School Sunscreen Ban

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MissyJ's picture
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School Sunscreen Ban

[h=1]School Sunscreen Ban Leaves Student Severely Sunburned[/h]
According to the article all states but California have a ban on sunscreen in schools (without a doctor's note.)

Do you consider the ban reasonable or not?

If not, do you believe that school districts should be held liable for injuries due to severe sunburns?

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That is crazy! Robbie's school is going to the splash park tomorrow for the end of school year party and on the items to bring it says sun screen!

When we know so much about the damaging sun rays I am so surprised that schools wouldn't insist on it.

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This is scary to me. My oldest DD is very fair, like me, and would burn very bad if out in the sun without reapplying. I think parents can teach kids pretty early how to put it on themselves, so teachers would not have to be in charge at all. My 5 year old puts it on every time she goes outside and doesnt need to be reminded to reapply. This is another reason I am glad my kids go to private school, they are allowed and encouraged to bring their own anytime they will be outside.

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Wow, I didn't know other states have a ban on sunscreen, that's just insane! However, I do wonder why the mom didn't get a doctor's note, especially for her daughter who has a form of albinism and is at a higher risk of burning? That seems kind of irresponsible for her. And she could have volunteered for field day so she could apply sunscreen, or not let the girls go to field day at all. The risk of skin cancer is dramatically increased by even just one serious sunburn. I wouldn't have risked it, especially if my child had albinism.

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I think it is crazy that the school won't even allow them to carry sunscreen and use it themselves. I know they let kids bring sunscreen when my son's K class went to the park, they even put a reminder in the note about the field trip. They even have these new roll on applicators now that are like chapstick only about the size of the large glue stick that would be easy for a child to carry in their pocket and apply on their own. We used these when we went to Disney World last week and they were great!

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"Spacers" wrote:

Wow, I didn't know other states have a ban on sunscreen, that's just insane! However, I do wonder why the mom didn't get a doctor's note, especially for her daughter who has a form of albinism and is at a higher risk of burning? That seems kind of irresponsible for her. And she could have volunteered for field day so she could apply sunscreen, or not let the girls go to field day at all. The risk of skin cancer is dramatically increased by even just one serious sunburn. I wouldn't have risked it, especially if my child had albinism.

I wondered that too.

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Mother Jesse Michener of Tacoma, Wash. said she regrets not putting sunscreen on them that morning since it was raining.

Yeah, mom is partially at fault here too.

When my friend's son was in 4th grade she went rounds with the principal over the sunscreen issue. She didn't know at the time that ed. code specifically allows for sunscreen and hats. The onus is on the students to take care of applying it.

In the case in the OP, why didn't the girl get out of the sun sooner? That is a really bad burn - it had to have hurt long before she got home. Likewise, a school employee should have noticed.

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I think it is crazy.

At our preschool, we provide the sunscreen and sign a waiver that the child has used that brand before with no adverse reactions. After that, they put the appropriate bottle on each kid before they go out in the morning and afternoon. I'm not sure at what age I would say it is the child's responsibility to reapply. My oldest daughter would do it now but she might also use the whole tube/bottle. By 6-8, I would trust her I think. I burn after 20 minutes outside so I put sunscreen on in the morning and if I'm outside, I reapply regularly. Kids haven't burned yet but i hope they don't burn like me.

I think part of school is to teach you how to act and prepare for certain situations. A day outside should have a remider for sunscreen, water and a hat.

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I think it is stupid that schools around the US can't put sunscreen on kids. I put it on my kiddo before she leaves but she's only gone for a few hours.

But mom deserves some blame here. You could have put sunscreen on if there was a chance they were still going outside and also why there wasn't a signed note for sunblock for a child with albinism is beyond me.

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I can't believe the school forbids hats for an outdoor excursion... banning hats being worn at (ie inside) school, absolutely... but to have to wear outside at recess/etc?? Hogwash. And not allowing kids to wear/bring their own sunscreen. Hogwash again.

I fully agree with those who said that the mother bears some of the blame here... actually, I'd go as far as to say most the blame. She has a child with a medical condition that makes her more susceptible to burning/etc., why on earth would she not have already had a doctor's note in place a that the school stating the child requires sunscreen outside?!?!? That is the mother's responsibility to get. Not the school's. Or why not dress them in long pants/shirts to reduce the exposure of bare skin? And anytime you go outside for an extended period of time without sun protection you run the risk of burning... that is common knowledge. Even applying the sunscreen before they left would've been better than nothing!

