School is back this week and Cancer Council SA is urging young South Australians to pack their SunSmart gear in the school bag and Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide from Term 3.
Cancer Council’s SunSmart Schools and Early Childhood Program has been running in South Australia for more than 20 years.
Currently, the program protects 109,000 South Australian children every year, including students who attend Samaritan College’s three campuses (two primary and one secondary) in Whyalla.
Samaritan Principal Damien Judd says the school is a proud SunSmart member and will once again be enforcing SunSmart measures when students return this week.
“Going through the process to be recognised as a SunSmart School has taught the college updated methods of approaching things, new procedures to look at and certainly new areas to focus on.
“It can take on a variety of methods—from simply teaching it in class lessons to explaining why our hats are on for our all-day carnival in the middle of April, even though the temperature is relatively low.
“There has been a noticeable shift in seeing students and staff understanding why we do things to be SunSmart as opposed to simply blindly putting on hats every day.
“It is also reflected in why we moved, several years ago, from having hats on all year around to having hats on for certain days and at certain times of the year. Or why events are held earlier in the day at certain times of the year or why recess/lunch are certain lengths and so on.
“Samaritan is not perfect in the way it implements this policy but our intent to ensure our students are SunSmart, together with Cancer Council SA, remains strong.”
Cancer Council SA Community Education Project Officer Rachael Biddulph encourages all schools, students and parents to be mindful of UV levels rising as term 3 takes off.
“UV and heat are not related, and even on cool or cloudy days, like those experienced in the beginning of term 3 has the potential for significant skin damage,” she said.
“It’s important that schools follow the lead of Samaritan College and the thousands of early learning centres, schools and OSHC services across the country that are leading the charge by being SunSmart and protecting their students when they return to school this week.
“Enforcing a no hat, play in the shade rule, or introducing a sunscreen reminder before outdoor play might seem a small gesture, but will make a huge difference in the long term.
“Exposure to UV radiation during childhood and adolescence is a known critical determinant of future skin cancer risk, which is why protecting children, and educating them on why it matters is so important. It also ensures that young people develop good sun protection habits that continue throughout adulthood.”
If you or someone you know are returning to school this week make sure you protect your skin in five ways:
- Slip on some clothing that covers as much skin as possible; it’s one of the best barriers between your skin and the sun.
- Slop on a SPF 30 or higher, broad spectrum sunscreen 20 minutes before going outdoors, and reapply every 2 hours.
- Slap on a hat that provides protection to your face, neck and ears.
- Seek shade when outdoors. Staying under shelters and dense trees can reduce your overall exposure to UV radiation.
- Slide on sunglasses that are close fitting, wraparound and cover as much of the eye area as possible.
To find out more about the Program or to check the SunSmart status of any South Australian early childhood centre, school or OSHC, visit www.sunsmart.org.au, contact the SunSmart Team on 08 8291 4265 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.