KIDS SUN HATS BECOME BACK TO SCHOOL NECESSITY
IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
PLEASANTON, August 18, 2003 -- Alisal Elementary School is adding one more item to the list of back to school supplies, a kids sun hat. Alisal is teaching sun safety by having kids protect themselves from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays by providing information to children and their parents about the importance of sun protection and by providing more shade on school grounds.
The school has partnered with Coolibar, a provider of sun protective clothing, to provide kids sun hats for the children. The school sold more than 150 sun hats at the end of the school year and will again make them available during registration for the new school year.
Lee Techel, a parent of a second-grader and future kindergartener at Alisal, has been the driving force in bringing the sun safety curriculum into the school. Techel's husband died of melanoma a year and a half ago.
"I realized I had to do something to educate and protect children," Techel said. "Teaching the kids to wear a sun hat every time they go outside will help them develop habits that will keep them sun safe for a lifetime."
Since she began working with the school, large umbrellas have been put up next to picnic tables, more trees have been planted and colorful posters encouraging students to protect themselves from the sun by slipping on a shirt, slopping on sunscreen, sliding on shades and slapping on a hat have been put up in the school. The school district has given $20,000 to each school in Pleasanton to provide more shade. At Alisal, two outdoor shade structures will be built, one as large as 25-by-30 feet.
Techel reports that the program has been well received and that the hats have been very popular, with the girls preferring bucket hats and boys preferring the all sport hat. Last year Techel dropped by the school during breaks some days to hand out ice pops to students who were wearing hats and plans to do so again this year.
"80 percent of the sun's damage occurs before age 18," said John Barrow, founder and president of Coolibar. "Children need to be educated about sun safety practices early to avoid the risks of melanoma later."
- To fully protect skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation, Coolibar recommends a combination of the following sun safety practices be used:
- 1. Avoid the sun. Avoid sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when sunrays and ultraviolet radiation are most intense. Approximately 50 percent of the daily UV exposure is received during the four hours around noon.
- 2. Sun protection is most important for infants and children. Babies fewer than 6 months of age are too young for sunscreen and should be kept out of direct sunlight as much as possible. Up to 80 percent of sun damage is received by 18 years of age.
- 3. Clothing is an excellent sun protection tool that provides a physical sunscreen that doesn't wash or wear off and protection lasts all day. Wearing tightly woven yet loose fitting clothing that has been tested and certified as sun protective can shade your skin from the sun's UVA and UVB rays.
- 4. Wear a wide-brimmed hat or legionnaires hat that covers neck and ears made of sun protective material. A hat with at least a 3-inch brim all the way around is best. Baseball caps do not protect the back of the neck or the ears.
- 5. Wear sunglasses that block both ultraviolet-A (UVA) and ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays. Wearing sunglasses protects eyes from cataracts, retinal damage, macular degeneration and eyelid cancer.
- 6. Use broad-spectrum sunscreen whose active ingredients block both UVA and UVB rays. The Sun Protective Factor (SPF) should be a minimum of 30. Sunscreens should be used every day, including cloudy days. They should be applied liberally and evenly before going out into the sun and should be applied frequently, especially after swimming.
- 7. Limit exposure to reflective surfaces such as water, snow, sand and concrete. Sitting on the beach under an umbrella provides protection only from the sun's direct rays, not the indirect rays reflected off the sand.
Coolibar was founded in 2001 to bring Australia's world-leading approaches to sun protection to the American market. The company has extensively redesigned Australian sun protection clothing styles to meet the tastes and needs of fashion- and health-conscious Americans.
For information about Coolibar, go to www.coolibar.com or call 1-800-926-6509.