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- 15 May 2014 00:00
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A new sun protection initiative designed to support those working outdoors with children has been launched by The Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund.
The Outdoor Kids Sun Safety Code aims to protect children from the harmful effects of the sun whilst allowing them to enjoy the benefits of physical activity.
The national melanoma charity worked in partnership with a number of experts in physical education, coaching and safeguarding to produce a free online guide.
These included the Youth Sport Trust, the Association for Physical Education (afPE), sports coach UK and the Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU).
Skincare specialist Paul Banwell of the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS) was also the medical advisor to the project.
The free downloadable online guide was produced after The Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund identified the absence of guidance for professionals who work outdoors with children.
"Whilst nothing is better than the great outdoors, we want to ensure kids understand the importance of staying safe in the sun," said The Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund founder Harry Townsend.
"Targeting attitudes and behaviour at a young age, especially through respected coaches, teachers, instructors and leaders, will encourage good habits which will last a lifetime.
"We are delighted that so many organisations want to be part of this important legacy."
A recent report from Cancer Research UK revealed that the incidence of melanoma in the UK is now five times higher than it was in the 1970s.
The report also showed that more than 13,000 people develop melanoma each year, compared with around 1,800 in the mid-1970s.
London 2012 inspired more children to get outdoors and play sport and although this is positive, many activities subject young skin to 'prolonged sun exposure' which can result in sunburn.
Around 80% of lifetime sun exposure occurs during childhood and just one blistering sunburn can double the risk of getting melanoma later in life.
By following suggested guidelines, individuals and clubs can earn an Accreditation Mark, demonstrating their commitment to implementing an effective sun protection policy.
Over 30 other National Governing Bodies of Sport and outdoor groups and charities are supporting the initiative, designed to work across a full range of outdoor activities.
To find out more, Click Here