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Parenting SunAWARE

Summer Camp Sun Protection 101: Why the Cotton Shirt Your Kid Swims in Just Won’t Do

Summer camp is jam-packed with activities from sunrise to sunset. Counselors and camp staff make it a priority to ensure safety of all campers; however, with the rigorous reapplication routine sunscreen requires, sometimes sun protection may be overlooked in all the commotion. Sunburn and skin damage are easily preventable. Educating and equipping children with good sun protection habits prior to the start of camp is essential.

While sunscreen is a necessity, adding additional forms of sun protection may ease parental anxiety.

SUN PROTECTION STRATEGIES FOR SUMMER CAMP

1. Pack sun protective swimwear and clothing: The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using sun protective clothing first, followed by sunscreen. A WHITE COTTON T-SHIRT WILL NOT PROTECT YOUR CHILD FROM THE SUN! In fact, it only offers an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 7, and even less when wet. UPF and SPF ratings for sunscreens are similar, but UPF is the standard for clothing and accounts for both UVB and UVA rays. When shopping for UPF clothing, look for a UPF 50+ rating, the highest rating available. This means a garment will block 98% or more of UVA and UVB rays. Swim shirts (also known as rash guards), are great for extended water play since the sun protection will not wash out.

2. Remember a wide brim hat:  To be protective, a hat must have a 3” brim or greater (for toddlers this might be less) or a flap in the back to cover the ears and neck if it’s a baseball style cap. Hats also protects the scalp, especially along the part-line.

3. Wrap on UV sunglasses: Eyes are susceptible to sunburn too, and not all sunglasses protect against UV. Opt for a pair of wrap style sunglasses that fit closer to the face so UV rays don’t leak in the sides. Look for sunglasses labeled UV 400 or blocks 99% or greater of UVA and UVB rays. For younger kids, purchase sunglasses with straps to keep them secure.

4. Choose the right sunscreen: Most kids will be active, so look for brands that offer better protection in water or while sweating. Also remember the following:

  • Look at the label. Many parents assume the higher the SPF the better, which is not necessarily the case. Look for quality ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These are physical sunscreen ingredients. Choose an SPF of 30 that’s labeled broad spectrum, which protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Avoid aerosol sunscreens. The major drawback of a continuous spray sunscreen is that it could get into the eyes or inhaled by a child, long-term data on those effects are unknown.
  • Apply generous amounts on exposed skin. Start with the neck down, covering thick and evenly on all areas of the body, not forgetting the ears, backs of the hands, crease of the neck, underarms, between the fingers, underneath the bathing suit (if it’s not sun protective). After covering those major areas, do the face last. Even on a cloudy day, 80 percent of UV reaches the Earth’s surface.
  • Reapply. According to new Food and Drug Administration guidelines for sunscreens, labels must display a reapplication time of either 40 or 80 minutes and after swimming or sweating. Remember to do so.

5. Inquire about camp sunscreen application policies: Most camps are like schools, sunscreen is not allowed without written consent. Also, camp staff are often discouraged from helping kids apply sunscreen. Teach children to do their best applying sunscreen everywhere they can reach and ask for help on spots like their back.

Dr. Amy Brodsky, founder of the Pediatric Sun Protection Foundation is advocating a comprehensive sun protection strategy for her kids and hopes other parents will catch on. “I’m a dermatologist and a mom who has seen a lot of skin cancer and aging skin in my practice, so it’s only natural to want my own kids and others to think of wearing sun protection as the norm and sun protective shirts and sunscreen as cool,” said Dr. Brodsky. Dr. Brodsky often refers to the four-S’s to teach kids and parents alike the key skin cancer prevention measures — sunglasses, sunscreen, sun protective shirts, and sun hats.”

Additional Resources:

More about the Pediatric Sun Protection Foundation and sun protection advice for parents.

Read what the American Camping Association has to say about fun in the sun.

Follow SunAWARE for easy to remember steps for sun protection.

Shop Boys and Girls UPF 50+ clothing.

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Events Parenting School sun safety SunAWARE

Win Sun Protective Hats for Your School

Coolibar’s school sun hat contest is now open for entries! If you have a child in school or are a teacher, enter to win up to 50 kids hats for your classroom! We’ll be drawing the names of five lucky winners. Enter online and complete the SunAWARE quiz (ANSWERS BELOW) along with your contact information.

Mail your completed entry to Coolibar before May 9, 2014 and you’re registered:

Coolibar School Hats
2401 Edgewood Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55426

GOOD LUCK!

