Sun Protection Education for Healthy Children

Learn how to protect your child from the sun:

Sun protection education for children needs to start as early as possible. “The ABC’s for Fun in the Sun” from the AAD, (American Academy of Dermatology) is a fun and easy way for younger kids to learn about sun protection.

The skin cancer Foundation says, “It’s never too early to teach your children about sun protection". There are several guides to help parents, teachers, day care workers and coaches with teaching sun safety.

“The ABC’s for Fun in the Sun”

A = AWAY Keep away from the hottest midday sun: between 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

B = BLOCK Use Broad Spectrum sunscreen with SPF-30+

C = COVER-UP Wear sun protection clothing, swimwear, hats and sunglasses

S = SPEAK OUT Become an advocate for sun protection education for children

Sun protection education programs really work. The Australians have spent the better part of the last two decades initiating educational programs about sun protection and skin cancer.

In 1981, Sid the Seagull became the face of the “Slip-Slop-Slap” sun protection campaign in Australia. It was a national media blitz put forth by The Cancer Council Victoria urging people to "slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen , and slap on a hat" when they go outside to protect themselves against an increased risk of skin cancer. It is probably one of Australia's most recognizable and successful health messages.

The campaign was extended over the years to encourage the use of sunglasses and shade. That is, slip on a shirt, slop on the sunscreen, slap on a hat, seek shade, slide on some sunnies: "Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, Slide". By this time however the message had become part of the Australian psyche.

Its success was largely due to constant, extensive and continuous coverage across all media outlets. In the United States media campaigns and coverage of skin cancer have been hit-or-miss. You may find a story on the news once in a while, but nothing like the “anti-smoking” public service announcements, PHarma ads and news coverage of tobacco company trials.

Sun protection education for children is where it must begin.

  • Press your child’s school or day care to initiate sun safety policies. Stress adding sun safety to the health curriculum.

  • Contact your legislators to fund sun protection education for children in schools, require hats be worn at recess, allow the use of sunscreen at school. (Some schools classify sunscreen as medicine and need special written permission to use it).

  • Lobby for a National skin cancer prevention campaign: The tobacco industry has been forced to pay for a portion of the “Anti-smoking” campaign: why not impose a small tax on the use of tanning beds? It is after all, a $5 billion industry.

To initiate a campaign in your kid's school, camp or day care; look to the many organization that have easy to implement programs.

Helpful Sun-Safety Educational Resources:

American Academy of Dermatology: “Be sun smart” – Protect yourself from the sun.

American Cancer Society:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: CDC

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): “Sunwise”

The Melanoma Education Foundation: “Skin Check” “Sun Safety”

Sun Safe Tee Program: Cover-Up before you Tee-Up. The Sun Safe Tee Program provides sun protection education and skin cancer awareness programs specifically for the golf community. “Sun Safe Tee Program” Don't Burn...Reapply at the Turn.

Mollie Biggane Melanoma Foundation: Mollie’s Fund

National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention: “Don’t Fry Day”

The Pool Cool Program Cool Pool

SHADE Foundation of America: “Limit the Sun, Not the Fun”

Sun Safety for Kids: School based sun safety program

Sun Safety Alliance: A Safe Sun Protection Education Program

The Skin Cancer Foundation: Leading skin cancer prevention organization

World Health Organization:(WHO): “Inter-Sun Programme”

Comprehensive sun protection education will create awareness of the health risks associated with sun exposure and hopefully change our overall behaviors to reduce the rate of skin cancers.

Stay alive and well with