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Parenting School sun safety SunAWARE

Elementary Schools Consider No Hat No Play Policy

Does your child wear a hat on the playground during recess? If not, your child is not the only one. Many elementary schools in the U.S. ban students from wearing hats on school grounds. As a result, children are left exposed to the sun during peak ultraviolet radiation hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

In Australia, schools and daycares have a strict “no hat, no play” policy, meaning children cannot go outside to play unless they’ve slapped on a hat (a wide brim or legionnaire hat). Evidence suggests that childhood exposure to UV radiation from the sun or tanning beds contributes significantly to the development of skin cancer.  As a result of the rise in skin cancer rates, in 1998 the Cancer Council Australia launched the national SunSmart Schools program to promote good sun protection habits in childhood.

The Slip Slop Slap Seek and Slide campaign in Australia started by the Cancer Council Australia in 1980, originally just Slip Slop Slap until 2007, is the core message of the SunSmart Program. Slip on a t-shirt, slop on some sunscreen, slap on a hat, seek shade and slide on sunglasses is the message they remind children and parents of through public service announcements played on television and in classrooms. The hats children wear are also not ordinary baseball caps as they offer very little protection, but rather wide brim hats or legionnaire hats. The SunSmart program now has over 2,500 schools and 3,500 childcare centers participating across the country. This campaign is widely credited as playing a key role in the dramatic shift in sun protection attitudes and behavior over the past two decades in Australia.

Australian SunSmart Schools and Day Cares have a written sun protection policy meeting minimum standards relating to curriculum, behavior and the environment. They also work to increase shade and reschedule outdoor activities to lower UV times of the day. Finally, they teach children about sun protection. These are all simple standards American schools can replicate.

Hats can be provided inexpensively to schools through fundraising or discount programs such as the Coolibar School Sun Hat Program, which offers a 50% discount to schools purchasing children’s hats. As an educational resource, the SunAWARE acronym is available in the U.S. to help educate children about sun protection and skin cancer prevention, in addition to books such as “SunAWARE Hits a Home Run”. Our kids are outdoors when UV is strongest, and while the damage may not appear initially, there is much greater chance severe skin damage will emerge down the road.

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Educate Others Parenting SunAWARE

Tanning Industry Investigation Confirms Need for Education

“Tanning is beneficial to your health,” claims tanning salon owners and employees when the House Committee on Energy and Commerce undercover investigators called 300 tanning salons nationwide.  This false claim may not fool many sun protection advocates, but the rest of the U.S. population could be easily led to believe that tanning is good for you. In actuality, nothing could be farther from the truth.

Tanning, whether outdoors or in a tanning bed, can have harmful effects on your health. In fact, the Skin Cancer Foundation states on their website that indoor ultraviolet tanners are 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma than those who have never tanned indoors.  Most people are not properly informed about the risks of using tanning beds and are putting their lives at risk without even knowing it.

During The Committee’s study, they had investigators pose as fair skinned teenage girls (over the phone) looking for information on tanning bed safety and policies. After contacting 300 salons, at least three in every state, they released these unsettling results:

1) Nearly all salons (90%) denied the known risks of indoor tanning.

2) Four out of five salons falsely claimed that indoor tanning is beneficial to a young person’s health.

3) Salons used many approaches to minimize the health risks of indoor tanning including saying, “it’s got to be safe, or else [the government] wouldn’t let us do it.”

4) Three quarters of tanning salons failed to follow FDA recommendations on tanning frequency.

The Skin Cancer Foundation, in an effort to help educate teenagers and save lives, is urging people to email letters of support urging the FDA to regulate tanning beds and ban those less than 18 year of age from using them. The SCF will then compile all emails and send them to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg. You can email your letters to advocacy@skincancer.org.

The Skin Cancer Foundation’s report on Congressional Report Exposes Tanning Industry’s Misleading Messaging to Teens.

http://www.skincancer.org/news/tanning/tanningreport

Watch Chelsea’s Experience with Skin Cancer to see how misleading claims by tanning salons effect the people around us.

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Parenting What's Hot

A Skin Healthy Thanksgiving Dinner

Did you know the expression ‘you are what you eat’ is true to a certain extent? While it’s well known that your overall health can be impacted by diet, your outward appearance, skin in particular, is greatly affected by everything you put into your body as well. With Thanksgiving dinner being less than a week away, you are probably already cooking up ideas for your family’s menu. If you’re hosting this year’s Thanksgiving feast, take a second look at your grocery list before heading off to the super market. If you want to keep your skin looking healthy and naturally glowing throughout the holidays, fill yourself with food and nutrients your skin, and body, will love.

Evidence from a study at the University of Nottingham that was released last year shows eating nutrient rich fruits and vegetables that contain beta-carotene gives skin a healthy golden glow. The study also showed people found this healthy glow to be more attractive than a tan obtained from UV rays, which can cause skin cancer and premature aging. Beta-carotene is a member of the carotenoids, which are highly pigmented (red, orange, yellow), fat-soluble compounds naturally present in many fruits, grains, oils, and vegetables. It is also an antioxidant that helps reduce damaging compounds produced by daily stress. Beta carotene is not only good for immune system and reproductive health, but it’s the key to healthy glowing skin.

Dermatologist Dr. Cynthia Bailey, a board certified dermatologist with a private dermatology practice in Sonoma County, is a huge advocate of eating an abundance of fruits and vegetables to keep skin looking great. According to Dr. Bailey, not only are fresh fruits and veggies good for a glowing appearance, but by eating these more than dairy, carbohydrates and junk food, other skin problems such as acne can improve as well. Dr. Bailey also recommends purchasing fresh and organic when able because fresh and organically grown produce contains more nutrients. “Eating your fruits and veggies really fresh is key, because beta carotene is fragile and gets lost when the fruits or veggies are processed or stored,” writes Dr. Bailey in her blog post Skip The Tan & Eat Your Veggies For Beautiful Skin Color. Dr. Bailey suggests eating beta carotene foods with a little fat or oil to absorb the beta carotene better.

According to Dr. Bailey, foods high in Beta Carotene include:

Yellow/orange vegetables: carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, winter squash

Dark green and/or leafy vegetables: kale, broccoli, spinach, collard greens, turnips and their green leaves, beet leaves, mustard and dandelion greens, watercress, cilantro, chicory, endive, escarole

Yellow/orange fruits: apricots, cantaloupes, papayas, mangoes, nectarines, peaches

Also: summer squash, asparagus, peas, sour cherries, prune plums

To add a little healthy ‘color’ to your Thanksgiving meal, try some new healthy recipes that are spin-offs of classic holiday dishes. Create most of the recipe with fresh ingredients that will make your skin radiant. While it may not be realistic to forgo some of your favorite less than healthy dishes, try substituting or adding a few of these fresh options and eating smaller portions of processed foods.

Skin Healthy Dishes:

Acorn squash with apples

Maple roasted sweet potatoes

Quinoa salad with roasted sweet potatoes, kale, dried cranberries and red onion

Orzo super salad

Salad greens with pears, fennel and walnuts

Sweet carrots

Skin Healthy Deserts:

Almond and cherry upside-down cake

Healthy pumpkin pie (also see recipe for fresh pumpkin puree)

If you give any of these a try be sure to let us know how it was.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo credit: Californiacondor

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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School sun safety Wellness Warriors

Mission Possible: Protecting Kids from the Sun

Sun protection is a passionate subject for many people who have been impacted by cancer. Ellery, a high school freshman and Girl Scout, has been involved in fundraisers for treatments and cures of cancers. For the past year, Ellery has been working hard to earn her Girl Scout Silver Award, the second highest award a Girl Scout can earn, which gives girls the chance to show their dedication to improving the community. Now, Ellery has made it her mission to help educate young students and school officials about sun protection and show them that it’s possible to effectively, and inexpensively, protect students from the sun’s harmful UV rays during outdoor recess and activities.

From Ellery:

When I was starting to think about my Girl Scout Silver Award project, I decided to do something to focus on prevention of disease such as cancer. Living in sunny California, and because I am a swimmer and in the sun a lot, I decided to focus on sun-safety awareness. In my research, I learned that sun exposure related cancers can sometimes be prevented with good sun protection beginning at a young age. The Environmental Protection Agency says that unprotected exposure to ultraviolet light, a known human carcinogen, is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer. Of course, there are risk factors which cannot be controlled, and some people will get skin cancer regardless. I wanted my project to focus on prevention and be different from fund raising programs that I had been involved in. Through my research on sun-safety, I learned that in much of Australia, school kids are required to wear sun-hats as part of their school uniform. I thought this was a really smart idea, because it teaches kids to be aware of the sun’s effects at an early age, and it helps them with the one aspect of skin cancer we can control – sun exposure.

