Concern expressed over spike in children presenting with severe sunburn

The Marie Keating Foundation is urging parents to take extreme care in the current heatwave when it comes to protecting their children from the sun’s harmful rays.

It follows news that Temple Street Children’s University Hospital has seen a spike in the number of children presenting with sunburn since the beginning of the heatwave. Six children have been treated for severe sunburn in recent days.

With no end in sight to the current drought conditions, Director of Nursing Services Helen Forristal says:



parents need to be extra vigilant during this intense heat. Particularly those with babies under six months as their skin contains too little melanin, which is the pigment that gives skin, hair and eyes their colour, and provides some protection from the sun. They should be kept out of the sun and away from direct sunlight. Older infants and children should be kept out of the sun between 11am and 3pm and factor 50 sunscreen should be applied every two hours to ensure no spots are missed due to sweating, clothes rubbing or swimming.”



Most of the SunSmart code still applies to children and parents should take note of the five basic principles:

  • Always wear sunscreen
  • Wear protective clothing, a hat and sunglasses
  • Choose a sunscreen that has good protection against UVA rays as well as a high SPF
  • Never, ever use sunbeds
  • Avoid the sun between 11am and 3pm

The current heatwave has seen the longest period of sustained heat in five years and

Met Éireann have again issued a status-yellow weather warning for 14 counties today, with highest temperatures expected to reach 28 degrees in certain counties.

Helen Forristal continues by warning that some of the traditional methods parents use to protect their kids may not be giving the full level of protection expected “often parents put their children in t-shirts to protect them from the sun, and while we do promote ensuring that everyone is properly covered from the sun, it’s important to note that light coloured, open weave fabrics do not offer much protection from the sun and wet t-shirts that children wear in the pool or the sea, offer even less protection.”

“If possible ensure children are always covered up wearing long sleeved, closely woven clothing, preferably in dark colours. A great idea for the pool or by the sea is to use those UV long sleeved swim suits to ensure their skin is adequately protected when swimming and keep their heads covered with a sun hat” says Helen.