Current scientific and anecdotal evidence suggests that overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation during childhood contributes to an increased risk to skin cancer throughout an individual’s lifetime (Cancer Council Australia, 2005b).
Preventing sunburn and overexposure to UV radiation assists in reducing the probability of skin cancer and further skin damage. Sun protection policies and procedures are a life long commitment to infants, young children and adults to reduce the incidents of skin cancer and eye damage (Cancer Council Australia, 2005a).
The service Aeoncademy has a duty of care to ensure that all persons are provided with a high level of sun protection during the hours of the service’s operation.
It is understood by management, staff, children and families that there is a shared responsibility between the service and other stakeholders that the Sun Protection Policy and procedures are accepted as a high priority.
In meeting the service’s duty of care, it is a requirement under the ACT Occupational Health and Safety Act that management and staff implement and endorse the service’s Sun Protection Policy, and ensure a level of protection to all persons who access the service’s facilities and/or programs.
STRATEGIES & PRACTISES
MANAGING THE ENVIRONMENT
- Times of UV radiation exposure
- According to the Cancer Council in the ACT, usually the highest risk months in relation to UV radiation are August – May, peaking during the summer months; and usually the lowest risk months are June and July. Further the peak UV radiation periods each day are 11am to 3pm during daylight saving and 10am to 2pm at other times of the year.
- Shade provision, outdoor experiences, and outdoor play equipment
- The service will consider the availability of shade when planning and programming for outdoor experiences or excursions.
- The service will continually assess the shade coverage of the environments for outdoor experiences, and seek avenues to improve the conditions if required.
- Outdoor play equipment that is fixed will be monitored for usability throughout the day by staff/carers.
- During summer highest risk months + peak UV daily period (ie. January summer vacation after-lunch recreation) any outdoor experience will occur in shaded areas only or only briefly in the sun as part of water play and will also be restricted in accord with protective behaviours and practices below.
- During lowest risk months + non-peak UV daily periods (ie. June-July winter vacation afternoon-tea-time recreation, and June-July term 2 or term 3 after-school outdoor activities), unless UV levels are 3 and above or outdoor periods are extensive, outdoor activity will not be restricted in accord with protective behaviours and practices below.
- During all other times or when UV levels are 3 and above, outdoor activity will be restricted in accord with protective behaviours and practices below.
- Outdoor experience will always be planned such that it is in shade or there is a shaded option.
- All children must wear an approved sun protective hat that is either: a broad-brimmed, bucket or legionnaire’s style, when outdoors.
- It is recommended that a sun protective hat adequately covers the face, back of the neck and ears.
- Due to the risk of children becoming entangled in hat cords and choking, the service recommends that the cords are removed from hats.
- Each enrolled child’s parent is required to ensure that the child brings an approved sun protective hat every day attending.
- Any child who does not bring an approved sun protective hat will either
- have a new approved sun protective hat supplied by the service. The enrolled child’s parent will be charged a set price for this hat, which they will now own.
- find a suitable hat from the lost property box and borrow it while outside
- If service supplied hats are not available children without hats will be restricted to deepest shaded areas when outdoors
- Loose fitting and closely woven fabrics assist in protecting children from exposure to the sun.
- It is recommended that shirts have a collar to protect the nape of the neck and long sleeves.
- Longer style tops and shorts are acceptable items of clothing to protect children from the sun.
- Sleeveless shirts, dresses and singlets are not considered as appropriate clothing to protect children from the sun. Children may need to change their clothing or will be restricted to shaded areas when outdoors
- when changing for water play children should be supplied with rash shirts or clothing to protect their torsos.
- Aeoncademy has an expectation that families will apply sunscreen to their children before leaving them at the service in the morning. We will then record whether children are allowed to use the sunscreen we provide.
- Unless the family reports an allergy to sunscreen, or other reason for rejection, at enrolment, the service will provide sunscreen for children to apply under staff supervision. Sparks (4-7) will have sunscreen applied to them
- Extra attention will be applied to suitability of clothing (see above) in cases where sunscreen is not to be applied.
- SPF 30+ broad spectrum water resistant sunscreen will be applied to exposed skin of children.
