Being SunSmart

Early learning centres should be SunSmart.

Keeping children safe from sun damage is critical. Excessive sun exposure increases the risk of developing skin cancers, including melanoma, in later life.

The Cancer Society's free online training module provides teachers with information about being sun smart and tools to support their service to do this.

SunSmart module for educators – Cancer Society NZ(external link)

Sun protection policies

Centres should develop a sun protection policy and practice to keep children safe and comfortable when they are outside. This should be shared with parents and carers.

Sun protection policies should include:

  • shade
  • clothing
  • sun hats
  • sunscreen.

Sunscreen guidance

As sunscreen is not a medicine, it does not need to be authorised or acknowledged in the same way that medicines do.

Some services will provide specific sunscreen during the SunSmart period (this period often coincides with term 1 and 4 of the school year, but some regions may extend this period.) Parents should be informed at the start of the SunSmart period to the specific brand of sunscreen provided by the service. Services may want to refer to information on the SunSmart (external link)website when choosing a brand of sunscreen for their service.

SunSmart: Be safe - Be SunSmart(external link)

Parents may wish to provide their own sunscreen, and this arrangement will be noted and reviewed every SunSmart period. Sunscreen provided for individual children should be named. All staff should be informed of the children with individually supplied sunscreen.

Parents are not required to sign for sunscreen on a daily basis.

Services may consider outlining the daily sunscreen routine in their sun protection policy, including how the service internally communicates between staff when sunscreen is applied and reapplied. For example, a list or a daily chart.

Application of sunscreen

Consideration should be given around the application of sunscreen to minimise the possibility of adults spreading infection whilst applying sunscreen to children, particularly to children’s faces.

Children could be encouraged as much as possible to apply their own sunscreen under adult supervision. This is a good life skill for children to develop and may support staff with fulfilling this routine.

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