Making sun protection a priority helps children develop sun-smart behaviors that will last a lifetime. Parents, teachers, camp counselors, school nurses and administrators can work together as role models for children by encouraging healthy sun habits. These role models can create a sun-savvy school or summer camp environment that enables children to enjoy time outdoors and help stay protected from the sun’s rays.
Sun-smart behaviors are summertime essentials, but it’s important to remember they are also necessary outside of summer. Advocating for sun sense at school does not have to be complicated; in fact, simple steps can make a difference. In some cases, simply initiating a conversation to learn more about sun protection ignites role model behavior and may remind others of its importance. Read on for tips to learn more about sun protection at school.
School districts may differ on policies surrounding sunscreen usage at school. Request information from your school administrator on your school’s policy around sunscreen and what (if any) sun protection methods are permitted.
Share what you learn with your family, colleagues, neighbors and friends to help them understand school policies on sun protection and how they can join you in being a role model to promote a sun-smart school environment for children.
You can work with school administrators, nurses, teachers and other parents to develop a clear and comprehensive sun protection program. A specific sun protection program will help to explain what sun-smart methods can be used during school hours, such as sunscreen application and the use of hats, sunglasses and sun-protective clothing. It’s important to keep in mind that sunscreen should be kept out of the reach of children.
Connect with your local Parent Teacher Association and propose a discussion on how to raise awareness about the importance of sun protection so parents can teach their children sun-smart behaviors. This will not only make you a sun protection role model, but a leader. The Making the Sunscreen Grade tab on Coppertone.com has resources to help you initiate a conversation. For example, this sun protection guide has sun-savvy tips for almost any situation, whether during recess and field days or athletic endeavors at summer camp.
Trees and shade structures can provide relief from the sun on the playground, playing fields and other outdoor spaces. Ask your school administrator about the availability of shade on school grounds.
Remember UV rays are strongest between 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM, and may coincide with your child’s outdoor time. Be a sun protection super hero by encouraging children to seek shade when outdoors and check the UV index (6 or above is considered high) before sending children, teachers and staff outdoors.
Some schools only allow sunscreen usage with written permission from a child’s parent and/or physician. Ask your school administrator and/or your child’s pediatrician for guidance and make sure to get a doctor’s note, if necessary. You can also work with your school to craft a sunscreen-reapplication program, keeping in mind that sunscreen must be kept out of the reach of children.
Sun protection habits should start at an early age. Just as children are taught the benefits of nutrition and exercise, it’s important to educate them on the need for sun protection by being a sun-savvy super hero. Speak with your school administrator about integrating a sun protection unit into science and health classes, or holding an assembly to promote sun-smart behaviors school-wide.
Talk to your kids about the importance of being sun-smart during daily outdoor activities. Apply sunscreen to your children before they head out for school, and remind them to practice sun-savvy behaviors such as seeking shade and drinking plenty of water during recess and other outdoor fun.