A child expert has claimed that parents with severely sunburnt children should be fined and taken more seriously.

Child safeguarding expert, Dr. Sarah Carlick appeared on the U.K morning television show, Good Morning Britain, where she spoke with presenters Richard Madeley and Kate Garraway about the seriousness of sunburn.

Talking over Zoom, Carlick explained that under laws in the U.K, "physical abuse does include burning."

"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.

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

Carlick was then asked by Madeley how it would be enforced, to which 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]."

And when questioned again on how people would police what sunburn is bad enough to warrant 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.

"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."However, Carlick's opinion on fining parents with severely sunburnt children was opposed by a fellow guest.


Katrina Hodge, a former member of the British Army, also appeared on the show to argue against Carlicks point, pushing instead for education.

Hodge explained that she believes education about preventing sunburn on children is more important than punishment as "punishment never educates."

"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 fifty 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."

Hodge also explained that another issue with punishing severe sunburn is some "people do burn, and no matter how vigilant we are."

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

"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 the hospital for fear of being punished?"

What do you think about the idea of being fined?