Until now, kids who wanted to apply sunscreen at school generally were not allowed to unless they had a valid prescription from a doctor. But Act 2017-278 gives Alabama kids the right to slather up and protect themselves without needing so much as a permission slip from Mom.
Nationwide, melanoma, which is universally regarded as the most dangerous form of skin cancer, is also among the most commonly diagnosed. The American Cancer Society estimates that this year in the U.S., more than 87,000 new cases will be diagnosed and nearly 10,000 patients will die from it.
The Alabama Department of Public Health says that in Alabama, melanoma is the most common skin cancer in kids. Across all age groups, the rate is 6% higher than the national average.
In the press release announcing the new law, Dr. Tom Miller said, “Students will now be able to apply sunscreen to protect themselves from sunburn before going outside.” He added, “Applying sunscreen before outside school activities will prevent overexposure to the sun’s UVA and UVB rays, thus preventing many forms of skin cancer—including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.”
Miller is State Health Officer at the Alabama Department of Public Health.
Alabama joins at least 7 other states in giving kids the freedom to protect themselves from what is so often a deadly disease.