Home' Clutha Leader : December 13th 2012 Contents 13.12.12 Leader
There are currently 9 schools working towards
accreditation and 43 SunSmart Accredited Schools in
The Cancer Society congratulates the following schools in
the Clutha region for being SunSmart.
Clutha Valley School
St Josephs School - Balclutha
SunSmart Schools are committed to the present and future
wellbeing of their
Reducing Skin Cancer Risk
New Zealand and Australia have the highest rates of skin
cancer in the world and skin cancer is our most common
cancer. It has been estimated that it accounts for over 80%
of all cancers diagnosed in NZ each year. In the spring and
summer we have 40% higher levels of ultraviolet radiation
(UVR) than similar latitudes in the northern hemisphere. It
is important to know that UVR cannot be seen or felt so it is
possible to get sunburnt on cooler, cloudy days in summer
if you don't have any sun protection. Episodes of sunburn
and over- exposure to UVR are dangerous at any age, but
as children and young people are a particular at-risk group,
schools are a valuable setting for learning to be SunSmart
over our lifespan. Each Board of Trustees is required to
provide a safe environment for students.
The good news is...
We are working together to protect school children and
staff in Terms 1 and 4 because around 90% of skin
cancers are potentially preventable. Being SunSmart
during childhood and adolescence will reduce the life-
long risk of skin cancer. The Cancer Society's SunSmart
Schools Accreditation Programme is recognised as the
"Gold Standard" in sun protection by the World Health
Organisation and is offered to all primary and intermediate
SunSmart Accredited Schools have comprehensive
policies and procedures in place. Schools are an important
environment for SunSmart learning. In terms 1 and 4 UVR
levels are at their peak from September through to the
beginning April, especially between 10am and 4pm. Sun
Protection is required when the UV Index is 3 or more. The
UV Index is a scientific measure of UV intensity.
What's expected in Terms 1 and 4?
Students are required to wear hats when outdoors. These
need to be broad-brimmed, bucket hat or legionnaire style.
Caps do not provide enough protection as they can leave
ears, sides of the face and neck exposed. Children are
encouraged to wear clothing which protects skin from the
sun including when out of uniform e.g. during camps. Staff,
parents and caregivers are also encouraged to act as good
role models by using the same SunSmart behaviours in
Use of broad spectrum sunscreen (at least SPF 30+) also
has its place when children are outdoors for extended
periods, such as sports days or if they have skin that burns
Information about the properties of UVR and sun protection
lend itself to inquiry based learning and the Cancer Society
is planning new resources in this area next year.
Providing shade within the school grounds is a key
component of the SunSmart programme. Schools are
encouraged to have, or be working towards, sufficient
built shade like verandahs and other structures. It's also
important to create and maintain natural shade from trees
Schools need to consider warm shade options to make
them appealing to children. This is important as UVR
levels can be high enough to cause sunburn when
the temperature is cool. This is why many people are
unintentionally sunburnt down here in the south.
Benefits for Children
The SunSmart Schools Programme aims to strike the right
balance between protecting children from over-exposure
to UVR while recognising the importance of needing some
sun exposure for Vitamin D. Sensible sun protection in
Terms 1 and 4 should not put children at risk of low Vitamin
Our skin is like an elephant -- it never forgets. The effects
of UVR exposure are cumulative over our lifespan. The
SunSmart Schools programme aims to reduce the lifelong
risk of developing skin cancers, especially Melanoma
which is the most serious type.
It's easy to participate
Simply apply online at www.sunsmartschools.co.nz
Answer the questions and remember to attach a copy of
your SunSmart policy/procedure.
Sun Protection is needed when the
UV Index is 3 or more.
Check out the UV Index on
Be SunSmart in
5 Simple Steps
Sun Protection is recommended from
September until the end of March,
especially between 10am and 4pm.
1. Slip on sun-protective clothing: Choose knee
length shorts/skirts and shirts/tops with collars
rather than singlet tops.
2. Slap on a hat: wide-brimmed or bucket hats
or a cap with flaps are recommended. They give
protection to the face, neck, ears and eyes.
3. Slop on SPF30+ sunscreen: Use a broad
spectrum, at least SPF30+ water resistant
sunscreen on skin not covered by clothing.
Apply 15 minutes before going outside. Reapply
every 2 hours.
4. Wrap on some sunglasses: Go for close fitting,
5. Seek shade: Reduce your exposure to the sun,
especially between 10am and 4pm when
ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is most intense.
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