Mum Daily

Keep your kids SunSmart all year round

Be sunsmart all year round

Sandwich? Check. Water bottle? Check. A hat, sunscreen, sunglasses – to help your kids stay SunSmart?

They should definitely be instant ‘checks’ when packing the schoolbag daily!

Here in Queensland, we have the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. High levels of sun exposure in childhood increases the risk of skin cancer later in life – so it’s important we do what we can to best protect our kids from the sun!

While more and more Queensland childcare centres and schools are becoming SunSmart (in Brisbane alone, there are around 168 schools and 506 childcare centres that have joined the National SunSmart Schools and Early Childhood Centres Program) there’s still a responsibility on parents to do their part to keep their kids SunSmart.

Being SunSmart still applies in winter too! When the UV Index is 3 (moderate) or above sun protection is required (Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide). In Queensland, the UV level is 3 and above all year-round, so sun protection is required even on cloudy and overcast days!

Cancer Council Queensland’s school SunSmart survival tips:

Remember, one is never enough!

One method of sun protection is never enough. For best protection, you need to combine the five recommended behaviours: Slip on sun protective clothing, Slop on minimum SPF30 or above broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen, Slap on a broad-brimmed hat, Seek shade and Slide on wrap-around sunglasses.

Make being SunSmart a healthy habit

Being SunSmart should be seen as a healthy habit, just like eating breakfast! Why not combine the two and encourage your kids to apply SPF30 or above broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen every morning, 20 minutes before you leave the house? This will help them avoid incidental sun exposure during the trip to school.

Keep track of the time

Sunburn can occur in as little as 15 minutes and when you take into account physical education lessons, sports practice sessions and lunchtime activities, sun exposure can easily add up at the end of a school day. Encourage your children to seek shady areas where they can eat and play.

Think inside the (lunch) box!

Keep small 35mL tubes of SPF30 or above sunscreen in the kitchen cupboard, and pop them into the whole family’s lunch boxes every day! This will encourage them to apply sunscreen before heading outdoors, and to reapply every 2 hours.

Know the SunSmart rules at your school

Schools with a written sun protection policy have the greatest number of students and staff protecting themselves from the sun. So if your child’s school is serious about sun protection, why not ask them to consider applying for SunSmart status through Cancer Council’s National SunSmart Schools and Early Childhood Program? It’s quick and easy and free to join!

Choose a hat that can keep up with them!

Ensure your child has access to a SunSmart hat that protects their head, face, ears and neck from the sun. A drawstring also helps to keep their hat on their heads during fast-paced activities.

Pack spare sun protection supplies

Encourage your kids to keep a spare hat, tube of sunscreen and pair of sunnies in their school desk or locker. Don’t forget the long-sleeve swim shirt on swimming days!

For more SunSmart tips, information on the SunSmart Shop and how to reduce your skin cancer risk, visit or call the Cancer Council Helpline on 13 11 20.