- Sunscreen must be applied at least 20 minutes before commencing outdoor experience (or as per manufacturer’s instructions).
- Some children may present with an allergic reaction to sunscreen. In this situation, the service will stop applying the sunscreen, notify the family and request that a hypoallergenic sunscreen be supplied by the family for the child to use.
- School age children will be encouraged to apply sunscreen themselves.
- The service supports the use of a sun protective hat to protect eyes from UV radiation.
- If sunglasses are worn when persons are outdoors, the service recommends that sunglasses meet the Australian Standards AS/NZS 1067:2003 with a category number 2, 3 or 4.
- Sunglasses not labelled with Australian Standards codes are considered toys and do not provide sun protection.
- Sunglasses with a category number of 0 or 1 are considered fashion spectacles and do not provide adequate protection against UV radiation.
- The service does not permit the wearing of sunglasses inside unless it is for medical reasons.
MAINTAINING HYDRATION LEVELS
- Children’s body/water ratio mass is significantly different from adults, therefore the risk for dehydration from outdoor experience and hot weather is high and can be dangerous.
- Water will be offered to children throughout the day regardless of indoor or outdoor settings. Children are encouraged to access water to drink throughout the day.
- Each enrolled child’s parent is required to ensure that the child brings a water bottle every day attending and that the water bottle is clean and in working order. Any child who does not bring a water bottle will be supplied with a new water bottle by the service. The enrolled child’s parent will be charged a set price for this water bottle, which they will now own.
ROLE MODELLING SUN SAFE BEHAVIOURS
- Children learn through example and role modelling is an important strategy in children’s services to maintain quality standards.
- Staff, students and volunteers must comply with the Sun Protection Policy as per Occupational Health & Safety Act.
- Staff, students and volunteers must wear a sun protective hat and clothing, apply SPF30+ broad spectrum sunscreen, and seek shade whenever possible when supervising outdoors or facilitating children’s outdoor experiences and excursions. It is recommended that appropriate sunglasses are worn when outdoors.
COMMUNICATION WITH STAKEHOLDERS
- Protective behaviours and practices (3.2.1-4) are explained to children just before and as they are enacted, and children’s cooperation is encouraged
- Children’s outdoor experiences reflect the importance of sun protection behaviours and practices.
- Sun protection behaviours and practices are outlined on the service websites, parent information sheets, newsletters and excursion permission forms.
- Sun safety information will be displayed on notice boards.
- Families will be encouraged to implement the service’s sun protection behaviours and practices when engaged in service experiences and excursions. For example, parents must wear a sun protective hat when volunteering on excursions.
- Sun protection behaviours and practices are detailed on the service websites, staff information sheets, newsletters and excursion permission forms.
- Sun protection behaviours and practices are covered regularly during staff meetings.
ACT Occupational Health and Safety Act
- The Cancer Council Australia. (2005a). Position statement: Sun protection in the workplace. Retrieved November 15, 2006, from http://www.cancer.org.au/documents/Pos_St_Sun_Protection_
- The Cancer Council Australia. (2005b). Position statement: Sun protection and infants (0-12 months). Retrieved November 15, 2006, from http://www.cancer.org.au/ documents/Sun_protection_infants_May_2005.pdf
- The Cancer Council Australia. (2005c). Position statement: Risks and benefits of sun exposure. Retrieved November 15, 2006, from http://www.cancer.org.au/ documents/Risks_Benefits_Sun_Exposure_MAR05.pdf
- The Cancer Council Australia. (2005d). Position statement: Eye
protection from ultraviolet radiation. Retrieved November 15, 2006, from http://www.cancer.org.au/ documents/AUG06_Eye_protection.pdf
- The Cancer Council Australia. (2005e). Position statement: Use
of SPF30+ sunscreens. Retrieved November 15, 2006, from
- The Cancer Council NSW. (2006). SunSmart childcare: A policy guide for service providers. Sydney: Author.
- Young warned as skin cancer kills 1500 a year. (2006). Retrieved November 20, 2006, from http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/young-warned-as-skin-cancer-kills-1500-a-year/2006/11/19/1163871272971.html