At our school we do recommend sunscreen and hats for outside. The school is not allowed (without permission) to apply sunscreen to a child who did not bring their own due to the risk of allergic reaction/etc., however, children are allowed to bring both and apply their own sunscreen. I have a child who reacts to some sunscreens... she gets a rash... so we try to stick with ones we KNOW she doesn't react to... but, and maybe I'm in the minority, if she didn't have any and she used the school's/someone else's and reacted, I wouldn't flip out... honestly, a rash for a couple days is minor compared to a severe sunburn (heck, *I* have used the wrong sunscreen on her and she got a rash! LOL), I'd just be happy they were thinking of her well being!

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I agree with those that felt that the mother should have had a doctor's note on file -- at least for the child with albinism.

I did some digging yesterday as I was still shocked that so many states / school districts had policies in place banning the use of sunscreens (and hats as a few of you mentioned!) The "excuse" for hats was related to gang activity. As Marla shared, at least allow kids to wear them outside!

From what I could find most of the school districts state that because sunscreen is regulated by the FDA then it is treated as any OTC medication... and thus restricted use. (I did stumble upon a VERY few that appeared to have common sense -- allowing sunscreen IF it was supplied by the student.) A couple of schools that I came across -- despite the school district policy ban -- RECOMMENDED students bring sunscreen, hats, and/or protective clothing for field days or excursions.

With the prevalence of skin cancer being related to sunburns received IN childhood, this policy definitely is one that I believe needs to be revisited and exceptions allowed for sunscreen. Those with severe sensitivities should make sure to supply their teacher with a bottle of sunscreen to keep on hand in the classroom that IS OK for them to use. That way there is no excuse of "I forgot it at home" to make it tempting to use another person's.

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"MissyJ" wrote:

The "excuse" for hats was related to gang activity. As Marla shared, at least allow kids to wear them outside!

My high school banned hats for that reason the year after I graduated. The student council met with the principals and they decided on selling a baseball cap with the school logo on it that could be worn. They actually came up with this solution when one of the teachers lost her hair to chemo and could not wear a hat due to school policy. The teachers could easily see if a kid did not belong to the school as they would be wearing a different hat.

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Question about the "no hats" policies. What happens in the winter? Do they refuse to allow children to wear toques to school? Sorry but when it's -20 C you'd better believe my child is wearing a toque... school policy or no school policy.

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I have never in my life heard of either of these rules. I get that there are areas where the hat thing could be an issue, but the sunscreen? WTF? I am utterly baffled. If you're going to ban sunscreen then you simply cannot have outdoor activities in the summer. It isn't safe.

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I find it a bit ironic that CA allows hats and other states cite gang-activity for their reason for banning them. We do have guidelines in place. Hats must be plain or have the school logo on them and 1 solid color. Students wear beanies year-round, although those are supposed to only be worn during winter months. Hats/beanies are not to be worn inside the classroom.

I am just amazed that CA is the only state that allows this per law. And that some places have an outright BAN on sunscreen and hats.

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So then a kid shouldn't be allowed to brush their teeth after lunch, or put on deodorant after practice, or use any other of a gajillion OTC products that are regulated by the FDA? I can't even begin to comment any further. It's too infuriating.

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Are your schools (all of your schools) following these guidelines? We're in NY and either they don't exist or nobody cares. I have never heard of such a thing and kids wear hats and use sunscreen if they want. No restrictions.

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"freddieflounder101" wrote:

Are your schools (all of your schools) following these guidelines? We're in NY and either they don't exist or nobody cares. I have never heard of such a thing and kids wear hats and use sunscreen if they want. No restrictions.

At both the school I work at and the school my daughter attends, students are encouraged to wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and/or a hat if they are going to be in the sun for an extended length of time. This includes the 50 minute PE block that my school has. Very few students take advantage of the hat/sunglasses option and I bet even fewer wear sunscreen. I apply sunscreen on my daughter for outdoor field trips and field day. Seeing a child with a sunburn just pisses me off, frankly.