Healthy sun habits acquired in childhood could reduce skin cancer incidence. We examined the sun exposure and protection behavior of an expected high-exposure group of children, and the association to their parents. Open, prospective cohort study. One hundred and thirty nine participants (40 families) kept daily sun behavior diaries (sun exposure, sunscreen use, sunburns) over a 4-month summer period (15,985 diary days). The Pigment Protection Factor (PPF), an objective measure of sun exposure, was measured at two body sites, before and after summer. All participants presented data from the same 115 days. Risk behavior (sun exposure of upper body) took place on 9.5 days (boys) and 15.6 days (girls). Sunburn and sunscreen use were infrequent. Boys' sun exposure resulted in an increased photo protection over the study period of 1.7 SED (upper arm) and 0.8 SED (shoulder) to elicit erythema. Corresponding values for girls were as follows: 0.9 SED (upper arm) and 0.5 SED (shoulder). Boys' sunscreen use correlated to their mothers' (r = 0.523, P = 0.02). Girls' number of risk days (r = 0.552, P = 0.005) and sun exposure (upper arm: r = 0.621, P < 0.001) correlated to their mothers'. The children's sun exposure was substantial. Only mothers influenced children's sun behavior and exposure. This may be of relevance in future sun protection campaigns.
Photochemistry and Photobiology, 2014, Vol 90, Issue 5, p. 1193-8