14/08/2014 12:52 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Social Services Should Investigate Sunburned Children, Say Campaigners

Sunburned kids should be reported to social services say campaigners

Social services should investigate parents whose children have suffered sunburn, campaigners say.

Sun safety experts have called for the authorities to be informed if children are taken to A&E with severe sunburn, claiming it amounts to child neglect.

The Daily Mail reports that the current heatwave has resulted in a rise of sunburn cases among youngsters - including babies as young as four weeks old.

Leigh Smith, chair of Melanoma Action and Support Scotland, told the paper she was 'not surprised' to hear that children are being taken to hospital as a result of too much exposure to the sun.

"It's very serious. These parents have tripled their children's chances of getting skin cancer," she said. "Malignant melanoma is the most common cancer in young adults aged 15-34 in the UK and it happens from getting sunburned."

She also called for schools to protect pupils at play time, and said that keeping children safe in the sun was a 'child protection issue'.

Pat Wade, founder of the charity Burned Children's Club, told the Mail that the 'agony' sunburned children can suffer was 'horrendous' - and added that it should not be happening in the first place.

"With all the advice out there children should not be getting burned. It's neglect. You can buy sun cream for as little as £1 a bottle. Even if you don't have a lot of money you should be able to protect your child," she said. "If a child comes into an A&E ward after abuse you phone social services. I'm not saying health staff should do that for every parent who brings in a child with sunburn but they should use their own initiative."

She said it was a parent's 'duty' to ensure their children were safe in the sun.

What do you think?

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