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J Pediatr. 2003 Jan;142(1):67-72.

Sunburn reduction through parental role modeling and sunscreen vigilance.

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Department of Dermatology, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.



To identify characteristics associated with child sunburn experience and sun protection practices, including parent and child demographics, phenotype, and sun-related knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors.


A nationally representative telephone survey conducted in 1999 with 651 parents of children 5 to 12 years of age to collect data relating to the sun-related knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of the parent and child.


Nearly half of parents (49%) and children (44%) were sunburnt during the previous summer. Parents who reported that they had been sunburnt were more likely to have children who had been sunburnt (OR = 2.9, 95% CI = 2.0, 4.2). Conversely, parents with a high level of sun protection behavior were less likely to report being sunburnt (OR = 0.6, 95% CI = 0.4, 0.9), and their children were more likely to have a high level of sun protection behavior (OR = 3.0, 95% CI = 2.0, 4.6) and sunscreen vigilance (OR = 2.7, 95% CI = 1.7, 4.5). High sunscreen vigilance was associated with a 60% reduction in child sunburning.


The sunburn experience and sun protection practices of children (5-12 years of age) are closely linked to a number of modifiable attitudes and behaviors of their parents. Therefore the inclusion of parents and care givers in interventions targeting children may increase program efficacy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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