Some Parents Just Don't Understand Risks of Indoor Tanning


Dads, parents who had used indoor tanning devices themselves and those who reported that they had never received skin cancer prevention counseling from their child’s doctor are less likely to believe adolescent indoor tanning is harmful, a new survey shows.

To investigate parents’ attitudes toward their children’s tanning behaviors, Maryam Asgari, MD, MPH, FAAD, an associate professor in the department of dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital and the department of population medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston and colleagues conducted a national survey of 1,205 parents of children age 11-17.

The team presented their results at the American Academy of Dermatology 2018 Annual Meeting in San Diego.

Parents of males, older adolescents (16- and 17-year-olds) and adolescents whose skin was less reactive to the sun were also less inclined to see indoor tanning as dangerous.

“Parents who have never seen their children get sunburned or discussed skin cancer prevention with a doctor may not be aware of the dangers of unprotected exposure to ultraviolet light,” Dr. Asgari says in a news release. “Since mothers are often the ones to take their children to the doctor, fathers may be less likely to receive skin cancer prevention counseling from their child’s provider.”

“While it’s not surprising that parents who have tanned themselves would have favorable attitudes toward their children’s indoor tanning, it’s important for all parents to understand the dangers of tanning at a young age and communicate those dangers to their children,” Dr. Asgari adds. 

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