Child Advocates Urge Parents to Protect Children from the Sun

Seattle, WA - Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center and the American Academy of Pediatrics, Washington Chapter (AAP) issued strong warnings to parents and caretakers to reduce children’s exposure to sun.

Seattle, WA - Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center and the American Academy of Pediatrics, Washington Chapter (AAP) issued strong warnings to parents and caretakers to reduce children’s exposure to sun. “Sunscreens to prevent sunburn are not enough. Staying out of the midday sun and wearing protective clothing are key,” says Robin Hornung, M.D., M.P.H., Director of Dermatology at Children’s.

According to experts, skin cancer has reached epidemic levels. Too much sun exposure is linked with the later development of skin cancer and most exposure takes place before the age of 18. Yet the fear of cancer from the sun has somehow escaped the concerns of parents. “Sun protection in children is too often ignored. Victims of skin cancer have not focused on prevention and we find it difficult to accept that our beloved sun in the sky can be so dangerous,” said Abraham Bergman, M.D. Chief of Pediatrics at Harborview Medical Center.

The AAP recommends that babies under the age of 6 months of age should be kept out of the direct sunlight in the shade or under a tree or stroller canopy. Dress babies and young children in lightweight clothing that also covers the arms and legs. Apply sunscreen to exposed skin at least 30 minutes before going outside, even on cloudy days. Make sure that the sun protection factor (SPF) is at least 15. Try to keep children out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. as this is when the sun’s rays are the strongest.

Along with sunburn, infants and children may be at increased risk for eye injury from the sun. Therefore infants and children should wear hats with a wide brims and sunglasses designed to block at least 99 percent of the sun’s rays. “Skin cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer because we know its main cause is ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Educating parents about comprehensive skin protection will go a long way towards promoting long term healthful habits and ultimately reduce the ever growing rate of skin cancer,” says Hornung.

About Seattle Children’s

Seattle Children’s Hospital, Foundation and Research Institute together deliver superior patient care, advance new discoveries and treatments through pediatric research, and raise funds to create better futures for patients. Consistently ranked as one of the top 10 children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Seattle Children’s Hospital specializes in meeting the unique physical, emotional and developmental needs of children from infancy through young adulthood. Through the collaboration of physicians in nearly 60 pediatric subspecialties, Seattle Children’s Hospital provides inpatient, outpatient, diagnostic, surgical, rehabilitative, behavioral, and emergency and outreach services to families from around the world.

Located in downtown Seattle’s biotech corridor, Seattle Children’s Research Institute is pushing the boundaries of medical research to find cures for pediatric diseases and improve outcomes for children all over the world. Internationally recognized investigators and staff at the research institute are advancing new discoveries in cancer, genetics, immunology, pathology, infectious disease, injury prevention, bioethics and much more.

Seattle Children’s Hospital and Research Foundation and Seattle Children’s Hospital Guild Association work together to gather community support and raise funds for uncompensated care, clinical care and research. The foundation receives nearly 80,000 gifts each year, from lemonade stand proceeds to corporate sponsorships. Seattle Children’s Hospital Guild Association is the largest all-volunteer fundraising network for any hospital in the country, serving as the umbrella organization for 450 groups of people who turn an activity they love into a fundraiser. Support from the foundation and guild association makes it possible for Seattle Children’s care and research teams to improve the health and well-being of all kids.

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