Keep up SunSmart approach in coming months

CIRE is reminding Yarra Ranges parents and children that it is still important to remain SunSmart even though summer is over. Picture: SUPPLIED

Summer may be officially over, but the heat is still on to be sun smart and to keep up the slip, slop, slap, seek and slide approach for another couple of months.

It is well documented that harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays often do not lose their sting until about the end of April, so it is important not to become complacent.

When it comes to sun safety, prevention is key, particularly for children and young adults.

According to the Cancer Council Australia, “Sun exposure during childhood and adolescence has been shown to greatly impact an individual’s lifetime risk of developing skin cancer”.

That is why it’s so important to be proactive in teaching children about sun protection early in life. This is a high priority for Cire Early Learning, where all our centres are SunSmart members focusing on the key preventative measures of slip, slop, slap, seek and slide.

Australia has one of the highest incidences of skin cancer in the world. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Australia, with two out of three Australians diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70. It is also one of the most preventable cancers. The sun’s UV radiation is the leading cause of skin cancer. You can see and feel the sun’s heat, but you can’t see or feel the UV rays. Our senses cannot detect UV radiation which makes it dangerous.

Too much sun can cause skin damage and cancer. Babies are particularly vulnerable to UV rays because they lack melanin, protecting adults from burns by preventing DNA damage.

Up until they’re about four-years-old toddlers also have a thinner stratum corneum (the outermost layer).

A healthy balance between too much and too little UV radiation from the sun is vital for health. Too much UV from the sun can cause sunburn, skin damage, eye damage and skin

cancer. Too little can lead to vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D regulates calcium levels in the blood. It is also necessary to develop and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and teeth.

To ensure a healthy balance between too much and too little UV is maintained, sun protection is used from mid-August until the end of April and whenever the UV Index level reaches three and above. Sun protection is not used from May until mid-August unless the UV Index level reaches three and above.

For the best defence against skin cancer, it is important to protect your whole body from the sun. This includes wearing sunscreen, clothing, sunglasses and hats. For children, it is crucial to make sure they are protected because their skin is thinner and has not been exposed to as much sunlight as adults.

The key strategies of the SunSmart program are:

Slipon clothing to cover as much of your body as possible

Slop on sunscreen – at least SPF30 or higher and reapply every two hours

Slap on a hat – needs to be a wide-brimmed hat that protects your head, face, neck and ears

Seek – seek out shade wherever possible

Slide – put on sunglasses where possible to protect your eyes

It is also good to limit time spent in the sun during the peak hours of 10am to 2pm and monitor the UV rating by checking the SunSmart app. Following these tips will help keep you and your child safe from the risks of skin cancer.

Cire Services Inc. is one the largest not-for-profits in the Yarra Ranges, in Melbourne’s outer east and unique to the region.

We provide flexible learning opportunities, education and training and innovative community programs and services to help meet the needs of and empower residents In the Yarra Ranges and beyond.

A registered charity employing approximately 220 Cire operates across multiples sites and through outreach to deliver the following core services:

Cire Early Learning: EL offers long day care (with integrated 3 and 4-year old kindergarten), outside school hours care (0SHC), vacation and occasional care, and other family supports like playgroups.

Cire Community School: A co-educational specialist school for young people in years 5 to 12 needing a positive alternative to mainstream education and realistic pathways to employment and a positive future.

Cire Training: Our award-winning Registered Training Organisation (RTO) delivers nationally recognised and accredited qualifications and short courses. One initiative, First Impression Clothing Exchange (FICE), provides a holistic program to assist vulnerable women.

Cire Community Hubs: Our welcoming and inclusive hubs offer various services, education and leisure programs and community development activities that reflect community needs and interests.