Sunblock vs. Sunscreen: Best Ways to Prevent Skin Cancer

by Alan Haskvitz

Americans spend well over $500 million each year on sunscreen products that may not be the proper type or be used properly. Sadly, the result is that there are about 69,000 new cases of melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, every year and a reported 8,650 deaths. Especially at risk are those under 30 where melanoma is the second most common form of cancer in this age bracket.

The causes of the continued rise in skin cancer cases is especially worrisome since it can be avoided with some commonsense strategies. For example, knowing what sunscreen and sunblock do and the need for it to be applied and reapplied even on overcast days as well as wearing long sleeve shirts and pants and wide brimmed hats. A tee shirt only provides the equivalent of a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 5 rating and if it is wet even less. Higher SPF numbers indicate more protection.

The main differences between sunscreen and sunblock is that the former acts as a filter that allows a limited range of ultraviolet (UV) light to be absorbed into the skin depending on the SPF number, while the latter reflects UVA and UVB rays and, as its name implies, blocks them from the skin. Sunblocks are frequently thick, opaque, and usually white in color. It is crucial to note that many lotions contain both a sunblock and a sunscreen so read the label carefully. It is also very important to check the expiration date of the lotion. Regardless of what protection you select it is essential that it is used on a regular basis and this is equally significant for young children. Since ultraviolet rays penetrate the skin they can alter the structure of the skin cells and cause malignancy. There are three types of UV rays; A, B, and C. UVA is said to cause connective tissue damage and increase a person’s risk of skin cancer. UVB rays are normally absorbed into the ozone layer, and the very harmful UVC rays are absorbed by the stratospheric ozone layer.

Always check with your doctor before for a recommendation as to the type of sunblock or sunscreen that you and your family need. A trip to the dermatologist is recommended to check any black, irregular mole for cancer and to get advise as to the latest sunblock and sunscreen ratings.

Frequently, the media offers as UV Index rating that was developed by the National Weather Service and the Environmental Protection Agency as a way to warn individuals as to the severity of ultraviolet rays on a daily basis with 0 being the least harmful and a10 rating carrying the most danger. However, you need to know your skin type and there are six of them. A type 1 always burns and is very sensitive to the sun. Type 2 burns easily with a minimum tan. Type 3 burns moderately and tans gradually. Type 4 burns minimally, but tans to a moderate brown color. Type 5 rarely burns, and tans darkly. Type 6 doesn’t burn, is deeply pigmented, and is the least sensitive to UV rays.

Two other areas that are sensitive to the sun and deserve attention are the lips and the eyes where it is imperative that sunglasses that reflect all UV rays be worn as they may cause cataracts.

Consumer Search reports that a good sunblock for children is Neutrogena Sunblock Lotion Sensitive Skin SPF 30. For products with both a sunblock and sunscreen they recommend Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Sunblock Lotion SPF 45, Banana Boat Sport Ultra Sweatproof UVA & UVB Sunblock Lotion SPF 30, and Bull Frog SuperBlock Sunblock Lotion with SPF 45. Highly rated sunscreens for those with sensitive skin and babies are Blue Lizard Sensitive and Blue Lizard Baby.

Sunscreen reviews indicate Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock I is good, especially with the SPF 55 formula. No-Ad Sunblock offers similar security.

Good information links

What do UV ratings mean?

Are you at risk of melanoma?

Free booklet on skin cancer and what you need to know

Helping Your Slow Learning Child
By National Hall of Fame Educator Alan Haskvitz
Perhaps the greatest challenge to a parent or adult is a child who is a slow learner. These children do not fall into the category of special education, do well outside the classroom, and show no evidence of having a medical problem. They simply do not do well in school or a particular subject. In the days before formal schooling these students would carry on productive lives working and doing tasks that did not require extensive reading, writing, or math operations. However, today the emphasis is less on occupational learning and more on academic preparation. Thus there is a growing need for help to remediate these children to provide them the best possible opportunities in a changing world.

Having successfully taught for nearly 30 years in several states and countries two commonalities emerge when dealing with slow learners. The first is that they need extra time to complete tasks. This means that the parents must be willing to augment what happens at school regardless of how fruitless it might appear at times. Secondly, the child must be offered incentives that are appropriate. Depending on the child the best incentives are those where the family works together on a project such as building a model or attending a concert or game. The incentives should require delayed gratification so that the child learns patience and the importance of waiting to be rewarded.

The next area is proper nutrition. A child needs to have a breakfast. Period. Every study done points out that a quality breakfast and proper sleep are the two best ways to improve student performance.

