Sunburn risk high as schools return

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 05:00 12/02/2013
Sunhat kids
JOHN BISSET/Fairfax NZ

SUNSMART: West End Kindergarten children Heidi Beach, left, and Manaia Williams practise being safe in the sun. All children at the kindergarten must wear a hat when they go outdoors during terms one and four, no matter what the weather.

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At times it feels like summer has gone on holiday, but do not be fooled - there is still a risk of sunburn, the Cancer Society South Canterbury warns.

Ultraviolet levels are highest in New Zealand from September to April, between 10am and 4pm, Kate Johnson, of the Cancer Society South Canterbury, says.

"Please don't be led into a false sense of security just because it is cooler."

It was important to remember that just because the temperature might be cooler and the sky cloudier than in previous weeks, it does not mean people are safe from sunburn, she said.

"UV radiation, which is what does the damage, is still at a level that can cause sunburn and skin damage, which is linked to development of melanoma and other skin cancers."

Students heading back to school should wear hats and use sunscreen.

Children at Timaru's West End Kindergarten are well aware of the need to slip, slop, slap and wrap - a term, which is used in schools and early childhood centres to get the sunsmart message across.

West End Kindergarten teachers make sure all the children wear hats while playing outside during terms one and four, when UV radiation is most dangerous.

Head teacher Rachel Pringle said sunshades are also in place over parts of the playground to help protect the children. A third sunshade is going up this week, which will cover another large area of the playground.

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- The Timaru Herald

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