Sun exposure in childhood and adolescence greatly increases the chances of developing skin cancer later in life.
Skin cancer is one of the most preventable cancers. It is recommended that all schools develop and implement a comprehensive, evidence-based sun protection policy to reduce UV exposure and associated risks.
The SunSmart Schools program aims to minimise student and staff exposure to UV from the sun at school and during school-associated activities.
SunSmart membership is associated with significant improvements in the quality of policies and strategies to reduce sun exposure.
What is a SunSmart School?
All Australian primary schools are encouraged to join the nationally recognised SunSmart Schools program. A SunSmart School is a school that has registered with SunSmart at 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.
Why become a SunSmart School?
Schools, in partnership with families and their communities, have an important role in reducing UV exposure because:
- Schools have a duty of care to protect students and staff from harm. A sun protection policy can assist schools to meet this obligation.
- The crucial period for sustaining damage from sun exposure occurs during the school years.
- Children are at school during peak UV radiation times.
- Schools can influence sun protection behaviours through education and role modelling.
- Sun protection policies can be included in existing health policies.
Research shows schools with a written sun protection policy have the greatest number of children and staff protecting themselves from the sun.
To learn more about the SunSmart Schools Program visit Cancer Council’s National SunSmart Schools Program, contact your local Cancer Council or call 13 11 20.
Visit Generation SunSmart for Online Learning Modules available for early childhood and school staff.