Sunscreen allergy: Toddler suffers horrifying burns minutes after using sunscreen

Toddler with sunscreen allergy, "His skin was just really, really tender and red. He was vomiting all the next day..."

A 3-year-old toddler suffered horrifying burns and blisters on his back, face, shoulders and ears, minutes after his parents applied Peppa Pig sunscreen while on holiday in Bali last week.

The incident left poor little Rivers Jasper vomiting and screaming in agony.


His mum and dad have now spoken out about the horrid experience and want to warn other parents about it.

Mummy Shannae Lee Jasper told 7 News Perth: “His skin was just really, really tender and red. He was vomiting all the next day.”

“He’s absolutely petrified now of when we try to put any type of spray, lotion on him, even in the bath.”


Apparently, the sunscreen was about a year old and kept at the back of the cupboard, but still within its expiry date. The parents used it when they ran out of their preferred sunscreen in Bali.

The sunscreen was labelled certified by the Cancer Council, an Australian charity that promotes sun-safety. 

The Cancer Council says “all their sunscreens are approved by the TGA and tested to the Australian Standard” and that a “small proportion of the population do experience sensitivities or allergies”.

They are currently in touch with the Jaspers.

After Shannae shared her story, more than a hundred parents have also spoken out about similar experiences with the sunscreen. Earlier this year, a baby girl is Sydney was burned while using the same sunscreen.

Thankfully, Rivers Jasper is healing well, and “feeling better now”, though “still itchy and sore.”

Sunscreen allergy: What parents need to know before applying sunscreen on kids

The above incident seems scary, but it is also important to note that every child needs sun protection. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends that all kids — regardless of their skin tone — wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

Too much sun can lead to sunburn, skin damage, eye damage, skin cancer and a weakened immune system.

Here are some basic precautions to observe when applying sunscreen on kids:

  • Sunscreen use should be avoided if possible in babies younger than 6 months.

Babies under 6 months of age should be kept out of direct sunlight. The best way to protect infants from the sun is to keep them in the shade as much as possible, in addition to dressing them in long sleeves, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.

If there is no way to avoid the sun, it is okay to apply a small amount of sunscreen on infants under 6 months. 

Sunscreens labelled ‘for babies’ or ‘sensitive’ are less likely to cause skin irritation. Always test the sunscreen on a small area of your baby’s skin to check for any skin reactions.

For older children

  • Parents of infants and toddlers 6 months and older may apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of  30 or higher to their children’s exposed skin that is not covered by protective clothing. 
  • Choose sunscreen that is made for children, preferably waterproof. Before covering your child, test the sunscreen on a small area of your child’s skin, for an allergic reaction. Apply carefully around the eyes, avoiding eyelids. If a rash develops, consult your pediatrician.
  • Make sure sunscreen is within its use-by date, and keep it stored in a cool, shady place.
  • The sunscreen should be reapplied approximately every two hours.
  • Sunscreens that use the ingredients zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, or special sunscreens made for infants or toddlers may cause less irritation to their sensitive skin.
  • Don’t use sunscreens with PABA, which can cause skin allergies.
  • Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before you go outside.
  • Apply a water-resistant sunscreen if kids will be around water or swimming. Water reflects and intensifies the sun’s rays, so kids need protection that lasts.
  • Sunscreen sprays are convenient but should be used with caution, as they are easy to breathe in, which can irritate the lungs.
  • Some sprays also are flammable, so you need to avoid sparks or flames when applying them and wearing them. 
  • Always discard any sunscreen that is past its expiration date or you have had for 3 years or longer.

Also READ: The sunscreen warning you simply cannot ignore!

(Source: 7 NEWS, KidsHealth, AAD)