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Celebrate 10 Years with Cancer Control P.L.A.N.E.T.

Preventing Skin Cancer: Interventions Targeting Children’s Parents and Caregivers

Interventions targeting parents or caregivers to prevent skin cancer for themselves and their children aim to improve “covering up” behavior, specifically, wearing protective clothing such as a shirt, long pants, and a hat. In addition, reviewed interventions may seek to increase shade use and sun avoidance during peak UV hours.

Summary of Task Force Recommendations and Findings

The Community Preventive Services Task Force finds insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of interventions targeting children’s parents and caregivers because there were too few reports and findings were inconsistent.

Although not recommendation outcomes, the reports demonstrate that the intervention did lead to improvements in children’s attitudes or beliefs, as well as sun-safety measures and environmental supports at outdoor recreational centers and swimming pools.

Task Force Finding

About the Interventions

  • Single or multicomponent interventions included in the review were most often conducted in recreational settings and included one or more of the following:
    • Surveys and questionnaires to assess knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, intentions, and behaviors
    • Educational brochures
    • Newsletters, tip cards, and postcard reminders
    • Sun-safety lessons, interactive activities, and incentives for parents and children
    • An increase in available shaded areas
    • Free sunscreen
    • Point-of-purchase prompts and discount coupons for hats, sun-safety logo t-shirts and sunscreen
  • Sunscreen use was considered a secondary outcome, which means that a change in sunscreen use alone would not result in a recommendation.

Results from the Systematic Reviews

Nine studies qualified for the review.

  • These studies had limitations in study design and execution. Only a small number measured key outcomes.
  • The included studies demonstrated that the intervention did lead to improvements in children’s attitudes or beliefs, as well as sun-safety measures and environmental supports at outdoor recreational centers and swimming pools.

These results are based on a systematic review of all available studies led by scientists from CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control with input from a team of specialists in systematic review methods and experts in research, practice and policy related to preventing skin cancer.

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Supporting Materials


CDC. Preventing skin cancer. Findings of the Task Force on Community Preventive Services on reducing exposure to ultraviolet light. MMWR 2003;52(RR-15):1–12. External Web Site Icon

Saraiya M, Glanz K, Briss PA, et al. Interventions to prevent skin cancer by reducing exposure to ultraviolet radiation: a systematic review. Adobe PDF File [PDF - 788 kB] Am J Prev Med 2004;27(5):422-66.

Task Force on Community Preventive Services. Recommendations to prevent skin cancer by reducing exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Adobe PDF File [PDF - 70 kB] Am J Prev Med 2004;27(5):467-70.

Task Force on Community Preventive Services. Cancer. Adobe PDF File [PDF - 402 kB] In : Zaza S, Briss PA, Harris KW, eds. The Guide to Community Preventive Services: What Works to Promote Health? Atlanta (GA): Oxford University Press;2005:143-87.

Read other Community Guide publications about Cancer Prevention and Control in our library.


The findings and conclusions on this page are those of the Community Preventive Services Task Force and do not necessarily represent those of CDC. Task Force evidence-based recommendations are not mandates for compliance or spending. Instead, they provide information and options for decision makers and stakeholders to consider when determining which programs, services, and policies best meet the needs, preferences, available resources, and constraints of their constituents.

Sample Citation

The content of publications of the Guide to Community Preventive Services is in the public domain. Citation as to source, however, is appreciated. Sample citation: Guide to Community Preventive Services. Preventing skin cancer: interventions targeting parents and caregivers. Last updated: MM/DD/YYYY.

Review completed: July 2002