Contest Guidelines:

To enter, you must be a teacher or student at a public school, accredited private school, member of a 501(c)(3) educational organization, or a member of a recognized support group (e.g. PTA) for any of the preceding organizations. Contest open to residents of the 50 United States and District of Columbia. Contest entries for 2014 must by post marked or submitted by May 9, 2014 to be eligible for the contest drawing. Winners will be announced on May 14, 2014. Each winner will receive 50 hats maximum for their class. 5 winners will be chosen at random. No purchase necessary to win. Prize is non-transferable, not returnable and cannot be sold or redeemed for cash. Mechanically reproduced entries will not be accepted. One entry per person.Contest rules subject to change at the sole discretion of Coolibar.

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Parenting SunAWARE

Preventing A Pediatric Disease – Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is a preventable pediatric disease if sun protective habits start at an early age. Children spend more time outside than adults. As a result, most sun damage occurs before age 18. Chicago based Pediatric Sun Protection Foundation (PSPF) is educating children and families on the importance of sun protection – to end skin cancer one child at a time.

 “My children are in day camp all summer, and I wanted them to wear swim shirts daily,” said Founder of PSPF and Board Certified Dermatologist Amy Brodsky, M.D. “I thought if we could start a trend and have all campers wear them, my kids would not complain that they were the only ones,” she said of where the initial idea for the organization stemmed from.   

Amy Brodsky, MD Amy Brodsky, MD

Through PSPF, Dr. Brodsky shows other parents having your kid wear sun protective clothing is important for lifelong healthy skin. “You wouldn’t send your children out on a bicycle without a bike helmet, so why would you send them to camp and the swimming pool without a swim shirt,” said Dr. Brodsky.

Formed January 2012, PSPF has since created programs to promote sun protection awareness. PSPF’s website allows parents and children to adopt the practice of wearing sun protective clothing by providing information and accessibility to affordable sun protective products through partner vendors. A PSA campaign to promote the organization’s mission is also in the works.  “The next steps are to partner with clothing distributors and recruit a celebrity to create commercial and PSAs,” said Dr. Brodsky. “I also plan to talk via TV, radio and schools about our cause.  Our key message to parents is that skin cancer is a pediatric disease; and if sun protective habits start early, skin cancer can be prevented.”

June 2, 2013, PSPF will be at the Chicago Cubs game promoting Play Sun Smart with Major League Baseball and the American Academy of Dermatology.  For more information about the Pediatric Sun Protection Foundation and upcoming events visit http://www.pediatricspf.org/.

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Expert Rx Parenting

Dr. George on eczema: a common childhood condition

Dr. Manju George - Pediatric Dermatology West Palm Beach

We asked Coolibar medical advisor Pediatric Dermatologist Dr. Manju Elizabeth George MD, FAAD of Pediatric Dermatology of the Palm Beaches to share some information with us on childhood eczema.  Her response is below.

“When we think about baby’s skin, most of us envision soft, smooth skin unaffected by the sun, chemicals and other harmful substances. New parents often come to me in a panic, because their child’s skin is covered in a strange rash or bumps. It’s important to be aware that there are a handful of very common pediatric skin conditions that can be easily treated.”

“One such skin condition is called atopic dermatitis (AD), which is more commonly referred to as eczema (pronounced “EK-zema). In fact, AD affects nearly 10% of all infants and children. Literature and data have taught us the eczema is skin barrier defect. The exact cause is not known, but AD results from a combination of family heredity and a variety of conditions in everyday life that triggers the red, itchy rash.”

typical mild eczema

“Atopic dermatitis can be challenging to treat and education is of upmost importance. I always take the time to make sure I am educating parents on good skin care. Children with eczema are shown to sleep less and miss more school. This condition does not just affect children but the parents as well.”

“If you are worried your child may have eczema there are a few signs to look for.”

  • Time of Onset – it usually occurs within baby’s 1st year up to age 5 and tends to reappear
  • Itching – AD is very itchy, much of the skin damage comes from uncontrollable scratching
  • Rash Location – in babies, it usually starts on the face, elbows and knees. It may spread to involve all areas of the body. Later in childhood the rash is typically found in the elbow and knee folds but can appear on hands, feet scalp or bend the hears.

“Treatment for AD includes emollients such as petrolatum based products or creams. Lotions are not rich enough and often have a net drying effect on AD skin. Topical steroids, called corticosteroids, are cortisone like medications used in creams or ointments prescribed by your doctor. These medications can be very helpful and can calm the inflamed skin. They come in a variety of potencies and must be used with caution and supervision as there are some side effects associated with them, including thinning of the skin.”

