SunSmart tips for your child
We enjoy such a great climate in Port Macquarie. It’s ideal for living an outdoor lifestyle. With mostly beautiful blue skies and sunshine, there are many health benefits to be enjoyed. Including:
- Robust immune system – from vitamin D.
- Strong bones – from vitamin D as it helps your body to absorb calcium.
- Improves sleep as your body creates melatonin from daylight exposure.
Did you know that it’s only between 7am and 9am that exposure to the sun helps create Vitamin D? After that, it can cause more harm than good. Also, you only really need about 15 minutes of exposure every day to reap good health benefits.
Whilst there are many benefits, there are also many risks to being out in the sun for too long, with Australia having the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. This means we need to be SunSmart and limit time spent in the direct sun.
Teaching your child sun safety
Start protecting your child early. Babies under 6 months should be kept out of direct sunshine, but then after that, you’ll need to start practising habitual sun protection.
Sun safety tips
- Apply a high factor SPF sunscreen before your child goes out in the sun. Factor 30 or over will provide some protection and should be applied.
- Put on a rash shirt or protective clothing to cover their skin.
- Put on a wide-brimmed hat – to stop scalp burn and shade their face.
- Wear sunglasses to protect their eyes.
- Try to sit in the shade where possible to prevent sunstroke and over-exposure to the sun, or take an umbrella/shade tent.
Do you remember SunSmart Sid the Seagull Video? Why not share it with your child and make it fun!
What if your child gets sunburnt?
It’s easy for your child to burn in as little as ten minutes in the Australian sun. If your child gets burnt, here are a few things you can do to make them more comfortable:
- Provide plenty of water to drink.
- Cool their skin with cold compresses or give them a cool bath.
- Apply Aloe Vera to help soothe their skin.
- Give them pain relief.
- Keep them indoors out of the sun until they heal and feel better.
If your child’s burn is severe or has a fever, headaches, or vomiting, make sure you take them to see your doctor.
Remember, prevention is key to enjoying the sun, and its benefits.
St Joseph’s Family Services Programs
As part of our SunSmart Dress Code Policy and Procedure, sun protection is incorporated regularly into our learning programs. Discussions can be held with children about wearing appropriate clothing with regard to weather, seasons and play experiences.
SunSmart App daily UV times are promoted to guide staff, parents and children behaviour.
At each of our centres, we either have a ‘sunscreen station’ set up in our entrance area or sunscreen available for all families to use on arrival with sunscreen, the daily UV levels and recommended times by SunSmart app for sunscreen wearing. We re-apply sunscreen with the children throughout the day as recommended. We also read books promoting sun safety and discuss caring for our bodies by drinking lots of water and wearing hats, appropriate clothing, sunglasses and sunscreen outside.
Giving your child a good understanding of how to be SunSmart and providing them with practical sun protection whilst in our care is important to us.
For more information, please contact us.