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20th Jul 2023

‘Should my seven-year-old start putting on her own sunscreen?’

Ellen Fitzpatrick

The summer days are here and only getting hotter, which is why it is so important to ensure we are constantly putting sunscreen on our children – and ensuring it is topped up.

Especially as children are now off school and heading to summer camps, we’re not there constantly to make sure they are protected from UV rays.

One parent has opened up on Reddit about the constant need for her children to have sunscreen on, even though she is not with them all the time during the summer.

Revealing that they attend a day camp during the summer, the parents are given paperwork to fill out in advance to give permission for her children to wear sunscreen on the outdoor days.

Of course, this was not an issue for the parents but when their children came home a few times with slightly pink faces, they knew something was off.

Resorting to sending her daughter in a bathing suit with a long sleeve rash guard to prevent sunburn, by the third day at the pool the only dry swimming togs were a normal one with straps.

On this day, her daughter arrived home with severe sunburn on her back and shoulders. After asking her daughter if the staff had applied sunscreen, she said no.

This was when the parent decided to take matters into her own hands, giving her daughter the bottle of sunscreen and asking her to apply it herself.

Of course, a seven-year-old can only do so much and couldn’t reach her own back – making the mum question if this was the right approach.

They said: “I’m pretty upset and want to mention something to the camp staff and ask them to help her apply it.

“My husband thinks it’s her responsibility and she needs to do a better job, and that I shouldn’t blame the staff.

“Am I wrong here? I don’t feel like a 7 year old should be expected to apply sunblock by themselves and actually get it onto the hard to reach places.”

Offering advice, one parent said: “You’re supposed to start the day by covering them. Use a good quality cream type. Then you send them in with a spray can to use in the afternoon or after swimming. Counsellors aren’t usually supposed to do it, no.”

Another wrote: “Put sunscreen on before they leave and make sure to have hats, rash guards, and shorts to limit sun exposure. I have heard preventing staff from applying sunscreen on kids is to avoid potential abuse/allegations.”