Current Content
Volume 43 - Number 3
May/June 2017

Sun Exposure and Protection Practices of Caregivers for Young Children Living in South Florida
Jo Ann Kleier, Andra M. Hanlon, and Barbara J. MacDougall

Skin cancer is on the rise even among young children. Children are particularly susceptible to the harmful effects of sun exposure, which drastically increases the likelihood of developing skin cancer. Sun protective strategies may be helpful in reducing risks, but children are dependent on caregivers to consistently implement these strategies. We described the sun exposure and use of sun protection that caregivers implemented for their young children and compared these practices between groups based on children’s age, sex, and the racial/ethnic groups living in South Florida. This descriptive, comparative study collected data from a convenience sample of consenting adults who reported to be the primary caregiver for at least one child between the ages of one and 10 years. A sample of 172 caregivers were recruited in public places and provided survey information, which was analyzed by descriptive statistics, t tests, and ANOVAs. Children experienced low levels of sun exposure, few sunburns, and medium levels of sun protection. Significant differences were found for sun exposure between age groups with children between the ages of seven to 10 years experiencing more sun exposure, for specific sun protective behaviors based on gender with boys using hats and shirts with sleeves more frequently than girls, and racial/ethnic group with Black/African- American children being provided sunscreen less frequently. Caregivers were generally aware of the need to provide sun protection but did so inconsistently. Fashion concerns may increase the risk of sun exposure for females. Black/African Americans need information related to their risk for sun injury.