Preparation for back to school is well underway, you probably have the stationary and uniforms sorted but will your kids be SunSmart this semester?

Cancer Council Queensland is urging all parents to remember the importance of sun safety when preparing the kids to go back to school.  With Australia’s harsh climate it is no surprise that Queensland has the highest rates of skin cancer in the world.

Supplies that will protect your children from the sun are back -to-school essentials and should not be left off the list.

Preventing skin cancer is a lifelong commitment and parents need to remember to protect their children.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said parents need to stock up on SunSmart supplies to reduce their child’s risk of developing deadly skin cancer later in life.

“New shoes, lunchboxes and books have become back-to-school musts, with sunscreen and SunSmart supplies often falling by the wayside.”

Ms Clift said that most sun exposure occurs in childhood years and this exposure contributes significantly to the risk of developing cancer later in life. The most important thing to remember is that skin cancer can be prevented.

“The good news is that skin cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancers – we can reduce our worrying skin cancer trends by taking a few simple precautions and practicing SunSmart behaviour,” Ms Clift said.

In Brisbane alone, around 1096 people are diagnosed with melanoma each year.

Ms Clift said the start of a new school year provided the perfect opportunity to introduce SunSmart habits to your children and the key to success is providing them with the right tools.

“For best protection, you need to combine the five recommended behaviours: Slip on sun protective clothing, Slop on SPF 30 or above water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen, Slap on a broad-brimmed hat, Seek shade and Slide on wrap-around sunnies.”

For more information on reducing your skin cancer risk or Cancer Council Queensland, visit or call the Cancer Council Helpline on 13 11 20.

Cancer Council Queensland’s back to school SunSmart survival tips:

Remember one is never enough

One method of sun protection is never enough. For best protection, you need to combine the five recommended behaviours.

1. Slip on sun protective clothing.
2. Slop on SPF 30 or above water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen.
3. Slap on a broad-brimmed hat.
4. Seek shade.
5. Slide on wrap-around sunnies.

Make being SunSmart a healthy habit

Introduce being SunSmart into your daily routine, being SunSmart should be seen as a healthy necessity, just like eating breakfast. You combine the two and encourage your kids to apply SPF30 or above water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen every morning after breakfast. This will help them avoid incidental sun exposure during the trip to school.

Keep your eye on the time
Sunburn can occur in as little as 15 minutes on a sunny January day. Most children like to run around outdoors, physical education lessons, sports practice sessions and lunchtime activities, all add up to spending hours in the sun Encourage your children to seek shady areas where they can eat and play.

Think inside the (lunch) box
Include a small 35mL tubes of SPF30 or above sunscreen in the kitchen cupboard, and pop them into the whole family’s lunch boxes every day. This will encourage them to apply sunscreen at lunchtime.

Be a SunSmart role model
Children take cues form adults so you need to Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide. We know children whose parents model sun protective behaviours are more likely to practice sun protective behaviours themselves, so make sure you lead by example!

Know the SunSmart rules at your school
Schools with a written sun protection policy have the greatest number of students and staff protecting themselves from the sun. So if your child’s school is serious about sun protection, why not ask them to consider applying for SunSmart status?

If the hat fits…
Ensure your child has access to a SunSmart hat that protects their head, face, ears and neck from the sun. A drawstring also helps to keep their hat on their heads during fast-paced activities.

Pack spare sun protection supplies
Encourage your kids to keep a spare hat, tube of sunscreen and pair of sunnies in their school desk or locker. Don’t forget the long-sleeve swim shirt on swimming days.