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A Pediatric Dermatologist’s “How To” Protect Young Skin

Remembering to schedule your own full body skin exam is one thing, but what about annual skin check exams for the children in your life? We caught up with Ingrid Polcari, a Pediatric Dermatologist and Assistant Professor at the Department of Dermatology at the University of Minnesota, to find out best practices for children.

At what age should a child have their first skin check and what should a parent or caregiver look for?

Parents should get to know their child’s skin and examine it regularly. Changes in marks on the skin are often the first sign of a problem or concern. It can be normal to be born with moles, or brown birthmarks. Moles can also be acquired over time.

Moles might grow slowly with the growth of your child, but changes like a rapid increase in size, a new shape or changing colors should be brought to the attention of a skin professional for an exam. A board-certified dermatologist, and if possible, one with expertise in Pediatric Dermatology, can help decide which marks are healthy and which need removal.

Are there skin areas where parents should be checking more frequently?

I always tell my patients that I need to check all the skin that they brought with them that day! Then I explain that moles and other skin growths can happen anywhere there is skin, which is why everything needs to be checked. Parents might find that bath time is an easy time to check hidden areas like the skin in the groin, underarms and scalp.

What happens if the doctor notices something suspicious on your child?

First, it’s important to know that skin cancers are extremely rare in children. But, we take changing skin growths seriously.  If we have a concern about the safety of a growth or aren’t able to give a medical diagnosis just by looking, we may opt to either monitor closely (with measurements and photographs for example), or recommend something called a skin biopsy. A skin biopsy is a procedure where the skin is numbed with medication and a small sample of the skin is taken so it can be looked at under a microscope by a pathologist with special training in skin conditions.

Is there a pediatric demographic that may be more prone to skin cancer?

Because skin cancers develop slowly, often after years of cumulative suntans and sunburns, it’s much more common to develop skin cancer in adulthood. Children with red-hair have the highest risk of sun damage when compared with children who do not have red hair. This is because the way they make pigment in the skin is different than in children who have darker hair, so they have less “natural defense” against the sun. This also explains why children with red-hair aren’t able to tan, and instead burn or freckle. These kids need extra special attention when it comes to sun protection!

Do you have an opinion on sunscreen application for babies under 6 months or age?

I follow the recommendations of the American Academy of Dermatology and American Academy of Pediatrics, which says that avoiding the sun by seeking shade or using protective clothing or blankets is the best choice for infants less than 6 months. But if this is not possible and skin is exposed to the sun, apply a small amount of “physical blocker” type sunscreen–these are sunscreens with active ingredients of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. And remember that infants overheat easily, so it’s best to minimize exposure to heat and sun for your little ones!

Suggestive planning for next family vacation?

Sun protective clothing tends to be more reliable, less messy and less hassle than sunscreen. Outdoor swimming, especially mid-day when the sun is at its highest intensity, is a very high-risk activity when it comes to sunburn. Sunscreen will wash off quickly while you’re in the water, which means it needs to be reapplied often. Waterproof swimwear (like a long-sleeved swim shirt) does a much better job in that situation.

Must haves in your family vacation beach bag?

Since I have 3 kids, we fill a whole wagon! A sun umbrella, hats, swim shirts, sunscreen, snacks, and some cozy beach cover-ups are vacation musts.

If your child does get a sunburn what should you do? 

First, take note and consider what you can do next time to make sure it doesn’t happen again! Sunburns aren’t just painful, they are dangerous and cumulative sunburns over time will increase your child’s risk of skin cancer later in life.

Keep the skin hydrated with a bland white cream, consider taking a cool bath and consider giving a proper dosage of ibuprofen or similar pain reliever as directed in the product guide. Have your child avoid the sun until the burn has fully healed.

Dr. Ingrid Polcari is a board-certified pediatric dermatologist and mother of three active little girls. In her free time, she and her family love to escape the city and enjoy the outdoors and sounds of the Loons in Northern Minnesota.

