The health and safety of children is our number one priority in childcare, and in summer we need to be extra vigilant in some areas. With the weather heating up along with the UV rating, this means it’s time to get on top of your children’s sun safety!
Most of us remember the SunSmart saying Slip, Slop, Slap, but did you know that it is now Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide?!
This sun protection message from SunSmart is a great way to remember some key ways to stay safe in the sun:
- Slip on sun protective clothing that covers as much of your body as possible.
- Slop on SPF 30 or higher broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen, at least 20 minutes before sun exposure. Reapply every two hours when outdoors or more often if perspiring or swimming.
- Slap on a broad-brimmed hat that shades your face, neck and ears.
- Seek shade.
- Slide on sunglasses.
On top of these sun-specific messages, adequate water intake should be a priority too. Dehydration can happen easily and quickly in children, especially when being active in the heat. Encourage regular drink breaks to ensure all children are staying hydrated.
Understanding the importance of being SunSmart
When the sun is shining and the sky is blue, all everyone wants to do is go outside and enjoy! It can be easy to overlook sun safety when caught up in the moment, but being vigilant about the sun is vital. Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world and it kills thousands of people each year. Sun safety education protects children’s immediate health and could even save their lives in the future.
While we do need some sun in order to absorb vitamin D for strong bones and overall health, a few minutes of daily sun exposure from August through to April is enough.
It should be noted that doesn’t have to be hot for the sun to be damaging. The UV radiation can be high when the weather is cool or overcast. Keep on top of UV levels via the Australian Bureau of Meteorology website‘s dedicated page.
Create a Sun Safety Station
An easy way to keep your sun safety policy at front of mind is by having a SunSmart station at your centre. This is ideally near a door to your outside space and can be the spot where sunscreen, water bottles, hats and sunglasses are kept.
Of course, when it’s very hot it’s best to head straight to the shade or create some indoor fun out of the sun.
If you haven’t got a SunSmart policy at your centre, or you want to update yours, this sample policy via the SunSmart website is invaluable.
Not only will teaching SunSmart behaviours keep children safe now, but it will educate them on how to be safe in the sun for life.
Enjoy Sunshine and keep singing
Encourage children to apply sunscreen themselves and make it fun! Use the opportunity to teach children sun safety, build their independence skills and enhance children’s learning through transitional times (QA 1.1.3).
To access 5 Bonkers Beat Transitional Songs including one of the most important and popular, ‘Slip, Slop, Slap’, click HERE.