33 answers

Can I Still Put Sunblock on My Son?

I picked up my son from grandma's house tonight and he got burnt. Again. He got burnt the last time he was there just a few days ago. She said that she put some sunblock on him - but I guess not enough. He was outside in and out of water all day long and it was a hot day too. He isn't terribly burnt, but he does have a blister on his right shoulder. We are going to an outside wedding tomorrow and my question is: is it ok to put sunblock on his shoulder with the blister? I'm just a little worried about his blister. I am putting on Aloe Vera right now to help moisturize his skin while he is sleeping. I don't know whether if it will be ok to put the sunblock that we have on his shoulder.

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So What Happened?™

Thank you all for your advice. I didn't mention I had planned on him wearing a button-up shirt. We do have SPF 50, but I didn't bring it with me to go with grandma's that day. Thankfully the wedding was actually mostly shaded and he did great. Thank you again.

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If its an open blister i don't think i'd want to do it. But, for a wedding, can't you just put him in a light button down shirt or something?

Also, not such a bad idea to get him a swim suit with more coverage - like a rash guard shirt to wear as well - for those long days at Grandma's.

1 mom found this helpful

Yes, put sunblock on him. Also, have him wear a shirt (preferably one with spf) while he's outside for the next couple days so his skin can heal.

Maybe grandma needs a new sunblock? It sounds like what she has either isn't effective, or she's not using it right. We really like Aveeno and feel like you can't really mess it up. It does last in water better than waterbabies brand and doesn't have to be gooped on to work.

1 mom found this helpful

I would put a shirt on him instead. If he is going to be in water, try a rash guard shirt. As for grandma, most people don't use enough sunblock, or use it often enough. I would suggest putting sunblock on him before dressing him to go over there, then have her reapply it.

Good luck, Happy Independence Day!

1 mom found this helpful

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Oh, dear-- T. -- I am a Grandma who spends ( GOD be praised) tons of time w/ my grandchildren---- you really need to emphasize to your Mom that sunscreen is NOT a one time, once a day thing --- it needs to be slathered on around water --- etc, etc, etc, Your Mom did NOT do that for her children ( no one did back then) --- but now it's a really serious issue ( damage to the ozone layer is NOT a myth) ---. sigh --- And ---- regarding the application of sunscreen--- on top of a blister-I'd ask your doctors' nurse or a pharmacist--- it likely will be fine- but might be better to put a bandaid on top of the blister- --

Blessings-
J. - aka- Old Mom

3 moms found this helpful

Hi T.,
Sorry to hear about your little guy's sunburn. At the wedding, and until it is healed, I would not expose the blister to the sun.
I got burned on a trip in Hawaii and I was told it was just a bad sunburn well when I got home I started developing blisters. I went to my doctor and they told me it was a second degree sunburn. I'm not saying that this is what he has but my doctor had me put neosporin on the blisters and cover them with gauze. I did this two or three times a day. It did heal up after a week. Do not lance the blister and you should watch for signs of an infection. Usually signs of infection are increased redness and swelling, a red streak extending away from the blister, fever, drainage of pus, or swollen lymph nodes.
At the wedding I would treat the blister and cover it with gauze then have him wear a shirt that covers his shoulder region.
I hope that helps.
S.

3 moms found this helpful

first of all, it is a really bad burn if there is a blister. your mom needs to take better care to make sure she reapplies sunscreen every two hours or more if in and out of water. Second, i would definitely have him wear a shirt that covers the burn until it heals. i don't care how hot it is he needs to be kept out of the sun. Find a shady spot and keep him in it as much as possible. you can also buy swim suits that have long sleeves and have UVA protection. i would invest in one so this doesn't happen again. it's very important to protect our kids from the sun because it is a lot stronger and more damaging than when we were kids.

