Introduction

Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. Research has indicated that young children and babies have sensitive skin that places them at particular risk of sunburn and skin damage. Exposure during the first 15 years of life can greatly increase the risk of developing skin cancer in later life. Early Childhood Services play a major role in minimising a child’s UV exposure as children attend during times when UV radiation levels are highest.

Goals

  • Our preschool will follow best practice guidelines to protect children, family members, educators and staff from the damaging effects of sun exposure.
  • Our preschool will become a SunSmart service.

Our sun protection strategies are:

Outdoor Activities

The staff understand the danger of UV levels of 3 and above and due to the location of the preschool in Northern NSW will assume consistent sun protection strategies year round, even through the months April to September when UV levels are not as high. The preschool program will be planned to minimise time outdoors in the sun between 10am and 2pm (11.00am and 3.00pm daylight savings time) each day to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun during harmful times.

All sun protection measures (including recommended outdoor times, shade, hat, clothing and sunscreen) will be considered when planning excursions.

Shade

The preschool will provide and maintain adequate shade for outdoor play and endeavours to maximise shade by the provision of shade structures and shade trees. Priority is given to areas where children play for extended periods eg. sandpit, digging patch and fixed play equipment. All outdoor activities are planned to occur in the shade. Shade options can include a combination of portable, natural and built shade. Regular shade assessments should be conducted to monitor existing shade structures and assist in planning for additional shade.

Hats

Educators and children are required to wear a sun safe hat, which has been approved by the Cancer Council and protects the face, neck, ears and crown of the head.

Educators, staff and children are required to wear sun safe hats that protect their face, neck and ears. A sun safe hat is:

  • Legionnaire hat.
  • Bucket hat with a deep crown and brim size of at least 5cm (adults 6cm).
  • Broad brimmed hat with a brim size of at least 6cm (adults 7.5cm).

These will then remain at preschool for the duration of the child’s enrolment.

Please note: Baseball caps or visors do not provide enough sun protection and therefore are not recommended.

Children without a sunsafe hat will be asked to play in an area protected from the sun (eg. under shade or on verandah) or can be provided with a spare hat.  Children at this preschool will be required to wear a hat year round when playing outdoors to ensure appropriate sun protection.

Clothing

When outdoors, staff and children will wear sunsafe clothing that covers as much of the skin (especially the shoulders, back and stomach) as possible. This includes wearing

  • Loose fitting shirts and dresses with sleeves, collars or covered neckline;
  • Longer style skirts, shorts and trousers

Children who are not wearing sunsafe clothing can be provided with spare clothing.

Please note: Midriff, crop or singlet tops do not provide enough sun protection and therefore are not recommended.

Sunscreen

All staff and children will apply SPF 30+ broad spectrum water resistant sunscreen 20 minutes before going outdoors and reapply every 2 hours. Sunscreen is provided by the preschool and is stored in a cold, dry place with the use by date monitored regularly.

If for some reason a child cannot wear sunscreen s/he will be required to cover up with a long- sleeved top with collar and long pants and hat. Ideally sunscreen should be applied 20 minutes before going outside.

Role Modelling

Educators and staff will act as role models and demonstrate sun safe behaviour by:

  • Wearing a sun safe hat (see Hats).
  • Wearing sun safe clothing (see Clothing).
  • Applying SPF30+ broad-spectrum water-resistant sunscreen 20 minutes before going outdoors.
  • Using and promoting shade.
  • Wearing sunglasses that meet the Australian Standard1067 (optional).

Families and visitors are encouraged to role model positive sun safe behaviour.

Education and Information

Sun protection will be incorporated regularly into learning programs. Sun protection information will be promoted to staff, families and visitors. Further information is available from the Cancer Council website  www.cancercouncil.com.au/sunsmart.

Policy Availability

The sun protection policy, updates and requirements (including hat, clothing and sunscreen) will be made available to staff, families and visitors. Parents will be informed on enrolment and through policy reviews in newsletters and on noticeboards.

Review

Management and staff will monitor and review the effectiveness of the sun protection policy regularly. The preschool’s sun protection policy must be submitted every two years to the Cancer Council for review to ensure continued best practice.

The preschool agrees to enforce the above Sun Protection policy in line with the Sunsmart Early Childhood Program recommendations and to inform the Cancer Council NSW of any changes to policy and practices.

Refer to the Cancer Council’s guidelines and website www.cancercouncil.com.au/sunsmart for further information.

Evaluation

The preschool demonstrates SunSmart behaviours with the wearing of suitable clothing and application of sunscreen.

– Sun exposure is limited throughout the day in accordance with Cancer Council recommendations.

–  The educational program incorporates sun safety awareness experience.

Sources

Statutory Legislation & Considerations

  • Children (Education and Care Services National Law Application) Act 2010
  • Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011