“Since many of the products and prescriptions used in atopic dermatitis patients can cause photosensitivity, the use of sun protection for children with atopic dermatitis is recommended. If you are concerned that your child has eczema or some other skin condition, make an appointment to see your dermatologist or health care professional. They can help assess the problem, put your mind at ease and get your little one on their way to healthy skin.”

Manju Elizabeth George MD, FAAD
Triple Board certified in Pediatrics, Dermatology and Pediatric Dermatology
Pediatric Dermatology of the Palm Beaches

Disclaimer: The information provided by Coolibar and its contributors is general skin care information and should not be a substitute for obtaining medical advice from your physician and is not intended to diagnose or treat any specific medical problem.

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Parenting

Fun Fall Family Activities

Coolibar is all for spending days in the sun, protected of course, and fall is the perfect time to get outdoors with your family and spend quality time together. We’ve compiled a list of “10 must do activities” this fall that will create lasting family memories and get your kids some fresh air.

10 Must Do Family Activities This Fall

1. Collect colorful leaves.  Search your yard or neighborhood for the most colorful leaves and gather them in a bag. Here are a couple of crafty ideas from Disney Family Fun to use the leaves. 1) Make a sun catcher. Using a low setting, iron a leaf between two pieces of waxed paper with a sheet of plain paper on top. Hang in a sunny window. 2) Preserve a leaf. Bring a mixture of 2 parts water and 1 part glycerin (available in most pharmacies) to a boil in a saucepan (adults only). Pour the solution into a heat-proof container. Drop in a few brightly-colored leaves and gently submerge with a wooden spoon. Keep the container in a cool, dark place until there is a slight change in the leaves’ tints. Then remove them and blot dry with a paper towel. Instead of turning brown and crumbly, the leaves will retain their brilliant hues.

2. Pine cone walk.  Take a walk around your neighborhood and collect pine cones.  Tell the kids to find the biggest pine cones or the ones that aren’t broken.  Place the pine cones in a bowl or basket for a home fall decoration that will last through the holiday season. You can also buy non-toxic metallic paints from your local craft store to color the pine cones.

3. Play name that leaf. Have the kids collect unusual leaves. Grab a tree guidebook from your local library to bring along and identify the types of trees the leaves were taken from.

4. Have fun raking. Gather leaves into a huge pile and jump in! Remove twigs from the pile and make sure there are enough leaves before the kids dive in.

5. Stuff a scarecrow. Dig out an old shirt and overalls and stuff with hay or leaves until firm. Complete the scarecrow with a pumpkin head.

6. Venture to your local orchard or farm. Head off for a day of apple picking, pumpkin carving, hayrides, corn mazes and other fun activities. Many farms have a picnic area you can all gather for lunch as well. If you pick apples, come home and have the kids help you make some homemade apple crisp (adults cut apples, kids mix ingredients).

7. Search for state parks and plan for a hike or bike ride. Look out for wildlife and occasionally stop for family photos.

8. Picnic on the beach. The beach is breezy at this time, but isn’t crowded like in the summer.  The ocean or lake becomes the perfect backdrop for a relaxing afternoon. Pack books and sand toys for the kids.

9. Tour the town. Grab a tourist brochure and take in the local sites. Snap pictures, buy treats and meander through the neighborhood shops.

10. Create a new fall tradition. Get outdoors, enjoy the fall weather and make new memories – you belong in the sun! 

Even though it’s fall, you still need to protect your family from nature’s elements such as the sun and insects. Make sure to pack plenty of sunscreen and wear sun protective clothing! Have fun.

Little Coolibar customer Lucia in leaves with bear hat
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Parenting School sun safety SunAWARE

What You Need to Know About Sun Protection at Your Child’s School

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.

“80 percent of the sun’s damage occurs before age 18,” says John Barrow, founder and president of Coolibar. “Children need to be educated about sun safety practices early to avoid the risks of melanoma later.”

Now you know how to teach your child to be SunAWARE at school!

Long Memorial Middle School Saddle Brook NJ
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Parenting

Get Outside and Play

What are you going to do with your summer? A question all kids must answer once the school year is over. If watching television, playing video games or surfing the web are your child’s top choices, it may be time to introduce some outdoor activities into their summer routine.  Good habits start early and active children become active adults, conquering obesity and sedentary behavior. Your kids will thank you for it.

When children engage in less structured outdoor play, they typically sustain moderately energetic activity over longer periods of time – the type of activity that is particularly important for health and fitness.  In addition, there is a growing body of research on how spending time outdoors benefits children’s development beyond the obvious physical benefits.  Those benefits include kids that are more imaginative, creative and cooperative.

