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Keeping children Sun Safe

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Thursday 27 June 2019

Children in pre-schools and Nurseries are being encouraged to learn about sun safety and become Sun Safe superstars! It's an initiative led by States Early Years and Public Health Services teams in support of pre-schools and nurseries in Guernsey and Alderney to sign up to the "sun safe nurseries" scheme, a campaign to prevent skin cancer through education.

So far ten of the pre-schools and nurseries have signed up.

Many people are still not aware that skin damage during childhood can affect skin health into adulthood. Children are at greater risk of skin damage than adults as their skin is delicate and more sensitive to UV damage.

Dr Nicola Brink, Director of Public Health says:

"Research tells us that sunburn during childhood increases the risk of skin cancer in later life. With over-exposure to UV responsible for 86% of all skin cancer cases and 4 out 5 melanoma deaths, it is a concern that skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in Guernsey. That's why it is vital to introduce young children to sun-safe practices because they are at an age where they can be taught sun-safe routines for life."

This year's "Don't let them burn" campaign is led by Public Health Services and Skcin (The Karen Clifford Skin Care Cancer Charity) to support nurseries, pre-schools as well parents and carers to ensure that children are safe in the sun whilst educating them of why it is important.

Emily Davies, Public Health Practitioner says:

"With many children spending considerable time in child care settings, where they are often outdoors during peak UV hours (11am-3pm). We feel that nursery/preschool staff are uniquely placed to not only teach children about sun safety in a fun way but to make sure that children are adequately protected from UV."

Marie TudorCEO Skcin says:

"Skcin are delighted to be working with Public Health Services to help promote our "Sun Safe Nurseries" accreditation. The scheme has seen phenomenal success with over 1000 nurseries signed up nationwide. The scheme assists nursery/pre-school settings with their duty of care to keep their children safe and educate the parents and carers.

The scheme provides a comprehensive range of free resources to assist in creating a suitable sun safety policy, communicating with parents to gain support, raising awareness within the wider community and teach children on the importance of sun safety for a positive sun safe future."

Emily Davies, Public Health Practitioner says:

"Nurseries, parents and carers will need to ensure that all children can enjoy the sun safely by teaching children to remember the five S's.

SLIP on a t-shirt (ensuring skin is covered up, especially the shoulders which are vulnerable to burning

SLOP on sunscreen (this is to protect the skin from sunburn)

SLAP on a hat with a wide brim and/or neck protection (e.g. the school legionnaire style caps)

SLIDE on sunglasses to protect the eyes

SHADE find some shade in the hottest part of the day. (This is so that the body can cool down.)

Drink water (this is to keep the body hydrated which helps it to work properly in the hot weather)

Everyone needs to use sun protection in their daily routines over the summer. If we can all help children feel that it is absolutely fine and part of the summer routine to apply sunscreen and to wear the right clothing, hat and sunglasses we will also significantly lower their risk of developing skin cancer later in life."

Lucy Coggon, Lead Cancer Nurse says;

"All children exposed to the sun are at risk of sun burn and skin cancer. Those with a duty of care for children should take measures to protect them from the harmful effects of the sun at all times. Remember if you or your child have skin changes that you are concerned about - see your GP. Changes to check for include:

· A new mole, growth or lump

· Any moles, freckles, or patches of skin that change in size shape or colour"

Enjoy the sun and stay safe!

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