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Parenting

7 Tips to Spoil Your Dad This Father’s Day

Did you know twice the amount of men will die of melanoma compared to women in 2015? June is Men’s Cancer Awareness Month and we want to help you spoil that special father figure in your life. Here are seven ideas to make his Father’s Day memorable.

Book dad a massage
Massages help relieve stress, pain and muscle tension, and have many other benefits according to the Mayo Clinic. Send him an e-gift card from the spa of your choice, and your dad can schedule the massage when it’s most convenient for him!

Take dad to class
Is there something your dad has been itching to try – such as yoga, cooking, or scuba diving? Book a class for the two of you to take together. He will appreciate the thought, as well as spending one-on-one time with you. Here’s a few ideas to get his juices flowing.

Protect dad’s healthUntitled2
Give your dad the best protection under the sun with Coolibar. Whether your dad is Mr. Water, Mr. Fit, Mr. Golf, Mr. Hike or Mr. Outdoors, Coolibar has what he needs to have fun in the sun and protect his health. Here are some great suggestions from our Father’s Day gift guide and our Pinterest board.

Treat dad to his favorite meal
Surprise your dad with a reservation to his favorite restaurant for brunch or dinner. You know the place he loves, and the one he may not treat himself to very often.

Give dad a card
If you’re on a low budget, a card is always a loving gesture. You can buy a sentimental or funny card, make him a card, or send a JibJab that’s sure to knock him out of his chair!

Spend quality time with dad
If your dad is not big on receiving gifts, take time out of your busy schedule to spend the day or afternoon together. Consider one of these 17 Father’s Day activities from Reader’s Digest. He will enjoy time spent with family and making memories! If you decide on an outside event, remember to protect yourself and him from the sun’s harmful rays with sun protective clothing.

Have fun in the sun and make memories with your dad this Father’s Day! Share photos of you and your father in Coolibar with #WhyILoveCoolibar for a chance to win gear for your dad and become our fan of the month.

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Events Parenting SunAWARE

Pretty for Prom? Tanning Isn’t Part of the Routine Anymore

Pretty Prom - Coolibar

It’s prom season again, which means thousands of teens – girls and boys – flock to their local indoor tanning salons in search of a healthy glow for the big night out. But before they do, the Skin Cancer Foundation has some information for you about tanning for the prom.

Teens tend to be concerned about young-looking skin, and the SCF points out that 90% of changes to the skin that most people associate with aging are caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Tanning leads to wrinkles, spots and an aged look early in life; they can start to appear even before the indoor tanner turns 30.

This doesn’t even touch on the dangers of developing skin cancer, including melanoma. Here are just a few, from SunAWARE:

  • Exposure to tanning beds before the age of 35 increases the risk of melanoma by 75%.
  • More than one million people visit tanning salons every day. Of these, approximately 71% are girls and young women aged 16-29.
  • Young women, under the age of 39, have a higher probability of developing melanoma than any other cancer except breast cancer.
  • Ninety percent of pediatric melanoma cases occur in girls aged 10-19.

What Can You Do Instead?

Through its Go With Your Own GlowTM campaign, the Skin Cancer Foundation promotes skipping the tan altogether – the best look for the prom, or any other time, is your own natural skin color. In case the allure of tan skin is still too great from prom-goers, the foundation also suggests sunless, or UV-free, tanners.

And, if you or someone you know is planning on bronzing up for prom courtesy of an indoor tanning booth, Coolibar has a book for you. Pretty Prom – Your Skin is Pretty Too by Mary Mills Barrow and Maryellen Maguire-Eisen provides a short, convincing account of what’s at stake in exchange for looking tan on prom night.

Coolibar offers Pretty Prom courtesy of SunAWARE. Stay safe, and Stay SunAware!

