Being SunSmart as easy as ABC

Monday 26 September, 2011

SunSmart is delighted to announce that ABC Learning Centres across Victoria are leading the way in UV protection with 100% of centres now fully registered members of the SunSmart program.

SunSmart Manager Sue Heward said: "We are delighted to see 100% participation rate across the 175 ABC Learning Centres in Victoria.

"As SunSmart members, all Victorian ABC Learning Centres have a SunSmart policy in place to ensure children and staff have a healthy UV exposure balance - one that minimises the risk of skin and eye damage, sunburn and skin cancer and allows some sun exposure for vitamin D. Obviously this time of the year its all about sun protection."

Over 30 years after slip, slop, slap launched in Victoria the SunSmart schools program in this state has grown and today almost 80% of early childhood services in Victoria are members of the program - the highest participation rate in the country.

Nikki Miers, GoodStart Senior Operations Officer, said: "We have made a great effort to ensure the children in our care have a healthy sun exposure balance. Having a SunSmart sign on the front fence is a great way to acknowledge to children, families, educators and the wider community that we are committed to this very important health issue."

Ms Heward said skin cancer prevention is important and effective at any age but being SunSmart at a young age is crucial. Given overexposure to the sun's UV rays when you are a child can have a major impact on a person's skin cancer risk, ABC is playing a big role in helping to reduce future skin cancer rates.

"We encourage all early childhood services who have yet to participate in the SunSmart program to follow ABC's lead. It is important to encourage sun protection practices at a young age so children can develop responsible sun habits and behaviours," she said.

From September to April in Victoria, UV levels are at damaging levels. The sun's UV cannot be seen or felt, so it is crucial that whenever the UV is three and above, regardless of the temperature, children are well protected.

SunSmart tips for early childhood services

Encourage staff and children to get into the habit of checking the SunSmart UV Alert every day. The UV Alert lets you know when sun protection is required making it easier than ever for you to be SunSmart this school year. During the sun protection times, use a combination of the following five steps. Never rely on just one.

  1. Slip on some sun-protective clothing - that covers as much skin as possible
  2. slop on SPF30+ sunscreen - make sure it is broad spectrum and water resistant.
  3. Slap on a hat - that protects your face, head, neck and ears
  4. Seek shade
  5. Slide on some sunglasses - make sure they meet Australian Standards.

The SunSmart UV Alert is available at www.sunsmart.com.au, in the weather section of daily newspapers and on the free SunSmart application for iPhones at the iTunes App Store.

Services can also access the free Sunsmart UV Alert widget from www.sunsmart.com.au and add it to their website homepage. The widget shows the daily weather, temperature and UV level specific to the site's location including details about the times sun protection is required each day.

Updated: 26 Sep, 2011