Keeping your child safe in the heatwave
There has been a rapid increase in the number of reported skin cancer cases. So how can you be sure your child is protected when you're not around?
Caring for our children when the heat is on, comes naturally.
Armed with sun creams, hats and cover-up clothes, we make sure their sensitive skin is protected from the sun’s harmful rays.
According to skin cancer charity Skcin, children’s delicate skin can burn within minutes of exposure to the sun’s harmful rays – and even when its cloudy.
And blistering sunburn in children can double the risk of developing melanoma in later life – the deadliest form of skin cancer.
But while we might be cautious at home and on holiday, how can parents and carers be sure they are getting the same protection when they’re at school or nursery?
Here’s how to keep your child’s skin safe from harmful rays, even when you’re not around.
· Always make sure they have a wide brimmed hat that will shade them properly from the sun. Baseball caps leave the back of the neck exposed, so try to encourage youngsters to wear a hat that has a fuller brim so they have more protection.
· Look for a nursery that’s accredited by leading skin cancer charity Skcin as a ‘Sun Safe Nursery’. The scheme encouarges the ‘sun safe’ message to pre-school children, helping them to recognise when they need to take action – such as applying sun cream – to protect themselves.
· Slather on the cream before they leave for nursery or school. Make it part of their daily routine, so it becomes a habit. Children with fair skin, freckles or who easily burn are particularly at risk – so make sure they are aware of how important it is to use sun cream regularly throughout their day.
· Send them to school with a broad spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen in their satchel, and remind them that they should use it when they head outside to play, during breaks, for PE and at lunchtime. Pack it when they head off for school trips too.
· Encourage your child to seek out a shady spot in the school playground where they can play without worrying about the risk of being burned. Good schools which are conscious of the risks should have shady areas where youngsters can gather.
· Talk to your child about how important it is to use sun cream so they are aware of the dangers of the sun.
To help take some of the worry away from parents, Preston company Key Engineering & Hygiene Supplies Ltd, which supplies quality hygiene products to schools and businesses, is providing a new sun cream product from leading producer Deb, which makes it easier for youngsters to stay protected from harmful rays.
The new all-in-one sun care kit contains a sun cream cartridge, dispenser, mirror, supporting educational literature and a UV index display, which highlights the dangers of sunburn even on overcast days.
A UV dial shows when the risks of being burnt by the sun’s rays are particularly high – helping teachers and children spot when they need to re-apply their sun screen.
The kit’s dispenser, containing either SPF 30 or SPF 50 sun cream, can be wall-mounted, so little ones can easily reach it and apply the scream by themselves.
Sophie Petrie from Key Engineering & Hygiene Supplies Ltd said: “The kits come with educational material that helps explain why it’s so important.
“It’s a great way for schools and nurseries to deliver a really important sun safety message, and shows how proactive they are being towards keeping children safe and healthy.”
The kits are currently being trialled at a Morecambe school free of charge.
The business is also supporting the skin cancer charity Skcin, and helping to raise awareness of skin cancer dangers in the workplace and schools.
Key Engineering & Hygiene Supplies Ltd also provides industrial kits for construction workers who are at an increased risk of skin cancer due to their frequent exposure to the sun.