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    Sun Protection An International Issue

    Sun Protection An International Issue

    Whilst it’s true that Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world,  skin cancer including melanoma is still a serious health concern in many other parts of the world. 

    Here at Sandy Feet Australia, we are passionate about making it easier for parents all around the world to protect their children from the damaging effects of UV radiation, not just here in Australia.  With many parts of the northern hemisphere gearing up for summer (even if it’s just the promise of a holiday in the sun!), I think it’s important to remind ourselves about the importance of sun protection no matter where we live.  I have been talking to my friends in both the UK and the USA about sun protection and the message is always the same: ‘I know this is important in Australia, but it’s not the same for us, we don’t really need to worry about rash guards for our children’.   This prompted me to take a closer look at the issue of skin cancer in both these countries, and what I discovered may surprise you.

     According to Cancer Research UK :

    • There were around 15,400 new cases of melanoma skin cancer in the UK in 2014, that’s 42 cases diagnosed every day.
    • Melanoma skin cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the UK (2014).
    • 1 in 54 people will be diagnosed with malignant melanoma during their lifetime.

    According to The Skin Cancer Foundation in the US:

    • One person dies of melanoma every hour (every 54 minutes).1
    • An estimated 87,110 new cases of invasive melanoma will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2017
    • An estimated 9,730 people will die of the disease in 2017.1

    There are some facts about skin cancer that remain true across the world.  Firstly, the vast majority of skin cancers are caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, in fact studies have shown that getting a sunburn just once every two years can triple the risk of melanoma.4   Secondly your best form of defence is to protect yourself while in the sun by wearing UPF50+ sunscreen, wearing sun protective clothing (including sunglasses) and seeking shade when the UV levels are at their highest. 

    Whilst covering up in the sun can seem like a hassle at times, and the allure of the perfect tan is tempting, as a cancer survivor myself, who has had to face the reality of a potentially life threatening diagnosis, undertaken both radiotherapy and chemotherapy – I would opt for prevention over cure any day!

     

    1. Cancer Facts and Figures 2017. American Cancer Society.  http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/content/@editorial/documents/document/acspc-048738.pdf. Accessed January 10, 2017.
    2. Dennis LK, VanBeek MJ, Freeman LEB, Smith BJ, Dawson D V., Coughlin JA. Sunburns and risk of cutaneous melanoma, does age matter: a comprehensive meta-analysis. Ann Epidemiol. 2008;18(8):614-627. doi:10.1016/j.annepidem.2008.04.006.Sunburns.

    The Ideal Christmas Gift

    The Ideal Christmas Gift

    Christmas in Australia is all about sun, sand and fun in the water, making sun safe swimwear an ideal Christmas gift.  Whether you are heading to the beach or hanging by the pool this Christmas you can’t go wrong with a stylish UPF50+ outfit from Sandy Feet Australia.

    Things to consider when buying your kids swimwear this year:

    • Is it SunSmart? Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world, and most of that damage is done in early childhood.  Always look for swimwear that has a UPF50+ rating and offers good coverage to protect your children from damaging UV while enjoying the beach or the pool.
    • Is it high quality? Not all swimwear is equal.  Most people are not aware that many swimwear fabrics start to lose their sun protection as soon as they are exposed to sun, salt, sand and chlorine?  So make sure you choose swimwear that is long lasting and won’t deteriorate over time.  It may cost a little more to begin with but it will be worth it in the long run.  You may also want to consider how easy it is to care for, I for one do not have time to hand wash the kid’s swimwear!
    • Is it comfortable and practical for the kids? Are they able to explore, swim and play in comfort?  No one wants the summer to be about an ongoing fight with our children to wear their Rash shirt.  So make sure you choose relaxed fit garments that dry quickly and are easy to get on and off.
    • Vivid colours, bold designs. Gone are the days when choosing sun safe options means giving up on style for your little ones.  Be on the lookout for vivid colours and bold designs that you’ll both love and will have them looking cool on the beach or at the pool this summer.

