City of Casey is leading the way in sun protection for young children, with the council reaching 100% membership of the SunSmart Early Childhood Program.
The SunSmart Early Childhood Program encourages a healthy balance to ultraviolet (UV) exposure to ensure children and educators are sun safe when they need to be.
From today, SunSmart is encouraging all Victorians to take action to protect their skin, as UV radiation rises to damaging levels from September through to the end of April.
All of Casey’s council-managed early childhood services, including its 42 kindergarten services and family day care scheme are now recognised as members of the SunSmart Early Childhood Program. The services include Merinda Park Kindergarten, which first joined the program in 1997 and is celebrating 18 years of membership this year.
SunSmart Early Childhood Program Co-ordinator Justine Osborne congratulated the City of Casey on its commitment to sun protection.
“We are delighted to recognise Casey for reaching 100% membership in our program. It shows that each of the early childhood services managed by the City of Casey is making a real commitment to skin cancer prevention through policies, education, the use of sun protection and the provision of shady outdoor environments,” Ms Osborne said.
“Children attend kindergarten sessions during peak UV times and engage in active, outdoor play where exposure to UV can be high. This exposure is significant in determining their lifetime risk of developing skin cancer, which is why it’s great to see councils like Casey leading the way to reduce this risk.“
City of Casey Mayor Cr Mick Morland said “Council is committed to ensuring all children in our services can always enjoy the great outdoors in a SunSmart way!”
“Council worked with SunSmart to develop a weather protection policy, which recognises the importance of sun protection during peak UV times – not just when it’s a hot day.”
Children and staff at the Council’s early childhood services wear sun protective hats from September to April and are also encouraged to wear clothing that covers as much skin as possible and apply sunscreen. They have shady places to play and some also wear sunglasses for added eye protection. The SunSmart principles are also encouraged at community events, which extends the message to children and families to practice in their own homes.
“Australia is the skin cancer capital of the world, so we’re really conscious of playing our part in raising awareness of this important issue,” Cr Morland said.
During the daily sun protection times, slip on clothing, slop on SPF30 or higher broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen, slap on a broad-brimmed hat, seek shade and slide on sunglasses. You can find the sun protection times by downloading the free SunSmart app, checking the weather section of the newspaper or by visiting sunsmart.com.au