Students Wearing Their Coolibar Sun Hats

I developed a test case, called “Hats for Mates”, to see if it’s feasible for the kids here in Folsom to wear sun hats at recess. Fortunately, the principal at Folsom Hills Elementary School agreed to let me do my project at Folsom Hills. With private donations and affordable sun protective hats from the Coolibar School Sun Hat Program, Mrs. Hardy’s and Mr. Garcia’s kindergarten class received sun hats for their 32 students to use for the test. On the first day I presented a poster board with different sun safety activities to the kids and made a sun safety speech to the kindergarten class. After the presentation, I gave the kids their own sun hats to wear for all of following week. The student’s families were very supportive, and the only concern they raised was regarding sharing hats and lice. I addressed this by having one hat per student, with their name on it and having each student store their hat in their cubbies.

School staff were curious to find out if the hats would be a distraction on the playground. I went back to the school the following week to check up on the class. I asked them questions about the week, such as who wore the hats on the first day, who liked to wear them and why. Only three out of thirty-two kids did not like wearing the hats. The yard duty staff said there were no problems and the kids controlled the hats. The staff in the office also said there were no complaints or negative comments from the kid’s parents or other staff members. The school principal said “Ellery’s project shows that a sun-hat program in our schools is feasible and makes sense in a sunny climate like ours”. The Hats for Mates week at Folsom Hills was a success and showed that a hat program could work in public schools in Folsom.

-Ellery

Learn more about the Coolibar School Sun Hat Program

Ellery Teaching Kindergarten Class About Sun Protection
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Parenting SunAWARE

Doctor Prescribed Outdoor Activity for Kids

Worried your kids aren’t getting enough fresh air and exercise? You’re not alone. Inactivity in children is an issue many parents and health care providers are concerned with.  According to the Center for Disease Control, in the U.S, approximately 17 percent of all kids (ages 2-19) are obese. Environmental factors are mostly to blame, such as poor eating habits and a lack of physical activity. With an increasing number of electronic devices for kids to glue their eyes to, it’s easier than ever for children to find entertainment that requires little movement. An article in the New York Times recently stated “children ages 8 to 18 spend more than seven and a half hours a day with such devices”. Today, children are eating more and moving less, which puts them at risk of becoming over-weight or obese.  Now is the time to form healthy habits and start moving!

The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) recognizes the need to get children outdoors and is taking action through their Children and Nature Initiative.  The ultimate goal of the program is to encourage parents, doctors, teachers, and organizations to get kids outside for their own health.  According to NEEF, “Research indicates that unstructured outdoor activities may improve children’s health by increasing physical activity, reducing stress and serving as a support mechanism for attention disorders.”  This program encourages pediatric health care providers to prescribe outdoor activities to children. It also connects medical professionals with local nature sites, so when doctors prescribe outdoor exercise, they can recommend safe and easily accessible outdoor areas. From there, it’s up to the parents to take the lead and help encourage kids to exchange screen time for outdoor play.

Forming healthy habits includes using sun protection on a regular basis, especially when being active outdoors. Kids get between 50 to 80 percent of their lifetime sun exposure before age 18, and unprotected sun exposure can lead to health problems such as skin cancer later in life. To keep outdoor playtime safe, use the SunAWARE acronym:

SunAWARE Logo
SunAWARE Logo

Help your kids start good habits at an early age. Be SunAWARE and get outdoors!

Additional Resources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deepak-chopra/childhood-obesity_b_1029606.html

Photo courtesy of Micheal Newton and VA State Park Staff.

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Avoid UV & Seek Shade Parenting SunAWARE

Should Teens Tan? California Says No.

Should teens be able to decide whether or not to use tanning beds? According to Aim at Melanoma Foundation, using a tanning bed before the age of 20 doubles a person’s risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Even more staggering is that 28 million individuals in the U.S. use tanning beds each year despite the statistics, which includes 2.3 million teens.

On Sunday, October 9, 2011, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill making California the first state to prohibit minors from using tanning beds. The only exception is if a minor obtains written consent from a medical professional that they’re tanning due to a medical condition. This law will go into effect on January 1, 2012. Multiple health organizations including the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) are praising the governor for taking action.

