Spring is just around the corner and now is the time to decide that you will advocate for sun protection policies at your child’s school. Research, make a plan, talk with administrators so you will be ready to protect students once the UV Index starts to rise in March. Here are some suggestions as to what you can do at a local, state, and national level to protect children from the most common cancer in our society.
Local level: Parents can help develop sun protection policies within schools that do not necessarily require changes in legislation. These policies can reflect the 5 easy action steps found in the SunAWARE acronym. Use the SunAWARE acronym to help design programs and policies that cover all the steps needed for protection and detection. Using SunAWARE as a framework can be helpful when developing policies and programs because it includes primary and secondary prevention efforts. Please feel free to contact CMPF, if you have questions.
Be Safe. Be SunAWARE.
➢ Schedule a lecture on sun protection for the Parents Teacher Organization.
➢ Initiate a shade committee, e.g., shade for playground.
➢ Help raise money for the purchase of sun protective hats and sun protective sports uniforms.
➢ Provide sunscreen reminder notes to parents before outdoor field trips.
➢ Distribute our SunAWARE infoflier, available for free download.
➢ Provide tips for better sun protection during recess or at sports events.
➢ Consider sending out a sun protection newsletter.
State level: Parents can help change legislation that directly affects sun safety for their children at school or day care. Support the pending Sunucate legislation that allows children to bring sunscreen to school*. This can include initiating the funding for providing skin cancer prevention education, allowing hats to be worn at recess or during outdoor sporting events, and allowing children to use sunscreens during school hours.
National level: Parents can lobby for a national skin cancer prevention campaign, using the SunAWARE Program, that is similar to campaigns against smoking and illegal drug use.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention Guidelines for School Programs to Prevent Skin Cancer: https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/pdf/sunsafety_v0908.pdf
(CDC has published specific and detailed guidelines for parents who want to work with schools to create sun protection policies. These guidelines outline recommendations for sun policy changes, environmental changes, education programs, family involvement, professional development and evaluation. Read them, make copies and give them to your school principal).
*An Act reducing the risk of skin cancer and excessive UV exposure in children: https://malegislature.gov/Bills/190/S1196
*An Act relative to the availability of sunscreen for students: https://malegislature.gov/Bills/190/S229
*An Act relative to student sun safety: https://malegislature.gov/Bills/190/H2055