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  • Why is sun protection in childhood so critical?

    Why is sun protection in childhood so critical?
    19 March 2018

    Did you know melanoma is the most common cancer in young Australians aged 12–24 years, and UV exposure during childhood and adolescence is a critical factor in determining future skin cancer risk? Damage from UV radiation is cumulative and irreversible, so it’s easy to see why protecting children from overexposure is so important. 

    The role of schools in sun protection 

    With children at school five days a week, during the high-risk UV radiation times of the day, schools play a vital role in not only reducing a child’s exposure to UV radiation, but also in teaching sun protective behaviours, that last a lifetime.

    However, reducing a child’s skin cancer risk requires a team effort between families, and schools and early childhood centres. By role modelling sun protective behaviours, and equipping your child with sun protective clothing, a hat and SPF30 or higher broad spectrum, water resistant sunscreen every day when the UV is 3 and above, parents can be proud of actively making a difference to their child’s risk of skin cancer.  There’s no better than that!

    Is your child protected at school? 

    Did you know all Department of Education and Child Development (DECD) services are required to have a sun protection policy in place in terms one, three and four? 

    Now in its 20th year, Cancer Council SA’s free SunSmart program operates in over 720 South Australian schools and early childhood centres, reducing the skin cancer risk of over 110,000 children. Is your child one of them?

    To see if your child’s school or early childhood centre is SunSmart, head to http://www.sunsmart.org.au, and select ‘Primary schools and Out of School Hours Care’ or ‘Early childhood centres’—and if they aren’t a member, raise your concerns with your school teacher, principal or Governing Council—we’d love them to join! Information on our free program, including how to join, sample policies and policy guidelines can be found here

    Need an extra incentive to act now?  In addition to receiving a SunSmart fence sign and range of free resources, all schools, OSHC services and early childhood centres who join before 30 April also receive a free 1L sunscreen!

    Not sure how to find out the daily sun protection times?  
    Download the free SunSmart app, or go to www.myuv.com.au.

    Rebecca Hayward 
    Community Education Project Officer 
    Cancer Council SA 

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