Hat Importance in Australian Sunsmart Schools
Sun exposure in childhoodgreatly increases the chances of developing skin cancer later in life. So how can we help protect our Aussie Kids?
A study conducted by the Journal of Studies of Cancer in Human Populations shows that children exposed to high levels of sunlight in childhood provides a strong determinant of melanoma risk later in life.
So how do we combat this? It starts with education from a young age.
In Australia, the SunSmart Schools program “aims to minimise student and staff exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun at school and during school-associated activities” (Sunsmart, 2018). A main factor of this program, is ensuring all Australian schools enforce the “no hat no play” policy.
To learn more about compulsory hats in Australian schools and the Sunsmart program, click on the headings below.
What is a SunSmart School?
An Australian SunSmart School is a school that has registered with Cancer Council and has a comprehensive sun protection policy that is put into action during all outdoor school activities. This policy must meet the criteria developed by Cancer Council. As stated by the policy, it enforces the 5 S’s:
- Slip on cool clothing that covers as much skin as possible.
- Slop on SPF 30 (or higher) broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen. Make sure you
apply a generous amount and keep reapplying it every 2 hours.
- Slap on a wide brimmed hat that shades the face, neck, ears and eyes. Baseball or peak caps don’t measure up, so leave those on the hat rack!
- Seek shade – try a shady tree, verandah, pergola or shade sail, umbrella or tepee!
- Slide– on some sunglasses where practical.
You can read more about being Sunsmart outdoors here: http://www.sunsmart.com.au/downloads/communities/early-childhood-primary-school/resources/outdoor-play-the-sunsmart-way.pdf
From the above, you can see the program is targeted towards educating children from a young age. This, in conjunction with Parents cooperation, will prevent our Australian students from being at a heightened risk of sun cancer.
Why become a SunSmart School?
Schools, in partnership with families and their communities, have an important role in reducing sun exposure. Some key reasons are:
- Schools have a duty of care to protect students and staff from harm. A sun protection policy can assist schools to meet this obligation.
- Detrimental sun exposure occurs during school aged years.
- Children are at school during peak UV radiation times.
- Schools can influence sun protection behaviours through education.
The SunSmart Schools program is free to join. If your school becomes a SunSmart School, Cancer Council provides you with the following free resources:
- ‘We are SunSmart’ metal member sign to display
- Member certificate and e-badges to add to your website, newsletters, etc
- A copy of the children’s book ‘A Simply Spectacular Hat’
- Opportunities to promote your new membership in the local media and social media posts
How can HatHero aid in your child’s sun safety education?
The HatHero Clip is a great, light hearted way to engage your kids in sun safety. The HatHero Clip provides your child with a way to never lose another school hat, and also to instil a sense of responsibility. With schools now introducing the “no hat no play” motto, a lost, misplaced or forgotten school hat means missing out on getting outdoors during the long school hours.
Fun links for the kids
The Sunsmart program also gives kids a fun educational way to learn, through videos and games.
Animations and videos on sun safety
More info on our Hat Clips, the SunSmart Policy and Australian School Policies
Why join the program rather than go it alone?
Developing a SunSmart School policy