SUMMER VACATION SERIES
Edited by Aryeh Werth
Is it proper not to wear sunscreen given the UVA/UVB exposure risks?
Should a parent educate young children about the need for
sunscreen and require them to wear it?
One of the basic responsibilities parents have is to keep their children as safe and healthy as possible. Would we think it proper for parents to feed children tainted food that can harm them? Would we think it proper for parents to let children play in traffic? Of course not. We would view this as highly irresponsible behavior.
Likewise, would we think it proper for parents to expose their children to bright sun without having protected them with sunscreen? Sunburn – especially severe sunburn – is not only painful but can have long term detrimental impact on health. Responsible parents will see to it that their children are properly covered with sunscreen. They will teach their children the importance of maintaining healthful practices.
Conveying the importance of good hygiene goes beyond the issue of sunscreen. It entails maintaining and teaching a healthy lifestyle. The goal is to inculcate our children and grandchildren with proper behaviors so that they will adopt these behaviors as their own…even when we aren’t there to nag them!
– Rabbi Marc D. Angel, director of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals
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Parents are required to guard the health and safety of their children. Whatever is normally accepted behavior concerning health and safety issues is considered mandatory hishtadlus in fulfillment of “Vinishmartim meod linafshosaychaim.” Hence, educating children to avoid hazards, such as smoking cigarettes, wearing helmets when riding their bicycles, avoiding contact with strangers, and crossing the street at a crosswalk with the light are mandated by the Torah.
Therefore, if children will be exposed to the sun in a manner that necessitates sunscreen to protect them from sunburn or worse, it behooves the parent to provide this protection for younger children and to educate older ones to take this measure.
– Rabbi Zev Leff, rav of Moshav Matisyahu, popular lecturer and educator