If the children in your life need a little encouragement to put away their video games, we’ve got some ideas to get your kids excited about playing outside.

  • Plan an Interesting Place to Visit  – The backyard may be the easiest option to get children playing outside, but by planning a little, you can find other interesting places to take your children. Walk to a neighborhood park or visit a nature center or the zoo.
  • Have Fun While Moving Around – One of the great things about playing outside is that most of the time, your kids are concentrating so hard on having fun, they don’t even realize how much effort and energy they’re using. Fly a kite at the park, skip stones at a pond or play a game such as red rover red rover, tag or hide and seek.
  • Investigate Nature – Playing outdoors is critical to a child’s development because all of his senses are engaged and he’s making decisions based on using those senses. Also, cultivating an interest in trees and other plants, animals and natural phenomena is a great way to motivate kids to get outdoors. Take a nature walk and share stories about things you remember about nature from your childhood, start a collection from your walks or plan a family hike.

Move around and demonstrate how much you enjoy being outside. This will go a long way in teaching your kids to embrace the outdoors too.  Life happens outside, get out there and enjoy it!

Outdoor play is beneficial beyond health and fitness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resources:

http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/getactive/children.html

http://www.childrenandnature.org/

http://www.oprah.com/oprahradio/Getting-Children-Outdoors

http://www.livestrong.com/article/141891-the-benefits-outdoor-play-children/

 

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Avoid UV & Seek Shade Inside Coolibar New Products Parenting

Is your shade structure shading your kids enough?

As a mom of two active boys I have attended hundreds of sporting events.  For shade and sun protection I bring our portable beach umbrella or canopy.  Over the years, I have noticed that portable umbrellas and canopies only provide minimal sun protection.  Most portable umbrellas and canopies do not block UVA or UVB rays, they provide only a limited shade area (the largest of which is when the sun is directly overhead) and they do not block the UV rays that are reflected off of the ground.

When I researched reflected UV rays, I was shocked to learn that up to 1/3 of cancer causing UV rays can reach your skin while you are sitting in the shade.  One such study in New Zealand concluded that shade structures with side on walls provided the best protection from UV rays.  My frustration with portable shade structures and their inability to provide adequate shade and sun protection lead me to start my company, Solar Eclipz, and to develop the ezShade.

The patented ezShade is the only portable sun-shield that blocks over 99% UVA/UVB rays and instantly attaches to any nylon/poly umbrella or canopy.  Our company’s focus is to educate the public on the harm caused by reflected UV rays and the need for staying sun-safe and I hope that this post too will help you enjoy a sun-safe summer.

With the temperature soaring and the sun shining brighter, chances are you want to keep your little one safe from the sun. While you’d love to keep them indoors all day, you know you really can’t do that. However, what you CAN do is keep them sun safe by choosing products that provide and boost UV protection, easily and effectively.

Here are 5 must-have sun safety products for parents of preschoolers:

1. Sun Hat

Yes, every toddler needs a good sun hat. Luckily for you, Coolibar offers you some great options. Choose a sun hat that shades most of the face and keeps the sun’s rays away from sensitive skin. Also, don’t just get one sun hat. Get a couple. Preschoolers are always losing stuff or getting them dirty.

2. Sunglasses

Sunglasses are not only for adults. You need to keep your preschooler’s eyes safe from the sun’s rays as well. However, don’t just go out and buy any pair of sunglasses. Look around for a brand that’s trusted and certified. Also, take the little one when you go shopping so that you can try on the pair for fit and comfort.

3. UV Protective Clothes

Sun protective clothes can be a life-saver, especially when you’re at the park or the beach. While you can get special sun protective clothes, you should also make sure that regular clothes offer adequate sun protection. Long sleeves, light colors, cotton fiber are some things to look for when choosing outdoor summer wear for the kids.

4. Sunscreen

Never, ever send your toddler out to play without slathering on the sunscreen. Choose a brand that is kid-friendly and child-appropriate. Blue Lizard and UV Natural both have SPF 30+ sunscreens available for kids. Make sure you apply the sunscreen at least 15 to 20 minutes before they go out to play and reapply it, if they go swimming or wash their faces. Also, don’t forget the BEENS or Back of knees, Ears, Eye area, Neck, and Scalp to ensure full coverage.

5. Shade

And finally, make sure that when they play outside or spend time on the beach, they have adequate shade and sun protection. Using a portable shade such as the ezShade will not only increase the protection that an umbrella offers, it will also keep kids sun-safe without blocking out their fun.

