Think your baby can’t sunburn in the shade? They can! How it happened, what we did PLUS Tips for preventing and treating a baby sunburn, too!

From a mild baby sunburn to tips on how to take care of a baby sunburn in shade, here are some ways that you can protect your baby from the sun’s harmful rays.

sun shining up in the sky

Since Sydney has been born, our social life has been pretty non-existent. Basically, we have been eating, sleeping, pooping, and crying. (yes – both of us!)

So, when some friends of ours invited our entire family to their house for a birthday party and an afternoon of swimming and eating, I  decided it would be a good first outing for us.

If it didn’t work out and I was spending more time inside than outside, I’d just take her home and the big kids and Brian could come home later.

baby resting outside in the shade

To my surprise, Sydney had a great day! She was scooped up by our friend and was immediately asleep. So, we spent the day poolside, under an umbrella in complete shade. It was the most relaxed I had been since Sydney made her arrival. A blessing, for sure!

As the day went on, I started to get warm and figured Sydney was too, so we headed inside. While I nursed her, I noticed her cheek was red and seemed to be getting redder as I sat with her.

I started to panic a little, wondering what was going on. Then it was getting more apparent that she may be sunburned.

But, HOW?! She was under the huge shade umbrella all day! People take their babies to parks, beaches and stroll around in strollers – HOW could she be sunburned?!

mild sunburned baby with red cheeks

Can babies get a sunburn?

Yep, that’s what it was – she was sunburned for sure. You could see the line on her cheek where the sun did not get to and it was clear. I was sick. I felt horrible AND I had no idea how it happened.

She didn’t seem to be uncomfortable, but my baby’s face was getting redder by the minute. We had, however, sat outside for 3 HOURS!

It wasn’t until a friend mentioned that maybe the sun had reflected off of the pool water and onto Sydney’s face, that we realized that had to be how it happened!

It never once crossed my mind or any of the several other adult’s minds at the party that would happen! I just couldn’t believe it…but that had to be it.

Calling a pediatrician about your baby’s sunburn

After a call to the pediatrician, they said the same thing. Must have been the pool. I was told to keep her comfortable and keep an eye on her and to watch for signs of fever, dehydration, blisters and pain. OH how horrible I felt!

sunburn baby cheeks

Here, I was this 5 week old’s mamma, and I was supposed to keep her safe and secure and she was burnt by the sun!

Even though I knew that it wasn’t anything I purposely did or even had a clue about, I felt bad.

Paying attention to the signs

Luckily, Sydney never seemed uncomfortable or developed any other symptoms except redness and some peeling. Both of which were gone in a few days. Now, I am extremely conscious of watching where the sun is and how it’s rays may be on my baby.

I don’t think this will ever happen again to us and want to spread this caution to other parents. As crazy as it sounds – it can happen and did!

Tips for Preventing and Treating Sunburn in Babies

Even though it was intentional on my part, there are a few things to watch out for when having your baby outside.

Preventing Sunburn in Babies:

  1. Limit outdoor sun exposure – babies, like older kids and adults, can get a sunburn in very little time being outside. Limit your time outdoors when the sun is out – even on overcast days. Babies under 6 months of age should be kept out of direct sun.
  2. Use sunscreen – There are so many healthy and safe sunburn options for babies. Be sure to apply before sun exposure and during your time outdoors. (Be sure that you’re using sunscreen that is safe for babies – so talk to your pediatrician first.)
  3. Stay in the shade – Keep baby in the shade as much as possible and be aware of the sun reflecting off of water or other bright surfaces onto your baby. (as in my case above!)

Treating Sunburn in Babies:

NOTE: If your baby is under 1 year of age and gets a sunburn, it is important to contact your pediatrician for direction and if necessary, an appointment. 

  • Apply cool tap-water compresses for 10 to 15 minutes, three to four times a day.
  • Use aloe vera gel or a gentle hypoallergenic moisturizer to soothe the skin – DO NOT apply heavy ointments or lotions as this traps in heat.
  • You may be able to give Tylenol or Motrin for pain and swelling if directed by your pediatrician. Give them a call to see if this is appropriate.
  • Keep your baby out of the sun until the sunburn is fully healed.

Make sure that you’re aware of your surroundings and understand that even in the shade, a baby can get sunburnt. Being prepared and aware is the best way to prevent it from happening!


