Home' The Eye : December 13th 2012 Contents 10
The Eye 13.12.12
There are currently 8 SunSmart
Accredited Schools in Southland and
4 schools working towards it.
The Cancer Society congratulates the following
schools in Southland for being SunSmart.
Gore Main School
Invercargill Middle School
Isla Bank School
Newfield Park School
New River School
SunSmart Schools are committed to the present and
future wellbeing of their
Reducing Skin Cancer Risk
New Zealand and Australia have the highest rates
of skin cancer in the world and skin cancer is our
most common cancer. It has been estimated that it
accounts for over 80% of all cancers diagnosed in
NZ each year. In the spring and summer we have
40% higher levels of ultraviolet radiation (UVR) than
similar latitudes in the northern hemisphere. It is
important to know that UVR cannot be seen or felt
so it is possible to get sunburnt on cooler, cloudy
days in summer if you don't have any sun protection.
Episodes of sunburn and over- exposure to UVR are
dangerous at any age, but as children and young
people are a particular at-risk group, schools are a
valuable setting for learning to be SunSmart over
our lifespan. Each Board of Trustees is required to
provide a safe environment for students.
The good news is...
We are working together to protect school children
and staff in Terms 1 and 4 because around 90%
of skin cancers are potentially preventable. Being
SunSmart during childhood and adolescence
will reduce the life-long risk of skin cancer. The
Cancer Society's SunSmart Schools Accreditation
Programme is recognised as the "Gold Standard" in
sun protection by the World Health Organisation and
is offered to all primary and intermediate schools.
SunSmart Accredited Schools have comprehensive
policies and procedures in place. Schools are an
important environment for SunSmart learning. In
terms 1 and 4 UVR levels are at their peak from
September through to the beginning April, especially
between 10am and 4pm. Sun Protection is required
when the UV Index is 3 or more. The UV Index is a
scientific measure of UV intensity.
What's expected in Terms 1 and 4?
Students are required to wear hats when outdoors.
These need to be broad-brimmed, bucket hat or
legionnaire style. Caps do not provide enough
protection as they can leave ears, sides of the face
and neck exposed. Children are encouraged to wear
clothing which protects skin from the sun including
when out of uniform e.g. during camps. Staff, parents
and caregivers are also encouraged to act as good
role models by using the same SunSmart behaviours
in school settings.
Use of broad spectrum sunscreen (at least SPF
30+) also has its place when children are outdoors
for extended periods, such as sports days or if they
have skin that burns easily.
Information about the properties of UVR and sun
protection lend itself to inquiry based learning and
the Cancer Society is planning new resources in this
area next year.
Providing shade within the school grounds is a key
component of the SunSmart programme. Schools
are encouraged to have, or be working towards,
sufficient built shade like verandahs and other
structures. It's also important to create and maintain
natural shade from trees and shrubs.
Schools need to consider warm shade options to
make them appealing to children. This is important
as UVR levels can be high enough to cause sunburn
when the temperature is cool. This is why many
people are unintentionally sunburnt down here in the
Benefits for Children
The SunSmart Schools Programme aims to strike
the right balance between protecting children
from over-exposure to UVR while recognising the
importance of needing some sun exposure for
Vitamin D. Sensible sun protection in Terms 1 and
4 should not put children at risk of low Vitamin D
Our skin is like an elephant -- it never forgets. The
effects of UVR exposure are cumulative over our
lifespan. The SunSmart Schools programme aims to
reduce the lifelong risk of developing skin cancers,
especially Melanoma which is the most serious type.
It's easy to participate
Simply apply online at
Answer the questions and remember to attach a
copy of your SunSmart policy/procedure.
Be SunSmart in
5 Simple Steps
Sun Protection is recommended from
September until the end of March,
especially between 10am and 4pm.
1. Slip on sun-protective clothing: Choose knee
length shorts/skirts and shirts/tops with collars
rather than singlet tops.
2. Slap on a hat: wide-brimmed or bucket hats
or a cap with flaps are recommended. They give
protection to the face, neck, ears and eyes.
3. Slop on SPF30+ sunscreen: Use a broad
spectrum, at least SPF30+ water resistant
sunscreen on skin not covered by clothing.
Apply 15 minutes before going outside. Reapply
every 2 hours.
4. Wrap on some sunglasses: Go for close fitting,
5. Seek shade: Reduce your exposure to the sun,
especially bewteen10am and 4pm when
ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is most intense.
Sun Protection is needed when the
UV Index is 3 or more.
Check out the UV Index on
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