Fort Worth, TX,
12:05 PM

Pediatrician Shares Tips for Sunburn Relief at Home, When to See a Doctor

If a burn is blistered and swollen or covers a large portion of skin, then a child should be seen by their pediatrician or in the emergency room.

By Bianka Soria-Olmos, D.O., Medical Advisor for Digital Health

Burns are common during the hot summer days because the sun and its UV rays are a common source of sunburn that can develop quickly on exposed skin that is not protected by clothes or sunscreen. sunscreen child

Sun exposure is not the only source of burns in children, other culprits include thermal heat from hot appliances, stoves or hot liquids among others. Knowing the different types of burns that can occur can help determine the kind of care that is necessary.

  • 1st-degree burns occur when skin turns red/pink but there is NO blistering. An example is a mild sunburn.
  • 2nd-degree burns are when the outer layer of skin is burned and some of the dermis (deeper layer of skin) is damaged. This burn usually causes blistering and is painful.
  • 3rd-degree burns are when skin appears charred or white. Both the epidermis and dermis layers are damaged usually with irreversible damage.

For minor burns care at home including the following is appropriate:

  • Cool the burn by using cool water over the burn for a few minutes. Do not put ice directly over the burn and do not rub or break blistering as this can increase the risk of infection and worsen the injury.
  • Cover the burned area with a clean bandage that will not stick to the burned skin. Do not apply anything to the burn site before discussing this with your pediatrician.

If a burn is blistered and swollen or covers a large portion of skin (larger than the size of a child’s hand) or involves the skin of the hand, feet, genitals or over a joint (elbow/knee/ankle) then a child should be seen by their pediatrician or in the emergency room.

When it comes to sunburns, prevention is key. Zinc oxide-based sunscreen is best for exposed skin and re-application if outside and exposed to the sun for a prolonged time is usually the best way to prevent sunburn. Covering skin with SPF clothes is another way to protect your child’s skin.

If you are worried about any burn, even if it seems minor then consulting your child’s pediatrician is always a good idea. 

About Cook Children's

Cook Children’s Health Care System embraces an inspiring Promise – to improve the health of every child through the prevention and treatment of illness, disease and injury. Based in Fort Worth, Texas, we’re proud of our long and rich tradition of serving our community. Our not-for-profit organization is comprised of nine companies, including our Medical Center, Physician Network, Home Health company, Northeast Hospital, Pediatric Surgery Center, Health Plan, Health Services Inc., Child Study Center and Health Foundation. With more than 60 primary, specialty and urgent care locations throughout Texas, families can access our top-ranked specialty programs and network of services to meet the unique needs of their child. For 100 years, we’ve worked to improve the health of children from across our primary service area of Denton, Hood, Johnson, Parker, Tarrant and Wise counties. We combine the art of caring with leading technology and extraordinary collaboration to provide exceptional care for every child. This has earned Cook Children’s a strong, far-reaching reputation with patients traveling from around the country and the globe to receive life-saving pediatric care. For more information, visit