Why is this important?
Although sun exposure plays a vital role in ensuring adequate vitamin D production, protecting children from overexposure to the sun is very important. There is evidence that severe sunburns during childhood or adolescence substantially increase skin cancer risks later in life. Shade is essential for safe outdoor play and sun protection. By keeping outdoor areas and play surfaces cooler, shade helps prevent heat stress and other serious heat-related health impacts. Naturally shaded outdoor areas can also cool adjacent buildings, helping to make indoor environments more comfortable and improve energy efficiency.
What actions can we take?
- Ensure natural and/or built shade is available in outdoor play areas.
- Establish a protective shade policy to reduce children’s exposure to UV radiation and extreme heat. A shade policy might include
- recognition that access to shade should be an important consideration when planning outdoor play areas,
- a requirement to provide a certain proportion of shade coverage,
- a requirement to protect trees
- consideration for planting trees or creating shade around playground equipment, seating areas and tables, and oriented to protect adjacent buildings from unwanted heat gain.