While the teacher doesn’t typically require sun protection, it’s a back-to-school item parents should strongly consider. Not all schools allow hats or sunscreen, and we hope schools change their policies in the near future. All the same, we have suggestions to ensure your child is sun safe.
1. Before leaving the house, help your child apply broad-spectrum sunscreen. Then teach them how to properly reapply sunscreen before recess. A parent or doctor note may be necessary for your child to do this depending on your school’s policy. If required, discuss sunscreen use with your child’s teacher directly. When choosing a sunscreen, look for active ingredients that block both UVA and UVB rays, such and zinc oxide or titanium dioxide and a rating of SPF 30+. Sunscreen should be used every day – including cloudy days.
2. Instruct your child to play in shaded areas during recess if possible, especially days the UV index is high. Ultraviolet radiation is most intense between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when recess is in session. Approximately 50 percent of the daily UV exposure is received during the four hours around noon.
3. Dress your child in sun protective clothing when possible. UPF 50+ clothing provides excellent sun protection that doesn’t wash or wear off. Wearing tightly woven loose fitting clothing can also shade skin from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays.
4. If your school allows, send your child to school with a wide-brimmed hat or legionnaire hat that covers neck and ears. A hat with at least a 3-inch brim all the way around is best. Baseball caps do not protect the back of the neck or the ears. If you wish all students could wear hats during recess, check out our Coolibar School Sun Hat Program. We provide half off children’s hats for schools!
5. Have your child wear sunglasses that block 99-100% of UV rays or that are rated UV 400. Wearing UV sunglasses protects eyes from cataracts, retinal damage, macular degeneration and eyelid cancer.
“80 percent of the sun’s damage occurs before age 18,” says John Barrow, founder and president of Coolibar. “Children need to be educated about sun safety practices early to avoid the risks of melanoma later.”
Now you know how to teach your child to be SunAWARE at school!