3 moms found this helpful

Wow. You've gotten a ton of responses. I'll throw in my 2 cents anyway. :) I grew up on the beach (S.California, S.Japan, Carolinas, Florida, Italy)...and here are all the tips/tricks we learned & used:

- Apply sunscreen every time you get out of the water. (Waterproof only means that it blocks the UV rays that come through the water and are reflected even stronger...NOT that it doesn't wash/rub off).

- Make sure you come out of the water at least once every hour to be safe, or every 3 hours if you've got a deep base tan.

- ABSOLUTELY put sunscreen on existing burns/blisters. If possible, put a higher SPF on the burned area than you're using on the rest of your skin. AKA: if you use 4, put 30 on the burn. If you use 30, put 55 on the burn.

- NEVER NEVER NEVER put any kind of lotion or oil (including butter) on the burn...it traps the heat in...and makes the burn worse. Even days later. If you're burned stay AWAY from lotion.

- ALOE is wonderful. Buy it pure, not mixed with lotion. (see above)

- Burst burn blisters rarely get infected, since there's nearly always a layer of healthy epidermis below it. Use a non-ointment (see warning against lotions & oils) antiseptic spray or foam if you have to use one at all. Band-Aid makes a fantabulous antiseptic foam.

- TYLENOL...is for minor pains. Like the pain of minor burns as well as for the ubiquitous headache. It's amazing to me, how many people never think of taking tylenol when they're suffering from sunburn. If he's burnt enough to be cranky or short tempered, please feel free to dose him with tylenol.

- Loose coverups (like a loose shirt) are better AFTER a burn. Tight coverups (like rashguards) are better to AVOID getting burned in the first place...rashguards also keep you reeeeeally cool in hot weather IF you get them wet. The evaporation factor is awesome.

- If you're going to be in the sun a LOT (not just a few days in the summer), and you don't have super fair skin (like redheads) it's better to build up a base tan using a lower SPF, than to keep your skin pale. That way your body's natural defenses are also working for you...because there WILL be days where the sunscreen rubs off, or washes off, or you forget to apply it to "x" area.

Good luck, and have a great time at the wedding!!!

2 moms found this helpful

Lots of great advice here. One more suggestion: I'd keep an eye on the weather and help your mom by picking up a few novelties that he can play with indoors on hot days. Often we take the kids outdoors because our days with them are long and they can stay engaged. Books or dvds in the heat of the day provide a nice break for both adult and child.

As previously suggested, apply sunblock in the morning when your son is dressing. I have always asked the families I have worked with to do this; it's up to me to reapply frequently, but this is easier to do when they aren't champing at the bit to go outside.

Some other ideas: help your mom figure out where the sun falls in her backyard. If there's a shady spot, suggest doing water play in that area during the shadiest times. If she has a sandbox, offer to pick up a shade canopy.Even if she doesn't, one would be helpful and she can set up a little art area or whatever else he's interested in underneath.

She may also need some information about how dangerous blistering burns are. Current information about burns, treatment of them, and sunblock can help her a bit.

Don't forget the generational information gap. I have older friends who don't understand why my son needs a carseat: they drove with their kids on their lap. Get your mom up to speed in a non-confrontational way with some printed information. Let her know that you know how much she loves her grandson, and that some of this information has changed since you were a kid. And then offer to work with her to help her keep him well-blocked and out of the direct, hot sun.

2 moms found this helpful

I would keep his skin covered- they have found that the worst time for us to get burns is at a young age- Next time ask Grandma to keep applying the sunscreen- and buy him some of the SPF sunclothes they wear in swimsuit material. I'd suggest not to use aloe until his burn has healed a bit more. Like a day or two after.
L

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What SPF are you using? He shouldnt be getting burned at all - so either apply more often or keep him out of the sun (a hat or spf clothing is helpful as well). Why is his shoulder going to be exposed at an outdoor wedding?

2 moms found this helpful

Agree with the other posts--

California Baby makes a great 30SPF sunscreen that is THICK and lasts a good while before needing reapplication. It's spendy, but at this point, your son does NOT deserve another sunburn!

