Sun Safety

The importance of SLIP, SLOP, SLAP, SEEK & SLIDE

The Australian sun is harsh and, given that 23% of our lifetime sun exposure takes place before the age of 18, it’s important to teach our kids about sun protection at an early age. The Banana Boat Sun Safe Schools Program aims to educate kids about sun safety while also encouraging a positive outdoor lifestyle. We’ve put together some important tips and tricks to help you ensure your child is properly protected from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

SLIP on protective clothing

One of the best ways to protect your skin from too much sun exposure is by wearing protective clothing, aiming to cover as much skin as possible. Encourage your kids to wear a t-shirt or rashie at the beach. Clothing with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating provides protection by absorbing and reflecting UV radiation that strikes the surface of the fabric.

SLOP on sunscreen

There are parts of our body that even protective clothing can’t cover up. Sunscreen helps to provide broad protection, particularly for our arms, legs, face, ears and neck.

Some facts about sunscreen:

  • Sunscreen with SPF 50+ can help filter more than 95% of UV rays.
  • For sunscreen to work, it needs to be applied properly and efficiently. Remember to use sunscreen on often-missed spots like under eyes, on the ears, lips, shoulders, behind the knees and on top of feet.
  • Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours on your child’s skin, especially after swimming, physical activity and towel drying.
  • When you’re at the beach, exercising or any place near water, be sure your sunscreen is water resistant.
  • Application of sunscreen should be at least 15-20 minutes before you go into the sun, so that it absorbs properly.
SLAP on a hat

A broad brimmed or bucket hat provides the best sun protection for the face, head, ears and neck.

It is best that a broad-brimmed hat has a brim of at least 7.5cm and can block more than 50% of UV radiation to the eyes. Bucket hats with a brim of at least 6cm and legionnaire-style hats with a flap covering the neck are also recommended. Baseball caps are not recommended as they leave the ears, cheeks and back of the neck exposed.  For children, the brim width should be in relation to their head size, but no less than 5cm in width, and should shade their face.

SEEK shade from the sun

One of the best ways to protect your child from the sun’s rays is to seek shade from the sun.

While shaded areas can block the majority of incidental radiation, they do not provide 100 per cent protection, because some of the sun’s UV rays can actually still reach you in the shade by reflecting off surrounding surfaces!

During peak UV radiation times (usually between 10am to 3pm, but make sure to regularly check the UV index), it’s important to seek shade from built, natural or portable shade structures.

SLIDE on a pair of sunglasses

Frequent, extended exposure to UV radiation can cause serious damage to the eyes. Eye damage which relates to UV exposure includes photoconjunctivitis, which is known as snow blindness or welders flash, photokeratitis, macular degeneration, cataracts, pterygiums, and skin cancer of the conjuctiva and skin surrounding the eye.

Slide on some sunnies to protect your eyes while playing sport or working outside.

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