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Newsletter XX - Sun Safety for Kids

This week we are celebrating! On July 27, Coolibar's founders will receive a prestigious Gold Triangle Award from the American Academy of Dermatology for the book Sun Protection for Life. In this newsletter, we provide a sample of the book's content from the chapter about sun protection for children.

Sun Protection for Life was written for every segment of the American population: baby boomers, parents, teachers, caregivers, outdoor workers, and employers. It provides an easy but comprehensive understanding of how to enjoy a lifetime of beautiful, healthy skin through sun protection.

One whole chapter is devoted to sun safety for kids. For most children, 23 percent of lifetime UV exposure happens before the age of 18 (not 80 percent, as has been widely and erroneously reported). Some parents are concerned that if their children are overly protected from the sun, they won't produce enough vitamin D. We review the research that shows most kids need only a few minutes of exposure to UV light, two to three times a week, for adequate vitamin D production. And we discuss the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics that children receive 200 international units of vitamin D per day, which most take in normally with regular drinking of infant formula or cow's milk.

We also review the state of sun-protection programs in American schools and the example set by Karen Graham of the Billy Foundation, who broke new ground in 2001 when she convinced the California legislature to allow schoolchildren to wear sun-protective clothing, including hats, and to be able to use sunscreen at school without having a doctor's prescription.

We close the chapter by suggesting a way to fund sun-protection education programs in schools: through a 2 percent tax on tanning salons. This tax would raise $100 million each year, an amount that could be used to fully fund comprehensive sun-protection programs in schools and workplaces across the country. If you believe it makes sense for tanning salons to pay for sun-protection education in your school, form a group and lobby your local and state representatives!

To read more, get your copy of Sun Protection for Life: Your Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy & Beautiful Skin by Mary Mills Barrow and John F. Barrow (New Harbinger Publications, 2005).