Legal Barriers to Sun Safety in Schools

Did you know that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers sunscreen a drug, much like ibuprofen, and many states don’t allow it in schools? That means kids can’t bring it to school without a doctor’s note and even then must see the school nurse in order to use it. It’s a shocking fact!

In response to related reports, ASDSA members developed model legislation and launched the SUNucate Coalition to ensure that students could have access to sunscreen and sun protective clothing, including hats, at school and camps. Thanks to strong advocacy by members of the SUNucate Coalition, including the Pediatric Sun Protection Foundation (PSPF), 16 states have passed laws that allow kids to have sunscreen in school.

The barriers to sun protective measures at school is an issue that furthers the mission of PSPF to promote overall skin cancer awareness and prevention. “These broad medication bans deter children from common sense sun safety practices,” voiced Dr. Amy Brodsky, a dermatologist and founder of PSPF. “The goal of our Shine A Light. Be A Sun Hero campaign is to encourage parents and other industry influencers to teach kids to practice critical sun safety behaviors as a Sun Hero.”

It is estimated that approximately 9,500 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer every day and skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Even one blistering sunburn during childhood or adolescence can nearly double a person’s chance of developing melanoma, which can be deadly.

Yet, skin cancer is highly preventable. While kids may not be able to slather on sunscreen before heading out for recess or outdoor lunch, they can be taught to proactively apply before school and wear sun protective clothing during long periods outdoors. Just like being prepared with the correct school supplies and packing a lunch each day, we should encourage kids to apply sunscreen before they leave for school each morning.

“Our goal is to make practicing sun safety cool,” said Brodsky. “Wearing the Sun Hero sticker is a badge of awareness and prevention.”

As an industry, we have the responsibility to inform and educate the public as it relates to skin cancer prevention. Interested in learning more about how you can lend your voice to this cause? Email us: #SunHero #stickittoskincancer

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