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Sun Safe Parent Letter 2016

Tips for keeping Children safe in the sun


Why is sun safety important?

Did you know that?

  • One blistering sunburn in childhood more than doubles a person’s chance of developing melanoma later in life
  • Skin cancer is the UK’s most common and fastest rising cancer and is now one of the biggest cancer killers in 15-34 year olds.
  • 80% of all skin cancers are caused by over-exposure to UVR from the sun and/or sunbeds making it skin cancer largely PREVENTABLE.


Did you know?  If your shadow is shorter than you, you could burn!

You can help your child by following the simple slip slap slop rules below:

  • Slip on a t-shirt
  • Slop on sunscreen
  • Slap on a hat
  • Shade, especially between 11 and 3
  • Slide on shades


Cover your child up in loose cotton clothes where possible.

Sunscreen: Cover exposed parts of your child's skin with sunscreen even on cloudy or overcast days. Don’t rub it in, smooth or pat it on.

Remember your child needs to wear sun protection at school.  Make sure you put lots on them before they go and send extra sunscreen into school in a labelled bottle for them to reapply throughout the day. 

You don’t have to buy expensive brands, cheap ones are fine as long as they are at least factor 15 and UVA 4 star rated.

Check the expiry date on your sunscreen – most only last a year or 2. Make sure you store it in a cool place or the protective chemicals can be ruined.

Always remember vulnerable areas like ears, back of hands, neck and feet. Use sunscreen together with shade and clothing to avoiding getting caught out by sunburn.

Hats: Wide brimmed or legionnaire styles offer the most protection

Shade Especially between11 and 3 and when your shadow is shorter than you.


You can find or create shade in many different ways. For example:

  • Trees and foliage
  • Umbrellas and parasols
  • Canopies and awnings
  • Going indoors
  • Tents and shelters
  • Wide-brimmed hats

Sunglasses:  When choosing sunglasses look for one of the following:

  • 'CE Mark' and British Standard (BS EN 1836:1997)
  • UV 400 label
  • 100% UV protection written on the label or sticker

Also, make sure that the glasses offer protection at the side of the eye, for example, choose wraparound styles.  Toy sunglasses can do more harm than good. 


The Heatwave Plan for England 2015 recommended that when the temperature is 30oC+, children should not take part in vigorous physical activity. Children should also stay hydrated in the sun, water is best.


The Vitamin D debate

The sun makes us feel good and we all need the sun to survive. Sunlight helps your body produce Vitamin D which is important for developing and protecting strong and healthy teeth and bones.

We can also get Vitamin D from certain foods including milk, fish, egg yolks, and fortified cereals. However, exposure to UVB radiation is the most efficient way to boost Vitamin D supply.

“15 to 20 minutes of unprotected sun exposure, without skin reddening or burning, per day should be sufficient for most people to produce the required vitamin D levels. Most healthy diets contain vitamin D, but where appropriate levels can be increased by supplements or a diet containing vitamin D rich foods, e.g. Fish & Milk”
Professor Andrew Wright, Consultant Dermatologist, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust


Risk factors

The main risk factors for skin cancer are:

  • Over exposure to sunlight
  • Having fair skin that burns easily in the strong sun
  • Having lots of moles or freckles
  • Red or fair hair
  • A personal or family history of skin cancer
  • Having light coloured eyes
  • Having been burnt by sun in the past


Remember if you or your child have skin changes that you are concerned about – see your GP.

Further information is available



Hayley Taylor-Cox

Public Health SMBC

0161 474 2452