About Kasey Schwartz

For over 15 years, Kasey Schwartz, the mastermind behind All Things Mamma, has been the ultimate go-to for mouthwatering family recipes. Her work has been featured on, Buzz Feed, Better Homes and Gardens, and more, making her your go-to mom next door for all things delicious and family-friendly.


  1. I just took my 2 year old to the farmers market on Saturdayand I tried keeping him under the shade of his stroller, we were out for about 2 hours, and he got so sunburnt. I was trying to find answers on Google to remedy it, he has extremly fair skin, but this has helped. I have felt so guilty and heart broken that this happened. I’m sorry for your little one, but am so glad she is ok.

  2. Angie May says:

    My daughter, now two, was in the shade for 45 minutes which resulted in 3rd degree burns. 6 months ago, after 18 months of constant sunburns, we had confirmation that she has Xeroderma Pigmentosum (XP), a rare genetic condition. She must never be exposed to UV as she is 10,000 times more susceptible to cancer because her body will not repair DNA damage. I post this because when she had her first burn we searched and searched for answers, for her quick burn, but found nothing. We feel it is important to share our experience so others may get diagnosed faster and easier. Thank you!

  3. I know it’s been a while since this was posted but I just came across it when I googled
    Babies and sunburn….this just happened to our 4 mth old today while at the beach, under a canopy the whole time we were there!! 4 hours! I feel sick and can’t believe it happened! The sun never shined on her the whole time under the canopy…I never thought of rays reflecting on her! 🙁 I’m hoping it is as mild as you LOs sunburn was!

    1. OH NO! i”m so sorry to hear that!! It’s so scary when they are so little, too! I hope it doesn’t get too bad. Just remember, don’t put anything on it that would “hold in” the heat – thick lotions, vaseline, etc… I talked to a dermatologist that said pure aloe would be ok – but other than that, leave it alone. Make sure to call your Ped if you see any signs of something worse! Keep me updated!

    2. Kaela Macha says:

      This just happened to my baby. How bad did it get??

  4. Lauren Ivy Chiong says:

    This is such important information. Thank you for sharing. I’m so sorry it happened to your little one and you, but it wasn’t your fault.

  5. Beeb Ashcroft says:

    Aww, poor sweetie pie and poor mommie, I know parents feel dreadful when these things happen even though it’ s not your fault. Sun is awful like that, man it sneaks up on you! I have such fair skin that I swear I could get burnt inside a house! LOL. Glad baby’s sunburn is all gone now. 🙂

  6. Great warning about the dangers of sun even when your in the shade.

    Don’t feel bad about what happened. I would have never thought about the baby getting sun burnt either if I was in the shade the entire time.

    Glad to hear that your baby recovered without any issues whatsoever.

  7. SoberJulie says:

    Oh no! What a shocker for you….I”m so glad you’ve shared this for other Moms, frankly I would have had NO idea….

  8. Those sweet little red heads tend to be more susceptible. {{{hugs}}} Thanks for spreading awareness! I keep my little blondie in UV protective clothing for outdoor activities. I’m THAT mom. Haha.

  9. Omg how scary!bthank you for spreading the word that just because your in the hade doesn’t mean you can’t get burnt.

    She’s adorable!

  10. I am so glad she didn’t feel any pain or anything, I would have reacted exactly the same. I would have never thought about the reflection of the pool! Thank you for sharing!! 🙂

  11. Andrew Kardon says:

    Glad she’s okay and didn’t seem to really suffer. Sounds like you more than suffered enough for the two of you! Crazy that the pool can do that. Guess you need a full-on tent around your table, not just an umbrella!

  12. Nicole Robinson says:

    Good on you for getting the word out about this. I’m glad she bounced back so quickly.

  13. Aw poor baby!! Glad she’s doing okay – I would have never thought about that, either!!

  14. Jennifer S says:

    Oh my goodness! I would have never thought of that. Glad to hear she’s better.

    1. Me either, Jennifer! Crazy!

  15. Oh great post to let others know! How scary but you know you ddi everything right. So scary. Like Kim says she’s a cutie!

    1. Thank you, Nichol! She is a doll baby and I’m so thankful the results of the burn weren’t worse!

  16. Kim @ What's That Smell? says:

    Wow how scary, but glad she recovered quickly. She is such a cutie-pie.

    It’s so hard sometimes, you think you are doing everything right….

    1. It is hard when you think you are doing everything right! This was such a freakish thing!

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