How Moms Handle Sunblock and the Kids
Recent cases of sunscreen, or lack there of, have served as a reminder of why protecting your children from the sun is so important.
Recently there has been a lot of press about kids and sunburns. From a New Jersey mom who brought her five-year-old daughter into the room where she was using a tanning booth to the Washington State mom who sent two girls off to field day without applying sun block, it seems that the news has been filled with stories of tans, burns and sun block.
I will be the first to admit that with a mix of “Black Irish” and Italian skin I really don’t think about sun block nearly as much as I should. I try to always have it with me at the beach but, frankly, that’s really the only time I give it too much thought. When my son was a baby I was diligent but, alas, he’s 12 now and I don’t find myself hovering over him with the sun block the way I used to.
Yes, I’ll admit it. I’m usually the mom going through the cabinet and wondering how important those expiration dates really are or running to the store for sun block on the way to the beach. Sometimes I’m even the mom borrowing sun block because I forgot it altogether. I always manage to keep my son burn free but it does, sometimes, require a little help from my friends!
As far as the recent news stories go I will say, without hesitation, that I am not a fan of tanning booths and certainly don’t think any child should be inside of, or close to, one. As a matter of fact I completely support new regulations that are being proposed to ban minors from using tanning booths under any circumstances. Just like cigarettes and liquor tanning booths need to be regulated until minors are old enough to make responsible decisions.
The situation with the Tacoma, Washington mom whose daughters went to school for field day without sun block, however, is not so cut and dry. Seems that it was raining that morning and the mom believed that field day would be moved indoors so she didn’t bother to apply sun block to her 9- and 11-year-old daughters. That wasn’t the case, however. Instead, the rain stopped, the sun came out and the girls spent the better part of the day outdoors.
With one daughter who, as the mom explained, suffers from a form of albinism and another with extremely fair skin a day in the sun without protection was a recipe for disaster. According to the mother, teachers were commenting on the girls’ sunburns throughout the day but, due to a ruling which regulates sun block in a manner similar to prescription medication, were unable to apply protection to them.
The ruling, which is common in states throughout the country, is meant to protect children with skin conditions and allergies and leaves the responsibility for choosing appropriate sun block formulas to parents. Some schools allow children to bring and apply their own sun block while others do not.
So, who is to blame for putting the girls in danger? It seems to me that everyone involved can share some of the guilt in this situation.
I admit to having forgotten to sun block my own child before his field day this spring. The difference, of course, is that he does not have any medical conditions which make him more vulnerable to burning.
In my opinion, the mom should have planned better but, frankly, we all make mistakes and misjudgments along the way. I have yet to meet the perfect mom and, certainly, don’t claim to come even close.
That being said what I have a tough time understanding is how this mom went about her day and didn’t notice that the sun had come out. Shouldn’t she have noticed the change in the weather and taken some type of action? Was she unaware of the ruling that teachers couldn’t apply sunscreen to students?
As for the staff at the school I’m not entirely certain what to think. If they truly did notice the girls’ burning shouldn’t they have taken some sort of action? Yes, applying sun block was against the rules but moving the girls indoors certainly could not have been.
Calling the parents to come and apply sun block must have been an option, correct? True, they didn’t want to ruin the girls’ fun by sending them indoors but, at the same time, keeping them safe had to remain the number one priority.
Both situations, a mom allowing her child in a tanning booth area and a mom who sent her “sun sensitive” girls to school field day without sun block, raise a lot of questions about safety and ethics.
While we don’t always consider sunshine among the biggest dangers a child might face we, as moms, do need to keeps the risks of sun exposure in mind and work to keep our kids safe.