Pediatricians Urge Skin Protection

Don’t be surprised if your pediatrician and family doctor spend a considerable amount of time during your next visit talking about the risks of ultraviolet radiation. Ultraviolet Radiation, UVR, causes three major forms of skin cancer.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is urging health professionals to educate their patients about the dangers of getting sunburned, visiting tanning booths and how to make sure children get enough Vitamin D without being at risk for skin cancer.

In a new policy statement, the AAP offers guidance for preventing skin cancer and practicing safe sun exposure.

  • Protecting your skin begins at birth. Children under 6 months should be kept out of direct sunlight. Use clothing and hats to protect them.
  • Try to time outdoor activities before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. to minimize the amount of time you spend during peak midday sun. Use sunscreen, wear sunglasses and hats.
  • Stay out of the tanning salon. Despite public awareness campaigns, some teens and adult women still climb into a tanning bed regularly. Many leading world health organizations support legislation that would make it illegal for minors to use tanning beds.

Doctors should make sure their patients are getting enough vitamin D, the AAP recommends. “Ensuring vitamin D adequacy while promoting sun-protection strategies will require renewed attention to children’s use of dietary and supplemental vitamin D,” the statement reads.

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Sources: Pediatrics, journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Pediatrics, World Health Organization

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