If the nation’s leading organization of pediatricians has its way, tanning booths will be off limits to anyone under the age of 18.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently announced its support for legislation that would prohibit access to tanning salons or artificial tanning devices for children under 18. Other organizations taking this stance include the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Dermatology.
Health officials say they are taking this hard line approach because people continue to overexpose themselves to dangerous ultraviolet radiation despite public health campaigns about skin cancer.
Especially disconcerting is that rates of skin cancer and melanoma, the most life-threatening form, continue to increase in young and older people.
Pediatricians are urging parents to educate children about sun protection at an early age. This is especially important for kids who have light skin and eyes, who freckle or burn easily or have a family history of skin cancer. Always have a doctor check any suspicious-looking growth or mole.
- Wear clothing and hats.
- Time outdoor activities to avoid peak midday sun (10 am-4 pm) when possible.
- Use sunscreen, reapply often.
- Wear sunglasses.
- Keep infants younger than 6 months out of direct sunlight. Use clothing and hats to protect them.
For more information and advice to prevent skin cancer, read the new policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Ultraviolet Radiation: a Hazard to Children and Adolescents,” published in the March 2011 print issue of Pediatrics.
Source: The American Academy of Pediatrics, Pediatrics