IMPACT Melanoma Ushers in May’s Melanoma Awareness Month With “No Sun for Babies” Program

The Manolis Family

In conjunction with May’s Melanoma Awareness Month, IMPACT Melanoma, a non-profit providing education, prevention, and support for the most serious form of skin cancer, is collaborating with hospitals around the country to launch its No Sun for Babies program throughout the month. The program offers new families a backpack containing UPF-rated baby clothes and preventative skin care awareness materials. New parents will receive the backpacks at the hospital after they deliver their baby.

Emerson Hospital and Northside Hospital in Atlanta, Ga., are the first hospitals in the country to support this initiative and provide the backpacks to every family who delivers a baby at their hospitals in May. Longtime IMPACT advocate and loyal partner Arbella Insurance is helping to sponsor the initiative.

“During their hospital stay, we focus on educating new parents about how to raise happy, healthy babies,” said Julia Shafer, MSN, director of women’s & children’s services at Emerson Hospital. “We are very pleased to team with IMPACT Melanoma and provide the tools necessary to help young babies avoid sunburn, especially in the warmer months.” The backpacks for babies born at Emerson Hospital during the month of May are sponsored by the Auxiliary of Emerson Hospital.

“Frequent sunburns are an important risk factor for melanoma,” said Dr. Nicole Kounalakis, the medical director of the Northside Hospital Cancer Institute’s Melanoma and Skin Cancer Program. “This gift educates and provides parents with the necessary tools to enjoy the outdoors safely with their new babies. When sun safety skills are taught at an early age, children have a decreased risk of developing skin cancer in their adult years. We hope this package reminds the entire family to protect their skin from the sun’s ultraviolet rays while playing outdoors this summer!”

“It is important to have children be outdoors, especially when the weather is nice,” said IMPACT ambassador Sophie J. Balk, MD. “We do, however, need to pay special attention to protecting babies and young children from the harmful effects of the sun’s ultraviolet light (UV) rays when they are outside. A baby’s skin is more delicate and thinner than the skin of older children and adults, so babies can sunburn more easily. Even dark-skinned babies may sunburn. Babies and young children must rely on adults to remove them from situations that could lead to sunburn and even heatstroke. They also need a parent or other adult to keep them away from the sun’s direct rays, to make sure they are dressed properly and to apply sunscreen.” Dr. Balk’s words are part of the impetus leading to IMPACT launching the No Sun for Babies program to create a new avenue for education. Sunscreen is recommended for babies ages 6 months and older, before that age, babies should wear protective clothing to mitigate effects of the sun.

“We are so pleased to offer this program with our friends at Emerson Hospital, Northside Hospital, and Arbella Insurance,” said Deb Girard, executive director of IMPACT Melanoma. “The opportunity to teach new parents about having a healthy relationship with the sun is our goal. This is the first step to develop a sun-safe lifestyle for new families that we hope will last a lifetime and reduce the risk of skin cancer and melanoma, the deadliest form of the disease. It is imperative that we team together to create a sun-safe future for everyone on the planet. That starts with effective sun protective practice. Together we can all make a positive impact.”

Photo Captions

  • Top image: The Manolis family of Pepperell with baby Madison, who was born at Emerson Hospital and received a No Sun for Babies kit.
  • Lower image: Members of Emerson Hospital’s birthing center, community benefits, and Auxiliary team, along with the IMPACT Melanoma team.

About IMPACT Melanoma

IMPACT is a national non-profit organization dedicated to working to reduce the incidence of melanoma. Committed to skin cancer prevention and early detection, we provide a variety of award-winning programs which aim to raise awareness and educate the public about skin cancer, as well as support services for those struggling with the disease. To get involved visit, call 800-557-6352, or email