With those two factors in mind, the next step for a teacher or parent is to search for lessons and other resources that make it easier to differentiate the curriculum and make learning more vital and relevant. To this end the special education sites on the Internet have some great ideas. It must be noted that this column is not dealing with those students that qualify for special education classes. However, the concepts that teachers use when dealing with these students are ideal for helping a slow learner once the student’s weaknesses have been diagnosed. In any one of my classes I have about ten percent who are slow learners so having a slow learning child is not unusual.


Here are some general characteristics of slow learners. Students may display some or all of these depending on their age and degree of problems acquiring knowledge at school. First, they are frequently immature in their relations with others and do poorly in school. Secondly, they cannot do complex problems and work very slowly. They lose track of time and cannot transfer what they have learned from one task to another well. They do not easily master skills that are academic in nature such as the times tables or spelling rules. Perhaps the most frustrating trait is their inability to have long-term goals. They live in the present and so have significant problems with time management probably due to a short attention span and poor concentration skills capabilities.
It should be pointed out that just because a child is not doing well in one class does not make that student a slow learner. Very few children excel in all subject areas unless there is great deal of grade inflation at that school. That is why it is essential that standardized tests scores be examined in depth by the parent or teacher to look for trends. Also there is a difference between a slow learner and a reluctant learner. A slow learner initially wants to learn, but just has a problem with the process. A reluctant learner is not motivated and can also be passive aggressive creating even more of a problem for teachers and parents through a ploy that involves non-cooperation. There is seldom anything wrong with the learning ability of reluctant learners.
To help slow learners here are some proven ideas for parents
Have a quiet place to work where the child can be easily observed and motivated.
Keep the homework sessions short
Provide activity times before and during the homework
Add a variety of tasks to the learning even if it is not assigned such as painting a picture of a reading assignment.
Allow for success
Ask questions of the child while they are working about the assignment
Go over the homework before they go to bed and before they go to school
Teach them how to use a calendar to keep track of assignments
Read to the child
Use my “Three Transfer” form of learning in which the student must take information and do three things with it besides reading. For example, read it, explain it to someone else, draw a picture of it, and take notes on it.
Be patient but consistent.
Do not reward unfinished tasks

Challenge the child
Have the child do the assignments that are the most difficult first and leave the easier ones to later. Call it the dessert principle.
Don’t be overprotective. Students who have parents that frequently intercede in their child’s education are teaching that student that the parent does not respect their abilitites. If you do call a teacher make sure you are seeking a positive outcome. Remember that most teachers have dealt with numerous slow learners and have a vast amount of experience. However, sharing your child’s strengths and weaknesses could make the school year more beneficial for all concerned.
Contact the teacher if there is a concern. Calling an administrator solves nothing as the teacher is the sole legal judge of academic success.
Take you child to exciting places where they can see where academic success
is important. A trip to a local university or community college, a walking tour
of city hall, a visit to the fire station or a behind the scenes tour of a zoo are
highly motivating.
Examples of interventions for slow learners
Environment: Reduce distractions, change seating to promote attentiveness, have a peer student teacher, and allow more breaks.
Assignments: Shorter and with more variation, repeat work in various forms, have a contract, give more hands on work, have assignments copied by student, have students use three transfer method where they have to show the work three different ways.
Assessment: Shorter tests, oral testing, redoing tests, short feedback times, don’t make students compete
What to avoid: Cooperative learning that isolates the student and places him or her in a no win situation. Using a standardized test. Ignoring the problem.
What to encourage: Grouping with a patient partner. Learning about the child’s interests. Placing the student in charge. Mapping, graphic organizers, and hands-on work. Using Bloom’s taxonomy of tasks to make the assignments more appropriate.
Resources for slow learners
Slow learners greatly benefit from yoga
It is always important for students to get proper nutrition and exercise. This article may be of interest in that Yoga calms the mind and body.

Autism-PDD Resources
This site offers information on treatment and, even the law, with a parent guide. Quite complete.

Kentucky Department of Education’s Behavior Site
Intervention ideas, jobs, and a forum. When a slow learner is frustrated they can become behavior problems. Here are some resources that provide suggestions to cope with this problem.

LD OnLine: Learning
Disabilities Information and Resources


National Center for Learning Disabilities
The Council for Exceptional Children
This large database has most everything from a job bank to resources. Start here.
Disability Accommodations
Strategies for varied disabilities, including speech, hearing, behavior, ADD and learning

KidSource: Disabilities
A large link site with ratings of those that are the most helpful.

Resources for Early Childhood Special Education

Very ValuableSpecial Education Resources on the Internet

Misunderstood Kids Outside the Box
Special education articles, resources,
news, and other features.

