New Guidelines on Reducing Risk of Skin Cancer in Children
Today the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a new statement and policy urging parents to limit their children’s sun exposure. The AAP’s statement, including a report titled “Ultraviolet Radiation: a Hazard to Children and Adolescents,” offers guidelines on how to reduce the risk of skin cancer in children.
Skin cancer, including the most serious condition known as melanoma, continues to increase in children and in female teens who visit tanning salons and are constantly exposed to ultraviolet radiation.
Along with wearing sunscreen, sunglasses, and appropriate clothing and hats, the new policy suggests children should limit and minimize outdoor activities during peak midday sun hours (10 am – 4 pm). Children 6 months and younger should be covered at all times and kept out of direct sunlight. The policy also urges support of a new legislation that will prohibit children under 18 from using tanning devices or going to tanning salons.
According to Thomas Rohrer, M.D., Secretary of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, “melanoma is the most common skin cancer in children. In addition, only six severe sunburns in a lifetime increase risk of melanoma by 50 percent. It is important that parents, teachers and physicians encourage sun avoidance and protection by monitoring their children’s moles and freckles for the ABCDEs—asymmetry, border irregularity, color variation, diameter, and evolving; encourage children to wear at least 30 SPF sunscreen and reapply it every two to three hours spent outdoors…One study estimated a 78% drop in skin cancer risk if parents protect their children from significant sun exposure in the first 18 years of life.”
Children who freckle and burn easily because of fair skin and light eyes should be extra careful, as well as children with a family history of melanoma. Protecting your children from an early age will go a long way in preventing signs of skin cancer.
Read skin cancer prevention tips on Parents.com: