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Good Morning Britain: Guest Says Parents Who Let Their Children Get Severely Sunburnt Should Be Fined For Neglect

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Good Morning Britain: Guest Says Parents Who Let Their Children Get Severely Sunburnt Should Be Fined For Neglect

A Good Morning Britain guest has suggested that parents should be fined if their children get severely sunburnt.

Appearing via Zoom today, child safeguarding expert Dr Sarah Carlick told ITV presenters Richard Madeley and Susanna Reid that sunburn needs to be taken more seriously as a health issue.

"I just want to put across [that] one severe blistering sunburn can double a child’s chances of getting melanoma when they grow up into an adult, and under the laws in this country - child protection safeguarding - physical abuse does include burning," she said.

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"If a child had hot water thrown over them and scalded, it would be investigated as a safeguarding issue, whether that be non-accidental or accidental injury. So, I’d like to see it to be very specific around sunburn."

When asked by Richard Madeley how this rule would be enforced, should she get her way, she replied: "I don’t actually think I’m here to enforce it, I do think that fining and mandatory education [could be the answer].

Dr Sarah Carlick is a safeguarding expert (Credit: ITV)
Dr Sarah Carlick is a safeguarding expert (Credit: ITV)

The ITV presenter pushed further, questioning how you would police what sunburn would be constituted bad enough for a fine, she replied: ‘’I think any pinkness or any sunburn is actually damaging your skin - your skin is the biggest organ on your body. So I think, if you do go out and you’re in the mid-day sun you should have a sun-hat, have SPF and wear protective clothing.

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"But I do feel very strongly, when it’s severe, and when children are having to go to a GP or to A&E that to me is an issue of physical harm. You’re inciting harm on that child and you’re damaging their chances of healthy development when they grow up."

Experts debated sunburn fines on GMB (Credit: ITV)
Experts debated sunburn fines on GMB (Credit: ITV)

Opposing Dr Carlick's view with Katrina Hodge - a former member of the British Army.

She said that education was far more important than punishment when it came to helping parents to prevent children from sunburn.

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"For me, punishment never educates, so I think it’s about education," she explained. "As a responsible parent I always make sure my parents have factor 50 on and they’re in the shade, but children need vitamin D, it helps bones it helps muscles.

"And personally, I suffered from postnatal depression and leaving the house sometimes I would get myself worked up, I would have panic attacks, and if you told me that just taking my children out to enjoy themselves that potentially I would have got fined, that would have made me spiral out of control if I’m completely honest."

Katrina said burns would stoke fear among parents (Credit: ITV)
Katrina said burns would stoke fear among parents (Credit: ITV)

Katrina added that there were other issues with punishing severe burning.

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"Unfortunately, I appreciate the [danger of] severe burning and Im not saying that’s excusable, but sometimes people do burn, and no matter how vigilant we are, unfortunately he SPF is too high.

"As a responsible parent, my children have never burned, but if for whatever reason they did I would be punishing myself enough.

"I worry about the ongoing issues with it, that if punishments are in place, would some parents that are irresponsible maybe not take their children to hospital for fear of being punished?"

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock

Topics: TV And Film, Good Morning Britain, Health, Parenting

Joanna Freedman
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