Health Department promotes sun safety

The Wilmington Health Department is working on a sun safety awareness program to help educate children about the dangers of ultraviolet rays. Dubbed the Sun Smart Kids Project, the program is being funded with a $640 grant from the state Department of Public Health. “We want children to realize how important it is to take care of their skin,” said public health nurse Traci Mello. In addition to posters and other educational materials, the program will include a hands-on project to demonstrate the dangers of sun exposure. Children who participate in the Recreation Department’s summer programs will have an opportunity to make a bracelet with beads that change colors when exposed to ultraviolet rays. The bracelets “will make the kids aware that they can’t see UV rays, but they can be affected by them,” Mello said. “We’ll be using sunscreen to cover the beads, to see how it affects them. It will be a fun science project that raises awareness and really puts the message in their heads.” The Sun Smart Kids Project will culminate with the town’s annual Police Beach Day on Aug. 1. The Health Department will give away items purchased with the grant money, including sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats, umbrellas, and sun shirts that protect against ultraviolet rays, as well as organic sunscreen and lip balm donated by W.S. Badger Co. of Gilsum, N.H.