Did you know that just one blistering sunburn during childhood more than doubles your chances of developing melanoma later in life?
Each year, HealthNet’s Health Promotions partners with IU Health Cancer Prevention Services to offer Baby Be Sun Smart. This program is designed to provide mothers of newborns with the education necessary to prevent harmful sun exposure to their growing child.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, 54 percent of children burn or tan in their second summer, and 22 percent burn in their first. Parents need to be extra vigilant about sun protection at all times. But keeping your children safe from the sun is sometimes not easy when you don’t have the financial means to purchase sunscreen. The Baby Be Sun Smart program not only provides educational materials, but also provides the proper sunscreen to give to parents to help get them started.
Part of the education process is to inform parents that infants under 6 months of age should be kept out of the sun. Their skin is too sensitive for sunscreen at this point, but other means of sun protection are covered by our providers such as:
- Use removable mesh window shields to keep direct sunlight from coming in through the windows of your car.
- Take walks before 10:00 a.m. or after 4:00 p.m. and use a stroller with a sun-protective cover.
- Choose a wide-brimmed hat or bonnet that protects the baby’s face, neck, and ears.
Our other goal is to distribute 750 sun safety kits to HealthNet parents of babies between 0 and 3 years who come in for well-baby visits starting Memorial Day. The kit is a sand bucket filled with bilingual sun safety information, a hand-made baby bonnet and a small bottle of sunscreen for those children 6 months and older.
Starting in April, we are hosting a sunscreen drive to collect 750 travel-size bottles to complete the sun safety kits. The sunscreen should be:
- Broad-spectrum UVA and UVB
- SPF 30 or higher
- Tear-free formulas and waterproof
- Pocket-sized – 3 ounces
“With a little effort and planning, it’s easy for young children to enjoy the outdoors safely,” says Dr. Robins. “Parents need to make it a priority and to also lead by example.” – www.skincancer.org
To donate a bottle of sunscreen or to make a cash donation for our staff to purchase these items for our sun safety kits, click here. If you would like to host a sunscreen drive at your church or workplace, please contact Jane Meyer at 317-781-4978.