Itchies and Ouchies: 7 Common Summer Skin Problems for Toddlers

Summer is a great time to get out there and play with your toddler.

Since so many summer activities take place in the great outdoors, though, children’s skin is exposed more than any other time of the year. It’s easy to get distracted by all the fun and forget how sensitive toddler skin really is.

I’ve listed 7 common summer skin problems to be on the lookout for, with basic tips for preventing, identifying, and treating each one. Of course, you’ll want to consult your child’s doctor if you have any concerns, but these tips serve as an important reminder that parents should be extra vigilant during the warm summer months.

  • Sunburn 1 of 6
    Even a few episodes of sunburn can increase your child's risk for skin cancer later in life. According to the CDC, parents can protect kids from the sun by applying sunscreen on them every time they go outside, or better yet, 30 minutes before sun exposure. Pay special attention to ears, nose, lips, and tops of feet.
  • Insect Bites and Stings 2 of 6
    Insect Bites and Stings
    We usually consider bug bites a simple nuisance, but they can become serious in the case of allergic reaction or infection. Seattle Children's Hospital provides a great guide for parents that details important information about bug bite concerns. In addition to applying insect repellent, you can prevent bites by dressing children in long sleeves, limiting time spent outdoors, and spraying their strollers with insect repellent.
    Photo Credit: Abbybatchelder/Flickr
  • Poison Ivy 3 of 6
    Poison Ivy
    Poison ivy can be extremely uncomfortable. It can also cause large, oozing blisters. It's important that you're able to identify the plant so that you can avoid it. Be sure to dress your child in long pants if you'll be in wooded areas. If he does come into contact with it, promptly rinse the area thoroughly with soap, and if a rash appears, bathe him in a cool bath with oatmeal powder. You can also treat it with over-the-counter medication. Keep an eye out for rashes that don't go away in a week, cause fevers, or that appear to be infected.
  • Heat Rash 4 of 6
    Heat Rash
    Heat rash is a red or pink rash on the skin often caused when dressing too warmly for the weather. According to WebMD, heat rash rarely requires medical attention but can still be very uncomfortable for toddlers. Over-the-counter medications such as calamine lotion help relieve the itching or burning sensation.
    Photo Credit: Dancox_/Flickr
  • Tick Bites 5 of 6
    Tick Bites
    If you notice a tick on your toddler's skin, remove it immediately with tweezers, then rinse and cleanse the area with alcohol. Watch your toddler for signs of infection in the days and weeks following the bite, especially if you live in an area where Lyme disease infected ticks are known to live.
    Photo Credit: Fairfax County/Flickr
  • Cellulitis 6 of 6
    Cellulitis is an infection of the skin caused by bacteria. According to Kids Health, cellulitis typically starts with a small area of inflammation and redness and may develop into an illness causing fever, swollen glands, and chills. It is treated with antibiotics and severe infections often require IV antibiotics. It's more common in the summer months because kids are more likely to be playing outside and sustain scratches, cuts, or even animal bites. Cellulitis can be prevented by always treating your child's skin when these incidents occur.
    Photo Credit: Peapodsquadmom/Flickr

Mary Lauren Weimer is a social worker turned mother turned writer. Her blog, My 3 Little Birds, encourages moms to put down the baby books for a moment and tell their own stories. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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