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  • 3 ways to beat the back to school skin damage

    3 ways to beat the back to school skin damage
    01 February 2017

    Schools, kindergartens and Early Learning Centres (ELCs) all over SA are buzzing this week as students jump into the adventures of 2017. For parents, it can be a rollercoaster of emotions — excitement about all that lies ahead and nerves about ensuring their loved ones have all they need. Importantly, will SLIP, SLOP, SLAP, SEEK and SLIDE be a part of the everyday practices to protect their children’s delicate skin against damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays?

    1. Here’s what you should know
    Sun protection goes further than a ‘no hat, no play’ rule. Your school or ELC should also have these things in place in Terms 1, 3 and 4 and when the UV is 3 and above at other times:

    • having sun protective uniforms or dress code 
    • encouraging the use of SPF 30 or higher, broad spectrum, water resistant sunscreen
    • having adequate shaded areas
    • rescheduling activities before the middle of the day when the UV level is at its highest. 

    Many people mistakenly rely on temperature to determine sun protection when, in fact, it’s the UV Index and sun protection times we should be looking at. When the UV level is 3 and above, it’s strong enough to damage unprotected skin so using sun protection is vital in Terms 1, 3 and 4 at a minimum!

    2. Check the procedures
    Check in with your children’s school, kindergarten or ELC and ask about their policies and procedures to ensure your littlies will be protected in Terms 1, 3 and 4 and when the UV is 3 and above. You may also like to check whether:

    • you need to send your toddler or pre-schooler in tops with collars and longer sleeves
    • there is a broad brimmed, bucket or legionnaire hat that you’ll need to pack
    • sunscreen is provided in each classroom or if you’re expected to supply your own
    • educators regularly remind children to apply sunscreen or if you need to speak to your children about reapplying sunscreen
    • there is enough shade in the yard for outdoor playtimes.

    The Department for Education and Child Development (DECD) require all government primary and secondary schools, kindergartens and ELCs have a sun protection policy operating in Terms 1, 3 and 4 and when the UV level is 3 and above on other days. You can check whether this is followed by your school or ELC by contacting the principal or director.

    3. What can you do?
    So far this year, UV levels have been peaking at around 15. This is a huge five times the minimum level needed to do permanent skin damage. 

    Knowing when to protect yourself and your kids is easy! Download the free SunSmart app today

    Your school or ELC can also download a free SunSmart widget to their webpage.

    So remember, whenever the UV is 3 and aboveSLIP, SLOP, SLAP, SEEK and SLIDE.

    For more information about protecting your children’s skin or to check your school or ELC’s Cancer Council SunSmart status visit www.sunsmart.org.au, email sunsmart@cancersa.org.au or call the SunSmart Team on 08 8291 4356.

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