Daycare, Sunscreen and Parenting Crossroads…

Last week, this news came out. Essentially, the FDA, in their “Johnny-on-the-spot” regulation of sunscreen, declared that those sunscreens out there that proclaim 8 hour protection? Yeah, they’re now demanding studies to prove this (Wait, they’ve never proved it? Come ON FDA, what do we pay you for?)

Anyway, the fictional 8-hour sunscreen was pretty much the keystone for Margo’s daycare’s sunscreen policy. They, like most (all?) daycares in NC, treat sunscreen like a medication and have all these red-tape and regulations around it. They suggested parents put on the 8-hour brands in the morning and protect their kids all day.

Well, as lovely as that would be, it’s now not possible. (And never was!) I brought this to their attention and they were like “oh, we’ll be learning more in the weeks to come” etc. Generally unconcerned. So that was nice. I asked if they allowed me to bring in a doctor’s note and have the teachers apply it. After generally making it sound like an enormous pain in the ass that may or may not be worth it (they’re part of a chain of daycares and claimed it was the company policy to treat ss this way), I went for it. The doc’s note should be faxed today and tomorrow Margo will be sporting SPF 50.

But I’m still pissed. I’m annoyed the FDA does such a crappy job at this and after so much reading and self-education I’m *still* confused about sunscreen. I’m pissed about the way my (awesome, 5-star, expensive) daycare treated my concerns as not really that big of a deal. I’m pissed they haven’t told other parents and changed their policy, since it’s based around a product that’s not on the market anymore. I’m pissed when I pick her up and ALL THE KIDS are unprotected. I’m pissed she’s going to be *that kid* that has the special need before they go to recess, pissed I won’t be 100% certain it’s being applied with care and spots aren’t missed.

I never thought I’d be an “activist” but I’ll tell you what, when it’s my kid, BA-RING It.

I try not to stress about everything as a parent. She wears sunscreen *most* of the time with me, but I’ll admit not every single time. What we’re talking about here is every day all summer. That is not okay, and I would hope any parent would agree with that. It’s not the 70’s, we KNOW sunscreen decreases the rates of skin cancer. I hate that it’s only May and she’s getting color on her arms. She still hasn’t had a *burn* but we’ve come close.

So, friends, what would you do? Switch daycares on principle, since they show such little regard for ALL of the children’s well being? Hang in there since they’re working with us now that we have a doc note? Picket the center at drop-off and pick-up time to spread the word? I’m not looking to make enemies at the daycare, but for realz, this feels like it falls underย “Not Gonna Take It, Mad As Hell”…

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10 thoughts on “Daycare, Sunscreen and Parenting Crossroads…

  1. To me, not being able to re-apply sunscreen is a deal breaker. Our day care had a policy that all children NEED to have sunscreen re-applied in the afternoon. All we had to do was sign a medical release form and bring in our own labeled sunscreen.

    I had two pre-cancerous moles removed 3 years ago so I don’t screw around. Not only do we know more about sun exposure now, the ozone layer is thinner than when we were kids. The fastest growing group of melanoma patients is children 18 and under. Alex just had a suspicious mole removed at age 5.

    But to answer your question… they are working with you now.
    I also have links to CDC and Mayo Clinic recommendations here:
    http://jonandlaura.blogspot.com/2011/07/my-1-pet-peeve-of-all-time-ever-hands.html

    PS. We used chemical sunscreens when the kids were in day care because I did not trust a physical block when I was not the person applying it.

    • Thanks for the links!

      We also had a serious skin cancer case in our family, leading us to be very sensitive and aware of our exposure. But, point is, that shouldn’t be what makes someone care. Your daycare required sunscreen; I think what has me so riled up is that our’s policy is completely wrong-headed. It’s to guard their employees from having to do something annoying rather than acknowledging SCIENCE and promoting a practice that protects the kids.

      We’ll see. Switching daycares is a pain and they’re fine other than this. Still hot about it tho!

  2. The doctor’s note should help! Mine is at an in home daycare and this is what she does – We sign a waiver every six months giving her permission to apply sunscreen and insect repellant (provided by the parent) as needed. It covers her and she would rather apply it then us let a combo of chems sit on their skin all day. The bug spray is probably not the norm but her home is near a marsh and can get pretty buggy in the summer! There is also a box system next to their sign in/out sheet so we can tell if she used sunscreen, bug spray or both on any given day. Now if we don’t sign the waiver she won’t apply anything to their skin, so I would think if you are helping them cover their tails with a doctor’s note they should work with you.

    I’ve had to overlook things that I swore would be “deal-breakers” for me because of his happiness, but really they are trivial things – sunscreen would be a hard one to decide on.

    The FDA sucks. I cannot comprehend their processes at all and how some test are run and some conclusions are late drawn is mind blowing. And to be honest, a little scary!

    • Yeah, parenting is full of little compromises like this… I guess I’m trying to work with them for now, but still have a bad taste in my mouth.

      And also glad I got an AMEN on the FDA. Upon rereading I was afraid I sounded a little “Archie Bunker”/raving old man-ish. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I agree – they should be re-applying. I had no idea they would put up such a stink about it. The second or third week of March we got a note from school to bring in new sunscreen (they threw away the old or we ran out) and to sign the permission note. They say they apply it everytime they go outside. I sure hope they do, although I put it on in the morning too. I hope they get their shit together soon.

  4. We have talked about it but I am with you, it is ridiculous them fighting you on this. When I asked our director about our specific policy in regards to your situation, she was flabbergasted. Like “what do you mean they don’t reapply?”. She even pointed out that BH corporate says they will reapply when going out but she said they are happy to put it on in the morning if needed too. I can’t see how this is different than diaper cream or needing special wipes for changing due to skin issues.

    BTW…my director also reminded me of their refferal program…just in case you wanna make the switch ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • We’ll see, Brandy. I can’t say I haven’t thought about switching (a lot) this weekend. ๐Ÿ™‚ BH’s corporate policy is definitely more in the spirit of what I would hope for.

      I’m trying to get less pissed off about this and it’s not working!

  5. We are in the same situation as you, except our dc has stated they won’t do sunscreen w/a dr note. I think it’s a NC inspection thing? When you first posted that you were going to see if you could use sunscreen with a note, inwas prepared to see if there were any openings at your dc!

    • Wow, that’s pretty intense. Primrose was puitting their policy completely on their “corporate” policy… and they also mentioned NC laws are more strict than other states. Though, IDK, if Bright Horizons can just have a form every 3 months and some others require that kids have ss on, it seems more like a philosophy to me.

      Is their play area shaded? How do they not have bright red kids everywhere?

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