If you want your kid to have sun protection on the playground or on an outdoor field trip, at most schools in the United States you'll either need to apply sunscreen at home and hope it lasts for hours or send Junior to the school nurse with a doctor's note. That's because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies sunscreen as an over-the-counter drug, which means children can't use it unsupervised at school.
In other words: If you don't have a doctor's note, you fry.
Some state legislatures have decided this needs to change. Lawmakers in Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Louisiana, New York, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Washington have all passed laws overruling the FDA, permitting kids to use sunscreen at school of their own accord. Similar legislation is underway in at least three more states.
"My colleagues' first reaction to this bill was mostly, 'Seriously? We need a bill for this?'" said Utah state Rep. Craig Hall (R), who introduced the legislation in the Beehive State, sharing stories of parents furious their child got a preventable sunburn at school. "If you just Google 'kid sunburned at school,'" Hall suggested, "some of the stories are horrifying."