Amongst the new pencil cases, exercise books and erasers, Cancer Council Queensland is urging parents to stock up on SunSmart essentials as a back-to-school priority!
Queensland has the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, and supplies that will protect children from the damaging effects of the sun should be a back-to-school essential.
Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said parents are being urged to stock up on SunSmart supplies to reduce their child’s risk of developing deadly skin cancer later in life.
“New shoes, lunchboxes and books have become back-to-school musts, with sunscreen and SunSmart supplies often falling by the wayside,” Ms Clift said.
“Our State has the highest rates of skin cancer in the world – sun protection needs to be a priority every time we walk out the door.
“We know that most sun exposure occurs in childhood years and that this exposure contributes significantly to the risk of developing cancer later in life.
“The good news is that skin cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancers – we can reduce our worrying skin cancer trends by taking a few simple precautions and practicing SunSmart behaviour.”
In Queensland, around 136,000 new skin cancer cases are diagnosed each year (3000 melanoma and 133,000 non-melanoma skin cancers).
In Brisbane alone, around 1096 people are diagnosed with melanoma each year.
Ms Clift said the start of a new school year provided the perfect opportunity to challenge kids and young adults to think of new ways to make their daily school routines more SunSmart.
“Make being SunSmart a healthy habit, just like eating breakfast!” Ms Clift said.
“For best protection, you need to combine the five recommended behaviours: Slip on sun protective clothing, Slop on SPF 30 or above water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen, Slap on a broad-brimmed hat, Seek shade and Slide on wrap-around sunnies.”
For more information on reducing your skin cancer risk or Cancer Council Queensland, visit www.cancerqld.org.au or call the Cancer Council Helpline on 13 11 20.
Cancer Council Queensland’s back to school SunSmart survival tips:
Remember one is never enough
One method of sun protection is never enough. For best protection, you need to combine the five recommended behaviours: Slip on sun protective clothing, Slop on SPF 30 or above water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen, Slap on a broad-brimmed hat, Seek shade and Slide on wrap-around sunnies.
Make being SunSmart a healthy habit
Being SunSmart should be seen as a healthy habit, just like eating breakfast! Why not combine the two and encourage your kids to apply SPF30 or above water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen every morning after breakfast? This will help them avoid incidental sun exposure during the trip to school.
Keep track of the time
Sunburn can occur in as little as 15 minutes on a fine January day, and when you take into account physical education lessons, sports practice sessions and lunchtime activities, sun exposure can easily add up at the end of a school day. Encourage your children to seek shady areas where they can eat and play.
Think inside the (lunch) box
Keep small 35mL tubes of SPF30 or above sunscreen in the kitchen cupboard, and pop them into the whole family’s lunch boxes every day. This will encourage them to apply sunscreen at lunchtime.
Be a SunSmart role model
Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide. We know children whose parents model sun protective behaviours are more likely to practice sun protective behaviours themselves, so make sure you lead by example!
Know the SunSmart rules at your school
Schools with a written sun protection policy have the greatest number of students and staff protecting themselves from the sun. So if your child’s school is serious about sun protection, why not ask them to consider applying for SunSmart status?
Choose a hat that can keep up with them
Ensure your child has access to a SunSmart hat that protects their head, face, ears and neck from the sun. A drawstring also helps to keep their hat on their heads during fast-paced activities.
Pack spare sun protection supplies
Encourage your kids to keep a spare hat, tube of sunscreen and pair of sunnies in their school desk or locker. Don’t forget the long-sleeve swim shirt on swimming days!
For more information or interviews, please contact:
Katie Clift, Executive Manager, Media & Spokesperson P. (07) 3634 5372 or M.0409 001 171