It’s starting to heat up here in Victoria, Australia. And though it’s lovely to be out in the warm sun, it’s a good time to remind us all how to protect ourselves and our children from the sun.
Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. Children should not be overexposed to ultraviolet radiation. We also need to take extra special care with infants. Cancer Council Australia recommends that babies under 12 months should be kept away from direct sunlight when UV levels reach 3 or above.
Cancer Council Australia has a wide range of resources to help families work out how to best protect their children and babies from overexposure to UV radiation. Here are some of the tips they recommend.
Check the daily local sun protection times: The sun protection times are those times that the Bureau of Meteorology forecasts the UV levels will reach 3 or higher. Sun protection is recommended during these times. You can access the local sun protection times via the Cancer Council’s free SunSmart app, or at their website.
Infants: Babies should be kept out of direct sun or well protected from UV radiation by clothing, hats and shade. Widespread use of sunscreen isn’t recommended.
Slip on appropriate clothing: Children should wear loose-fitting clothing that covers as much as the skin as possible.
Slop on sunscreen: SPF30 or higher broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen should be applied at least 20 minutes before going outside. Make sure you store your sunscreen in a cool place, and it’s not out of date.
Slap on an appropriate hat: A hat which protects the child’s face, neck and ears is best.
Slide on some sunglasses: Close-fitting, wrap-around sunglasses that meet Australian Standard 1067 are best. They should cover as much of the eye area as possible.
Find some shade: Children should be encouraged to do their outdoor activities under the shade. Trees, shade sails, umbrellas or gazebos and patios are all good shade options.
Kids on Rennie’s draft policy for sun protection incorporates all of the above tips. Whilst our building is not yet complete, we intend on including lots of shade in our outdoor area so that children are well protected from the sun’s rays. Our educational program will include information about sun protection, and we aim to ensure our educators and staff role model sun smart behaviour.