Too much of the sun’s UV radiation can cause sunburn, skin and eye damage and skin cancer. Infants and toddlers up to four years of age are particularly vulnerable to UV damage due to lower levels of melanin and a thinner stratum corneum (the outermost layer of skin). UV damage accumulated during childhood and adolescence is strongly associated with an increased risk of skin cancer later in life. Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, with two in three Australians developing some form of skin cancer before age 70. Queensland has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) levels are highest during the hours that our students are at school.
With this in mind, Townsville Toy Library realises the need to protect our volunteers, members and families skin and educate them about Sunsmart behaviour, thus reducing the risk of skin damage from exposure to the sun.
This SunSmart policy provides guidelines to:
- ensure all volunteers, members and children are protected from over-exposure to UV radiation;
- ensure the outdoor environment provides shade for volunteers, members and children;
- ensure children are encouraged and supported to develop independent sun protection skills;
Ultimately, we aim to provide ongoing education that promotes personal responsibility for skin cancer protection and to provide an environment that supports Sunsmart practices.
Townsville Toy Library will include this Sunsmart policy on our website; encourage all volunteers and members to act as positive role models of Sunsmart behaviour for the children; encourage all volunteers, members and children to wear a suitable sunsafe hat at all times they are outdoors; where possible, ensure that adequate shade is provided at outdoor events; and review the Sunsmart policy regularly.
To assist with the implementation of this policy, our lead volunteer is encouraged to access the local sun protection times via the SunSmart widget on the service’s website, the free SunSmart app or at sunsmart.com.au.
The sun protection measures listed are used for all outdoor activities during the daily local sun protection times. (The sun protection times are a forecast from the Bureau of Meteorology for the time of day UV levels are forecast to reach 3 or higher. At these levels, sun protection is recommended for all skin types).
Special note regarding infants
SunSmart practices consider the special needs of infants. All babies under 12 months are kept out of direct sun when UV levels are 3 or higher. Physical protection such as shade, clothing and broad-brimmed hats are the best sun protection measures. If babies are kept out of the sun or well protected from UV radiation by clothing, hats and shade, then sunscreen need only be used occasionally on very small areas of a baby’s skin. The widespread use of sunscreen on babies under 6 months old is not recommended.
- Children are encouraged to choose and use available areas of shade when outside.
- Children who do not have appropriate hats or outdoor clothing are asked to choose a shady play space or a suitable area protected from the sun.
Slip on sun-protective clothing
- Children wear loose-fitting clothing that covers as much skin as possible. Clothing made from cool, densely woven fabric is recommended. Families are asked to choose tops with elbow-length sleeves, higher necklines (or collars) and knee-length or longer style shorts and skirts for their child. If a child is wearing a singlet top or shoestring dress, they will be asked to choose a t-shirt/shirt to wear over this before going outdoors.
Slap on a sun protective hat
- All children and volunteers wear hats that protect their face, neck and ears (legionnaire, broad-brimmed or bucket style). Peak caps and visors are not considered a suitable alternative.
Slop on sunscreen
- SPF30 (or higher) broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen is supplied by Townsville Toy Library and is readily available and/or families.
- Sunscreen is applied in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions (applied at least 20 minutes before going outdoors and reapplied every two hours, or more frequently if sweating).
- Sunscreen is stored in a cool place, out of the sun and the expiry date is monitored.
Learning and skills
- The SunSmart policy is reinforced by our lead volunteers and committee and displays inside our building.
- Volunteers, members and families are provided with information about sun protection through our Welcome pack, noticeboards and our website.
Our volunteers, members and families will be aware of the School’s Sunsmart policy take responsibility for their own health and safety while we actively encourage these actions.
Reviewed October 2020