Parental Awareness Lacking for Dangers of Indoor Tanning

Low harms more often perceived by parents of male teens, those age ≥16, with less sun-reactive skin
Low harms more often perceived by parents of male teens, those age ≥16, with less sun-reactive skin

HealthDay News — Specific populations, including fathers, more often perceive low harms of adolescent indoor tanning, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, held from February 16 to 20 in San Diego.

Maryam Asgari, MD, MPH, from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional online survey with a sample of 1,205 parents of adolescents (age 11 to 17 years) in 2016. Parents attitudes on the perceived harms and benefits of adolescent indoor tanning were assessed using a 10-item questionnaire. 

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The researchers found that fathers, parents who used indoor tanning devices, and parents who had never received skin cancer prevention counseling from their child's health care provider more often perceived low harms of adolescent indoor tanning (odds ratios, 1.71, 4.47, and 1.31, respectively). Parents of adolescents who were male, were aged ≥16 years, or had less sun-reactive skin also more often perceived low harms (odds ratios, 1.28, 1.67, and 1.57, respectively). Parent sex, parent indoor tanning use, and adolescents' skin reactivity were associated with perceiving high indoor tanning benefits.

"While it's not surprising that parents who have tanned themselves would have favorable attitudes toward their children's indoor tanning, it's important for all parents to understand the dangers of tanning at a young age and communicate those dangers to their children," Asgari said in a statement.

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