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Contests Inside Coolibar School sun safety Wear Sun Protection

Meet our 2013 School Sun Hat Contest Winners

Each year, Coolibar provides hats to five lucky classrooms across the US as part of our initiative to promote sun safety in schools. Our winners this year include a school nurse, a preschool teacher and lots of lucky students.

Let’s meet our 2013 winners…

 

 

Dawn from Monte Vista Elementary – Las Cruces, NM

Monte Vista Elementary – Las Cruces, New Mexico

Being a school nurse, Dawn knows the importance of sun safety. Monte Vista is located in an extremely hot part of New Mexico and the playground has very little shade. After winning the contest, Dawn was able to distribute hats to the entire kindergarten class to kick off the new school year, and her sun safety program. She teaches classes on sun safety and reminds her students to wear sunscreen and a hat. Dawn loved the hats so much, she purchased more through the Coolibar School Sun Hat Program. Monte Vista students will definitely be protected this year. Way to go!

Kerri from Bramlett Elementary – Oxford, MS

Bramlett Elementary – Oxford, Mississippi

Kerri is a preschool teacher at Bramlett Elementary and knows it’s important for students to practice sun safety at recess, so she entered the contest. Her personal concern about sun exposure has escalated over the years, as she lost her friend to melanoma at the age of 30. In addition, her sister-in-law in Australia shared that kids there aren’t allowed to play outside at recess unless they wear a hat. Kerri hopes this becomes a trend in the US. Her class now wears their hat every day!

Dylan from Ogden Elementary – Wilmington, NC

Ogden Elementary – Wilmington, North Carolina

Dylan entered hoping he’d win for his 4th grade class. He grew up learning about sun safety; his mom is a naturopathic physician specializing in children’s health. Dylan lives in a beach community and is always outdoors, so sun protective clothing and hats are a natural (chemical free) way to protect him from the sun (and it keeps his mom happy)! Dylan handed the hats out during the school’s end-of-year class party.

 

Kaili from La Esparanza CDC – Albuquerque, NM

Kaili entered the contest because her school recently moved to a new location where there are not enough shade structures for the kids while playing at recess. Less than 1 percent of the class brings a sun hat to school, so winning Coolibar hats was very exciting! Kaili handed out the hats to her preschool class, and also provided them a lesson on sun protection.

Allison & Ethan from Fort Belvoir Elementary – Fort Belvoir, VA

The policy at Allison and Ethan’s school doesn’t allow teachers to apply sun block to students. But everyone can wear sun hats, so the brother and sister duo entered for their class. Many students at Fort Belvoir Elementary have families in the Air Force, so while sun protection is on their minds, family budgets are tight. The students are outside at recess every day, not protected from the sun. Allison & Ethan hope the hats will raise awareness among the kids and they will share with their parents. They handed the hats out at field day, when it gets really hot.

Congratulations to all of our 2013 School Sun Hat Contest winners!

Want to win hats for YOUR class? Our 2014 School Sun Hat Contest form is now available!  Enter here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/3L56M7Q

 

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Parenting

Tips for Trick-or-Treating

Happy Halloween! For kids, Halloween night is one of the best nights of the year. You get to transform yourself into someone or something else and go door to door asking for candy (and it’s acceptable behavior). When it’s over, you get to count, organize and trade candy with your friends.

Kids and parents alike want a fun and safe evening. These simple tips will ensure a safe and fun Halloween night for everyone.

1. Plan your route ahead of time – Avoid long paths by mapping out a route before leaving the house. Stick to paths that you and your child are familiar with to avoid getting lost.

2. Wear comfy shoes – Blisters beware. Make sure you and your children are in comfortable, well-fitting shoes. You could be covering many blocks by foot.

3. Stay well lit – Apply reflective tape to your child’s costume to ensure they are seen by drivers on the road, carry a flashlight or use the light on your smart phone to guide the way.