Here's an article you can print for his grandmother, send it with TWO bottles of whatever sunscreen you want her to put on him, and a hat with a wide brim to shade his shoulders if possible:
As the summer heats up, overexposure to the sun becomes a concern for outdoor workers. It's not enough just to lather on the sunscreen for protection, says Dr. Craig Eichler, a Florida-based dermatologist. Rather, correct sunscreen application is the key to protecting your skin during this season.

Eichler has recommended sunscreen guidelines for summer skin care, according to a Wellness Junction report. Some guidelines even debunk old myths, such as wearing a tee-shirt while swimming.

Eichler’s sunscreen guidelines include:

Pre-apply: Pre-apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before sun exposure so it has time to absorb into your skin.

Re-apply: Re-apply every 80 minutes and after swimming or sweating excessively.

Layer properly: If you're going to be wearing insect repellent or makeup, apply sunscreen first so it is the bottom layer directly on the skin.

Be generous: About one ounce of sunscreen (a "palmful") should be used to cover the arms, legs, neck and face of the average adult. "When it comes to sunscreen, don't apply sparingly," says Dr. Eichler.

Understand labels: Look for products with an effective broad-spectrum sun-blocking ingredient, such as Parsol 1789, and a minimum of SPF 15. Products labeled "waterproof" may provide protection for at least 80 minutes even when swimming or sweating. "Water resistant" products may provide protection for only 40 minutes.

Don't use old sunscreen: Check the expiration dates on older bottles of sunscreen. Also, exposure to extreme temperatures can shorten sunscreen's shelf-life, so it's safest to use a new bottle(s) every summer season.

No excuses: If cream sunscreens feel too heavy, try a gel or spray.

Apply under clothes: Many people think wearing a tee-shirt when swimming provides protection, but a wet tee-shirt only has an SPF 4. Be sure to apply sunscreen even under clothes.

2 moms found this helpful

I would highly recommend that you put him in a long sleeve shirt. a blister indicates at least a 2nd degree burn. Three of those in his life time ups his chances of skin cancer. You can get swim suits now that have uva/b protection. they come in long sleeve shirts and long shorts. you might want to consider that for the future.

1 mom found this helpful

Not a good idea! I would stick to keeping him in a light weight long sleeve shirt!

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I know you have gotten a lot of responses, but I just wanted to recommend tea tree oil for healing the burns. "Burn Free" can be bought at fred meyers for sure and is amazing against any kind of burns, it is the fastest thing I have seen against sunburns. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

I would put a shirt on him instead. If he is going to be in water, try a rash guard shirt. As for grandma, most people don't use enough sunblock, or use it often enough. I would suggest putting sunblock on him before dressing him to go over there, then have her reapply it.

Good luck, Happy Independence Day!

1 mom found this helpful

Check out this web site for the best AND safest sunscreens/sunblocks. http://www.ewg.org/newsrelease/whichsunscreenssafest

Some are downright useless.

1 mom found this helpful

I don't think it will hurt to put the sunblock on your son's blister. I hope you have baby sunblock with an spf of about 50. You can use that on yourself to so you don't need to have one for you and one for him.

1 mom found this helpful

Having a blister is too burnt for a little one. Put the type of sun screen you want on, before you leave him. Make it a long lasting one. Yes, put the sun block on to protect the new skin underneath.

1 mom found this helpful

No, specifically because at this point it won't do any good and you only run the risk of rupturing the blister which can introduce bacteria and cause infection. Do anything and everything you can to protect his skin from not only the sun but from heat...at this point that would be to remain indoors for a couple days, if that is not possible then he must remain in shaded areas only. If he has one blister there is a high probability that the skin surrounding it (or skin elsewhere that is just as exposed) will begin developing blisters as well. Heat alone will cause pain and may make the blisters ooze. The absolute best way to treat this type of severe burn is to take him in to the doctor and have them treat the area with Silvadine. It is a prescription only cream that promotes the regeneration of healthy skin cells.

