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With thousands of South Aussie kids heading back to school this week, Cancer Council SA is urging kids and parents to pack sunscreen in the school bag and slip, slop, slap, seek and slide.

Australia has the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world, with melanoma the most common cancer amongst Australians aged 12-24.

With Cancer Council data showing that 70 per cent of schools encouraged students to come to school wearing sunscreen, Cancer Council SA Community Education Coordinator Diem Tran says that parents play an important role in protecting their children from harmful UV damage.

“We know that sunscreen is most effective when applied 20 minutes before heading outside and reapplied every two hours throughout the day.”

“With school heading back this week, our message to parents is to incorporate sunscreen into your family’s morning routine, just like eating breakfast or packing your school bag and encourage kids to reapply throughout the day, such as before recess, lunch and again after school.”

Cancer Council research shows 52 per cent of SA schools encouraged parents to supply sunscreen for their children. Ms Tran recommends parents speak to their school and find out if they need to provide their child with sunscreen for daily use at school.

“It’s great to check in with your school or after school care program to see if they provide sunscreen for students to reapply, or if you need to pack sunscreen in your child’s school bag,” she said.

“With the UV reaching 3 and above throughout Term 1, 3 and 4, we’re urging South Aussie families to kick-start 2021 with positive sun protection behaviours that will last throughout the year,” she said.

Ms Tran also reminded parents to encourage their children to slip on their sun protective school uniform aiming for at least elbow length sleeves and knee length bottoms, slap on a shady hat, slide on wraparound sunnies and seek shade when playing outside.

“We know that Sunscreen isn’t a suit of armour and is most effective when used as a part of the five sun protection measures,” she said.

“Combined, these measures will make sure that children are protected from skin damage and future skin cancer risk and enjoy outdoor activities safely.”

For more information and tips and tricks on sunscreen application, visit the Cancer Council SA website.

For more information on the SunSmart Schools and Early Childhood Program visit the SunSmart website.

Notes to editor:

  • Skin cancer accounts for the largest number of cancers diagnosed in Australia each year.
  • Melanoma is the most common cancer in Australians aged 12 – 24.
  • UV is responsible for 99 per cent of all non-melanoma and 95 per cent of melanoma skin cancers.
  • At least two in three people are diagnosed with skin cancer before age 70.
  • Cancer Council recommends sun protection whenever the UV is 3 and above.
  • To minimise skin damage, you should protect your skin in five ways when UV is 3 and above:
    • Slip on some sun protective clothing
    • Slop on SPF 30, or higher, broad spectrum sunscreen
    • Slap on a shady hat that protects the head, face, ears and neck
    • Seek shade whenever possible
    • Slide on some wraparound sunglasses