Is Your Child Really Protected Against Skin Cancer?

May is just around the corner and summer weather will be here soon. But you don’t have to wait until summer to think about the effects of too much sun and how it can cause serious problems for children and adults.

Tuckaway Child Development Center professionals know how important it is to protect children from the sun year-round, and especially during the summer months when ultra-violet rays are most direct, and can cause lifelong skin damage for children. Children and adolescents have more opportunities and time than adults to be exposed to sunlight. The Centers for Disease Control report that more than one half of a person’s lifetime UV exposure occurs during childhood and adolescence. This makes it critical to ensure wherever your child spends his or her day, there is a policy of applying sunscreen every day.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 3.5 million skin cancers in over two million people are diagnosed annually and individuals with 5 sunburns over a lifetime are at highest risk of skin cancer. Melanoma, which is a serious form of skin cancer, accounts for up to three percent of all pediatric cancers. Starting a routine of applying sunscreen every day when children are exposed to the sun, and educating children on the importance of protection against the sun, is important.

Tuckaway Makes it a Policy

Tuckaway Child Development Centers pay particular attention to this aspect of caring for children and they take it very seriously. They have developed specific policies and procedures that ensure each child receives an adequate application of sunscreen before outdoor play begins each day. Sunscreen is applied more than once during the day when needed, and there is a checklist for children that ensures they are properly protected.

Since many Tuckaway Child Development Centers have outdoor pools and offer swimming lessons too, they are especially aware of the importance of water-resistant sunscreen to protect children, teachers, and counselors.

Catherine Hoffman at Tuckaway had this to say, “We don’t allow children to play outside before applying sunscreen. We adhere to strict policies on this aspect of childcare, and we provide sunscreen for all children at our centers to ensure it meets the high standards for recommended skin protection.”

No wonder Tuckaway Child Development Centers were recognized as having the 2011 Best Preschool Playgrounds! They not only have safe, fun equipment and surroundings, they provide sunscreen to make it safer for kids to play outside too.

In accordance with the Skin Cancer Organization, Tuckaway offers the following recommendations for sun protection:

  • Apply sunscreen one-half hour before going outside, giving the skin time to absorb it. Reapply at least every two hours outdoors, and immediately after swimming or heavy sweating. At least two tablespoons are needed to cover the entire body surface.
  • SPF 15 sunscreens filter out 93% of UVB rays, SPF 30 protects against 97%, and SPF 50 blocks 98%. Sunscreen should also include broad-spectrum protection that also shields adequately against UVA.
  • Always use SPF 30 or higher for children and pay special attention to sensitive skin on the face, ears, and neck.

According to a 2012 study on the Skin Cancer Foundation website, educational outreach to 11-14 year olds ensures that they make healthier choices that can help ward off skin cancers over their lifetime. Tuckaway reinforces this education with their students to support healthier lifestyles as kids grow and learn.

When choosing sunscreen for any age, look for a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher, plus some combination of the following UVA-screening ingredients:

  1. stabilized a avobenzone
  2. ecamsule (a.k.a. MexorylTM)
  3. oxybenzone
  4. titanium dioxide
  5. zinc oxide

You may see the phrases multi spectrum, broad spectrum or UVA/UVB protection on sunscreen labels, and these all indicate that some UVA protection is provided. For more information on skin cancer protection, visit the Skin Cancer Foundation website.

Like Tuckaway professionals, take every precaution against the sun to protect children’s skin today and for their future. Apply sunscreen every time children head outside for play and reapply often to ensure they are continually protected. If your child(ren) attend a child development center, daycare, or spend time with others, be sure they know to follow  your instructions on the application of sunscreen too.

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Rhonda is the mother of two adult daughters and a grandmother to five wonderful grandchildren – and our only grandmother on staff. She spent 25 years in corporate healthcare managing prenatal and disease management programs. She is the Content Manager for Richmondmom and contributes her expertise as both a mom and grandmother – while sorting out the many opportunities for our valuable advertisers.