More than a third of parents incorrectly believe that suntans are a sign of good health, according to a recent study by the Met Office, despite sun damage in childhood being strongly linked to skin cancer in later years.
The study, which involved 1,000 parents with children aged 11 and under, looked at perceptions of good sun care and produced some alarming results, with 7% of respondents stating that they have never put sunscreen on their children.
A quarter of those surveyed actively encouraged their children to ‘get a tan’, with 10% encouraging them to sunbathe and 7% allowing their children to use a UV sunbed.
The Met Office believes that these figures could be explained by a ‘lack of knowledge amongst parents of the damage the sun can inflict.’ Findings also backed up this claim, with 7% unaware of links between UV rays and cancer, 15% unaware of any risk from UV rays on cool or cloudy days and 21% unaware of the increased risk from UV rays between May and September.
Furthermore, just 19% checked the UV forecast each day and 40% had never done so.
The NHS calls for parents to take extra care with protecting the skin of children and babies, who have far more sensitive skin than adults.