Top Tips for being Sun-Safe this Summer!
Sun burn can be very painful and dangerous for children who have not had proper sun safety precautions implemented whilst in the outdoors. Exposure to UV radiation in children can also intensify their risk of developing cancer in their later years as they grow. By implementing a best-practice Sun Protection Policy and practices within the early childhood education and care services children will learn from an early age the importance of being sun safe and how this can benefit their health.
Incorporating Sun Safe practices into the curriculum:
There are many ways to engage and educate children on the importance of sun safe practices. As mentioned above, leading by example and role modeling practices is a crucial tool to ensure that children are able to understand the importance of sun safety. Educators can ensure that sun safe practices are embedded into their curriculum and daily discussions throughout all times of the year.
- Visual tools are a great way to remind children of the importance of sun safety. This can be through art works & posters displayed, sequencing activities and visuals
- Create sun safety stations in your foyer, have a chart that can be easily marked off to ensure that all children have had sunscreen applied. A station in the room is a great way for children to develop independence in taking ownership of their own health and safety.
- When planning outdoor events at the service, educators should carry additional sunscreen and hats whilst out on excursions.
For sunscreen to work effectively, it is required that it be applied 20 minutes before going outdoors, water resistant 30+SPF sunscreen is highly recommended. Educators should ensure that sunscreen is applied every 2 hours following the first application. Events held outdoors at the centre should have consideration for shaded areas, water supply, sunscreen application and hats should be worn. Educators should monitor shade spaces and rotate experiences throughout the day to maximize opportunities for shade protection.
Suitable times for outdoor play:
During daylight savings it is recommended by the Cancer Council that during the months of October to March to minimize outdoor activity between the hours of 11am until 3pm. It is recommended that sun protective practices during these months are always practiced throughout the day whilst engaging in outdoor experiences. Through the months of April to September, educators and children can engage in activities in the outdoor environment at any time of the day. Sun safe practices should be implemented during the hours of 10am until 2pm during these months. It is recommended to always ensure that the UV Index is checked and that sun safe discussions are occurring to ensure continuity throughout the year.
It is important to ensure that families are involved in the implementation of sun safe practices at the service. Centres can share their sun safety policy through their newsletters so that parents can familiarize themselves with it. During policy reviews, centres should also involve families in the review process and encourage feedback and input.
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