TAMPA (FOX 13) - Mix summer heat, children and water and you're bound to get fun. The city of Tampa's kid-friendly water parks are designed for safety. But exposure to the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays puts children at risk, making sunscreen a must.
"I always try to pack it,” mom Kelly Urbizu said. “I keep an extra in the car just in case, but I'm learning I have to spray them down before I leave the house."
Now, thanks to some strategically placed dispensers, applying sunscreen at Tampa's public water parks and pools just got easier.
"I was just using my own sunscreen for my kids and I realized they have that free sunscreen," offered another mom, Berenis Marrero, who was pleased to see the dispensers.
"We know that 50 percent of all skin cancers can be prevented with the proper use of sunscreen," explained Laura Seavey, the practice safe skin manager for Impact Melanoma.
The non-profit donated 33 dispensers to the city. There's 2,000 of them in 50 states across the country.
"We work with municipalities, public health centers, hospitals to provide sunscreen. Our mantra is to slather the U.S. in sunscreen," Seavey continued.
Tampa City Councilman Harry Cohen says it costs the city $25,000 to install and refill the dispensers.
"I see this as being a public health initiative. This is about raising awareness, reminding people they need to wear sunscreen out in the sun," he said.
Cohen hopes to defray costs as the program expands to other venues. "We will do so by getting a sponsor, a public-private partnership, as you will, that will provide the sunscreen in exchange for either advertising or public service announcement on the dispenser itself."
It’s an investment designed to reduce a far to common reality in the Sunshine State.
"Cancer really affects everybody,” Cohen added. “It affects all of our families, it affects our friends. It something that all of us have had a personal brush with.”