The sunny weather can go a long way to bring a smile to everyone’s face. After all, with picnics, playing outdoors and splashing at the beach all part of a warm, sunny day, what’s not to love!
With lots of fun in the sun to look forward to as Australia’s warmest months approach, it’s important to remember to stay safe at the same time.
Educating children and creating good habits in the warm weather and sun can protect them from sun damage and associated risks over the course of their lives. Having a strong SunSmart policy at your centre keeps children safe in summer and able to enjoy the sunshine safely. Sun protection guidelines are also a requirement under the National Quality Standard, Quality Area 2: Children’s health and safety. ACECQA has a great document to inform your sun protection policy, outlining key areas to cover. Consider specific shade areas, check UV levels, what SPF is used at your service, where hats are kept, and so on. Establish who is responsible for sun protection and regular monitoring.
As well as following policies, get the children involved and engaged in being safe in the sun. Bonkers has a super fun song to help everyone remember how to stay safe in the sun. Click here to download the 5 most popular Bonkers’ transitional songs including ‘Slip, Slop, Slap’!
As well as slipping, slopping, and slapping, here are a few other points to remember on hot days to ensure you deliver the best care to children in summer.
1. Stay hydrated
Hydration may seem obvious, but when children are busy playing, regular sips of water can be forgotten. Ensure a water bottle or cup of fresh, cool water is always within children’s reach during the heat. Make time for regular drink breaks to be completely certain each child is drinking adequate fluid in the heat.
2. Don’t overdress
Children often won’t be bothered by discomfort as much as we adults are. If a child has a jumper or extra clothing on, they may not realise they are overheating. And even if they do, they may not think to remove a layer. Keep an eye on how the children are dressed during the hot months and encourage families to consider natural fabrics like cotton, as it breathes.
3. Stay cool
We all know how much children love their outdoor time, but sometimes it is simply too hot. On days of extreme heat, aim to keep children entertained indoors, or at the very least keep the outdoor play in the shade. The cool mist from spray bottles is a novel way to cool children down, in addition to air conditioning or fans.
Have fun in the sun and stay safe, everyone!