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Sample UV Protection Policy for the ACT Early Childhood Services

Prevention » SunSmart » ACT Schools and Early Childhood Services » National Early Childhood Program » Why Early Childhood Services? » Sample UV Protection Policy for the ACT Early Childhood Services

Sample UV Protection Policy for the ACT Early Childhood Services

ACT early childhood services are welcome to copy and adopt this sample UV Protection Policy and use it as their own or incorporate all of the main points into their own UV protection policy and procedures. Be sure to promote your new policy amongst all staff, educators, parents and students and make it easy for your community to access via your website.

{service name} UV Protection Policy
(date last updated)

This policy is considered before participating in all outdoor activities and events on and off site. A combination of sun protection measures will be required when UV levels reach 3 and above. In Canberra this will be for most or part of each day between August and May.

Rationale

It’s important to have a healthy balance of ultraviolet radiation (UV) exposure. Too much of the sun’s UV can cause sunburn, skin and eye damage and skin cancer. Over-exposure to UV during childhood (and adolescence) is a major factor in determining future skin cancer risk. However, too little UV from the sun can lead to low vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is necessary for the development and maintenance of healthy bones and muscles, and for general health.

Objectives

This UV Protection policy has been developed to:

  • ensure all children and workers have a balanced approach to sun protection;
  • require all children and workers to use a combination of sun protection measures whenever UV Index levels reach 3 and above;
  • work towards a safe outdoor environment that provides effective shade for children and workers at appropriate times;
  • assist, teach and reinforce children to be responsible for their own sun protection behaviour, and
  • ensure that families and new staff are informed of the service's current policy and practices around UV protection, sun protection and Vitamin D.

Educators and staff are encouraged to access daily Sun Protection Times for Canberra to assist with the implementation of this policy. Or download the SunSmart app for easy acess to daily UV levels in Canberra. 

Children and staff will be required to use a combination of the below sun protection measures for all outdoor activities and events whenever UV levels reach 3 and above, the level that can cause long term damage to unprotected skin.

In the ACT the following rule applies

Beginning of August is Hats On again for all of us!
End of May is Hats Off day!

1. Shade

  • our service board and members makes sure there is a sufficient number of shelters and trees providing effective shade in the outdoor area;
  • the availability of shade is considered when planning excursions and all other outdoor activities and events;
  • children are encouraged and directed to use available areas of shade when outside, and
  • children who do not wear an appropriate hat (or clothing) are directed to play in the shade or a suitable area protected from the sun.

2. Clothing

  • children and workers are required to wear clothing that covers as much skin as possible. Clothing made from cool, densely woven fabric is recommended. Tops with elbow length sleeves (longer the better), collars and knee length or longer style shorts and skirts are best. Students will be required to wear a t-shirt or rash style vest if participating in all day outdoor swimming carnivals;
  • the service's dress code, incorporates UV protection elements, and
  • parents are educated/reminded about the importance of sensible clothing that covers the skin for outdoor play.  

3. Hats

  • all children and workers are required to wear hats that protect their face, neck and ears when UV levels are 3 and above i.e. legionnaire, broad-brimmed or bucket hat (with a deep crown). Baseball or peak caps are not considered a suitable alternative and will not be worn, and
  • hats should fit the child's head and offer visible protection to the face, neck and ears.

4. Sunglasses [SUGGESTED]

  • children who choose to wear sunglasses will be encouraged and supported, a close fitting, wrap-around sunglasses that meet the Australian Standard 1067 (Sunglasses: Category 2, 3 or 4) that covers as much of the eye area as possible is best, and
  • workers are encouraged/required to wear suitable sunglasses when working outdoors that meet AS 1067.

5. Sunscreen

  • SPF 30 or higher broad spectrum, water resistant sunscreen is available for all children and worker’s to access throughout the day;
  • sunscreen is applied at least 15-20 minutes before going outdoors and reapplied after two hours or more often is washed or wiped off;
  • strategies are in place to help remind children to apply sunscreen before going outdoors.

Tip: Always test a new sunscreen on a small amount of infant/child's skin to cancell out any potential allergic reaction. 