Keeping preschoolers safe in the sun does not need a LOT of effort. Just a few must-have products can help summer be fun and safe for your on-the-go, active toddler. So, go ahead and get equipped for the most enjoyable, sun-safe season ever!

About the Author: Linda Varga is the founder of Solar Eclipz and inventor of the ezShade,  www.myezshade.com, an award-winning sun shield that instantly attaches to any umbrella/canopy, blocks over 99% UVA/UVB rays, doubles your shade, and keeps you cooler all day long.

Get your Solar Eclipz ezShade now at Coolibar.  See our full line of UPF 50+ Sun Umbrellas & Shelters.

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Educate Others Parenting School sun safety

School policy in 49 states leaves children at risk of sunburn

Mother Jesse Michener of Tacoma, WA walked into her home after work on June 19th to find her two daughters had both severely sunburned that day while at school.

Michener’s daughters Violet, 11, and Zoe, 9, had spent the day outdoors for a school field day. While it rained in the morning, by noon the sun was out and students rushed outside to play. Being under the mid-day sun, when the sun is strongest, the girls began to burn.

Horrified, Michener immediately marched into the principal’s office only to learn that the school cannot allow sunscreen use on students due to a statewide policy and for liability reasons. The same policy exists in 49 states –preventing most students from applying sunscreen at school. The law exists due to the additives in lotions and sunscreens that can potentially cause allergic reactions and sunscreens are regulated by the FDA as an over-the-counter drug. Exception is only granted with a written physician’s note. At the moment, California is the only state that allows students to apply sunscreen at school without doctor approval.

Michener’s daughter Zoe is extremely sensitive to sun due to a form of albinism. Even though school staff were aware of Zoe’s condition, she still was not allowed to use sunscreen.

Michener, outraged by this policy, wrote a post on her photography blog expressing her concern and placing her girl’s sunburn photos at the top (pictured above). Michener writes, “The practice of a blanket policy which clearly allows for students to be put in harm’s way is deeply flawed. Not only does a parent have to take an unrealistic step by visiting a doctor for a ‘prescription’ for an over-the-counter product, children are not allowed to carry it on their person and apply as needed… Something as simple as a sun hat might seem to bypass the prescription issue to some extent. Alas, hats are not allowed at school, even on field day!”

Since Michener posted, this policy has received attention from media outlets across the nation, including the Today Show on NBC. Schools also have started discussing the current sunscreen/over-the-counter drug policy, and begun pushing revisions.

What would you have done? Share your thoughts about sunscreen use in schools on our Facebook page!

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School sun safety SunAWARE

Gearing Up for Skin Cancer Awareness Month

May has been declared Skin Cancer Awareness Month by the Centers for Disease Control. Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon according to the American Cancer Society. Take advantage of the wealth of skin cancer prevention resources available next month so you can become SunAWARE and help prevent and detect skin cancers.

1. Start out May with a free skin cancer screening.

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) designates the first Monday in May as Melanoma Monday (5/7/2012). Dermatology offices often provide free skin cancer screenings. Find a free skin cancer screening on the AAD website or by calling your local dermatology office.

Additionally, this year, the AAD will launch their SPOT Skin Cancer™ public education initiative on Melanoma Monday. The initiative aims to educate the public about skin cancer and promote positive behavior to prevent and detect skin cancer. SPOT Skin Cancer™ also will position dermatologists as the experts in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer.

2. Walk or run to support skin cancer research.

Register to walk or run and raise money in support of skin cancer research through the Melanoma Research Foundation. Search for an event in your area, or create your own Miles for Melanoma event. Miles for Melanoma events take place across the United States and are hosted by volunteers.

3. Register to win school sun hats from Coolibar.

Coolibar is giving away up to 50 school sun hats to five winning classrooms across the United States. Download the contest form or enter online. Contest deadline is May 11, 2012.

4. Kick off your summer with Don’t Fry Day.

The Friday before Memorial Day (5/25/2012) is deemed Don’t Fry Day by The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention. The purpose is to remind everyone to protect your skin while enjoying the outdoors.

5. Pledge to follow these simple steps of SunAWARE to prevent and detect skin cancers all summer.

Avoid unprotected exposure to sunlight, seek shade, and never indoor tan.

Wear sun protective clothing, including a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses year-round.

Apply recommended amounts of broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sunburn protection factor (SPF) greater than or equal to 30 to all exposed skin and reapply every two hours, or as needed.

Routinely examine your whole body for changes in your skin and report concerns to a parent or healthcare provider.

Educate your family and community about the need to be SunAWARE.

If you have any ideas, suggestions or events on skin cancer prevention, please share them with us.

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