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10th June 2019

School essentials for sun protection

As summer finally approaches, here are our top tips for sun protection at school!

The summer term is once again upon us. Not only does this mean a switch in school sports to be more outdoor focused but it also means less wet lunch times spent indoors and more playtime outside, in the sunshine. There is no better time to remind your children of the need to stay sun safe. In this blog we explain the essentials any child will need to help them stay protected from sun damage whilst at school.

Our first and most obvious sun protection essential is sunscreen. Parents and guardians should apply sunscreen to their children’s exposed skin at least 20 minutes before sun exposure in the morning. Once applied, sunscreen should be regularly reapplied every 2 hours, especially after exercising, sweating or towelling dry. We suggest choosing a broad spectrum, high SPF sunscreen like SunSense Kids SPF50+, which is suitable for children from 6 months old. It comes in a handy 50ml roll on size, which makes the perfect addition to any back pack. The roll-on applicator may help children to apply sunscreen themselves.

At midday when most schools have lunchtime, the UV index is usually at its highest1. We strongly recommend children seek shade where possible; and wear protective clothing. Sunglasses and a hat are essentials that all children need. Make sure they take them to school in their back packs. This will help to keep them protected during breaktimes. It’s also important to make sure they take a water bottle for break times too. By drinking plenty of water this will help to maintain the skin’s moisture.

Finally, our last recommendation isn’t an item to take to school but something for children to learn. It’s important teach your children about application of sunscreen. In many cases, people do not apply enough sunscreen to achieve the label SPF (2mg/cm2).2 We recommend following the tea spoon rule. Apply more than ½ a teaspoon (around 3ml) to each arm and to both the face and neck, and apply more than 1 teaspoon (around 6ml) to each leg, front and back of body3.

Do you have any further tips on how to keep children sun safe at school? One of our team suggest applying sunscreen to her children as part of the morning routine after they brush their teeth. Share your tips with us on social media @SunSenseUK.

  1. World Health Organisation, Ultra Violet Radiation (internet) Available from: https://www.who.int/uv/intersunprogramme/activities/uv_index/en/index1.html 2019 (cited May 30th 2019)
  2. Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA): Australian Regulatory Guidelines for Sunscreens, Version 1.1, January 2016.
  3. Schneider J. The teaspoon rule of applying sunscreen. Arch Dermatol. 2002; 138:838-839.
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