WE ARE A SUNSMART MEMBER
The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation is both the major cause of skin cancer and the best source of vitamin D. In Australia, we need to balance the risk of skin cancer from too much sun exposure with maintaining adequate vitamin D levels. Sensible sun protection does not put people at risk of vitamin D deficiency.
Overexposure to UV radiation during childhood and adolescence is known to be a major cause of skin cancer in later life.
. Two in three Australians will develop some form of skin cancer before the age of 70;
. Cancer Council recommends the use of shade as one of the five protection measures for UV radiation protection, which can reduce exposure to UV radiation by about 75%;
. Developing shade is an effective practical option for protecting children and staff against UV radiation.
We understand your child’s individual needs. We understand your needs as a parent.
Sun protection under the SunSmart Policy for Schools
At Little Learners we’ve implemented and expanded the SunSmart Schools Program, which embraces a comprehensive sun protection policy to ensure that all students and staff are protected from all environmental hazards, including skin damage caused by the harmful UV exposure from the sun throughout the year.
Children are protected with adequate and appropriate clothing allowing them to participate in all experiences set up for the day, both indoors and out. This includes protection from damaging levels of UV radiation from the sun whilst at the centre through clothing (like long sleeves shirts and broad brimmed hats), sunscreen and shade (the five ways of slip, slop, slap, seek and slide – see graphic below).
Our centre is designed with an abundance of verandas, shelters, shade-cloth and trees providing shade in the outdoor playgrounds. Staff act as role models, explain and show the best sun protection behaviour, and enforce adequate sun protection at all times, especially during outdoor activities. The SunSmart Policy for Schools is also embedded in our education program through literacy activities, singing songs and play experiences as part of our projects.
When the UV index reaches 3 or higher (common from mid-August to the end of April), a combination of sun protection measures is to be used, even for people who have been diagnosed with a vitamin D deficiency. When the UV index is 2 or below it is normally hats off play to ensure children are getting the exposure to the sun to help them develop Vitamin D.
Please discuss this with your Lead Educator or the Director if you would like to know more.
Slip! Slop! Slap! Seek! Slide! during sun protection times
The 5S actions recommended by the national SunSmart Schools Program:
Sun Protection and Babies
Cancer Council Australia recommends keeping babies out of the sun as much as possible for the first 12 months when the UV is 3 or above. Where this is not possible, educators should minimise exposure by:
· planning the day’s activities outside the peak UV times (10am-3pm);
· cover as much skin as possible with loose fitting clothes and wraps made from closely woven fabrics, and a hat that protects the baby’s face, neck and ears;
· make use of available shade or create shade for the pram, stroller or play area (the material should cast a dark shadow and the baby will still need to be protected from scattered and reflected UV radiation);
· ensure that a patch test is applied to babies to ensure no allergy exists before sunscreen is applied;
· apply a broad spectrum, water resistant sunscreen to small areas of the skin that cannot be protected by clothing, remembering to reapply the sunscreen every two hours or more often if it is wiped or washed off;
· The widespread use of sunscreen on babies under 6 months old is not recommended.
There is no evidence that using sunscreen on babies is harmful, although some babies may develop minor skin irritation. Sunscreen milks or creams for sensitive skin are less likely to irritate the skin. As with all products, use of any sunscreen should cease if any unusual reaction occurs.
1. Armstrong BK. How sun exposure causes skin cancer: an epidemiological perspective. In: Hill D, Elwood JM, English DR, eds. Prevention of Skin Cancer. Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2004, pp. 89-116.
2. Staples M, Elwood M, Burton R, Williams J, Marks R, Giles
G. Non-melanoma skin cancer in Australia: the 2002 national survey and trends since 1985. Medical Journal of Australia 2006; 184 (1): 6-10.
3. Parsons PG, Neale R, Wolski P, Green A. The shady side of solar protection. Medical Journal of Australia 1998; 168 (7): 327- 330.
4. During this time of year, most people make enough vitamin D because UV levels are high and more time is spent outdoors. During these months, most people need just a few minutes of mid-morning or mid-afternoon sun exposure for their vitamin D needs, and should be extra cautious in the middle of the day when UV levels are most intense.