There has been quite a lot of discussion recently about whether to slip, slop and slap through winter months as many children are being diagnosed with Vitamin D deficiency. There is no doubt about the fact that we need to protect our skin from damages the sun can provide.
The Cancer Council states "Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. Each year more than 1850 Australians die from this almost entirely preventable disease. Vitamin D forms in the skin when it is exposed to UV from sunlight. It can also be obtained from some foods. We need vitamin D to maintain good health and to keep bones and muscles strong and healthy.
For most people, adequate vitamin D levels are reached through regular daily activity and incidental exposure to the sun. During summer, the majority of people can maintain adequate vitamin D levels from a few minutes of exposure to sunlight on their face, arms and hands or the equivalent area of skin on either side of the peak UV periods (10am to 3pm) on most days of the week.
In winter in the southern parts of Australia, where UV radiation levels are less intense, people may need about two to three hours of sunlight to the face, arms and hands, or equivalent area of skin, spread over a week to maintain adequate vitamin D levels. In winter in northern parts of Australia, people will continue to maintain adequate vitamin D levels going about their day-to-day activities, so it is not necessary to deliberately seek UV radiation exposure."
To know what UV ratings are throughout the day you can visit the BOM Bureau of Meteorology site or there are a number of places you can purchase a UV Metre to teach children in understanding that it isn't the sun itself but the UV rays we can't see that can harm us.
The Cancer Council also provides numerous amounts of resources specifically for early childhood education services, one example is the Weather & UV Chart Resource this links the information to the 3 elements of the Early Years Learning Framework, a great resource.