Stay Safe in the Sun

Toddler on the Beach

Image Credit: Daniel Zehle

I have a friend who lived in Australia for quite a few years; I must admit that I used to think that her tendency to slather her children in a thick layer of sun cream and her insistence on hats on even the most overcast day a trifle over the top.

Related: Sun Awareness Week

The Cancer Council of Australia have campaigned for 21 years to persuade the Aussies to ‘Slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat’ as Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. However I thought that in the UK’s more temperate climate perhaps such rigor was unnecessary.

But according to Cancer Research UK, there are over 70,000 new cases of skin cancer diagnosed each year in the UK, and the number of cases has more than doubled since the early 80s. Over 2,000 people die from skin cancer each year in the UK – more than in Australia, even though Australia has more cases of the disease.

Babies and Children are particularly at risk and need extra protection from the sun because their skin is delicate and easily damaged.The damage is not immediately obvious because skin cancer can take years to develop. But children who are exposed to too much sun now are storing up problems for the future. Sunburn in childhood can double your risk of skin cancer.

The SunSmart code can help you protect your skin this summer:

High factor sun cream for children is available from all good chemists or online.

For even greater protection it is possible to buy special sun protection clothing, which should always be worn in addition to sunblock. They are particularly good for those who spend a lot of time outdoors, for example surfers and those who regularly holiday in countries where the sun is much stronger than in the UK.

About the Author: Jacqui O'Brien is the Editor of eParenting.










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