Hot Temperatures Mean a Need for Sun Protection

Some schools and camps prohibit staff from putting sunscreen on kids

As the city prepares for triple-digit temperatures, parents prepare to send their children outside covered in plenty of sunscreen.

"It's safety, sun safety," said one mom enjoying the sunshine with her daughter in Grant Park on Monday. The mom then took a moment to reapply her daughter's sunscreen to ensure her skin did not burn.

But not all parents are around during the peak times for sunburns on weekdays to reapply the sunscreen when their kids need it most.

Some summer camps and other activities have policies that prevent staff from putting sunscreen on kids, and even encouraging kids not to bring sunscreen.

The issue turned into a national hot topic after a Tacoma, Wash. mother accused her daughters' school of not putting sunscreen on them during a field trip because of a school policy. She posted pictures of the burns, which sent her girls to the hospital, on Facebook.

"It was horrifying to see her bright red face," their mother Jesse Michener said. "There were welts. She was swollen."

Sunburns can have lasting effects on young children, according to Dr. Sarah Chamlin of Lurie Children's Hospital.

"A single, severe, blistering sunburn as an adolescent, or in early childhood, doubles your risk of melanoma skin cancer," she said.

The schools in Chicago are allowed to adopt their own polices, according to the Illinois Board of Education. Parents should check with their child's school or camps for more information about the sunscreen policies, said a spokesperson from the board.

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