun, and whether there is redness on the skin or not, put a cooling down lotion, gel, or plain water on your child’s body to cool it down.
  • Teach your child the rules about going in the sun, no matter what color skin your child has, Caucasian, Asian, African-American, or mixed race. All skins burn.