Early Learning Centres: Be Sun Smart – Know Which Guidelines We Follow
We know much more about how harmful the sun and UV rays can be to our skin. If you think about all the extra precautions we have been advised to take as adults, then it only goes to emphasise the care we need to extend to our tender little ones. Melanin is the skin pigment that determines our skin colour, and it is true that darker complexions with more pigment are less sensitive to burning in the harmful UV rays. But whatever shade of human we happen to be, we are all at risk from the cancerous mutations these rays can cause. Luckily early learning centres are issued with many helpful guidelines to keep us all on track.
The Cancer Council NSW provide 10 SunSmart recommendations for implementing sun protection policies in NSW childcare centres, and the Cherry Bridge Station Centres adhere to all of these strictly. Below is a summary of their requirements:
1. Scheduling Outdoor Activity Times:
Between October and March (daylight saving time) try to minimise all outdoor activity between 11:00AM and 03:00PM. Use sun protection if outdoors.
Between April and September, outdoor activity is permitted at any time, but sun protection is required between 10:00AM and 02:00PM (unless the UV index is below 3).
2. Shade Provision:
Outdoor activities must be planned in shaded areas. These must be moved throughout the day to take advantage of the shade. Centres will have suitable options for shade (built-in portable, natural) and all will be regularly assessed.
3. Sun Hats:
Any old hat will not do here. ‘Sun-safe’ hats include: Bucket hats with a deep crown and brim of at least 5cm, broad-brimmed hats with a brim size of at least 6cm or legionnaire style hats (baseball caps and visors are not ‘sun-safe’ hats).
Children without a sun-safe hat will have to play in the shade, unless they can be providedwith a spare!
‘Sun-safe’ clothing should cover as much of the skin as possible: Loose fitting shirts and dresses with sleeves and high necklines, and longer style skirts and shorts to cover the thighs.
Crop-tops and singlets are not considered ‘sun-safe’.
Again, children without sun-safe clothingwill be encouraged to play in the shade, unless they can be providedwith spare protective clothing.
Children must wear SPF 30+ broad-spectrum water-resistant sunscreen, to be applied 20 minutes before going outdoors and reapplied every 2 hours. Sunscreen must be stored in a cool, dry place and the expiry date monitored.
6. Baby Sun Care:
Babies under 1 year should never be exposed to direct sunlight, they should remain in the shade and still be equipped with sun-safe hats, clothing and SPF 30+.
7. Role Models:
Staff and educators are required to act as role models, demonstrating‘sun-safe’ behaviour by applying to the above: Hat, clothing, shade and sunscreen guidelines.
Childcare centres are required to incorporate sun protection information into learning programs and communicate to staff, educators, families and visitors.
The Sun Protection Policy, updates and requirements will be made available to staff, educators, families and visitors of the early learning centre.
The childcare centre’s Sun Protection Policy must be updated and submitted to Cancer Council NSW every three years to maintain their SunSmart status.
So if you were having concerns about leaving your sensitive skinned youngster in the care of an early learning centre you can ask about their SunSmart status… and we will all work together to fight cancers due to UV exposure.