    Sandy Feet Australia offers a range of kid’s swimwear that is Designed for Play and Made to Last.  Our unique retro-Scandinavian designs are all UPF50+, 100% chlorine proof, quick drying, and won’t fade or stretch.  Sandy Feet Australia’s unique fabric has been tested by ARPANSA (Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency) and has been shown to maintain its UPF50+ rating for at least 5 years.   Available in sizes 2-12.

    www.sandyfeetaustralia.com

    The Beauty Within

    The Beauty Within

    Whilst the world of social media has many positives in bringing people together to share and connect, as a mother of young children I can’t help being concerned about the increasing focus on our external appearance. 

    More than ever we are bombarded by images of perfectly made up people sporting the latest in fashion, make-up and hairstyles.  I believe these constant images of perfection are setting unrealistic standards in our children’s impressionable and developing minds. (At least they are unrealistic in our household—I’m lucky to have a shower some days let alone manage a full face of makeup, and perfect hair!)  Don’t get me wrong, I like an opportunity to get frocked up as much as the next person, however I think like most things in life it’s all about balance—meaning getting dressed up for a special occasion or a night out, not just to leave the house.

    In my opinion this focus on what we look like runs the risk of distracting our children from concentrating on what is really important in their personal development like the type of person they want to be and what qualities they want to possess for a happy and healthy adulthood.  Research suggests that developing a negative body image puts our children at much higher risk of developing depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and body image disorders in their teens and adult life. In fact, Australian data shows about one in three young people have issues with their body image.

    So in this week’s blog I thought I would share with you some of my thoughts that I’ve collected from a wide range of literature on how we can help our children develop a healthy body image.

    • Compliment children on things other than their appearance. Things like being kind, thoughtful, healthy, strong, artistic, funny, and their attitude to school work.
    • Focus on healthy eating and exercise, not weight.  Talk about balance, and what our bodies need to be healthy, and the effects of too much or too little for our body’s health and performance.
    • Be a positive role model for your children.
      • We all have good and bad days, but try to resist the urge to talk negatively about your body shape, size or looks in front of your children
      • Make healthy food choices and exercise regularly
      • Watch for subtle messages we send all the time i.e. saying to a friend ‘wow you look amazing, have you lost weight?’ If we are constantly remarking on our friend’s appearances, it will send a message to our children that we value these things above less superficial things like their sense of humour or cleverness.
    • Educate your children about media images.  It’s important that they understand that the way people look in these images may not be what they look like in real life.  Talk to them about how airbrushing, lighting and camera angles can create unrealistic images.
    • Different is not defective.  Different is just different, not good or bad.  We all come in different shapes, sizes, have different likes and dislikes—teach your children to appreciate the differences in others instead of fearing or ridiculing them.

    The following sites provide further information and resources in realtion to this topic. Kids MatterRaising Children Network, Kids Help Line.

    Sun Safety Myths Debunked

    Sun Safety Myths Debunked

    At Sandy Feet Australia we’re passionate about protecting children from the harmful effects of UV Radiation. So we thought with summer on our doorstep, it may be a great time for a reminder about the importance of protecting yourself in the sun this summer, and to dispel a few common myths about sun protection.

    Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. According to Cancer Council Australia:

    • Each year more than 2,000 Australians die from this almost entirely preventable disease.
    •  Sunburn causes 95% of melanomas. 
    • Many people get sunburnt when they are taking part in water sports and activities at the beach or a pool, as well gardening or having a barbeque. 
    • Excluding non-melanoma skin cancer, melanoma is the most common cancer in Australians aged 15-44 years. 

    This month Cancer Council Queensland shared some myths about sun protection, we thought were worth sharing. 

    Myth 1: Sun damage is not possible on windy, cloudy or cool days – false.
    You can get sun damage in any weather as this is caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation, not temperature. Sun protection is required when the UV index is three or greater – in some parts of Australia like Queensland this is all year around. Check daily UV levels at cancer.org.au/SunSmartApp.

    Myth 2: Plenty of sun exposure is required to avoid vitamin D deficiency – false.
    Australians shouldn’t expose themselves to potentially harmful UV in order to get more vitamin D. When UV levels are 3 or above, most Australians get enough vitamin D with just a few minutes of sun exposure while completing everyday tasks – like walking to the car or shops. During peak UV times, it’s important to reduce your risk of skin cancer by protecting your skin.