In 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, placed tanning beds in its Class 1 carcinogen category.  Cigarettes, plutonium and ultraviolet radiation from the sun are in the same category. Just like the law protects minors from the negative health effects of cigarettes, this new law in California is a way to protect teens from the negative health effects of using tanning beds. Dermatologist Ann F. Haas, MD, FAAD, past president of the California Society of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery says, “Melanoma incidence rates have been increasing for the last 30 years, with the most rapid increases occurring among young, white women, 3 percent per year since 1992 in those ages 15 to 39. We pushed for this legislation in the hopes of stemming that rise and encouraging other states to follow California’s lead and prohibit the use of tanning devices by minors to reduce the incidence of skin cancer in the U.S.”

Prior to the ban, the state allowed those between 14 and 17 years of age to use tanning beds with parental consent. Thirty-one other states have similar laws restricting minors from using tanning beds without parental consent. The remaining 18 states have no restrictions. This is frightening not only because teens who tan put their health at risk, but also because adolescents choosing to tan are still developing their decision making skills and may make bad or uneducated decisions that will affect their quality of life down the road.

According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), “based on the stage of their brain development, adolescents are more likely to: act on impulse or engage in dangerous or risky behavior. Adolescents are also less likely to: think before they act, pause to consider the potential consequences of their actions and modify their dangerous or inappropriate behaviors.”

“These brain differences don’t mean that young people can’t make good decisions or tell the difference between right and wrong”, states an article on the AACAP website.  “It also doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be held responsible for their actions. But an awareness of these differences can help parents, teachers, advocates, and policy makers understand, anticipate, and manage the behavior of adolescents.”

On top of the cognitive development argument, there is a lack of awareness on the dangers of tanning. “Many parents may not be aware that melanoma is the most common skin cancer in children, followed by basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas,” Dr. Thomas Rohrer, Secretary of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. Many tanning salons tout that tanning beds are safer than outdoor tanning as they use UVA rays or that it’s good to get a base tan before vacationing in warm regions.  These claims are false. UVA rays (aging rays) are not safer than UVB rays (burning) rays and numerous studies have proven this. Additionally, getting a base tan before a sunny vacation is equivalent to the sun protection of a SPF 3 or less, and the AAD suggests using SPF 30+ broad-spectrum sunscreen and sun protective clothing for adequate sun protection.

Based on this information, would you be comfortable having your teen use a tanning bed? For every parent residing outside of the state of California, that’s for you, or your teen, to decide.

Michigan news broadcast with dermatologist insights on tanning beds.

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Educate Others School sun safety SunAWARE

SunAWARE School Curriculum

The Children’s Melanoma Prevention Foundation (CMPF) began delivering skin cancer prevention education to school children from kindergarten through grade 12 in 2003.  Its founder Maryellen Maguire-Eisen believed that children needed to have a better understanding of UV intensity and sun protection.  In her career as an oncology/dermatology nurse practitioner, she witnessed an alarming change in the profile of the typical skin cancer patient.  Melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, was striking younger people and the numbers for all incidences of skin cancer were rising steadily.  The real tragedy is that a vast number of skin cancers are preventable and easily treated when detected early. 

Digital photography is utilized to create specialized individual student photographs that highlight sun damage.

In the eight years since its inception, the CMPF has enrolled over 100 participating schools in Massachusetts.  Its team of health educators has directly taught the SunAWARE Curriculum to over 250,000 school children.  Using a skin analyzer, SunAWARE educators show upper level students what their skin looks like beneath the visible surface.  “Seeing their accumulated skin damage is a powerful motivator for using sun protection measures while they are still young,” says Ms. Maguire-Eisen.

The SunAWARE curriculum has four major strands: Understanding Ultraviolet Radiation, Understanding Skin Sensitivity, Proven Methods of Sun Protection, and Skin Cancer Recognition and the SunAWARE Action Steps (seen below).  There are four instructional levels: K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12.  The curriculum at each level is aligned with the Massachusetts Frameworks in Health and Science.

The SunAWARE curriculum for all four levels is available for download and use free of charge from CMPF’s website, http://www.melanomaprevention.org/.  It is located on the Resource Center page under the SunAWARE program button.  Ms. Maguire-Eisen encourages parents, teachers, health educators, school administrators, community health and wellness personnel to visit the website and use the SunAWARE Program. “Our goal is to make the SunAWARE Program available to everyone as an international resource for sun safety education,” says Ms. Maguire-Eisen.  “Our ultimate goal is to protect all children from the senseless devastation of skin cancer.”  Be Safe.  Be SunAWARE.

