Nebraska is the latest state to recommend that children be allowed to possess and use sunscreen without a doctor’s note at school and at school-sponsored events.
“I am thrilled that Nebraska is stepping up to the plate with commonsense information that will now be consistent throughout our state. We value the health of our children, and this is a great example of how policymakers can work together for the greater good,” says Senator Carol Blood, in a news release.
By connecting different stakeholder groups such as the Nebraska Dermatology Society and the Nebraska Medical Society, with the Department of Education, Senator Blood was integral in making Nebraska the 24th “SUNucated” state.
The guidance incorporates the policies of SUNucate model legislation, developed by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association (ASDSA). The legislation is the foundation of the SUNucate initiative, which works to address barriers to sunscreen use in school and camps and promote sun-safe behavior.
“The Nebraska Board of Education’s guidance acknowledges the importance of children protecting their skin now from the sun’s harmful rays in order reduce the risk of skin cancer in the future,” says ASDSA President Murad Alam, MD, MBA. “I am encouraged by the momentum of the SUNucate program across the nation and look forward to working in other states to teach children sun-safe behavior early in life.”
The need for such legislation arose after concerns were raised by dermatologists and reports in the national media about broad “medication bans” that are in place in schools across the country requiring students to have a note or prescription from a physician in order to have these medications. Sunscreens are regulated as over-the-counter drugs under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, making them subject to these bans. Although these policies are meant to protect children, they also hinder them from accessing sunscreen during outdoor school activities and put them at risk of damaging sun exposure.