We love playing outdoors and we welcome the warmer weather here at Child’s Play ELC. But with warmer weather also comes the need to be sun safe. Sun safety is extremely important in Australia due to our high UV ratings during the summer that can cause skin cancer. Young children are extremely vulnerable during the summer as they are mostly unaware of the potential harm of UV rays.
In Australia, there is a National Regulation for childcare centres to have a sun-safe policy in place all year round. At Child’s Play, we take sun safety seriously as we are an open space learning facility that encourages indoor and outdoor play to stimulate development and make sure children are getting enough Vitamin D. Here are just a few ways that we ensure we are sun-safe at Child’s Play.
Childcare and Sun Protection
The UV Index
The World Health Organization’s Global Solar UV Index measures UV levels on a scale from 0 (Low) to 11+ (Extreme). Sun protection is recommended when UV levels are 3 (Moderate) or higher. The UV level is affected by a number of factors including the time of day, time of year, cloud cover, altitude, how close you are to the equator, scattering and reflection.
During summer at Child’s Play ELC, as recommended by the National Guidelines, we limit activities outside between the hottest hours of the day (11am-3pm). These times are when it has the highest UV rating and your child is most vulnerable to being sunburnt. However, we do make sure your children still take advantage of our outdoor environments by encouraging them to play early in the morning or later in the afternoon.
Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide
The age-old acronym that you probably learnt growing up as well. Slip Slop Slap has evolved in recent years to promote better sun safety and further protect your child’s skin.
- Slip on some sun-safe clothing, like a T-shirt!
- Slop on some sunscreen!
- Slap on a wide-brimmed hat!
- Seek shade!
- Slide on some sunglasses!
These practices should be followed whenever you are outside but in particular during the warmer months when the sun is shining. At Child’s Play, we teach this through fun activities like songs, chants and games. You may also see posters of Slip Slop Slap Seek and Slide throughout our centres.
Babies and Sun Protection
As babies are still developing skin cells and immunity, it is critical that we don’t expose them to high UV levels. At Child’s Play, we recommend babies wear full-length sleeves of light sun-safe material when outdoors. We set up outdoor activities for babies in full shade to limit the amount of UV exposure your baby gets while still increasing Vitamin D levels.
Shade at Child’s Play
Child’s Play ELC takes pride in our unique outdoor environments designed to stimulate learning. What also makes them so fantastic is that they provide adequate shade for all of our children year-round. As part of our Sun Safe Policy, we have our lead educators watch shade patterns and move activities if children are at risk of being exposed to high UV levels.
Hats and Sun Safe Clothing
No Hat No Play
At Child’s Play, we have a No Hat No Play policy for outdoor activities. Child’s Play hats are available at our centres or you can provide your child with their own special wide-brimmed or legionnaire hat, so we can all enjoy the sunshine.
We always suggest your child bring an extra pair of clothes and not wear their best clothes to childcare. But during the summertime, we also would like to emphasise making sure your child’s clothing is sun safe. Sun safe clothing is usually loose-fitting shirts with sleeves and a covered neckline and longer style pants or skirts. Generally, tank tops or crop outfits are not considered sun safe.
Sunscreen is especially important for young children as their skin is thin, extremely sensitive
and can burn easily. At Child’s Play, we ensure every child has sunscreen applied upon entry to our centre, 20 minutes before outdoor play and every 2hrs. Our educators apply sensitive sunscreen with 30+SPF to all visible skin to ensure maximum coverage and the best sun protection.
Being Role Models
As parents and as educators we have a very important role in sun safety. We are to act as role models. Often children will follow the behaviours they see adults (or like role models) doing. So if you put on sunscreen and wear a wide-brimmed hat, children are likely to do the same. They might even get excited about sun safety because they are doing something like the adults are doing. When you are out and about here are some helpful suggestions to encourage sun safety:
- Apply sunscreen with them and point out body parts: What should we sunscreen next?
- Wear loose-fitting sun-safe clothing
- Always wear hats and sunglasses when you are outside in the sun.
Final words on Sun Safety
At Child’s Play ELC, safety comes first. We want to provide a safe environment that every child can enjoy and play in. Our sun safe policy is just one of many policies that help us provide this safe environment.
In our centres and through our communication channels, you will also see friendly reminders about hats, water bottles and sun-safe clothing when signing in. This is to make sure everyone is aware of our sun safe policy. If you would like to know more about our year-round sun safe policy please get in touch with your local centre.