Met Office research suggests parents are worryingly relaxed about sun safety

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.

Happy family outside shutterstock_low res

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.

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