Schools failing students by having no sun safety policies
As part of Teenage Cancer Trust’s 2013 Shunburn campaign we asked teachers and pupils about the level of support, information and advice given about sun safety.
A staggering 97% of secondary school teachers have admitted to not having or not knowing if their school has a sun safety policy to protect students from skin damage caused by the sun during school hours.
We found a quarter (24%) of teachers believed it wasn’t their responsibility to create a sun safety policy, whilst a further one in ten (10%) explained it would take too much time to create and implement. Half (50%) of teachers had never encouraged pupils to wear a hat in the sun, a third (31%) had never prompted students to stay in the shade during the hottest parts of the day and a fifth (20%) had never encouraged students to apply suncream whilst at school.
We are now calling on all parents with children of school age to demand a review of their school’s sun safety policy to coincide with the start of the new school term in September and for it to be in line with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommendations for skin cancer prevention, which is specifically aimed at the education sector.
- Letter-to-schools.pdf (86 kb)
So this year has been another special time for sporting achievements and now more than ever we should be getting active and getting ourselves outside. Whether that’s participating in your favourite sport, going for a bike ride with mates or watching football from the terraces, it’s important to take care of your skin when out and about in the sun.
We know that it’s the damage done to your skin when you’re young that could lead to skin cancer developing in later life, so it’s important to avoid the pain and shame of the lobster look by following these five simple steps…
Cover up your skin
Throw on a long sleeved shirt or top that ideally has a collar and a sarong or long shorts to banish those burning rays.
Slap on the suncream
Apply generous amounts of water resistant suncream of at least SPF30 and above, to clean, dry skin before going out in the sun.
Wear a hat or cap
Whether its cowboy hat, a floppy hat or baseball cap, all are good at keeping the heat off your head, face neck and ears.
Slip on the shades
Don’t forget, your eyes need protection too!
Chill out in the shade
When the sun’s rays are strongest between 11am and 3pm, reach for the shade and sit under a tree, building or umbrella.
LOVE THE SUN, RESPECT YOUR SKIN
A five minute film presented by TV and radio presenter Jameela Jamil talking about five easy ways to stay safe in the sun
Sun safety with sports stars
We’ve been speaking to some of our greatest sportsmen and women for their advice on staying safe in the sun.
England rugby union team captain Chris Robshaw
“Rugby is my passion and it doesn’t matter if it’s raining or we’re in the middle of a heatwave, everyday I’m outside either training, playing professionally or just having a kick about with mates. I would hate the fact that sunburn could stop me from doing this for a few days. Not only that but I’d also never live down the ribbing I would get from my team mates if I turned up looking like a red lobster!”
Women’s England Rugby player Danielle Waterman
“From my experience a lot of people really don’t pay enough attention to sun safety when playing sport. I have quite fair skin and playing Rugby Sevens in boiling hot countries, I must admit, has left me with some quite interesting and painful burn lines which I do regret! I have learnt the hard way that when playing sport or doing any form of exercise that you should keep reapplying suncream throughout the day and wear cooling clothing that covers up some of your skin.”
Download: A3 Poster
Stick up this poster in your school, college, common room, or form room...
- Shunburn-Poster.pdf (3.30 mb)
Give all your friends, colleagues, pupils a copy of this leaflet...
- Shunburn-Z-Card-2013.pdf (1.42 mb)
Download: Teaching Pack
This pack is designed to help you create interesting and engaging lessons around Teenage Cancer Trust’s five key sun safety messages and our mantra “Love the sun, respect your skin”...
- Shunburn-Teaching-Pack-2013.pdf (4.22 mb)
If you don't manage to avoid getting burnt in the sun, drink plenty of water to keep hydrated and use aftersun lotion on affected areas. If your burns are severe, seek advice from your pharmacist or GP.
Just one session a month on a sunbed can increase your risk of skin cancer by more than half.
Check out your local chemist or department store for fake tans that give great colour without the grave health risks. Fake tan products don't offer sun protection, so keep your five steps for sun safety in mind when you use them.
Free Burn Alerts
Teenage Cancer Trust offers a free burn alert text message service which reminds you to stay safe in the sun during the hottest days of the year. To sign-up, text the word BURN2 to 70300.More
“I am incredibly pale and burn very easily. I’ve never been a sun worshiper or used sunbeds but as I got older I wasn't careful. Whether I was sitting in the garden at home or on holiday abroad I burnt my skin sometimes really badly and didn't take the risks seriously. My advice is to be very careful in the sun and don't get burnt. I now have to live with the consequences and have lost all feeling in my left arm due to my surgery. So please cover up, use suncream and try and stay in the shade.” Read more about Phoebe's storyMore
Sunbeds banned for under 18s
In 2010 Teenage Cancer Trust hosted a photo call outside parliament and lobbied MPs to vote in support of the Sunbed Regulatory Bill.
In 2011 the law preventing under 18’s using sunbeds finally came into effect!
Free sun safety sessions
Teenage Cancer Trust supports secondary schools, colleges, universities, clubs and societies across the UK by offering free cancer awareness sessions, which includes free sun safety presentations courtesy of our Shunburn campaign. For more information or to arrange a visit call 0207 612 0370 or email our education teamMore