Email discussion groups
A little difficult to follow

Special Needs Opportunity Windows
SNOW is made specifically for special education teachers, this site
offers discussion, bulletin boards, a listserv, events and resources.

The law and special education

Technology Resources and Special Education

Special Education Award
There are several. Here are just a couple/

Alan Haskvitz has been selected as one of the best teachers in the United States by six different educational organizations. He has earned over 30 awards for his innovative teaching and has been featured on national radio and television numerous times as well as featured in books on improving education. His students have done extremely well winning major competitions in nearly every curriculum area. Haskvitz has taught at every grade level and every core subject in his nearly 45 years as an educator.

Building Healthy Kids:

Lessons, Links, and Resources

By Alan Haskvitz, national motivational speaker

How to Build Healthy Kids

Food related links for building integrated lessons

Food safety

Agriculture and food

Agriculture lessons and free resources

Conservation links

California Women in Agriculture

Food and Nutrition Information Center, National Agriculture Library, USDA

The following organizations are agriculture related.

Financial assistance for garden projects

Gardens for Growing People

Nutrition Fact Game

USDA for Kids

California Women in Agriculture
My Farm Book is interesting. Write for additional
CyberFarm Garden
Everything you need for your garden.

Agriculture Heritage from colonial days

Cream of the Crop
Newsletter plus a resource guide to
educational materials about agriculture.  Just about
the best resource for all grade levels. Great
Food and Nutrition Information Center, National
Agriculture Library, USDA

Organization list
Not all are linked, but using name provided and search
engine can be quite rewarding for student samples and
lesson ideas.
AgNIC is a guide to quality agricultural information
on the Internet as selected by the National
Agricultural Library, Land-Grant Universities, and
other institutions.
Just for kids recopies
Home Economics lessons
You are What You Eat
Have them take the Healthy Fridge test and others and
than decide what to do.   
Food safety
Food and Nutrition Information Center, National
Agriculture Library, USDA

American Horticultural Society
List of master gardeners
United States Department of Agriculture

California Strawberry Commission
The ALACA Company 
They have a kit about cotton that may be of value.
National Cotton Council of America
Grains Nutrition Information Center

An excellent bibliography of gardening books and recipes and a seed catalog.

International Fertilizer Association

Botany Links

Botanical Gardens

Earth Garden Sources

4-H Youth

Department of Agriculture

United States Department of Agriculture.

National Corn Growers

Peanut Butter Lovers

Peanut Butter Recipes

How does a Peanut Grow?

History of Peanut

American Peanut Council

Peanut Butter Institute

Education materials mainly about diet

Peanut Butter and Jelly Archeology

An interesting lesson on layering.

National Peanut Board

For more free educational materials go to

Bullying in the School

I have placed the best resources online. They include large link sites, legal information, a manual from California on dealing with the problem, guidelines, and statistics and research. They are all posted here to save space.

Resources to help with special education students

By Alan Haskvitz, national motivational speaker


For extensive list and ideas for teaching slow learners go to


I have a large list of free resources here




Hearing impaired
Mental Health
Visually impaired

Attention Deficit Disorder

Learning disabilities

Special education resources


Writing Individual Education Programs (IEPs)

IEP beginnings

IEP references

Legal references

Special education/IEP links

Special Education Software—not free

IEP beginnings

Writing Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for Success

American Hyperlexia Association Individualized Education Program
A long, but well organized, look at what to expect and how to prepare for an IEP meeting from the standpoint of all participants

Autism Society of America Individualized Education Plan
Provides a comprehensive overview of an IEP, according to legislation, and gives practical examples

Checklist for Effective IEPs

Council for Exceptional Children
Get the latest news about IDEA.

Did You See Your Regular Ed Teacher at Your IEP Meeting?
Here’s why regular education teachers need to attend IEP meetings.

IDEA Resources
This very useful site has the major legal provisions of Section 504 in downloadable format for presentations and use.

IEP Ideas for Deaf and Hard-of-hearing Children

IEP Online Tutorial:
Development of an IEP
Parts of the IEP

Individualized Education Plan
Very simple template

Individualized Education Program – the Process

A Parent’s Guide to the Individual Educational Plan (IEP)

Seven Habits of Highly Effective IEP Teams
An easy-to-read article that is

Special education/IEP links

DMOZ Special Education directory
Link sites to many special education organizations

FamilyVillage School & Community Inclusion
Link site for inclusion information

My Child’s Special Needs
Government sites

Special Education Software—not free


Edinformatics Computers in Education

EZ-IEP Online
Free trial offered

Google Directory – Special Education

Lessons and ideas for teaching special education, ADD, ESL, and LD students

by Alan Haskvitz, National Teachers Hall of Fame, national inservice presenter

For an article and extensive list of resources also try


They are all free and cover a vast array of potential challenges and disabilities.

