Sun exposure dangers

Protect Your Child From the Greatest Cause of Skin Cancer

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This is a great article from Medical News Today about the dangers of UV radiation exposure to a child’s skin and steps you can take to protect them. Window films are mentioned in the article and are endorsed by The Skin Cancer Foundation as an effective sunscreen. Call us today at 214-668-6438 to learn more about how we can protect you and your family from excessive sun exposure through the use of UV blocking window tint for your car and home.

Sun Safety: How to Protect Your Child From the Greatest Cause of Skin Cancer

Published: Thursday 14 May 2015 in Medical News Today

It is well known that exposure to UV radiation from the sun or indoor tanning devices is a primary cause of skin cancer – the most common form of cancer in the US. What appears to be less well known is the risk UV radiation can pose to children, with a recent survey revealing that 1 in 5 parents are unaware that their children’s skin is sensitive to the sun.

According to Dr. Lisa Chipps, assistant clinical professor of the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), director of dermatologic surgery at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, skin cancer is primarily viewed as a disease of adulthood, meaning many parents may not consider their child is at risk.

“However,” Dr. Chipps told Medical News Today, “melanoma accounts for up to 3% of pediatric cancers and 6% of cancer cases in teens 15-19 years old.”

There is currently no registry or database that tracks cases of skin cancer among children in the US, but a 2013 study published in the journal Pediatrics found the rate of melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer – rose 2% annually among children aged 0-19 between 1973 and 2009.

Though a diagnosis of skin cancer is rare during childhood, excessive sun exposure at a young age can increase the risk of skin cancer later in life. Last year, MNT reported on a study revealing that multiple sunburns during adolescence can raise the risk of melanoma by 80%.

“Overexposure to the sun and sunburns that happen during childhood are important and preventable risk factors for developing skin cancer as an adult,” says Dawn Holman, a behavioral scientist in the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told MNT. “This is why it’s so important for us all to use sun protection at every age.”

However, as the aforementioned survey revealed, many parents seem to be unaware that the sun poses a risk to their child’s skin. That same survey – conducted by Nivea Sun – also found that more than half of parents are unaware that multiple sunburns cause long-lasting damage to their child’s skin, while 77% do not think pink or sore skin necessarily indicates sun damage.

In this Spotlight, we look at the best ways to protect children of all ages against the damaging effects of UV (ultraviolet) radiation and look at ways to overcome some of the major challenges that threaten children’s sun safety.

Shade is the best sun protection for infants
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, infants aged 6 months and under should be kept out of direct sunlight. This is because they have low levels of melanin in their skin – the substance that gives pigment to the skin, hair and eyes and protects against the sun – meaning they are very sensitive to UV radiation.

As such, the Skin Cancer Foundation recommend that parents take their infant for walks in a stroller with a sun-protective cover before 10 am and after 4 pm – when UV radiation is lowest.

A child on the beach covered by a towel
“The best protection is to keep your baby in the shade,” says Dr. Hari Cheryl Sachs.
Infants should be dressed in lightweight clothing that covers the arms and legs, and their face neck and ears should be protected with a wide-brimmed hat or bonnet.

When an infant is traveling in a vehicle, it is wise to cover the windows with removable mesh window shields or UV window film to reduce sun exposure.

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