"What this study does support is what we have been saying for a long time -- limit sun exposure during peak hours. Wear protective clothing," Perlis said. Sunscreen is also advised.
The message of the study isn't to stop taking beach vacations, Perlis said. There are "lots of healthy things" about them, he said.
Crane's suggestion is more strident. She advises parents to skip or curtail waterside vacations when their children are young. "Wait until the kid is 10 or 12," she said.
When parents do take children to the beach, they should be cautious, Crane said. "They should not rely just on sunscreen. They should get water shirts for their kids. They should try to avoid middle-of-the-day outside activities," she said.
Better yet, avoid outdoor activities between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun's ultraviolet rays are strongest.
The study was published in the February issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
To learn more about melanoma, visit the American Cancer Society.
SOURCES: Lori Crane, Ph.D., M.P.H., associate professor and chairwoman, community and behavioral health, Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado, Denver; Clifford Perlis, M.D., director, MOHS and dermatologic surgery, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia; February 2009 Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention
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