The Rules Of Sunscreens At School

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Updated: 6/25/2012 5:54 pm
Many parents are getting a last minute lesson....on the law.

That is, when it comes to protecting their kids from sunburn at school.

In most states, it is actually illegal to send children to school with sunscreen.
In Washington State, 11-year-old Violet and 9-year-old Zoe Michener of Washington State came home from five hours in the blazing sun at field day so burned that their mother rushed them to the hospital.

At the school district in the Tacoma school district, teachers are allowed to apply sunscreens on themselves, but kids are forbidden. Children are not even allowed to bring sunscreen to school.

School officials at the district say kids cannot even reapply sunscreen without a doctor's note. They also cannot carry sunscreen in their back backs. They cannot even wear hats, because hats aren't allowed at school.

This Tacoma school district is not alone in banning sunscreen, because the Food and Drug Administration regulates sunscreen as an over the counter drug; many states do not allow it without a doctor's note.

Dan Voelpel, a Tacoma school district spokesman, says because so many additives in lotions and sunscreens can cause allergic reaction in children, you have to really monitor it.

Some doctors are baffled by the rule at schools.

"I can't see any justification for any school to tell a child that they are not allowed to apply sunscreen to protect themselves from the harmful UV rays that we know cause skin cancer; there's just no reason for it," said Dr. Doris Day, dermatologist.

According to the Centers For Disease Control, just a few sunburns as a child can increase the risk of skin cancer later in life. Also, sunburns can happen after as little as 15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure.

Sunscreens are not allowed in most American schools without a doctor's note, including Kentucky. In fact, California is the only state to allow sunscreen in school without one.

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