This year we're celebrating the 20th anniversary of our SunSmart Schools program. Over the past two decades about 200,000 kids at SunSmart Schools have slapped a hat on their head every lunchtime!
Reducing sun exposure at a young age is working – for the first time, skin cancer rates are falling for Australians under the age of 40. We congratulate our SunSmart schools on their role in improving the health of young West Aussies through our SunSmart Schools program.
We're passionate about empowering all WA schools to take steps to improve the health of their school community. To help you get started we've put together our top 4 tips for schools to improve sun protection, check them out below.
1. Replace caps with sun protective hats
Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, with non-melanoma skin cancers being our most common, costly and preventable cancer. Most of these cancers occur around the head area – on the neck, ears, face and upper chest. Caps don't protect this area from the sun.
If your school has a cap in the uniform, or allows students to wear a cap, be aware that they have very minimal sun protection qualities. Having a bucket hat, broad-brimmed or legionnaire style hat as a compulsory uniform item is a good move.
2. Keep it going in terms two and three
Some schools in WA don’t require students to wear hats in terms two and three. This is putting students at risk of skin cancer. It's important to wear a hat if you're going outside when the UV Index is 3 or above. All parts of WA have UV maximums exceeding 3 during terms two and three.
3. Get hats on the heads of the grown-ups
There are several reasons why school staff, parents and visitors should wear sun protective hats. They're role models and encouraging students to wear hats is nearly impossible if teachers aren’t wearing them too. It’s also for their own protection from UV radiation.
4. Plan ahead for outdoor events
Having a sports carnival, excursion, camp or outdoor event? Consider the UV Index and plan for sun protection. Provide shade, spare hats and sunscreen, and remind the school community before and during the event to use sun protection.
For advice and support for your school, visit www.generationsunsmart.com or contact us by calling (08) 9388 4351 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org