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Eliminate sunburn with the Outdoor Kids Sun Safety Code

7 May 2014

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Thanks to a new initiative devised and funded by the Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund, all children whose instructors or riding centres follow the Code now stand a better chance of escaping the harmful effects of sunburn.  

oksunsafetycode.com is a free online resource bank developed by a leading skin cancer specialist alongside experts in physical education and safeguarding. The BHS is one of 30 national governing bodies, clubs and associations who working with children outdoors and supporting the initiative, which is backed by Julia Bradbury and partnered with the Association for Physical Education, Sports Coach UK and the Youth Sports Trust.

We’re urging Registered Instructors and Approved Centres to visit the site and follow a simple code to achieve their official accreditation stamp to show that they actively sun protect kids in their care. A free downloadable toolkit provides promotional materials, designed to help keep guidelines in mind and ensure that good practice is supported by parents.  

Ellie Vajcovec, BHS Executive (Equality and Safeguarding), said: “When children are outdoors having fun around horses, the last thing on their mind is sun protection. This is why The British Horse Society supports The Outdoor Kids Sun Safety Code.

“By following the Code, BHS Approved Centres and Clubs and Registered Instructors can help ensure the children they teach stay safe in the sun.”

Why now?

A recent survey suggests that London 2012 inspired more children to get outdoors and play sport with more than half of the 1,645 eight to 12-year-olds saying they now played more sport than before London 2012. Although this is positive, outdoor activities subject young skin to ‘prolonged sun exposure’ which can result in sunburn, even on a cloudy day.  

Why is it vital?

Figures from Cancer Research UK show that incidence of melanoma in the UK is now five times higher than it was in the 1970s; more than 13,000 people develop melanoma each year, compared with around 1,800 in the mid-1970s.

The Skin Cancer Foundation estimates that 80% of lifetime sun exposure occurs during childhood and that just one blistering sunburn can double the risk of getting melanoma later in life. We believe that targeting children’s attitudes and behaviour at a young age will encourage good habits which will last a lifetime.

Celebrity Ambassador Julia Bradbury says, “I am a lover of the outdoors but also aware of the harmful effects of the sun, so I am delighted to be part of the creation of the Outdoor Kids Sun Safety Code.  We owe it to all children to do our best to make sure they are safe in the sun.”

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