BACKGROUND : Photodamage is partially mitigated by darker skin pigmentation, but immune suppression, photoaging
and cataracts occur among individuals with all skin types.
METHODS : To assess practices and acceptability to Black African mothers of sun protection equipment for their children
living in a rural area, participants were recruited at the time of their child’s 18-month vaccinations. Mothers completed
a baseline questionnaire on usual sun behaviours and sun protection practices. They were then provided with sun
protection equipment and advice. A follow-up questionnaire was administered two weeks later.
RESULTS : Mothers reported that during the week prior to the baseline questionnaire, children spent on average less
than 1 hour of time outdoors (most often spent in the shade). Most mothers (97%) liked the sun protection
equipment. However, many (78 of 86) reported that their child did not like any of the sun protection equipment and
two-thirds stated that the sun protection equipment was not easy to use.
CONCLUSIONS : Among Black Africans in rural northern South Africa, we found a mismatch between parental preferences
and child acceptance for using sun protection when outdoors. A better understanding of the health risks of incidental
excess sun exposure and potential benefits of sun protection is required among Black Africans.