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May 1992

Parents' Use of Sunscreen on Beach-Going ChildrenThe Burnt Child Dreads the Fire

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Dermatology (Drs Maducdoc and R. Wagner) and Psychiatry (Dr K. Wagner), and the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (Dr K. Wagner), the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston.

Arch Dermatol. 1992;128(5):628-629. doi:10.1001/archderm.1992.01680150058004

• Background.—  Little is known about why some parents elect to use sunscreen on their children while others do not. A survey was distributed to beach-going childrens' parents who used (n = 42) or did not use (n = 40) sunscreen on their children to determine differences between these two groups.

Results.—  Parents who applied sunscreen to their children had children who previously had experienced significantly more painful sunburns (χ2 = 6.40; df =1; P<.05).

Conclusions.—  Sunscreen use by beach-going children is motivated by parental attempts to prevent acute painful sunburn. Parental attitudes and behaviors about their childrens' sun exposure need modification if sun protection strategies are to reduce the future epidemic of skin cancer successfully. Sun protection education during well-child visits by pediatricians and family physicians is recommended.(Arch Dermatol. 1992;128:628-629)