‘My child did not like using sun protection’: practices and perceptions of child sun protection among rural black African mothers

Zamantimande Kunene, Patricia N. Albers, Robyn M. Lucas, Cathy Banwell, Angela Mathee, Caradee Y. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

Background: Photodamage is partially mitigated by darker skin pigmentation, but immune suppression, photoaging
and cataracts occur among individuals with all skin types.
Methods: To assess practices and acceptability to Black African mothers of sun protection equipment for their children
living in a rural area, participants were recruited at the time of their child’s 18-month vaccinations. Mothers completed
a baseline questionnaire on usual sun behaviours and sun protection practices. They were then provided with sun
protection equipment and advice. A follow-up questionnaire was administered two weeks later.
Results: Mothers reported that during the week prior to the baseline questionnaire, children spent on average less
than 1 hour of time outdoors (most often spent in the shade). Most mothers (97%) liked the sun protection
equipment. However, many (78 of 86) reported that their child did not like any of the sun protection equipment and
two-thirds stated that the sun protection equipment was not easy to use.
Conclusions: Among Black Africans in rural northern South Africa, we found a mismatch between parental preferences
and child acceptance for using sun protection when outdoors. A better understanding of the health risks of incidental
excess sun exposure and potential benefits of sun protection is required among Black Africans.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Public Health
Volume17
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017

Keywords

  • Solar ultraviolet radiation
  • Environmental Health
  • Africa

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