Calls for sun-safety policy as children are 'getting sunburnt' at school

Caroline Allen
Contributor
There are currently no country-wide guidelines. [Photo: Getty]


There are calls for a sun-safety policy in UK schools after claims that some children are getting sunburnt.

Currently, the UK has no guidance on keeping children protected while they’re at school.

Some local governments in Wales have suggested it’s up to individual school to protect the children. However, unions advise teachers not to apply suncream to children.

Some schools have also banned suncream, for fears of allergic reactions.

READ MORE: Sun protection, explained

Parents are hitting back at schools, though, claiming that one application of suncream before school is not enough to protect them for the whole day.

The NHS currently advises that all children above 6 months old should be protected by sunscreen every day from March - October in the UK.

This includes overcast and cloudy days.

Babies under 6 months old should be kept out of direct strong sunlight.

READ MORE: People share their worst sunburn pictures

The NHS also recommends that suncream should be applied no more than 30 minutes before a child goes outside.

The government have said that schools need to come up with a local approach to sunscreen and that schools have a duty of care to protect children from the sun.

There is currently no law on what schools should be doing, which makes it a grey area for teachers.

Local government officials in Wales, who have weighed in on the debate, are torn on the approach to take.

READ MORE: Does using shaving cream to treat sunburn actually work?

Wrexham council told BBC Wales that it is “reasonable” for schools to apply hypoallergenic sun cream if a child has not been provided any or is unable to apply it.

However, Flintshire council said it is up to the children to apply the sunscreen and not a member of staff.

While some councils are happy for teachers to apply suncream to pupils, the National Union of Teachers (NUT) advises them not to do so “due to the potential for allegations of abuse”.

With the rules on suncream at schools ambiguous at best, there are some tips you can encourage your child to follow while at school.

According to the NHS, this includes, encouraging your child to stay in the shade between 11am - 3pm and covering them up with suitable clothing, hat and glasses.

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