Keeping Our Babies Safe

I was born on the beach, well not on the beach but across the street (Pacific Coast Highway) from it at Hoag Memorial Hospital in Newport Beach, California. in the 1960s in Southern California was full of beach days, summer season passes to Disneyland, and mountains of fun. Did I say the beach?

Childhood and living the beach life

When I pour over the old black and white photos of my early years, I see a lot of pics of me at the beach and in or by the pool with my family. Even the color Polaroids of the 1970s show the same thing. It was me and my little swimsuit and the sun and that was basically it. My pale skin and fair hair blow out the white balance in the sun-drenched photos and you can sometimes see just my little green eyes.

We didn't know any better as children

I loved the water and the sun loved me. I do remember this oil that was often put on my skin to help me “tan”. Other than that, I was fair game for burning sun rays. We didn’t know better, or if we did, we didn’t act like we did. No seatbelts in the cars, we lived differently during those times and often to our detriment. We know better now, or we should.

Children and skin cancer risks

I still go to the beach and I am often concerned by what I see. I wonder if they are safe from the sun.

  • Kids love to play in the water. Is sunscreen reapplied after it’s washed off?
  • Kids love to play in the sand. Is sunscreen reapplied after it’s rubbed off?
  • Kids love to play ball on the beach. Is sunscreen reapplied after they sweat it off?
  • I’d like to see more visors and hats.
  • I’d like to see more sunglasses.
  • I’d like to see fewer bathing suits and more rash guards.
  • I’d like to see more coverups after play in the water.
  • I’d like to see more umbrellas and parasols.
  • I’d like to see less all-day visits and more half-day visits during less intense sun hours.
  • I’d like to see caregivers giving really good care.
  • I’d like to see free sunscreen dispensed at beaches and pools like hand sanitizer is at other public venues.

In short, I want a higher level of protection than I received. Childhood melanoma, while rare, is a concern (here is what to look out for). We know that skin cancer is caused by cumulative exposure over many years and even decades. The choices we make for our children now, can affect them down the road. We love our children and want the best for them both now and when they have their own children.

Let's promote sun protection for our children

I know that offering advice to others about how to parent can be full of dangers. I don’t offer mine casually. I look back at my childhood photos from the “Wonder years” and wonder how things could have been different. The beach and pool are the best of times and will always be, especially if we practice safe skincare from childhood on.

- A Concerned Dad.

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