30 March 2017
Cancer Council SA is urging schools and early childhood centres to ensure their sun protection practices are in line with guidelines from the Department of Education and Child Development (DECD).
The updated ‘Sun Protection & Inclement Weather Procedure’ aligns with national best practice guidelines and recommends that all DECD primary and secondary schools, and early childhood education and care services have a sun protection policy in place in terms 1, 3 and 4 and when the UV is 3 and above at other times.
The procedure states that each site must have their own sun protection policy and Cancer Council SA encourages sites to ensure the use of sun protective hats and clothing, areas of shade outdoors and sunscreen application are included as a minimum.
Cancer Council SA Chief Executive Lincoln Size said sun protection is vital and is much more than no hat, no play.
“Skin damage from exposure to UV is cumulative and evidence shows that exposure to UV radiation during childhood and adolescence largely determines a person’s lifetime skin cancer risk.
It’s really important that students protect their skin but also learn more about UV radiation and the risks associated with skin damage, including skin cancer.”
Despite the cooler weather in South Australia during term 3, Mr Size says children are still at risk of skin damage.
“UV levels are consistent across the state and the danger is not determined by temperature. Incorrect assumptions that cooler and overcast weather means sun protection is not needed is putting children at risk as skin damage can occur even without any sign of a tan or sunburn.”
With two in every three people diagnosed with skin cancer before the age of 70, Mr Size hopes the educators in the region will take advantage of free template policies from Cancer Council SA’s SunSmart Team and get on board the National SunSmart Program if they aren’t already. The program is available free of charge to support all public and private education sites across the state.
“Schools and early childhood centres play a big part in instilling SunSmart practices early in a child’s life and we look forward to providing the resources and advice to ensure children of all ages are protected when outdoors.”
The SunSmart Team are able to provide assistance in creating or updating policies and can provide free curriculum and promotional resources.
To contact Cancer Council SA’s SunSmart team phone 08 8291 4356 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.