Why Sun Protection is Still a Burning Issue
A new survey reveals that although sunburn can triple the chance of melanoma, kids are still seeing red.
Last week, the Sainsbury’s 2015 School Games in Manchester saw 1,600 of the UK’s top young athletes come together and celebrate their sporting talents. This fantastic event was the perfect platform for the Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund to promote the Outdoor Kids Sun Safety Code, an initiative that encourages kids to get outdoors, but stay sun protected.
Sunburn is still winning
During the four- day event, the charity surveyed nearly 900 young competitors, volunteers and spectators, ranging from age 6 to 18 and reveals that although an encouraging 90% understood that sunburn is dangerous, only 2% had heard of melanoma; the most dangerous and fastest growing type of skin cancer. With many joking that the sun was ‘hardly hot enough this year to do damage’, over 48% of kids admitted to having sunburn at least once this summer.
Behaviour and habits
When asked if they regularly wore sunscreen during the summer months, a third of children said they did, with most reapplying an average of twice during the day. However 35% said no, they never wore it and the rest saying they only wore sunscreen when the sun was very hot, not realising that in summer the clouds offer little protection against damaging UVA and UVB rays.
The popular reason cited for turning red was ‘having sensitive skin’, ‘forgetting to reapply during the day’ and also being caught out, with the weather turning from ‘cloudy in the morning to sunny in the afternoon’.
Preparing for the sun
The weather in Manchester over the Games peaked at 16 degrees with a medium UV index, warm enough for experts to recommend using sun protection, especially for children. However, only 2% of young people surveyed admitted to bringing sun protection to the event and only two children admitting to wearing it.
Youth Sport Trust Head of Health and Wellbeing Chris Wright said; “We fully support the idea of developing good sun protection habits at an early age. This report reveals that although kids are getting the message, there is still more work to be done on educating on the importance of regular application to avoid burning; something we will be continuing to promote to our members, via the Outdoor Kids Sun Safety Code in the future.”
Melanoma is the fastest rising cancer in young people the UK today, and is also the most preventable. The Outdoor Kids Sun Safety Code is aimed at educating outdoor activity leaders on the importance of implementing simple but effective sun protection routines to ensure that kids grow up with good habits. The initiative is supported by nearly 100 National Governing Bodies of Sport, so the message is starting to get through. To find out more on how to Blow the Whistle on Sunburn and to become OK accredited, visit www.oksunsafetycode.com.
Notes to editors:
The survey was carried out by the Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research fund.
The Outdoor Kids Sun Safety Code was devised by the Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund. Launched in 2014, it was written with the help of Mr Paul Banwell FRCS (Plast), the Association for Physical Education (afPE), sports coach UK and the Youth Sport Trust.
The initiative is targeted principally at anybody working with primary school aged children (6-12). If you are an individual or a group, we will help you produce and most importantly implement a sun protection policy.
Posted in News September 2015