Time outdoors, in the sunshine is critical for children and adults because sunshine is the best source of Vitamin D, which is essential for our physical and mental health and wellbeing. We want to keep our tamariki and team safe, while they spend time outside, especially as we know that New Zealand has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. Research indicates that because young children and babies have particularly delicate and sensitive skin, they are at increased risk of sunburn and skin damage. Unsafe exposure to harmful ultra-violet radiation during the first 15 years of life can greatly increase the risk of developing skin cancer in later life. Kindercare have a responsibility to minimise how much exposure the children in our care experience, especially as they often attend during those times when UV radiation levels are highest.
In New Zealand from September to April, even on cooler and/or cloudy days, UV radiation levels can be high enough to cause sunburn. The time when we are most at risk of exposure to harmful UV radiation is approximately between the hours of 11am and 4pm throughout summer. There is still however, risk of exposure on sunny days, during our cooler months.
- Kindercare provides an SPF30+ or higher broad-spectrum sunscreen which Kaiako will apply to children’s faces, arms, legs and other exposed areas of their bodies, before going outside during summer months – including on cloudy/overcast days.
- If whānau specifically request no sunscreen, or that we use an alternative to the sunscreen Kindercare provides, this will be noted on the ‘Allergies’ list so the team in each room are informed and aware. Families requesting the use of alternative sunscreen will be required to provide the alternative, ensure it is a minimum SPF30, and sign for the use of this, or to decline the use of any sunscreen, in their Enrolment Agreement. By signing, family accept full and sole responsibility for any sunburn/damage that happens while their child is in our care.
- Sunscreen will be applied in the morning, and then reapplied after sleep time. If tamariki have been enjoying water-play, sunscreen will be applied more frequently.
- Gloves are not to be worn when applying sunscreen. The only exception to this would be if a member of our team has medical reasons or a skin condition that requires them to use gloves. In this case, this will be agreed in consultation with the Centre Director.
- Tamariki aged approximately between 3 and 5 years old will be encouraged to apply their own sunscreen and will be supported closely so they are able to learn how to do this safely.
- Our team will model being ‘sun safe’ by applying sunscreen themselves, when on outside duties.
- Whānau must ensure that they provide a named hat for their child to use each day at Kindercare. A brimmed hat, or cap with flaps, offer the best protection for the face, neck and head.
- Our team are required to wear a hat/cap when on outside duties, to role model sun safety to tamariki.
- Our outdoor areas all have shady areas e.g. shade sails over the sand pit, as well as opportunities to use umbrellas, awnings, trees and natural fence lines for additional shaded areas for play to ensure tamariki have areas to play out of direct sunshine.
- Our team will engage tamariki in conversations around how to keep themselves safe from harmful UV rays, while still enjoying the sunshine, and how important sunshine is for our minds and bodies. Conversations will also include making good decisions around wearing a hat, using sunscreen, and wearing clothing that covers areas of the body like neck and shoulders to protect them from exposure.
- Our team will be mindful of the time of day, temperature levels, type of activity, and length of time they spend outside each day. They will actively monitor the outdoor supervision schedule so that this duty is rotated throughout the day.
- Ensuring tamariki are hydrated is important every day, but this is particularly relevant during the summer months and on days when the temperatures are high. Tamariki will be offered a drink of water regularly.
- The team member on outdoor supervision duty will ensure they regularly check the temperature of outdoor equipment, like slides and matting, which can become very hot in the sun and burn a child.
- Where reasonably possible, tamariki will wear their hats while playing outside. If a child does not have a hat at Kindercare, or consistently removes their hat while outside, our team will be flexible and supportive towards the child by either providing a Kindercare hat for them to wear, or by ensuring they are playing in a shaded/protected area. It is not a solution to refuse to allow a child to go outside if they do not have, or are not wearing their hat.
- Through conversations, and whanaungatanga with our whānau, we will encourage them, where possible, to send clothing that covers shoulders, as opposed to singlets and shoe-string straps, helping them to understand the potential for increased risk of exposure.
Last review date: 16.06.18