Thursday, May 28, 1998 Published at 11:26 GMT 12:26 UK
Health: Latest News
Skin cancer threat to children
Children spend one quarter of their time at school outside
Four out of ten children get sunburned every year, according to the Health Education Authority, and studies now show that childhood sunburn can be linked to skin cancer later in life.
"As over exposure to the sun and episodes of sunburn under the age of 15 years are major risk factors for skin cancer, teaching children about the need to avoid burning is vital in our attempt to stop the increase in cases of skin cancer," he said.
The guidelines ask schools to make sure there is plenty of shade in playgrounds and that children are encouraged to cover up and wear hats and sunscreen. They also suggest that outside activities should not be held in the middle of the day when the sun's rays are strongest.
Six bouts of sunburn
A junior school in Nottingham has recently taken the advice to heart after some persuasion from a concerned parent. The Jesse Gray school has made special hats, supplied by the Cancer Research Campaign, part of the school uniform. Mother of two, Jill Thorpe said: "I wanted to do something simple and effective and hats seemed like the best idea."
In recent years, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of people in Britain suffering from skin cancer. About 40,000 new cases are reported each year and malignant melanoma, the most serious form of the disease claims roughly 1,500 lives every year.