Ms. Sun Halloween costume for kids

4. Avoid masks – Masks make it hard to breath. Use non-toxic makeup or face paint instead.

5. Check your candy – When sorting through candy at the end of the night, be sure to throw away any candy that is not in its original wrapper, or looks as though it has been opened.

Have a safe, fun & Happy Halloween from all of us at Coolibar!

Source: http://www.rd.com/slideshows/7-trick-or-treating-safety-tips#ixzz2jKdrJ72m=&slideshow=slide1

 

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School sun safety SunAWARE

A Lesson in Back-to-School Sun Protection

While the teacher doesn’t typically require sun protection, it’s a back-to-school item parents should strongly consider. Not all schools allow hats or sunscreen, and we hope schools change their policies in the near future. All the same, we have suggestions to ensure your child is sun safe.

1. Before leaving the house, help your child apply broad-spectrum sunscreen. Then teach them how to properly reapply sunscreen before recess. A parent or doctor note may be necessary for your child to do this depending on your school’s policy. If required, discuss sunscreen use with your child’s teacher directly. When choosing a sunscreen, look for active ingredients that block both UVA and UVB rays, such and zinc oxide or titanium dioxide and a rating of SPF 30+. Sunscreen should be used every day – including cloudy days.

2. Instruct your child to play in shaded areas during recess if possible, especially days the UV index is high. Ultraviolet radiation is most intense between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when recess is in session. Approximately 50 percent of the daily UV exposure is received during the four hours around noon.

3. Dress your child in sun protective clothing when possible. UPF 50+ clothing provides excellent sun protection that doesn’t wash or wear off. Wearing tightly woven loose fitting clothing can also shade skin from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays.

4. If your school allows, send your child to school with a wide-brimmed hat or legionnaire hat that covers neck and ears. A hat with at least a 3-inch brim all the way around is best. Baseball caps do not protect the back of the neck or the ears. If you wish all students could wear hats during recess, check out our Coolibar School Sun Hat Program. We provide half off children’s hats for schools!

5. Have your child wear sunglasses that block 99-100% of UV rays or that are rated UV 400. Wearing UV sunglasses protects eyes from cataracts, retinal damage, macular degeneration and eyelid cancer.

Learn more about Coolibar’s school programs and special discounts.

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Parenting SunAWARE

Wiseheart Saves the Dawn – A Sun Protection Book for the Tablet Generation

“Wiseheart Saves the Dawn” is a new e-book geared toward children that teaches sun safe habits. Available on iTunes and Kindle for free, this collaboration between the Environmental Protection Agency’s SunWise Program and the Children’s Melanoma Prevention Foundation is an innovative way to reach the tablet generation.

Wiseheart is the story of a curious and courageous boy from the Cahto Indian tribe in the land now known as northern California, who dared to confront his tribe’s dark secret and in so doing made a remarkable discovery. This story has been adapted from traditional tales to teach another important lesson – sun protection.

Coolibar asked the founder of CMPF, Maryellen Maguire-Eisen RN, MSN, to tell us more about the book, where the idea stemmed from and what these two prestigious organizations hope results from publishing this new e-book.

Tell us about yourself and CMPF.

Every year over half of American children experience sunburn and millions more go tanning indoors.  Sun protection education is needed to teach children about the hazards of overexposure to ultraviolet radiation. 

I have been a nurse for over thirty years working in the area of oncology and dermatology.  In 2003, I founded the Children’s Melanoma Prevention Foundation because I was concerned about the rising rates of melanoma and the association with overexposure to UV rays.  Our mission is to teach children and their caretakers safe and proven methods of sun protection and skin cancer prevention.  Our vision is to prevent skin cancer one child at a time.  Our foundation endorsed the SunAWARE acronym in 2007 and developed the SunAWARE school curriculum in 2011. We provide classroom programming in Massachusetts teaching over 25,000 students annually.  We have developed multiple resources for students and teachers to use in conjunction with this curriculum including books and videos. 

Tell us about the EPA SunWise Program.

