Shaunna Broadway of Oklahoma sent her 5- and 7-year-old sons to day care on Friday for a fun-filled trip to a local splash pad. But she wasn't prepared for what she saw when she picked her children up at the end of the day and took them home. The boys' backs and upper bodies were severely sunburned, with large, painful blisters. Broadway took her kids to the hospital for pain medication and sought medical assistance when her older son started to have chest swelling and trouble breathing.
It was then that both boys were airlifted to a specialized children's burn unit at Shriners Hospital in Texas, where they are currently being treated for second- and third-degree burns. Here's a look at just how bad these poor children were sunburned, but be warned that the images are graphic:
A report has been filed with the local police regarding the day care, but no charges have been filed. According to Broadway, her children claimed the day care employees told the children they were out of sunscreen and instructed the boys to wear their shirts, but they declined to put their shirts on.
Let's be clear: Those poor boys are in no way at fault for what happened. You can't expect kids to know when the sun is too hot or dangerous for them, and we all know how hard it is to get kids to sit for sunscreen application!
But the incident does highlight how important it is to talk to your children about the importance of protecting themselves from the sun. Even if children are too young to apply sunscreen on their own, teach them to advocate for themselves by telling their caretakers when they feel their skin is getting too warm, and provide them with protective clothing, hats and sunglasses when out for the day.
If you send them for a trip or any other outing away from you with sunscreen, make sure it protects against both UVA and UVB rays, and be sure to tell your kids that it should be applied at least 30 minutes before heading out into the sun and every two hours after that.
It's also important to talk to their caregivers rather than assuming they'll take this important safety step. You can provide sunscreen — and permission to put it on your kids — with details on when it was last applied.
If an adult (such as a day care provider or teacher) isn't authorized legally to put sunscreen on the kids, then they have other alternatives: requiring kids to wear their shirts or giving them time in the shade or limiting time in the direct sun. Even without available sunscreen, there are steps you can take to protect children from getting sunburn, steps you should teach your kids.
You can avoid taking children into direct sunlight during the peak hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you are going to be out during those hours, try to stay in the shade whenever possible. Encourage kids to wear lightweight long sleeves and hats for additional protection. And don't forget sunglasses — your eyes can get sunburned too!
No kid should land in the hospital over something that could so easily be prevented.
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