Objectives: To estimate the prevalence of protection from sun exposure among US white children ages 6 months to 11 years.
Methods: During the summer of 1998, using telephone directory lists supplemented by random-digit dialing, the authors surveyed parents living in the contiguous United States. They calculated weighted prevalence estimates for protection methods and conducted logistic regression analyses to determine parent and child characteristics predictive of protection behaviors.
Results: Parents of 1,055 white children were interviewed. Children spent a median of 20 hours per week outdoors during the summer, of which 10 hours were at school. Sunscreen (61.8%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 57%, 66%) and shade (26.5%, 95% CI 22%, 31%) were the most frequently reported protection methods. Parents reported higher rates of protection for younger children and children who sunburn easily.
Conclusions: Parents report that a large proportion of white children is protected from sun exposure by one or more methods. Health care providers and educators might encourage the use of all methods of protection, not just sunscreen use, and educate older children to protect themselves from the sun.