Research conducted by leading sun protection brand Garnier Ambre Solaire and the British Skin Foundation found 1 in 5 children get sunburnt at school. A lot of schools in the UK have a ‘no touch’ policy, which prevents teachers from applying sun lotion directly to their pupils’ skin. In light of the new research, over two thirds (68%) of parents have called for these rules to be relaxed to ensure teachers assist in the physical application of sun cream.
In light of the new research, over two thirds (68%) of parents have called for these rules to be relaxed to ensure teachers assist in the physical application of sun cream.
The research was conducted to raise awareness of the serious impact of kids not being adequately protected from the sun, whether this be at school or at home. Recent studies have highlighted a link between early childhood UV exposure and skin cancer later in life, in fact, a recent meta-analysis of 51 studies found that sunburn during childhood almost doubled the risk for the development of cutaneous melanoma in adulthood.
At the moment, there is no legislation from the Department for Education on applying sun lotion, instead, it falls down to the policies of individual schools. Instead, the DfE advises, “Schools should not have a ‘no touch’ policy. It is often necessary or desirable for a teacher to touch a child, for example when dealing with an accident or teaching musical instruments.”
“Schools should not have a ‘no touch’ policy. It is often necessary or desirable for a teacher to touch a child, for example when dealing with an accident or teaching musical instruments.”
Yet Karen Fagg, Head teacher at Park Primary school comments, ‘There is a huge stigma attached to teachers applying sun lotion directly to children’s skin. We therefore rely heavily on verbal instructions given in the classroom, which can be challenging when dealing with young children. If we don’t feel a child is adequately protected from the sun, we’ll remove them from that situation entirely.’
It seems that, at present, there is a confusion of responsibility between teachers and parents on the application of sun lotion. Nearly half of parents (46%) feel the responsibility of protecting kids from harmful SPF and UV rays at school should be shared between both parent and teacher.
Matthew Patey, CEO of British Skin Foundation calls for change: ‘Being aware of sun protection is an essential life skill all children need to be educated in. Sunburn can cause serious long term damage but suitable clothing such as hats, sunglasses and long sleeved t-shirts, alongside frequent application of sun lotions and sprays, greatly minimises the risk. Parents, teachers and suncare brands all play a key role in making this process as easy as possible for children.’
Where do you stand on this? Would you be happy with a teacher applying suncream? Add your comments below.