Inadequate sun protection in early childhood centres could be
putting children at risk of skin cancer later in life, new
University of Otago research shows.
Published yesterday in the New Zealand Medical Journal, the
study of New Zealand centres, conducted by Wellington campus
researchers, found sun protection policies were in place but
were frequently inadequate or not enforced.
Lead researcher Mary Duignan said centres often allowed
children to wear caps, which did not offer enough protection,
or did not properly oversee sunscreen use.
''We also found there was inconsistent role-modelling, such
as staff not wearing hats while outside.''
Ms Duignan said there was a lack of sun protection
monitoring/regulatory requirements for early childhood
centres and staff lacked access to information about the
The prolonged latency period for cancer meant it took a long
time to learn whether prevention programmes were effective.
However, the evidence suggested they were effective, because
excessive childhood ultraviolet radiation exposure increased
melanoma risk later in life.
Increasing resources to centres for sun protection would
produce long-term savings in costs related to skin cancer,