Thinking about MY SUN PROTECTION means we can play outdoors for longer!
Nature Play QLD has developed a partnership with MY SUN PROTECTION to make this happen and reduce the potential damaging effects of the Australian sun. They have created some fantastic resources to ensure your children have their sun protection and stay outdoor playing, with the risks of any sun damage.
Enjoy Nature Play the Sun Safe way.
It’s never too early (or too late) to start good sun habits. Read on to learn why.
The Sun’s Ultraviolet (UV) Rays are the main cause of skin damage. The good news is that children can enjoy outdoor play and minimise their UV exposure; the key is to know how.
UV is independent of heat and light and can’t be seen or felt. It tricks us into thinking we are safe from harm during winter, and on cooler or overcast days. This is not the case.
With our year-round high UV and lack of good sun protection habits Queensland has one of the highest rate of skin cancer in the world, and rates across Australia appear to be increasing rapidly.
In Queensland, sun protection is needed year-round, even in winter!
As adults, we have an important role to ensure our children establish healthy habits. Be a good role model and your children will be more likely to do the same. Helping children enjoy outdoor play the sun safe way is essential to their health and wellbeing. Here are some reasons why:
- A child’s skin is 30% thinner than an adult, putting them more at risk of skin damage.
- UV exposure in childhood and adolescence is a critical risk factor for developing skin cancer & premature aging.
- Your skin remembers every UV exposure, forever. Each time you are exposed to UV, cumulative damage is occurring even if you can’t always see it. Sun damage includes sunburn, wrinkles, premature aging, skin cancer, melanoma and cataracts.
With two in three Australians being diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70, it’s essential to help children establish sun safe habits from a young age.
Here's some great tips to enjoy Nature Play the Sun Safe way!
Create healthy habits
Establishing sun safe habits from a young age makes sense. Helping children enjoy outdoor activities the sun safe way can be easy; it takes you to be a role model and a little planning.
- Try to plan outdoor activities before 10am and after 3pm, or outside peak UV times for your local area.
- Check the UV for your local area using the SunSmartTM App or checking your local newspaper. Don’t be fooled by a cooler or overcast day, UV is still present.
- Use available shade including trees, buildings and structures such as shade sails; or create shade by using an umbrella, tarp or tent – be creative! Choose a high UPF rating material or one that casts a dark shadow to be effective.
- Wear sun protection clothing. Covering as much skin as possible is best and it doesn’t need to be expensive to be effective. More below:
Sun Safe what-to-wear
Land-Based Sun Safety Outfits:
Water-Based Sun Safety Outfits:
- Hats: The right hat is effective at protecting the face, eyes, ears and neck. Choose a hat with a UPF50+ rating (this will be on the swing tag) and a brim of no less than 5cm for bucket hats and at least 6cm for broad brimmed hats. Legionnaire hats are another great alternative, especially for water-based activities. Caps do not provide adequate sun protection and should be avoided.
- Clothing: Cover as much skin as possible. This is especially important for water-based activities as sunscreen will wear off. Clothing with sleeves and dark in colour is best. Look for fabric with a close weave to provide the most effective form of sun protection. When buying rash shirts, choose UPF50+ rated fabric for the highest level of sun protection.
- Sunglasses: Protecting eyes is important too. Children (and those with light coloured eyes) are more at risk. Encourage the wearing of well-fitting, Australian-standard sunglasses to help protect eyes from retinal damage and cataracts.
- Footwear: Recommended for activities such as bush walks and bush play, or rock pool exploring, were there might be an increased risk of hazards.
Sunscreen is an important part of a sun protection routine; however it doesn’t block 100% of UV and shouldn’t be your only defence.
- Use a high Sun Protection Factor (SPF) sunscreen – ideally SPF50. Experiment with different brands to find the one best suited to your family.
- To be effective, sunscreen must be applied to dry skin 20 minutes before sun exposure. This timeframe gives the ingredients time to fully bind with the skin.
- Apply generously! Most people don’t apply enough sunscreen, resulting in only 50-80% of the protection stated on the product. Be stingy and the effectiveness of your SPF50 could be reduced to SPF25! Apply generously to evenly cover the skin and massage it in; and be systematic about it.
- Re-apply after swimming. Sunscreen washes off in water and rubs off from towel drying – so always reapply immediately after swimming or towel drying and a MAXIMUM of every 2 hours. We suggest using sundicators’ Sunscreen Reminder Sticker to track your sunscreen’s performance and remind you when to reapply.
- Store in a cool place to avoid ‘cooking’. If left in extreme temperatures, such as your car, a sunscreen’s SPF can be 40% less effective in only 3 weeks. Without realising, your SPF30 could be reduced in effectiveness to SPF18!
Don't forget to Hydrate, mate!
- Drink Water: Enjoying outdoor activities in our warm weather is thirsty work. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
Love the outdoors and respect your skin.
Let's all enjoy Nature Play the Sun Safe way.
My Sun Protection are official Partners of Nature Play QLD. Nature Play QLD will be using this MY SUN SAFETY Logo on all our events and activities we run, to reinforce some easy and practical steps to take when going outdoors to play. Thank you MY SUN PROTECTION for your fantastic proactive and caring approach.
Read more with these blogs:
Now put on YOUR SUN PROTECTION and go out and play!
Classroom activity when discussing YOUR SUN PROTECTION, created by My Sun Protection: