Skip links and keyboard navigation

Don't cool down your sun safety habits this winter

As winter approaches, some Queenslanders tend to forget about their sun safety habits.

But for the youngsters at Norfolk Street Children's Centre it's a way of life.

Centre director Allin Sheehan said instilling good sun-safe practices at an early age provided children with good habits for the future.

"Our centre has a sun safety policy that reminds all of our families what actions our educators will be taking to protect their children," Ms Sheehan said.

"Each morning we ask parents to stamp their child's hand if they have applied sunscreen at home or on arrival using one of the sunscreen stations at the centre's entrance. If a child doesn't have a stamp we know that they need to have sunscreen applied.

"Our educators also check the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) website every morning to see what the UV index is. This gives us an indication of when to avoid going outside.

"We teach children as young as babies that they must wear a hat if they are going outside. Our educators are very committed because with the younger children they could be taking their hats off each time we put it on but persistence is the key.

"As part of our policy we also encourage parents to be sun safe at home and provide education on just how important sun safety is every day."

Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said all Queenslanders should be vigilant when it came to sun safety this winter.

"Although the temperature is dropping your risk of skin cancer isn't," Dr Young said.

"Even on a cloudy or cold winter day, the UV-Index can be high in Queensland. This is why it is important to wear a broad brimmed hat and SPF 30 or higher sunscreen everyday no matter the season.

"In 2014, 54 per cent of all Queensland adults were sunburnt, while according to the latest available sun safety statistics, 54 per cent of children were sunburnt in 2013.

"Some of the worst sunburn offenders were 12 to 15 year olds with 65.4 per cent suffering sunburn in 2013.

"Today we're seeing some of our youngest Queenslanders leading by example and starting good sun-safety habits at a young age.

"Queensland has the highest rates of skin cancer both in Australia and the world so it's imperative that we take care of our skin."

Dr Young said as the weather cooled down it should be easier for people to be sun safe.

"Long sleeves are a staple during winter but it's important that Queenslanders don't forget to wear a broad brimmed hat, put on their sunscreen and wear sunglasses when they step outside.

"As tempting as the warm sun is it's also imperative that we all continue to seek shade during winter."

Dr Young said all Queenslanders, whatever their age, should practice sun safety every day.

"All Queenslanders should be using the five recommended sun-safe behaviours every day of the year, whether you're out with friends or playing sport," she said.

"Remember to protect yourself in five ways - seek shade, wear a broad-brimmed hat and longsleeved shirt, wear wrap-around sunglasses and apply broad spectrum SPF30 or higher sunscreen whenever you are outside."

  • For more tips on how to be sun safe around the home or while out and about, go to the Queensland Government's sun safety website
  • Young women looking for tips on how to incorporate sun safety in their wardrobe visit ProjectSPF on Facebook
Last updated: 7 May 2015