Two out of three Aussie kids at school today will be diagnosed with skin cancer in later life – some of them with deadly melanomas.
Protecting children’s skin from exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the simplest way to reduce the risk of skin cancer. And one of the easiest and most effective forms of sun protection there is for children is a sun safe hat.
Remember – children’s faces are exposed to the damaging effects of UV radiation everyday and ears, temples, lips and the nose are among the most common parts of the body for skin cancers to develop later in life.
And the sun’s rays don’t just damage skin – they can cause permanent damage to children’s eyes. A sun safe hat not only protects a child’s face, head, neck and ears, it can also reduce the amount of UV radiation reaching a child’s eyes by 50%.
Broad brimmed hat
Brims should be at around 6cm for children. The brim should be proportional to the size of the child’s head and provide shade for the whole face.
Bucket style hat
Bucket or surfer-style hats should have a deep crown and sit low on the head. The angled brim should be at least 5cm for children and shade the face, ears and back of neck.
Legionnaire-style hats should have a flap that covers the neck. The side flap and front peak (brim) should meet to protect the sides of the face.
When choosing a hat for your child, ensure that it fits correctly and remove or shorten any cords to reduce the risk of it catching while playing on equipment. Look for children’s hats where the cord pulls in at the crown or is attached with safety snaps that come easily away if the cord gets caught.
Choosing a sun safe hat.
Make sure your child’s hat:
- Has a broad brim to adequately shade the whole face.
- Is made of a close weave fabric that does not allow light to get through.
- Has a dark lining to reduce the amount of UV radiation being reflected onto the face and eyes.
- Does not obscure vision or pose a safety concern.
- Fits correctly so it doesn’t slide down the child’s face or blow off easily.
- Is not a baseball cap.