Block the Sun, Not the Fun

Program Title Block the Sun, Not the Fun
Purpose Designed to enhance and promote sun protective behaviors at child care centers. (1999)
Program Focus Awareness building and Behavior Modification
Population Focus Sun-exposed individuals
Topic Sun Safety
Age Children (0-10 years)
Gender Female, Male
Race/Ethnicity White, not of Hispanic or Latino origin
Setting Day care / Preschool
Origination United States
Funded by NCI (Grant number(s): CA59202)
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The Need

Lifetime risk of squamous and basal cell carcinoma has increased steadily for over 70 years. The major risk factor for these diseases is chronic, cumulative sun exposure.  The major risk factor for malignant melanoma is painful or blistering sunburns, in which a single severe, blistering sunburn during childhood or adolescence can double the lifetime risk for this disease.  Skin cancer can be prevented by avoiding mid-day outdoor activities, wearing protective clothing, and using sunscreen with sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 on exposed skin.  Targeting sun protection practices in preschool and day-care centers is likely to be an important approach to reducing the risk for skin cancer.
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The Program

The program aims to improve sun protection of children through day care staff while at child care centers.  Other goals include improving the sun protection of children by their parents and educating children about sun protection.  The intervention consisted of two components:

1) Workshops with day care and preschool staff members which include the following:

  • A dermatologist's presentation on the relationship between sun exposure and skin cancer
  • A presentation and question-and-answer period with a Department of Social Services licensing administrator
  • A session for developing a skin cancer prevention plan
  • Participation in children's activities promoting sun protection

2)  Parent packets that include brochures and learning activities to do with children

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Community Preventive Services Task Force Finding

Guide to Community Preventive Services This program is an example of child care center-based interventions (Sun Safety), which is recommended by the Community Preventive Services Task Force, as found in the Guide to Community Preventive Services.
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Time Required

Day care staff attend a single 3-hour workshop.
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Intended Audience

The intervention aims to improve sun protection practices among day care and preschool staff at centers that do not already incorporate these practices in their daily care of the children. Parents are secondary targets for the intervention.
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Suitable Settings

The intervention is designed for day care centers and preschools.
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Required Resources

The intervention requires experts to present information on sun protection practices.  Other resources include: 1) Preschool/Child Care Staff packet, and 2) Parent Materials packet.
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About the Study

The intervention was evaluated in a randomized control trial of 27 preschools and day care centers. Thirteen centers participated in the intervention, while 14 were assigned to a wait-list control group.

Key Findings 

  • At pre-test, 23% of the directors in the intervention group reported they applied sunscreen year round while 50% of them reported doing so at post-test (p<0.004).
  • At post-test, 100% of school directors in the intervention group vs. 57% in the control group (p<.05) reported sending sun protection materials home with parents.
  • At post-test, 100% of school directors in the intervention group vs. 64% in the control group (p<0.05) reported they intended to apply sunscreen to children's exposed skin on sunny days when snow was on the ground.
  • At post-test, school directors in the intervention group scored significantly (p<0.01) better on an assessment of sun protection knowledge and attitudes. 
  • At post-test, parents in the intervention and control groups did not differ in sun protective practices for their children or on sun protection knowledge and attitudes.


School Directors Reporting Year-Round Sunscreen Application  

Graph of Study Results

Directors Reporting Sending Sun Protection Materials Home With Parents 

Graph of Study Results


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Last Modified: 03/07/2010
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