These sites are all free. No ads

Safest Family Cars:

They’re not Large SUVs

For more free education links to to

This just in:

A Greyhound bus  carrying 36 people, struck an SUV that had overturned in front of it, slammed into a concrete center divider and reportedly killed six.  Large SUVs are more easily flipped. Here is yet another example, and in this case all of the SUV passengers were killed.

And more:  In California, a driver lost control of a SUV and crossed into an on-coming traffic and hit a van carrying a young college coach and other university students. The toll wast hree people dead and 16 injured. Again,  SUVs are difficult to control and do not respond as well as station wagons or sedans in emergency handling situations. Stability control can only do so much. You can’t overcome the laws of physics.

Look at the startling number of SUV accidents and deaths listed on Google:

Let’s start by debunking the great myth that large SUVs are safer than smaller vehicles. They are not. What is worse is that people sometimes confuse them with the very safe mini-van because they can hold seven passengers. They are not. Some people feel that the high seating position makes them safer to drive. They are not. In fact that trait makes it easier for them to tip over. If you are looking to buy a large SUV you need to be prepared to pay more for insurance because of claim losses for these vehicles as well as the damage they do when involved in an accident. In essence, you are more likely to die in a compact pick-up, small sedan, or large SUV than any other type of vehicle. In addition, about one child every week is backed over and killed by the drivers of SUVs. So large SUVs are among the most dangerous family vehicles not the safest. What is worthwhile knowing is that several manufacturers have developed crossovers with SUV looks that provide a nice alternative to large SUVs. Both are easy to drive, have good visibility, are not expensive, and get good gas mileage while offering abundant interior room. Now, we are talking about the large, truck based SUVs here, not the lighter and more nimble crossover style ones. For some eye opening facts about SUVs go to

Each year, about 40,000 Americans lose their lives in motor vehicle collisions. Statistics report that one in 8.5 drivers is involved in an automobile collision and one out of nine hospital beds is occupied by an individual who was injured by a vehicle. So the selection of what to transport your family in goes far beyond fuel mileage, options, deals, or looks. It is literally a matter of life and death to many.

Before we get started on which vehicles are the safest you need to know that every model year brings out new crash testing figures. Since this article is based on an accumulation of research it is not current for this year’s models. Thus you should do your own checking using the insurance industry and government websites listed below.

There is no safest car. There is a safer driver. The more classes you take in how to drive the better you are going to be. For example, many people at an intersection when waiting to make a turn have their wheels turned in the direction they want to go. This is suicide. If another driver just taps them from behind their car will be shoved into oncoming traffic. Such accidents are extremely dangerous with high death rates. Another item you pick up from attending classes regardless of your age is following distance. You need to leave at least one car length for every ten miles an hour you are traveling. Although in today’s world that means people are going to be cutting in on you it does provide you with a guideline. Riding someone’s rear bumper is dangerous, especially in large SUVs and pick up trucks that require 30 to 50 or more feet to stop than sedans because of their greater weight.

Here is what to look for when buying a safe family vehicle. First, when you take a test drive don’t be sidetracked by gimmicks. Check emergency braking, handling, side and rear visibility, driving position, and night lighting. We highly recommend that you test-drive the car both in the day and at night. It may be time consuming, but it could save your family. Keep the radio off and don’t just stay on smooth roads. Making a short stop on a rough road could open your eyes to shortcomings with the vehicles suspension and brakes.

Safest car ratings

In the field of large sedans the Lexus ES300, Audi A4, BMW 330i, Volkswagen Passat, Toyota Camry XLE, Nissan Altima, and Subaru Legacy did quite well. Small cars that did well on crash tests were the little Volkswagen, the Honda Civic EX and the Volkswagen Jetta. Pick-up trucks, as large SUVs do not do well in crash tests. They are not subject to the same safety standards to begin with, and they are by their nature, difficult to control because of the lightweight of the bed and their great girth. Other recommendations are to always buy a pick-up with ASB and, if available, traction control. The best performers were the Toyota Tundra, the Dodge Ram, and the Ford F.150. Crew cab rating had both the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier doing well.

