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Stay safe this summer

 
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During Queensland’s extreme summer heat, early childhood services need to keep children safe from the dangers of the sun and high temperatures.

This includes having up-to-date sun safety policies and procedures, and protecting children from the risks of overheated play equipment and surfaces.

Play equipment and other surfaces

During the hotter months, playground equipment and surfaces can heat up rapidly and retain heat, which is a serious burns risk to children.

Follow these 5 steps to make sure children are not scalded or burned by overheated play equipment and other objects:

  1. Regularly check the temperature of outdoor facilities and equipment on hot, sunny days to see if they are safe for children to use. This is crucial for surfaces that children may touch, kneel, sit or lie on.
  2. Make sure all equipment and surfaces are suitable for outdoor use by checking manufacturers’ warnings and instructions.
  3. Consider if children should wear shoes outside.
  4. Consider if shade structures should be moved throughout the day or seasonally to protect areas such as play equipment from direct sunlight.
  5. Train all staff to test outdoor surface temperatures and follow manufacturer/ installer instructions for equipment use.

Sun safety

Throughout the year, Queensland experiences high to extreme levels of ultraviolet radiation (UVR), contributing to one of the highest rates of melanoma in the world.

Exposure to too much of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation can also cause sunburn, skin and eye damage and other forms of skin cancer.

Early childhood services need to ensure that children are protected from high levels of UVR, especially as their skin is particularly vulnerable.

The current advice from Queensland Health is to ‘slip, slop, slap, seek and slide’.

This means slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen, slap on a hat, seek shade and slide on wraparound sunglasses.

Where services don’t include the use of sunglasses in their policy, adequate clothing, sun protective hats, sunscreen and shade can help reduce exposure.

Early childhood services should have up-to-date sun safe policies and procedures that address the current sun safety advice from Queensland Health.

While it is important to consider the times during which children are outside, services that maintain effective sun safe practices do not need to limit children’s access to outdoor play unnecessarily.

Remember to ensure that children also have adequate access to drinking water to prevent dehydration during the hotter months.

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Last updated 17 December 2020