Merck Consumer Care has launched the "Making the Sunscreen Grade" program to equip parents with tools to help their children develop lifelong sun habits—including those that protect them from the sun during the school day—with activities like class trips and field days that typically occur this time of year. The need for the program is reinforced by a recent national survey conducted for its Coppertone brand, where rnearly two-thirds of Americans did not know that many US schools have rules and restrictions around the usage of sunscreen, because it is an over-the-counter drug.
Currently, policies about sun protection, including sunscreen application, vary from state to state, and potentially even within school districts. According to the survey, Americans favor using a variety of sun protection methods in school. In fact, two out of three (67%) agree or strongly agree they would like to see schools promote the use of sunglasses, hats and sun-protective clothing during outdoor activities.
Additionally, 80% of those surveyed agree or strongly agree that schools should work with parents to make it easy for children to be protected from the sun.
Although parents may be applying sunscreen to their children before they go to school, ideally it should be reapplied by the time a midday recess begins, to help reduce the risk of unsafe sun exposure and sunburns. Some schools only allow sunscreen application with written permission from a child's parent or a physician, or both.
Additional reasons for rules around sun protection may include the risk for a potential allergic reaction, the question of school staff applying sunscreen to students, and in some cases, the potential cost of implementing a sun protection program.
The "Making the Sunscreen Grade" program provides tools to help educate parents on the importance of sun protection during the school day and year-round. The brand has made avaibale a downloadable sun protection guide in English and Spanish at www.coppertone.com.
On May 1, Coppertone distributed the guide to a half-million households across 10 US regions. It offers tips parents can use to make sun protection a priority, including the following steps:
"As the trusted leader in sun protection, the Coppertone brand is committed to helping inform and engage parents on the many situations – beyond the beach and pool – in which children need protection from the sun," said James Mackey , senior vice president and US region head, Merck Consumer Care. "This program will help parents instill sun-smart habits in their children both at home and at school, no matter what the day brings, so families can enjoy their outdoor moments."