6. Outdoors activities

Outdoor time will be minimised, when possible and practical, between 11am and 3pm during the daylight saving/summer period. This is when UV levels peak in Canberra and the risk of skin damage is significantly increased. Particular care including seeking shade is always taken during the middle of the day when outdoors.

7. Babies and sun protection

  • babies (under 12 months) will not be purposely exposed to direct UV when levels reach 3 and above;
  • babies skin is always well protected when spending time outdoors when UV levels are 3 and above;
  • when UV levels are ‘low’ (under 3) small amounts of direct UV exposure to the skin is considered safe and will assist babies with their vitamin D needs- however if spending time outdoors during this ‘low’ UV period then it is recommended that babies skin is still well protected with adequate Ie clothing, cloths and/or shade;
  • small amounts of sunscreen may be used on baby’s skin that cannot be protected by clothing when direct UV exposure is unavoidable when UV levels are 3 and above, and
  • always minimise time outdoors with babies, especially during the summer/ daylight saving period between 11am and 3pm.

8. Winter and sun protection

  • due to low UV levels experienced in Canberra around the June and July period each day (under 3), sun protection behaviour, like wearing a hat and applying sunscreen is not generally recommended. Children and educators will not be required to wear their sun hat during this period- this may be replaced with a beanie, and
  • educators are encouraged to educate children during this period around the importance of a balanced approach to sun protection ie why hats are not required.  

9. Work Health and Safety & Modelling

  • as part of our service's Work Health and Safety (WHS) shared responsibilities and duty of care, all educators and staff members will be required to protect their skin and eyes when working outdoors.
  • When UV levels are 3 and above or if spending extended time in the sun a combination of sun protection measures will be required, this includes a broad brim or bucket style hat and sensible clothing that covers as much skin as possible.
  • all workers will be required to model positive sun protection behaviour and attitudes when working with children.
  • educators are strongly encouraged to complete Cancer Council's Generation SunSmart Educator Professional Learning Module, and
  • are encouraged to download the free SunSmart app to their phone to assist them with daily sun protection times in Canberra.

Between August and May all workers at our service will be required to:

  • wear sun protective hats and clothing;
  • apply SPF 30 or higher broad spectrum, water resistant sunscreen and reapply every 2 hours;
  • seek shade whenever possible, and
  • be aware of the signs of early skin cancer and what to do if they have any concerns.

Sunglasses are optional however they should be worn all year round regardless of UV levels when working outdoors. A close fitting, wrap-around pair will offer the best protection.

PCBUs (Director) will do as much as what is considered "reasonably practicable" to protect all workers at our service from over-exposure to solar UV radiation when working outdoors. Skin cancer is an occupational disease and workers too have a responsiblity to reduce their personal risk.

Families and visitors to our service are also encouraged to model appropriate sun protection behaviour by adopting a combination of sun protection measures (sun protective clothing and hats, sunglasses, sunscreen and shade) when participating in and attending outdoor activities and events on site between August and May.

10. Communication and Learning Outcomes

Our service will:

  • display a copy of this UV Protection policy for parents / carers, and discuss it with them;
  • regularly reinforce SunSmart behaviour through correspondence with families via the notice board and displays, website and electronic newsletters, and through children and staff activities and learning experiences,
  • ensure information about this policy is included in parent handbooks and other important documentation sent to families,
  • aim to display the SunSmart Widget on our website hompage.

11. Review, monitor and update

  • our policy is regularly monitored and reviewed (at least once every three years) and revised when required to maintain high national SunSmart standards and current best practice for this setting.
  • as a member of the National SunSmart Early Childhood Program (search your service's current SunSmart certificate) this policy will be submitted to Cancer Council ACT every three (3) years to be reviewed.

Our service's next UV Protection Policy and Practices review is:      /     / 20

12. Relevant Documents / Links

  • Education and Care Services National Regulations (2011)
  • National Quality Standard for Early Childhood Education and Care and School Age Care
  • National Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF)
  • Radiation Protection Standard for Occupational Exposure to Ultraviolet Radiation (2006) ARPANSA Radiation Protection Series No. 12
  • Safe Work Australia: Guidance Note for the Protection of Workers from the Ultraviolet Radiation in Sunlight
  • Work Health and Safety Act 2011

    This sample UV Protection Policy was last updated February 2017.