This is an H3
Families are students’ primary health educators, so involving them in sun safety education is essential. Parents or guardians can demonstrate, support and encourage sun safe behaviors for their children. They can also contribute to the development of a sun safe school through fundraising and can encourage businesses and community groups to provide monetary donations, expertise, labor or materials to further sun safety efforts. Once parents are on board, they can help students with sun safety outside of school and they can also help support district-wide sun safety efforts.
Tips to involve parents:
- Let parents know about the need for sun safety by sending letters home with students
- Include sun safety information in the district newsletter and on the district website
- Organize sun safety events and contests to make learning about sun safety a family activity
- Distribute information about your sun protection policy to parents
- Coordinate sun safety efforts with the PTA
- Publicize the need for sun safety with media stories and press releases
Parent participation is essential for the success of school-based health education programs, and can support and encourage the sun-protective behavior change of their children. Parents can also contribute to the development of a sun safe school through fund-raising, and can encourage businesses and community groups to donate to the cause.
Raise funds or use donations to:
- Make playgrounds and parks sun safe.
- Buy sunscreen in bulk for sporting events and physical education classes.
- Buy equipment for indoor sports.
- Buy sun safe promotional items as community recognition.
- Plant trees in parks and common areas.
- Build permanent shade structures.
- Build a gymnasium or indoor sporting facility.
By working with staff, parents, students, and community leaders, schools can build sun safety partnerships, which can help in the planning and implementing of sun safe school policies and environmental changes. Raise parental and community awareness by developing sun safety events, contests, and media stories. Furthermore, grassroots community efforts can lead to political and legislative support for sun safe school environments to promote public health.
To build sun safety partnerships:
- Include sun safe hats, sunglasses, and shirts in school spirit activities.
- Develop fun learning events such as Sun Awareness Day or Arbor Day. These events could include hat fashion shows, poster contests, tree-planting ceremonies, and class contests to promote sun safe behaviors.
- Inform parents about the school’s sun safety policies when they enroll their children.
- Encourage parents to provide students with sunscreen for daily use at outdoor sporting events.
- Encourage parents to ensure that their children have cover-up clothes, sunglasses, and sunscreen on before going to school.
- Encourage parents and staff to set good examples by wearing cover-up clothes, sunglasses, hats, and sunscreen.
- Educate parents, students, and staff about sun safety by inviting a local dermatologist or meteorologist to give a presentation at school.
- Send a copy of the sun safety information sheet home to parents or add it to an issue of your school newsletter. A Spanish translation may be beneficial for some schools.
- Encourage school districts to include ramadas, trees, or shaded areas in new school construction or remodeling plans. Consider working with a local nursery to create a landscaping plan. Request a portion of those trees be donated.
- Distribute a media release that details your school’s sun safety efforts.
- Encourage community members such as local coaches and recreation center staff to promote sun safe behaviors within their community.
Seventy percent of adults reported protecting their children from the sun in a 1997 national survey. Fifty-three percent used sunscreen and 8% used shirts to protect their children.
Robinson JK, Rigel RS, Amonette RA. JAMA. 1998;280:317-318.