Parents are great at making sure their kids are protected from the sun – but they aren’t as good when it comes to protecting themselves.
A recent national Cancer Council study highlighted that while parents are making sure their children are protected, they aren’t being as SunSmart.
Of the 2,154 adults surveyed, the vast majority of fathers (81%) reported that their young child’s skin was regularly protected from the sun when outdoors, but less than half (44%) regularly protected their own skin from the sun.
Head of SunSmart Heather Walker said it was important for fathers to think about themselves too.
“It’s great to see that dads are protecting their children from UV, but they’re not always as careful when it comes to their own skin. These statistics are concerning because men are more likely to get and die from skin cancer than women,” Ms Walker said.
In Victoria, sun protection is required when UV levels reach three or above and this usually occurs from mid-August until the end of April.
John being SunSmart with his two children.
Father of two young children, John Colquhoun, aged 39, said the findings were a wake-up call.
“Skin cancer can affect any one of us so we need to do everything we can to prevent it,” he said.
“I want to be a good role model so they can see first-hand that the good habits they’re learning now are habits for life.”
Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. In Victoria, melanoma is the fourth most common cancer, while non-melanoma skin cancer is the most common. Each year more people die from skin cancer than from transport accidents, despite it being one of the most preventable cancers.
Thanks to people like you, thousands of lives have been saved since Cancer Council’s prevention program, SunSmart began over 30 years ago. Rates of skin cancer are declining in generations who have grown up with the SunSmart campaigns and messages of Slip! Slop! Slap! but this will only continue if the community is reminded of the importance of sun protection.
The good news? Most skin cancers can be prevented by using good sun protection.
Use the free SunSmart app to find out when sun protection is recommended for your location and current UV levels.
During sun protection times (when UV levels are 3 or higher) make sure your kids – and you:
• Slip on clothing that covers as much skin as possible
• Slop on SPF30 (or higher) broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen. Putting enough on? Watch this video to see how much you really need.
• Slap on a broad-brimmed hat that shades the face, ears and neck
• Seek shade
• Slide on sunglasses that meet the Australian Standard for UV protection