5 Action Steps of SunAWARE
A
void 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.

Maryellen Teaching SunAWARE Curriculum

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Parenting

Abbey’s Hope On Pool Safety

Abbeys Hope Logo

Here at Coolibar we work hard to educate adults and kids about the importance of staying SunAWARE. Our friends at Abbey’s Hope, a local Minnesota non-profit, are just as serious about pool safety. Abbey’s Hope was created in honor of Abbey Taylor, a young girl whose tragic story inspired thousands of families and companies to give pool safety the attention it deserves.

As the summer winds down, you may be hitting the pool or beach for a few last days of fun in the sun. You’re most likely going to pack along your broad-spectrum sunscreen and Coolibar gear to help keep you safe from the damaging effects of UV. Besides avoiding nasty sunburn, Abbey’s Hope wants to make sure you don’t forget the other important ways you can remain safe at the pool. 

Abbey's Hope Pool Safety Event
Abbey's Hope Pool Safety Event (Photo courtesty of Abbey's Hope Facebook Page)

One way the organization educates our local community is by producing and sponsoring a number of fun events that help families learn to enjoy the pool in a safe way. Often partnering with other great non-profits, such as the YMCA, Abbey’s Hope has reached thousands of children, including the 2,400 kids they helped provide with water safety lessons and the 150 children who received a new swimsuit as a result of their “Bowling for Swimsuits” event.

Abbey’s Hope is a great source for information about how to stay safe at the pool. Some of the helpful pool safety tips they suggest are:

  • If you’re in a group, appoint a designated “water watcher,” taking turns with other adults.
  • While supervising, stay alert and avoid distractions like reading or the telephone.
  • Teach children how to tread water, float, and get out of the pool.
  • Tell children to stay away from pool and hot tub drains.
  • Never dive in to water less than nine feet deep.
  • If you find a drain cover that is loose, broken or missing, notify the owner or operator and do not enter the pool or hot tub.
  • Learn infant and child CPR.

The biggest fundraising event of the year for Abbey’s Hope is their Annual Golf Tournament, taking place September 12, 2011. The event helps raise money so the organization can continue its mission to make pools safe and to educate kids and adults about all the ways to have a fun, safe day at the pool. Because sun safety is an important and vital part of pool safety, this year Coolibar will be participating in the Golf Tournament by providing an information table with materials about how to stay SunAWARE.

If you’d like to learn more about Abbey’s Hope or how to participate in the Golf Tournament, please visit their website at http://abbeyshope.org/.

Safely Swimming for Abbey's Hope
Safely Swimming for Abbey's Hope (Photo courtesy of Abbey's Hope Facebook Page)
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School sun safety SunAWARE

Building a School Sun Protection Program

STOP THE BURN logo

The Center of Disease Control ranks Washington and Idaho among the highest in mortality and morbidity rates related to skin cancer, including melanoma. It is hard to pinpoint the reason for these statistics, but the need for sun safety education remains.

Advanced Dermatology & Skin Surgery, located in Spokane, WA, and Coeur d’Alene, ID, is taking steps to educate youth and ultimately the greater community. Kathy LejaMeyer, ARNP at Advanced Dermatology, shares how she and her colleagues are working to make sun protection a priority in local schools.

Advanced Dermatology wants to “Stop the Burn” by introducing hats into early elementary grades (K-2) of schools in the Spokane / Coeur d’Alene area to be worn during recess. Scientifically, it is widely regarded that peak exposure to UVA/UVB rays is between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Accumulation of these rays during recess, starting at young ages, can set children up for skin cancer down the road.

We piloted a Coolibar School Sun Hat Program in the kindergarten center in Spokane, WA this past Spring (2011) coordinating with skin cancer awareness month in May. Teachers, administrators and the school nurses embraced this outreach and wove in the SunWise curriculum, an EPA sponsored program, to increase awareness among the students. Our physicians and staff read “Skin Sense”, chanted our “Stop the BURN” song with the kids and smiled as the students repeated “3 things they can do to keep sun safe” prior to running out to the playground.

Raising money for a Coolibar School Sun Hat Program:

The hardest part of a good cause—even a great cause—is keeping it sustainable. Advanced Dermatology considers this a work in progress. This year, we teamed with the renown Coeur d’Alene Resort for a “gives back” golf tournament in which all sponsorship monies and $25 / participant goes back to our fundraising effort. The concept is great, but budget a lot of time and ensure you have a strong committee to reach out to the community, connect with your patient base and engage supporting physicians and providers. Again and again you will hear the first year is the hardest, but connections you make are significant. We are also considering other fundraising options, such as selling parents passes for a day in the park with a bouncy house, to include this target group (ages 5-8) and provide increased community education and involvement. Advanced Dermatology would also like to institute a “Hat Club,” providing an office fund and opportunity for patients to purchase a hat for a student.

