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Should Camp Counselors Be Allowed To Apply Sunscreen On Kids?

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A mom applies sunscreen to child. (Credit: Joerg Sarbach/AP)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — On bright sunny day, should day camp counselors apply sunscreen on your child?

It’s a hot topic for debate, and CBS 2 viewers weighed in on Thursday.

The Chicago Tribune reported that day camps have been left in an awkward position when it comes to sunscreen. If counselors put on the sunscreen, they run the risk of being accused of inappropriate touching, but if they do not, the children might get sunburned and will be exposed to harmful rays.

The Tribune reports camps are split on the issue in the Chicago area. Some tell parents to put sunscreen on their children before they leave home, or have the children bring it to apply themselves — provided that parents sign a permission slip.

Camps also often restrict hugging between children and counselors, and other interactions that require physical contact, so as to avoid anything that could be “misconstrued,” the Tribune reported.

But other camps say the risk of sunburn is not worth it, and counselors who are trained in appropriate touching go ahead and apply the sunscreen – or they eliminate the touching issue altogether with spray-on sunscreen, the newspaper reported.

CBS 2 viewers weighed in on the issue Thursday morning, via Susan Carlson’s Facebook page. They were likewise divided in the issue, with some saying counselors should not be entrusted with the situation – particularly if working alone.

“I think parents should apply it before the child leaves or teach them to do it themselves,” wrote Kandyce Baker. “If assistance is needed by a counselor, then the buddy system is the way to go. never a counselor alone with a child.”

But others thought worries about inappropriate touching while applying sunscreen may be going overboard.
“It only last so long and needs be applied more than one time,” wrote Marilyn Shelby. “As long as more than one person is in the room it should be OK. We do have to trust sometimes.”

“Lock the kids in a closet, then you won’t have to worry about any one touching them or the harmful rays of the sun,” wrote Karen Sala. “I think we are getting crazy!”

But Baker said she believes it is best to err on the side of caution.

“Even if every camp counselor in the world had good intentions, the child could be confused if they are ever molested – if they are used to strangers putting their hands on them. They might think it is normal,” she wrote.

Meanwhile, viewers Craig Lane and Linda Findlay love both argued in favor of spray-on sunscreen as the best solution.

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