SunWise is a free environmental and health education program that teaches children and their caregivers how to protect themselves from overexposure to the sun. Through the use of classroom, school, and community components, SunWise seeks to develop sustained sun-safe behaviors. This book is one example of how SunWise partners with organizations in the community.

How did this partnership with the EPA SunWise Program come about? Are you working with them in other ways?

The EPA SunWise Program provides a toolkit, free-of-charge, for educators that includes lesson plans and resources for classroom teaching. I really liked the curriculum and used many elements of it in the development of our SunAWARE Program.  I have promoted the SunWise Curriculum to other nurses nationally by inviting the SunWise team to speak at nursing conventions and meetings that I chaired. The Children’s Melanoma Prevention Foundation and the EPA SunWise Program are members of the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention.  We convene biannually to strategize with other members on educational, legislative, and research initiatives.  CMPF has always found the SunWise Team to be loyal partners in our mission to educate children about sun protection.  

Why was this book created? Who is the audience and what’s the key message?

I have been writing children’s books that teach children about sun safety, along with Mary Mills Barrow, for the past five years. Two of our publications, Lake Vacation and Pretty Prom, won the 2009 American Academy of Dermatology Gold Triangle Award.  I thought that the Wiseheart tale, from the SunWise toolkit, would be a wonderful story to expand into a new book.  I started writing the draft and then handed it over to our Advisory Board member, Jane Shanny, an English teacher and writer, to complete. We then contracted an artist to create lively illustrations that depict the key elements of the story.  Once the draft was close to completion, we contacted the SunWise Director, Linda Rutsch, to see if they might partner with us on the publication and distribution of the book.  As always, they were eager to partner on this educational endeavor.  The audience is children ages 8-12 and the objective is to educate and motivate readers about the importance of sun protection for all people.  We chose to publish it electronically because of ease of distribution and ability to provide it for free.

Is this book different than other sun protection books for kids? How?

I think that the book is different from other sun protection books in that it touches on the imagination of children and provides a frame of reference that sun protection is important for everyone.  The hero can be a role model for all children in that he is resourceful, independent, brave, caring, and imaginative.  He tries to make the world a better place for his people. 

How long has this been in the works?

The book has been in the works for over three years.  A final draft of the story was completed in August 2012 and the illustrations, by Laurie Sigmund of Sigmund Design, were completed later that same year.   We hired Ugly Dog Publishing in 2013 to develop the electronic publication and to arrange for distribution.  They worked with Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Apple, and Kobo to distribute the book. 

What are your feelings now that “Wiseheart Saves the Dawn” is finally available?

I am really pleased that we have yet another resource available to teach children about the importance of sun protection.   It is incredibly gratifying to see the hundreds of books downloaded each month and realize that this project is truly getting into the hands and minds of children. We hope that this posting will further help publicize the availability of our latest sun protection educational resource. 

Is there anything else you wish to share with us?

We hope to continue to develop resources for children and their caretakers that promote sun safety and help prevent skin cancer.   Please visit us at www.melanomaprevention.org to find out more about our organization, download a book, or donate to the cause.

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School sun safety

Meet lucky school sun hat contest winner Kerri

Each year, Coolibar provides hats to five lucky classrooms across the U.S. One of our 2013 contest winners shares her story:  Kerri Case is a preschool teacher at Bramlett Elementary in Oxford, Mississippi. Hats will now be worn every day during recess to remind students to practice sun safety.

“I heard about the school hat contest from a parent of one of my students,” said Ms. Case. “She orders from your website and is very proactive in taking care of her skin.”

Ms. Case’s personal concern of sun exposure has also escalated over the years. “I had a friend who’s sister lost her battle with melanoma at the age of 30.  She was the first young person that I had known with this disease.” Since then, her and her husband had another friend deal with the same battle.

