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.

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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!

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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- --

J. - aka- Old Mom

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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