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Guest Blog: School’s out - summer clubs are in!

Guest Blog: With schools just about to break up for the summer holidays, Michelle Baker from The Outdoor Kids Sun Safety Code provides us with important information to consider when coaching children outdoors...

Children playing football

Summer sports clubs are as popular as ever in the UK, not only do they fend off children's boredom until September, they’re a great resource for entrepreneurial sports coaches!

Although they have been around for years, a new breed is on the rise, offering everything from rock climbing to scuba diving, ideal for parents looking to equip their kids with a new set of skills and broaden their horizons.

Helmet, pads, gum shield…sun protection!

Although it is great getting kids active outdoors, having fun and being a bit more independent, when it comes to safeguarding, there is one issue that most of us need to address more closely, and that’s sun protection.

We ensure kids are safe when gearing up for sport,  they wear helmets, pads, gum shields, harnesses, gloves and all paraphernalia, but do we ensure they remember sun protection and re-apply their SPF30 during the day? And do you do the same?

There is a fudged line on the understanding of who is responsible for this most fundamental form of safety and why it is so important.  Unfortunately, many of us underestimate the danger of just a single sunburn, which can triple the chances of developing melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer.

National sun protection survey

A national survey by the Outdoor Kids Sun Safety Code, an initiative with which sports coach UK is partnered, recently revealed that a quarter of those who work outdoors with children admitted to a child having sunburn whilst in their care, with a worrying 40% of children still turning up to outdoor sessions without any sun protection whatsoever. A third of those aged 17-25 survey didn’t even know there was a link between melanoma and the sun.

Melanoma is rising faster than any of the 10 most common cancers, increasing more than fivefold since the mid-1970s. Knowing this, how would you feel if your child or a child in your care developed sunburn?

The Outdoor Kids Sun Safety Code

The Outdoor Kids Sun Safety Code is the only free sun protection initiative for those who work outdoors with children. It was devised by the Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund and is partnered with the Youth Sports Trust, Association for Physical Education (AfPE), Child Protection in Sports Unit and sports coach UK. In its second year it’s now supported by over 90 NGBs and a wide variety of outdoor and coaching organisations who urge members to take action.

If you work with kids outdoors, visit www.oksunsafetycode.com and get OK accredited, it takes a few minutes and it makes sense.  The Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund has produced a great video - ‘Blow the Whistle on Sunburn’ to inspire action and a new way of thinking – share it around!”

Getting the habit

Our lack of regular sun protection routine may not just be down to lack of motivation, but to do with what happened in our own childhood. However, like most bad habits, if a sun protection routine is adhered to – on a constant basis, after just two weeks, it is likely to become second nature, helping you think automatically about protecting the children in your care.

Another obstacle to implementing an effective sun protection routine may come from lack of understanding of the dangers.  The Outdoor Kids Sun Safety Code has come up with a list of the most common excuses we use when neglecting sun protection (and why you shouldn’t be using them!).

For further information on how to get yourself, or your organisation OK accredited visit www.oksunsafetycode.com it’s easy, quick and ultimately, what you’re saying is that you care.