Skincare: Sun Safety

Outdoor education, sporting activities and sports days, school outings, picnics and other events are occasions when pupils and staff are more exposed to the sun. There can be a risk of sunburn and perhaps even heatstroke. On cloudy and windy days it is still possible to burn, so protection is equally important at such times.
Whilst parents and carers have prime responsibility for their children’s health and welfare, schools also have an important role in child protection. Protection from the sun is one of many health and safety issues that schools will wish to address with the involvement of parents etc.

2 School policy for sun safety
2.1 If the risk of sunburn is included in risk assessment procedure, it will enable the times, places and circumstances to be identified when protection is most needed and of those measures necessary to reduce the risk.
2.2 The purpose of a policy on sun safety is to protect pupils and staff from sunburn. Sun protection measures should include advice on;
(a) the provision of shade so that pupils can stay out of the sun,
(b) the wearing of appropriate clothing and hats so that pupils can cover up and
(c) the use of high Sun Protection Factor (SPF) sunscreens.
2.3 Further guidance on good practice in outdoor conditions can be found on the following web address: and on the Health and Safety Executive website.

3 Use of sunscreens
3.1 The use of sunscreens is only one of a range of sun safety measures to prevent sunburn but should be encouraged when other preventative measures, such as shade or protective clothing, are unavailable or impractical, or as an additional protection.
3.2 Although sunscreen products are not classified as a medicine, the implications for sunscreen use in school are analogous to that of medicines. Consequently parents, and not the school, should normally supply such products. Long lasting sun cream applied before school is recommended.
3.3 Our nursery class holds a limited supply of high factor sunscreen (SPF 15+) for children who cannot, or forget to bring their own. In such circumstances and where sunburn is likely to occur, sunscreen may be applied at the discretion of staff.
3.4 Self- application of sunscreen by pupils is the preferred option and practical in most circumstances
3.5 Staff in charge of very young children or pupils with special needs may agree, after communication between the school and parents and following written permission, to apply sunscreen on a voluntary basis.

4 Additional information
4.1 Although thought of as a summer-time issue, it is important to re-inforce the message about sun protection when planning winter activities such as skiing. As with summer outings, sun safety advice should be given to parents and pupils in conjunction with other guidance about outdoor winter trips, as reflection from the snow, plus altitude, increases the risk of sunburn.