Since 2004 the Cancer Council's National SunSmart Early Childhood Program has been awarding SunSmart status to ACT early childhood centres/services that have developed and implemented a comprehensive up to date UV protection policy.
The SunSmart Early Childhood program is aimed at:
- reducing direct exposure to potentially harmful solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) amongst children and workers;
- promoting and encouraging the ongoing maintenance and development of effective shade amongst settings; and
- increasing children's (and workers) awareness about skin damage and how to protect their skin and eyes from too much UV.
Correct sun protection practices not only reduces a child’s risk of skin and eye damage but it also ensures they obtain enough vitamin D from the sun to allow for healthy bone development and maintenance. For this reason ACT childhood services are encouraged to implement their service's sun protection policy from the beginning of August through to the end of May, this is when daily UV levels reach 3 and above in Canberra for part of or most of each day are strong enough to damage unprotected skin.
SunSmart recommendation: Cancer Council ACT also encourages all Canberra childcare services to minimise their outdoor activities and events as much as reasonably practicable between 11am and 3pm during the daylight saving/summer period of the year, this is when UV levels are at their strongest and the risk of potential skin and eye damage is significantly increased.
Why be awarded SunSmart status?
Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. With their sensitive skin, young children and babies are at particular risk of sunburn and skin damage. Research reveals that excessive sun exposure during childhood and adolescence is a major risk factor for the development of skin cancer later in life, including melanoma.
Being awarded SunSmart status demonstrates to the wider community that your service (or centre) is committed toward skin cancer prevention and awareness. Your service also remains updated on current sun protection behaviors, strategies and resources. Your service will be assured that it has the most up to date and effective sun protection policy and practices in place.
Being awarded SunSmart status entitles your service to:
- a large We are SunSmart sign to display at your service
- automatic subscription to SunSmart Play E-News
- a SunSmart certificate
- assistance with your policy development
- access to free resources and posters
- a comprehensive review of your service's UV Protection policy and practices every 3 years
- access to free PD online training modules
- view and share your service's SunSmart efforts and achievements anytime via its (NEW) online SunSmart Certificate; and
- on-site SunSmart Masterclass sessions for your staff. Just $179 (generally $350 for workplaces)
Family Day Care Schemes
Canberra family day care schemes are also invited to participate in the SunSmart Early Childhood Program. If your service can provide a comprehensive sun protection policy then it will be recognised as playing an active role toward skin cancer prevention and awareness by receiving:
- a SunSmart certificate
- access to educational resources and posters
- advice and recommendations on policy development
- 3 year policy review
- Cancer Council SunSmart Play E- News
Cancer Council encourages family daycare schemes to actively participate in the National SunSmart Early Childhood Program. Family daycare schemes will only receive a large SunSmart sign upon request because these signs are usually reserved for more public settings such as early childhood services and primary schools.
Please note that there is a one off payment of $66.00 due upon SunSmart status being awarded. There are no ongoing costs.