Background. - Little is known about why some parents elect to use sunscreen on their children while others do not. A survey was distributed to beach-going childrens' parents who used (n = 42) or did not use (n = 40) sunscreen on their children to determine differences between these two groups. Results. - Parents who applied sunscreen to their children had children who previously had experienced significantly more painful sunburns (χ2 = 6.40; df = 1; P<.05). Conclusions. - Sunscreen use by beach-going children is motivated by parental attempts to prevent acute painful sunburn. Parental attitudes and behaviors about their childrens' sun exposure need modification if sun protection strategies are to reduce the future epidemic of skin cancer successfully. Sun protection education during well-child visits by pediatricians and family physicians is recommended.
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