    Myth 3: You can stay outside for longer when you are wearing SPF50+ than you can with SPF30+ – false. No sunscreen is a suit of armour and sunscreen should never be used to extend the amount of time you spend in the sun. SPF50+ only offers marginally better protection than SPF30+, filtering 98 per cent of UV compared to 96.7 per cent, respectively. Cancer Council recommends applying a sunscreen that is SPF30 or higher before heading outside, every two hours, after swimming, sweating, or towel drying.

    Myth 4: People with olive skin are not at risk of skin cancer – false.
    Regardless of skin type, exposure to UV radiation can cause skin to be permanently damaged. People with olive skin are actually more likely to detect their skin cancers at a later stage, emphasising the importance of protection, self-checks, and early detection.

    Myth 5: If you tan but don’t burn, you don’t need sun protection – false.
    There is no such thing as a safe tan. If skin darkens, it is a sign of skin cells in trauma, even if there is no redness or peeling. Skin darkens as a way of trying to protect itself because the UV rays are damaging cells.

    Cancer Council Australia advises you protect yourself in 5 ways: Slip on sun protective clothing, Slop on SPF 30 (or higher) sunscreen, Slap on a broad-brimmed hat, Seek shade and Slide on wrap-around sunglasses. For more information please visit The Cancer Council Australia website or contact their helpline on 13 11 20.

    You may also not realise that many fabrics lose their sun protection as soon as they are exposed to sun, salt, sand and chlorine.  At Sandy Feet Australia we understand the importance of protecting young children’s skin from the harmful effects of UV Radiation. That’s why our unique retro-Scandinavian designs are all UPF 50+, 100% chlorine proof, quick drying, and won’t fade or stretch. Sandy Feet Australia’s unique fabric has been shown through testing conducted by ARPANSA (Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency) to maintain its’ UPF50+ rating for at least 5 years. So protect your kids this summer with Sandy Feet Australia, Designed for Play and Made to Last.
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    Brain development, playing and the importance of getting grubby.  by Dr Marnie Cumner

    Brain development, playing and the importance of getting grubby. by Dr Marnie Cumner

    Playing has been listed as a child’s fundamental human right by the United Nations and one prominent academic is calling for the first lesson of the school day to be recess.  So, what’s all this fuss about children and playing?

     

    With the seemingly never-ending carousel of school, homework, projects, dance class, sports practice, music lessons, and then some more homework - it can seem like our children are scheduled to the eyeballs.  Add to this the increasing use of screen-time as down-time and suddenly there is little room for anything else.  In our hurried modern world, the importance of just playing – unstructured, free, joyous playing – can be so easily overlooked. 

    A child’s brain develops in response to its environment.  Children are like sponges, absorbing new information and experiences, then using these to fuel their own ideas and creations.  Like a muscle, those pathways in the brain that are used often become stronger.   We all want our children to be good problem-solvers, to interact well with others, to manage their emotions well, to be creative, resilient and to communicate effectively.  Play gives our children the opportunity to develop and strengthen these areas. 

    From an early age, play allows infants and children to engage with the world around them.  Consistent, predictable and loving relationships are essential to healthy brain development.  Playing with the important adults in their lives gives children the chance to learn new skills and face new challenges in a secure, loving environment.  Children also learn how to manage their own responses to everyday challenges and frustrations by observing the adults in their life.  But time playing without adults is also important, as it allows children to create a world where they are in charge of the challenges they face, at their own pace. 

    Play comes in many different forms – active and physical games, make-believe, language and social games, as well as construction and experimenting.  Play is spontaneous, voluntary, unpredictable and great fun.  It gives children the time and space to immerse themselves in their own imagination or environment.  This means letting them get dirty, experiment, build things, make a mess, fall over and even letting them fail sometimes.  Research suggests that free play outside also provides great benefits to child development, such as improving physical wellness, environmental awareness, creativity, confidence and concentration.

    By giving our children the time and space to play – creative, exciting, adventurous, imaginative play –  we are setting them on the right path toward becoming confident, motivated, resilient and kind adults.

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    Dr Marnie Cumner is a Clinical Neuropsychologist who specialises in understanding how brain function affects the everyday thinking and behaviour of children and adolescents.  She currently practices in Noosa Heads and lives in the peaceful Noosa hinterland with her husband, two young children and menagerie of farm animals.   www.sunshinecoastneuropsychology.com