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posted: 7/13/2011 4:00 AM

Sun exposure is risky — salon tanning too

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We get it, the sun is fun.

But despite many campaigns against it, people of all ages are still getting too much harmful ultraviolet radiation -- naturally and from salon tanning -- and rates of skin cancer continue to rise, even in young people.

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To combat that, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement and technical report in March offering parents and pediatricians safe skin exposure advice:

•Start at an early age.

•All children should be protected, but especially those at highest risk: children with light skin and eyes, and those who freckle or sunburn easily, and those who have a family history of melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer.

•Wear proper clothes and hats.

•Time outdoor activities to avoid peak midday sun (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) when possible.

•Apply sunscreen.

•Wear sunglasses.

•Infants younger than 6 months should be kept out of direct sunlight, and be protected with clothing and hats.

A special note on tanning salons: Four major health organization support the legal ban of tanning salons for minors for a reason -- the intensity of ultraviolet radiation from tanning beds can be 10 to 15 times higher than the midday sun.

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