1 mom found this helpful

Yes, you should be able to put sunblock on him, but he should NOT be going in the sun with a burn anyway! What is his grandma thinking? My mom piles it on so thick you can't see the kid under the lotion! lol

That would seriously try my patience.

- W. B.

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i would definatly still put sunblock on him. if it is already blistered, you don't want it to get worse. I would recommend getting a water proof sunblock with a higher spf. you shouldn't have to soak him in it for it to work, so if he was in and out of the water, it probably washed some or all of it off. make sure to put a little extra on the area's that are most exposed to the sun, face, arms, shoulders and the top of his feet if he is going to wear sandals.

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Your poor little guy...I would recommend not allowing his shoulders to be exposed at the wedding you're attending. Put him in a short sleeved shirt. I'm not sure how big his blister is, but Band-Aid makes a blister band-aid that I've used before that offers good protection. I would not put any sunscreen on his blister, only around it - just in case it pops you don't want anything getting in the skin that might hurt him.

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I think grandmas don't realize the dangers, they grew up with an ozone layer! That is a BAD burn to actually have blisters. Remind her that ALL sunblock needs to be frequently reapplied. Bad childhood sunburns can lead to skin cancer down the line. Make him wear clothes today and put a high SPF sunscreen on the exposed arms.

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It might sting. I would stick with the Aloe and maybe even cover the blister area with a bandage--put a little witch hazel on the pad and then aloe over that and stick it right down. You can get witch hazel solution right next to the hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol at the drug store. A friend of mine who is a professional fire eater told me this trick to deal with blistering burns of ANY type, including sunburns. Will heal without a scar--I tried it on a third degree burn I once got.

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The best thing you can do to protect his skin is to keep it covered. Does he have a lightweight linen or cotton button down shirt? Keeping his skin away from sunlight after a burn is important.

Try putting some wet chamomile or black tea bags on his sunburn like a cool compress(especially the blister) once in a while. This will soothe his skin and promote healing. Make sure your aloe is pure aloe, not the kind from the drugstore that has alcohol in it. The alcohol dries out the skin and postpones healing.

Also, it's more expensive, but I've found that physical sunblockers (zinc and/or titanium) rather than chemical blockers are not only better for him but also do a better job of keeping sunburn at bay.

Happy Independence Day!
js

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Definitely either put sunblock on him or preferrably cover his skin that is burned. Avoiding any further exposure to the sun would be best, so if you can put a shirt that covers the area on him and also a hat would be good. If you can, bring an umbrella to offer extra shade for him and just try to keep him out of direct sunlight as much as possible. Even with sunscreen, his skin is still getting rays and it will stay the same or get worse if you just use sunscreen. And keep up the aloe as much as possible. His skin will soak it up!

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You can and should put sunblock on and you should make sure he stays covered and don't expose that area or any other area to the sun. He can get severe burns from the sun that could send him to the hospital.

Find a light-weight long sleeve shirt for him to wear and light-weight long pants.

I am suffering now for not having sun screen when I was growing up. Make sure he stays out of the sun to heal and you can't stress enough to your mom to keep him covered, as well and to make sure he has sun screen reapplied as the directions suggest.

D.

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I would keep a shirt on him that covers the shoulders. He doesn't need anymore exposure to the sun in that shoulder area. Aloe Vera is great too. If you go to the store I know they make bandaids for burns that keep the area moist and also heal the burn. Might check into that and cover the burn w/one of those to keep infection out. Don't pop the blisters though. Sounding like a mother hen here LOL and your question was about sunscreen.....I would think sunscreen is still a good idea, at least on the other areas.

1 mom found this helpful

If its an open blister i don't think i'd want to do it. But, for a wedding, can't you just put him in a light button down shirt or something?

Also, not such a bad idea to get him a swim suit with more coverage - like a rash guard shirt to wear as well - for those long days at Grandma's.