For 2005, the safest cars were the Mercedes E Class, Volvo S 80, Honda Accord, Mitsubishi Galant, Chevrolet Cobalt, Toyota Corolla, Acura MDX, Lexus GX 470, Volvo XC 90, and Honda Odyssey, according to the Department of National Highway Transportation and Safety and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Interestingly, one of our favorite medium sized SUVs, the Chevrolet Equinox, did outstanding in the crash tests. In past years SUVs from Saturn, Honda, and Hyundai were joined by the Lexus RX 300, Acura MDX and the Toyota Highlander as the safest in this category. We also highly recommend the Subaru Forester. However, remember that not every vehicle is  tested every year.

Minivans should always to safe and all of them performed at the top or next to the top in all categories. On the other hand, the greatest risk of death came from driving small sedans, SUVs and compact pick-ups.

Safety Related Features

Children and airbags. These are some rules to follow when driving with children in vehicles that are equipped with air bags. First, never put a rear-facing restraint in the front seat because this puts the child’s head too close to the passenger airbag. Children should always ride in the backseats. If this is impossible, the seat should be placed as far back as possible. Some vehicles, such as the very handy Chrysler/Dodge minivans, have built in child seats and restraints that are the easiest to use. Because of the danger of side impacts, especially from SUVs that have bumpers that override the safety beams required in family cars, it is best to place children in the middle back seat.

The proper use of head restraints. The purpose of a headrest in a car is to prevent the head from being snapped back in a collision and injuring the neck, especially in rear-end collisions. Head restraints should be adjusted, if possible, so that it is directly behind and close to the back of your head. If you are buying a vehicle, make sure they are adjustable.

All or four wheel drive does not improve stopping and, in reality, the extra weight, may cause longer stopping distances. On the other hand, they may provide more stability while driving on slippery ideas. Overall, unless you live where there is significant rain or snowfall the advantages of four-wheel drive are minimal for family travel.

There also have been some question as to the value of antilock brakes that make it possible to steer while applying full pressure on the brakes. We feel that this is because most drivers have never been educated as to how to stop and maneuver their vehicles when they are equipped with ABS. We feel it is necessary to practice with this option and to make sure every driver in the family knows what it feels like when the system starts to pulsate, and how it enables you to steer away from danger. It is absolutely necessary to have this option on slippery roads.

Daylight running lights have detractors, but they make it much easier to see oncoming vehicles regardless of the lighting conditions. Dark cars driving on black paved roads coming out of tree shaded lanes are almost impossible for someone to see when wearing sun glasses. Running lights prevents this. While we are on this subject, please note that in most states it is illegal to use your fog or driving lights unless visibility is limited. These high-powered units create a great deal of glare. Driving with them on just because it is night is a violation in most areas. If you find it necessary to use these lights for night driving we highly recommend you have your eyes tested and that isn’t a joke.

Teenage drivers

Teenage drivers are always a problem because they do not have the experience to drive well. They have quicker reactions, which is sometimes a problem, especially when driving a top heavy SUV. It is very dangerous to have a young driver in one of these because of their poor handling characteristics in reactive situations. This warning also applied to small Jeeps, too.  Teenagers are prone to one-car accidents and rollovers because of their inexperience and reactions. Teenagers are more than twice as likely to be involved in a rollover in SUVs than an older driver. Coupled with this instability is the fact that teens tend to use the power of these vehicles and speed. Adding a distraction such as a cell phone is asking for trouble. If you have to have a SUV the Lexus RX, and Toyota Highlander and 4Runner were involved in less fatal accidents than the others. The brochure is available from

Family conference: We think that large SUVs are very dangerous and not at all environmentally friendly as a whole. Unless you own a farm or ranch where their attributes can be put to good use other vehicles can do a safer job and reduce your maintenance costs and treat the environment a lot better. The worst offender we have found it the Hummer H2 with its 6500 pounds, poor fuel mileage, poor rear visibility, and lack of interior room they are out of their element in town. You might also want to check the Hummer’s low customer satisfaction ratings, too. General Motors, which makes the H2, has a great SUV in the Chevrolet Equinox that we highly recommend. In addition, the Saturn Relay deserves a test. Other than that the Subaru Forest, Lexus RX, Toyota Highlander, and Acura MDX are worth testing and the Lexus and Highlander are available as hybrids to save fuel costs. Big sedans such as the Toyota Avalon, Ford Five Hundred, Chevrolet Impala, Chrysler 300, and others are also well worth a long look. Take your time; your family’s lives may depend on it. We think that your best bet is always going to be a minivan from any of the major manufactures.

Helpful safety links

Top Vehicle Safety Ratings Page

Highway Crash Data

National Highway Safety Safe Car Information

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Public Broadcasting Story on SUV Rollovers

SUV rollovers

Car Safety Seats

Minivan Safety Data

Large link site to safety related data

Links to all manufacture sites

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