British "health & safety" regulations badly burn schoolgirl

A ten-year-old girl was badly sunburned during a sports day practice after the school banned sun cream in case other children were allergic to it.

Parents Andrew and Victoria Bowen were furious when their daughter Aimee returned home bright red and covered in blisters. Blonde and fair-skinned Aimee had been taking part in a practice for the upcoming sportsday at Pennard Primary School, near Swansea, South Wales.

Mr and Mrs Bowen said they had raised the issue of sun cream with the school beforehand and were told pupils were not allowed to bring it in with them in case any children had an allergic reaction. The school said it followed guidelines on sun safety.

But Mr Bowen, 44, said: 'We always send her with sun cream on but it needs to be reapplied. 'I can understand the situation where teachers cannot apply sun cream to children but for a child not be able to bring their own in when they are ten years old seems to me to be totally ludicrous. 'We are told about the increase in skin cancer and how it is becoming more common in young people and then this happens.

'I picked her up from school and her shoulders were very, very red. Aimee said it didn't hurt at the time but when she woke up the following day the burns were very raw.

Mrs Bowen said: 'Aimee was feeling sick the following day and I thought she had sun stroke. 'We have raised the issue many times before and we have asked the governors about it and we have been told the children are not allowed to take sun cream to school. 'Aimee is ten now and is perfectly capable of applying sun cream herself.'

Head teacher of Pennard Primary School, Sharon Freeguard, said: 'We follow guidelines issued in 2006 which are for the children to cover up, wear a hat and put cream on before they come to school. 'Parents are welcome at lunch-time to come to school and reapply cream if they feel it is necessary. 'It would not be appropriate for the staff to put cream on 200 children.'

Bevis Man, from the British Skin Foundation said: 'When it comes to children, we need to be extra vigilant when it comes to protecting them from the harmful effects of the sun. 'Children should never be allowed to burn in the sun.

'By their very nature, children will spend a huge amount of time playing outdoors, so we need to make sure they don't burn during this time outdoors, whether it's at school playtime or at home in the garden. 'Sunscreen ought to be used to cover the areas that aren't covered by clothing, along with a hat to protect the ears and the back of the neck.'

A Swansea Council spokesman said: 'We are available to offer general advice on sun safety for schoolchildren during summer months, but day-to-day issues such as this are a matter for the schools themselves.'


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