“It was an eye opening experience for us,” said Ms. Case. “I take measures to apply sunscreen when I will be in the sun — especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.  We both see  a dermatologist yearly to have a complete skin scan and see if there are any spots that would cause him concern. My sister-in-law lives in Australia, and she mentioned that at her son’s school kids are not allowed out to play unless they have a hat or visor to protect them from the sun. Great idea!”

Ms. Case and the principal at Bramlett Elementary were thrilled to learn they had won the contest! The hats will be worn during recess to remind the kids to practice sun safety. Ms. Case said, “I know they will be well used in the hot, sunny Mississippi weather that we have here in Oxford!”

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Educate Others Parenting School sun safety

Adding sun safety into the school curriculum

Did you know one or more blistering sunburns before the age of 18 more than doubles your chances of getting melanoma? To promote sun safety, Lisa Richman, executive director of the Richard David Kann (RDK) Melanoma Foundation, presented this statistic as a part of their Sun Safety program to the 6th grade science classes at Independence Middle School.

RDK Melanoma Foundation was founded in honor of Richard David Kann. Kann was 44-years-old when he discovered a funny spot on his back. Like most people, he ignored it. By the time he found his way in to a dermatologist’s office, he realized he was fighting for his life. Sadly, he lost his battle with melanoma in only nine short months. Family and friends banded together knowing they must do something, so other families would not suffer the loss of a loved one from a disease that can be prevented with education.

The Sun Safety program at Independence Middle School was a huge success. “Students were well-behaved, bright and responsive. They knew their science regarding skin and UV Rays, and had already heard words like ‘dermatologist’ and some ‘melanoma’,” said Lisa Richman. After listening to an interactive presentation and viewing the YouTube video entitled “Dear 16 Year Old Me”, students were reluctant to look into the Dermaview machine (pictured to left) Lisa brought now knowing the freckles on their face were not “kisses from angels” but sun damage!

The students, eager to share their newfound knowledge with the rest of their school, even wrote a poem to read during daily announcements.

When going out on a sunny day,

Stay away from hot sun rays.

Cover your head with a wide brim hat,

Protect your eyes like a cool cat.

Putting balm on your lips goes a long way,

To keep them safe from ultra violet rays.

If you must go out between 10 and 4,

Don’t forget your umbrella when out the door.

This may be a lot to keep in your head,

But one last thing NO Tanning beds!

Sun smart rules keep you safe in the sun,

You can enjoy in the summer and have lots of fun!

The Richard David Kann Melanoma Foundation is a non-profit organization involved in skin cancer education – enlightening the community through SunSmart America™ K-12 Curriculum, which provides school-based learning on sun safety and skin cancer. SunSmart America™ meets existing requirements in science, health, physical education and language arts.

Considering a similar program for your school this year? Learn more about school sun safety programs at www.melanomafoundation.com

Learn about Coolibar’s School Sun Hat Discount Program.

 

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Events Parenting

The Wiffle for a Diffle Celebrity Tournament

This Saturday, August 10, 2013, the Pediatric Sun Protection Foundation will be distributing Coolibar sun safety product and sunscreen during the Wiffle for a Diffle Celebrity Tournament fundraiser at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

Sixteen corporate teams will play a double elimination day of Wiffle® Ball games. Each team will have a celebrity captain to guide them to the championship! Family festivities to include a magician, balloon twisters, Disney princesses, superheroes, Chicago mascots, an interactive wiffle ball station (batting cages), corn holes, face painting, a scavenger hunt, and more!

Dr. Amy Brodsky, founder of PSPF says, “This is an excellent opportunity to teach good sun protection habits, while helping kids in the Chicago area.” Proceeds from the event benefit the Wood Family Foundation, an advocate for Chicago area children, providing support through long-term relationships with kids and their communities, ensuring the consistency and the emotional structure they need to succeed.

Need more incentive to attend? There will be roughly 4000 in attendance, including Chicago big wigs and celebrities like Bill Murray and Jenny McCarthy.

Check out the event page for more information.

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