Who Needs Sun Protection?
Every child and adult needs sun protection. Melanin is skin pigment found naturally in humans that may protect the skin from harmful UV rays. While the amount of melanin varies based on how light or dark a person's natural skin colour is, we all need to protect ourselves from excessive tanning or sunburns that cause skin damage.
So here are some useful tips to use for yourself and children in your care:
1. Avoid the Strongest Rays of the Day
Try to stay in the shade when the sun is at its strongest (usually from 10am to 4pm in the Southern hemisphere). If kids are in the sun during this time, apply and reapply SPF30 or higher sunscreen — even if they're just playing in the backyard. Most sun damage happens from exposure during day-to-day activities, not just from sun-based activities like visiting the beach. Remember that even on cloudy, cool, or overcast days, UV rays reach the earth. This "invisible sun" can cause unexpected sunburn and skin damage.
2. Not All Sunscreens Are Made or Applied Equally
You will want to look for SPF30 or higher sunscreen for sun protection in Australia, that is broad spectrum and water resistant. Apply generously onto clean, dry skin at least 20 minutes before going outside. Reapply ever two hours, and use with other forms of protection.
Our 'I'm Sun Smart' Acrylic Mirror is perfect for encouraging children to practice putting on sunscreen and other protective clothing.
3. Making 'Sun Smart' Routines
Children react positively to structure and positive routines, so set up a dedicated area for them to practice being 'Sun Smart'. We've set up a little station in the image above with our Suncream Station signage alongside instructions for applying sunscreen and related objects. You could place protective clothing like hats and sunglasses in this area also, so children are encouraged to do all the parts of 'Slip, Slop and Slap'.
What initiatives or activities have you done with children to remind them of the importance of being sun smart? We would love to hear about this below!