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Alison Rhodes, "The Safety Mom"

National Child Safety Expert, Alison Rhodes, “The Safety Mom,” is one of the country's leading child safety authorities, providing tips and advice to parents on a broad range of issues facing all children - newborns to teens.
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Sun Safety

Ask About Your Child's Medication

Some medications increase the skin's sensitivity to UV rays. As a result, even kids with skin that tends not to burn easily can develop a severe sunburn in just minutes when taking certain medications. Fair-skinned children, of course, are even more vulnerable. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if the prescription and over-the-counter medications your child is taking can increase sun sensitivity. If so, always take extra sun precautions. The best protection is simply covering up or staying indoors; even sunscreen can't always protect skin from sun sensitivity caused by medications.

What to Do if Your Child Gets a Sunburn

A sunburn can sneak up on your child, especially after a long day at the beach or park. Often, kids seem fine during the day but then gradually develop an "afterburn" that can be painful and hot and can even make them feel sick. The best way to take care of your child is to treat the symptoms and prevent further problems.

What to Do if Your Child Gets a Sunburn

A sunburn can sneak up on your child, especially after a long day at the beach or park. Often, kids seem fine during the day but then gradually develop an "afterburn" that can be painful and hot and can even make them feel sick. The best way to take care of your child is to treat the symptoms and prevent further problems.

Sunburned Skin

When children get sunburned, they usually experience pain and a sensation of heat, symptoms that tend to become more severe several hours after sun exposure. Some children also develop chills. Because the sun has dried their skin, it can become itchy and tight. Burned skin typically begins to peel about a week after the sunburn. Encourage your child not to scratch or peel off loose skin because skin underneath the sunburn is vulnerable to infection. The following tips will help you keep your child comfortable if he has a sunburn.

Sun Safety

  • To help alleviate pain and heat, have your child take a cool (not cold) bath, or gently apply cool, wet compresses to the skin.
  • You can also give your child a pain reliever such as acetaminophen (like Tylenol) or ibuprofen (like Motrin) and spray on over-the-counter "after-sun" pain relievers. (Do not give aspirin to children or teens.)
  • To rehydrate the skin and help reduce swelling, apply topical moisturizing cream or 1% hydrocortisone cream.
  • Do not use petroleum-based products because they prevent excess heat and sweat from escaping.
  • Avoid first-aid products that contain benzocaine, which may cause skin irritation or allergy.
  • If your child has a sunburn, keep him in the shade until it's healed. Any additional sun exposure will only increase the severity of the burn and increase pain.

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