Spike in number of children admitted to Temple Street with severe sunburn

A number of children have been admitted to hospital with severe sunburn over the past week.

Most of them had been wearing sun cream but it had not been reapplied.

Temple Street Children's Hospital in Dublin has issued a nationwide appeal to parents to protect their babies and children during the heatwave from intensive UV rays.

"If you think your baby or child has been affected by overexposure to the sun, for example, if the baby or child appears dizzy, weak or is complaining of intense thirst or a headache, please go to your GP or local Emergency Department without delay as this could be an indication of heatstroke which can develop very suddenly and rapidly and is extremely dangerous," said Dr Ike Okafor, consultant in emergency medicine.

The advice from Temple Street, in line with the Irish Cancer Society’s SunSmart campaign, is as follows;


  • Always keep babies under six months in the shade;
  • Make use of shade that is around you and use extra shade for prams and strollers as needed;
  • Make sure the shade casts a dark shadow;
  • Make sure babies are covered up: Dress babies in loose-fitting outfits with long sleeves and long shorts. Make sure they are made from close-woven material that does not allow sunlight through;
  • If babies are kept in the shade and covered with clothes you will only need to use a small amount of sunscreen on the areas not covered with clothes. This can be reapplied every two hours;
  • Choose a sunscreen that is made for children and babies. Make sure to patch test it on their skin first. If their skin reacts to the product stop using it straight away, and try a different brand;
  • Offer the baby plenty of cool drinks;
  • Keep your living space as cool as possible – keep windows that are exposed to the sun closed during the day, and open windows at night when the temperature has dropped. Close curtains that receive morning or afternoon sun and turn off non-essential lights and electrical equipment – they generate heat;

  • Where possible keep children out of the sun between 11am and 3pm;
  • Keep older children safe by following the SunSmart Code, especially children with pale or freckled skin that does not tan or burns before it tans, children with red or fair hair and/ or a large number of moles;
  • Find a hat a baby or child likes to wear. Make sure it has a wide brim that gives shade to the face, neck, head and ears. A tie under the chin may stop them from taking it off;
  • It is important that children, as soon as they can, wear wrap-around sunglasses that give UV protection;
  • Only use sunscreen on those areas of the skin that cannot be protected by clothes or a hat;
  • Use Sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and UVA protection;
  • Choose a sunscreen (sprays, lotions, creams and mists) that the child likes using;
  • Put plenty of it on dry skin 20 minutes before they go outside and reapply every two hours;
  • As far as it is possible plan outdoor events so that children can be in the shade when UV rays are at their strongest from 11am to 3pm;
  • Offer children plenty of cool drinks;
  • Keep your living space as cool as possible.
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