With the warmer weather upon us, we will be spending a lot more time outside, by the pool or at the beach!
Most people know that too much of the sun’s UV can cause sunburn, skin and eye damage. Sun exposure in the first 10 years of a child’s life is also a major factor in determining future skin cancer risk. However children also require some sunshine too in order to get their vitamin D intake.
According to research by the Cancer Council, the amount of sun your child needs depends on the season. Most children make enough vitamin D in summer because UV levels are high and more time is spent outdoors. During these months, most Victorians need just a few minutes of mid-morning or mid-afternoon sun exposure for their vitamin D needs, and should be extra cautious in the middle of the day when UV levels are most intense. Children with naturally very dark skin may need more sun exposure.
Why UV exposure is important to health
Your child’s body is designed to get most of the vitamin D it needs by producing it when their bare skin is exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D is important to maintain good health and to keep bones and muscles strong and healthy.
Keeping it balanced
At the YMCA we take sun safety very seriously! We make sure that all the children participating in our programs live by the slip, slop, slap, wrap and seek rule.
Children’s Services Sun Protection Policy has been developed on the Goldilocks rule, “it’s just right.”
We ensure all children have some UV exposure for vitamin D and when the UV index levels reach three or above, all children use a combination of sun protection measures by wearing 30+ sunscreen, broad-brimmed hats, sunglasses and playing in shaded areas.
We are also firm believers in children taking responsibility for their own health and wellbeing and encourage them to be responsible for their own sun protection (with our supervision).
The best way to keep healthy is for your child to enjoy some time out in the sun
To find out if you’re getting enough sun for vitamin D, try SunSmart’s vitamin D tool, available on the free SunSmart app or online at sunsmart.com.au.