Being SunSmart means a balance between sun protection to lower the risk of skin cancer and sun exposure for the production and maintenance of vitamin D. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is both the major cause of skin cancer and the best natural source of vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for the development of strong bones and muscles.
Overexposure to UV radiation from the sun causes skin damage, with childhood and adolescence being critical times when this exposure is more likely to contribute to skin cancer later in life. Babies and children are often in child care or at kindergarten during the peak UV times during the day, making it essential for early childhood centres to not only have practices in place to protect the children in their care, but also to educate and role model the importance of sun protection.
SunSmart Early Childhood Program
A SunSmart Early Childhood Centre has a policy and practices in place that reduce the risk of skin damage and skin cancer amongst children and educators at the centre. Cancer Council SA recommends implementing a sun protection policy during terms 1, 3 and 4 (or from 1 August through to 30 April for those centres who don't operate on school terms).
A SunSmart Early Childhood Centre is one that:
- has a comprehensive sun protection policy that meets a minimum standard covering the areas of education, behaviour and the environment
- provides, or is working towards, adequate shade facilities
- ensures children and staff are well protected when the UV radiation level is 3 and above, particularly during peak UV times of the day
- teaches, role models and reinforces positive sun protection behaviours
- agrees to undertake three-yearly policy reviews with Cancer Council SA to ensure policy and practices stay up to date with the national standard
SunSmart Early Childhood Centre members enjoy the benefits of:
- acknowledgment of their commitment to the health and wellbeing of the children in their care through signage and Cancer Council endorsement of their policy and practices
- free teaching resources
- being kept up to date with the latest information and recommended practice
- special offers including 25 per cent discount on sunscreen purchases