At Chingford House Nursery we understand the severity of being exposed to ultra violet radiation (UV) from sunlight; ‘damage from UV exposure is cumulative and increases your skin cancer risk over time’ (www.skincancer.org) Therefore, we take our commitment to protecting the children’s skin seriously and have several precautions in place to limiting the risk of over-exposure to the sun.
Babies and children are particularly vulnerable to sunburn as they have thinner and more sensitive skin than adults, so we need to be particularly robust in how we care for them (www.nhs.uk)
Parents must apply the first application of sunscreen before bringing their child to nursery (must be labelled); staff will ask to ensure that this has been done or to apply sunscreen if they have forgotten. We ask parents to apply the initial sunscreen, so that it does not reduce the children’s play or garden time by having to apply sunscreen for a group of children before they can go in the garden.
Parents are asked to ensure that the sunscreen is at least factor 30 and where possible that it is waterproof.
Sunscreen will not be shared as children may have sensitive skin or allergies, so it is important that parents ensure that they provide sunscreen for their own child. Parents consent to staff applying sunscreen on their registration form.
Protecting children’s skin:
• Keep immobile babies and young children in shaded areas of the garden
• Ensure that children are wearing suitable clothing – long sleeved tops & full-length skirts/trousers (thin/light clothing)
• Keep children inside at the hottest times of the day
• Ensure that the children are wearing hats (if possible, ones that cover their ears and neck)
• Ensure that sunscreen is applied throughout the day
• Encourage children to wear sunglasses if they can/want to (these need to be provided by the parents)
• Make sure that water is accessible both indoors and out and ensure that the children are drinking plenty of it throughout the day
As part of physical development (health & self-care) we discuss looking after our skin with the children. The children (where developmentally appropriate) are encouraged to apply their sunscreen independently which is then supported and topped up by staff.
Parents are reminded about the importance of providing sunscreen in the H&S section of the monthly newsletters. Additionally, staff discuss sun safety issues as an agenda item for H&S so that together we are protecting the children.
Heat Related Illnesses:
In addition to protecting the children’s skin, we also need to be mindful of the effects of high temperatures on their health and wellbeing. As stated above, young children are more vulnerable to the sun, this is also true of the heat. Children do not sweat as much as adults, so they cannot regulate their body temperature as sufficiently; this then means that children are more at risk of heat related illnesses such as heat stress or heatstroke.
Children can be irritable when suffering from heat stress; they may not seem like their normal selves and can be in a state of discomfort. Physical activities can exacerbate the symptoms which then can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
This occurs when the body overheats, it presents with signs and symptoms such as: tiredness, vomiting, headaches, confusion and red, hot & dry skin. If left untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke.
This is the most serious condition when the body can no longer control regulating its temperature; this occurs when the body is exposed to extremely high temperatures. Although heat stroke may result from untreated heat stress or exhaustion, it can also occur suddenly without warning. Some signs and symptoms are an extremely high temperature (over 40°), fast and shallow breathing, fast heart rate, fits or loss of consciousness.
Once it is identified that a child has heat stroke, staff are expected to respond quickly by cooling them down as soon as possible, i.e. giving them water to drink, sponging them down with cool water, wrapping them in a wet sheet or putting them next to a fan. Staff must phone for an ambulance if the child’s temperature does not go down within 30 minutes; this is also crucial if the child has a fit or loses consciousness.
Protecting Children from the heat (indoors and out):
Children will not engage in physically challenging activities/exercise when the weather is excessively hot (over 30°)
Children will be kept in the shade as much as possible
Children must have sunscreen applied before going outside
Children should wear loose, light clothing & MUST have sunhats
Children will be offered drinking water more frequently
Outdoor play times may need to be revised, restricted or cancelled if the temperature is too hot
Windows will be opened as early as possible
Windows will be closed when the air outside is making it warm inside
Electrical equipment will be unplugged when not being used
Some rooms may need to be closed if they are too hot
Fans will be used if the temperature is below 35°
In rare cases, temperatures may be considered extremely dangerous, therefore the Government may issue a heatwave alert, whereby we may need to make adjustments to ensure the safety of the children and staff. A Risk Assessment will be carried out to ensure that appropriate control measures are in place to mitigate all risks; this may result in a partial or full closure of the nursery depending on the situation. Parents will be informed as soon as possible and will be updated throughout. Where appropriate parents will be advised on how to keep their children and families safe in extreme weather.
Policy created by: Yolande Farrell Manager
Signed off by: Zarkar Akhtar Owner
Date: July 2022 Date of next review: June 2024