From proceeds earned, we want to get hats into various elementary schools each year in both Spokane, Washington and Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Our hope is to gain parental and community support that eventually, purchasing a Coolibar hat to be worn during recess is just as normal as purchasing pencils and erasers. Just as it is widely regarded to wear a helmet while riding a bike or clicking your seatbelt in the car, it is our goal to incite the value of sun protection and skin cancer awareness with a hat in place while running out for recess.

We have partnered with a respected company in sun protection, Coolibar, for the purchase of the hats and adopted the SunAWARE slogan highly regarded by the Skin Cancer Foundation, American Academy of Dermatology and World Health Organization. We count ourselves most fortunate to communicate this message to our community.

– Kathy LejaMeyer, ARNP, Advanced Dermatology and Skin Surgery

Sun Safe Song: Chant of sorts…kids repeat each line

Sunny or a cloudy day,
I will go outside and play.
With a hat upon my head,
Sunscreen on, I won’t turn red.

Sunscreen, yes indeed,
Helps me, keep wrinkle free.
Hat  on, I have learned,
Helps me, Stop the BURN!

If you are interested in learning more about Coolibar’s School Sun Hat Program or more on how Advanced Dermatology worked to get a school sun protection program launched, please contact us. 

[nggallery id=17]

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Apply Sunscreen Expert Rx Parenting Sunscreens and Lotions

Sunscreen Tips for Toddlers

Summer is the perfect time for the pool, playgrounds and sun-filled activities. Fortunately, with good sun habits, children can enjoy sunny days outside without risking their health. Just one blistering sunburn in childhood more than doubles your chances of developing melanoma later in life. And unfortunately, 54 percent of children burn or tan in their second summer, and 22 percent burn in their first, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Board certified Pediatric Dermatologist Dr. Manju George specializes in personalized care for infants, children and young adults.  She understands that kids have unique dermatologic requirement because “children are not just small adults.”  Dr. George offers advice on how to keep your kiddies protected from the sun’s rays by knowing what to look for in sunscreen, how to use it, and how to add fun to habits so that your kids will enjoy sunscreen time.

Dr. George’s Sunscreen Tips

1. LOOK AT THE LABEL. A lot of parents assume, well, the higher the SPF, it must be better. What you really want to look for is the ingredients in your sunscreen. What I recommend is zinc oxide or titanium dioxide [These are physical sunscreen ingredients.] Choose an SPF of 30 that’s labeled broad spectrum. That means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays.

2. AVOID SPRAY ON SUNSCREENS. The major drawback of an aerosol sunscreen is that it could get into the eyes or inhaled by a child, and we really don’t have the long-term data on those effects.

3. USE GENEROUS AMOUNTS ALMOST EVERYWHERE. One of the biggest mistakes parents make is number one: not applying enough sunscreen. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before leaving the house, no matter what the weather. Even on a cloudy day, you still get 80 percent UV exposure. Start with the neck down, make sure you cover 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. After you’ve covered those major areas, you should do the face last.

4. REMEMBER THE LIPS AND SCALP. The lips need protection as well. Another tip that I give parents is to put it in his or her part line. But one of the best ways to protect scalps is to actually purchase a hat.

5. MAKE APPLYING SUNSCREEN FUN! I like to call it your magic cream or magic lotion. Children like making it special. Don’t make it a chore. One mom actually told me she uses a paintbrush and has the child paint the sunscreen on themselves. Another thing that children really like to do, is they like to apply it on you, so let them apply it on Mom or Dad. They tend to be much more receptive when you do things together and you make it a fun activity for them.

Parents, it’s up to you to keep your little ones protected from the sun, so keep Dr. George’s advice in mind during outdoor playtime. To best protect your child from the sun, cover them with a hat, pants and long sleeve shirt, apply sunscreen every two hours or after sweating or swimming and limit time outside when the sun is strongest (between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.). Have fun making fun with sunscreen!

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.

Dr. Manju George - Pediatric Dermatology West Palm Beach
Dr. Manju George - Pediatric Dermatology West Palm Beach, FL
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