Parents’ Knowledge, Attitudes and Beliefs Regarding Sun Protection in Children: A Qualitative Study

 
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Zoe Littlewood*
University of Birmingham*
Background
Childhood is a critical period for sun protection, when the skin is particularly susceptible to the carcinogenic effects of ultraviolet radiation. Children are dependent upon their parents for sun protection. Existing qualitative research exploring parents’ attitudes and beliefs underpinning children’s sun protection is from Australia; the country with the highest melanoma incidence rates globally and thus widespread sun protection awareness campaigns. Parents’ sun protective behaviour may therefore differ between Australia and the UK.
Aim
The present study investigated this topic in a UK context, using qualitative methodology to gain detailed insights into a relatively under researched area. The aim of the study was to explore parents’ knowledge and understanding of sun protection in children, and factors that motivate and challenge them in this area. Finally, it aimed to determine if and how ethnicity and skin type influence these attitudes and beliefs.
Methods
Twenty-two semi-structured individual interviews were carried out with parents of children under the age of five recruited from nurseries in Birmingham. Interviews were analysed using conventional thematic analysis, and four themes emerged: sun protection attitudes, sun protection behaviours’, sun safety knowledge, and motivating and facilitating factors.
Results and Conclusion
Parents were motivated and concerned about their children’s sun exposure, and aware of important protective behaviours that should be adopted. Key issues and areas of uncertainty, such as vitamin D requirements and proper use of sun cream, were highlighted. These areas could be targeted in future campaigns in order to improve protection in children and reduce uncertainty and anxiety regarding sun safety in parents.
 
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Littlewood Z.. Available From : http://www.pediatriconcall.com/conference/abstract/37/view/851
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