1 mom found this helpful

When I watch other children I ask the parents to please lather up their kids before coming over. I'll reappy if we are out long and around water... but YOU should take precautions until you know your mom is -as another person posted - up to speed - with the current recommendations.

I know it seems like one more thing to add to your list everyday,. but i can tell by your post you are concerned.

For my own kids...I use a stick for the face & spray on for everywhere else. it's probably just me but I love the convience and speed of the spray ons. I have my boys stand naked and spray their whole bodies then get them dressed for the day. I do sometimes even use the spray on the face too - for a quick application - it's a no tear formula (but i make the boys keep their eyes closed the whole time I'm applying the spray anyway.)

all the best..
enjoy your summer :)

1 mom found this helpful

Yes, but you need to treat the blister and not pop it becuase that means he received a second degree burn. I have the same problem with my parents and i have to call and remind them throughout the day to reapply the sunblock. Bullfrog has worked wonders for us.

1 mom found this helpful

Yes, put sunblock on him. Also, have him wear a shirt (preferably one with spf) while he's outside for the next couple days so his skin can heal.

Maybe grandma needs a new sunblock? It sounds like what she has either isn't effective, or she's not using it right. We really like Aveeno and feel like you can't really mess it up. It does last in water better than waterbabies brand and doesn't have to be gooped on to work.

1 mom found this helpful

Since the blister is on his shoulder it could be covered by a shirt. but yes you can still put sun block on his shoulder. You may need to remind grandma that he needs to have sunblock put on every couple of hours that is what i do wwith my grandson in fact i slather it on each time
Good luck
Paula

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I realize you have a lot of responses already, and the wedding is over, but I wanted to emphasize the importance of putting sunscreen on BEFORE going outside. Most articles are saying it needs to be applied 30 minutes before going outside, as those first 30 minutes are not protected. This means your skin burns those first 30 minutes and no amount of sunscreen afterwards is going to change that. Research is also showing anything over SPF 30 is really not any more effective than SPF 30 (only 1 - 2% better) and the best protection is application of sunscreen every two hours, more frequently if water is involved. As for Grandma, if you are not in a position to have someone else care for you son, start calling her every hour to remind her to put sunscreen on your son. I hope your son's blister did not pop and he is feeling better. I burned myself on Saturday and it's still painful to me, even without blisters.

1 mom found this helpful

i would not put sunblock on the blister. You will need to cover it and keep him in the shade.
Have you considered buying him some UPF clothing for Grandma's house? My daughter has a few teeshirts and shorts and a long sleeve rash guard shrit and shorts for swimming that have a UPF of 50. You would think she would get hot in the long sleeved swim shirt, but she doesn't. Grandma waould still have to worry about his face and legs, but if you get her a face stick and a spray for the legs, maybe that would be easier.
We got our UPF clothing from Land's End. I ordered it online, but you can also get it at Sears.

1 mom found this helpful

Tip: GREEN TEA has been shown in a recent study to help PREVENT the damage to DNA in skin cells that is caused by sunburns (and that can eventually lead to skin cancers). I'm sure it works best if patted onto the burn right away, but a day or two later it may still have some benefit. (And drinking green tea might even help protect skin cells from the inside, but that's my own conjecture, not part of the study.)

Green tea doesn't prevent or heal burns, as far as I understand, but the reduction of long-term skin damage is seriously worthwhile.

Blistering burns in young kids are THE strongest predictors of skin cancers later in life. As other moms have suggested, get an SPF protective swim shirt for your son, and a hat with a brim to protect nose and ears. Even a regular t-shirt is better than nothing, and your little guy can splash around in it, although wet fabric allows more solar radiation to penetrate than dry fabrics do, so caution is still essential.

It's actually more comfortable for me to wear sleeves than sunscreen, which stings my skin. As a fair-skinned redhead, I haven't gone out in the summer without long sleeves and a hat for many years. I have lots of damage from childhood burns, and have had to have quite a few questionable patches frozen off my skin, so I have to be really careful.

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