One in two Queensland kids suffer sunburn annually

New figures show more than half of all Queensland kids will suffer from sunburn this year, prompting the Cancer Council to call for parents to get serious about sun protection.

The latest statistics* show 54 per cent of Queensland children aged 5 to 17 are sunburnt annually – about five per cent receive a sunburn with blistering.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift urged parents to get serious about their child’s sun protection this summer.

“There is no excuse for inadequate sun protection, and putting the lives of our Queensland children at risk of skin cancer,” Ms Clift said.

“One in two Queensland children suffering the impacts of sunburn every year is one in two too many – we need to do better to ensure the best sun protection to reduce skin cancer rates.

“Damage to a child’s skin can occur in as little as 10-15 minutes on a summer day, and often before a sunburn appears on the skin.

“Sunburn is the sign of irreparable damage to the skin, and is much more than a simple inconvenience – it increases a child’s risk of skin cancer later in life.”

Queensland has the highest rates of skin cancer in the world – around 370 new cases are diagnosed every day in the Sunshine State.

“Parents need to use all five recommended sun-protective behaviours to protect their children – Slip on protective clothing, Slop on SPF30 or above broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen, Slap on a broad-brimmed hat, Seek shade and Slide on wrap-around sunnies.

“Research shows children who slip on swim-shirts develop significantly fewer melanocytic nevi – moles or skin lesions known to be one of the strongest risk factors for melanoma.

“Queensland adults can do better as role models too – only six per cent currently use all five recommended sun protective behaviours during summer.

“There is often a long lag time between damaging sun exposure and a diagnosis of skin cancer, so it’s important no Queenslander becomes complacent.”

Sun protection is required when the UV Index is three and above. In Queensland, the UV Index is three and above all year round, so Cancer Council Queensland encourages sun protection through every season.

Queenslanders can view sun protection times daily at,, on the weather page of their daily newspaper or by downloading Cancer Council’s SunSmart app.

More information about Cancer Council Queensland and being SunSmart is available via 13 11 20 or

For more information or interviews, please contact:
Katie Clift, Executive Manager, Media and Spokesperson, Cancer Council Queensland
Ph: (07) 3634 5372 or 0409 001 171

*The health of Queenslanders 2014, Fifth report of the Chief Health Officer Queensland, Queensland Government.