Impact of the SunSmart Early Childhood Program in Queensland

Harrison, Simone, Saunders, Vicki, and Nikles, Jane (2012) Impact of the SunSmart Early Childhood Program in Queensland. Annals of the ACTM, 13 (2). p. 38.

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Background / Aims: There are few studies of sun protection practices in early childhood settings. This study was conducted to provide baseline data about the sun-protection knowledge and practices in early childhood centres (ECCs) in Queensland 18 months after implementing the SunSmart Early Childhood Centre Program, to see whether the program made an appreciable difference to reported sun-protection knowledge and practice in SunSmart/participating centres compared to non-SunSmart centres.

Methods: A statewide survey conducted in 2002 explored sun-protection knowledge, practices and policy of directors/senior teachers of 1383 early childhood services in Queensland (56.5% response).

Results: Kindergarten/preschools and commercial/private centres had the highest uptake of SunSmart status, and an inner regional location was associated with the highest proportion of SunSmart status. SunSmart status appears to have significantly improved the following: 1.children's reported overall median sun protection practices scores; 2. Children reported hat-wearing and tendency to play in the shade more than 80% of the time; 3. Presence of rules/guidelines about suitable clothing; 4. Sun-protection mainly taught through a combination of formal and informal methods; 5. Early childhood service directors/coordinators attendance at in-service training about sun-protection in previous 12 months; 6. Percentage of staff who had attended a sun-protection in-service; 7. Proportion of ECCs that had developed and implemented a current (written) sun-protection policy.

Conclusion: The beneficial effect was mainly on policy, curriculum and inservice attendance rather than sun-protection practices and knowledge. This survey shows that further work is required to protect children from future skin cancer

Item ID: 26460
Item Type: Article (Abstract)
ISSN: 1448-4706
Keywords: early childhood
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2013 23:42
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111706 Epidemiology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920412 Preventive Medicine @ 100%
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