One bad sunburn in childhood may double the risk of skin cancer later in life. Children’s skin needs protection from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays whenever they are outdoors. The risk for skin cancer can be greatly reduced when certain precautions are practiced. This model policy aligns with the Sun Safety Standard Sun Safety Including Sunscreen of the National Health and Safety Performance Standards Guidelines for Early Care and Education Programs.

Policy Components

The first step to creating an environment that supports UV protection is to utilize this model policy in its entirety or adapt this model policy to support the needs of the program.

(Program Name) is committed to ensuring that all children and staff are protected from skin damage caused by the harmful UVA and UVB rays of the sun.

(Program Name) (requires, encourages) the following sun safety guidelines be implemented to support a sun safe child care program.


  1. The Sun Safety Policy will be reinforced in positive ways by staff through parent newsletters, staff memos, bulletin boards and meetings.
  2. Signage will be posted in the child care facility that reminds staff, parents and children to practice sun safety.
  3. Age and developmentally appropriate skin cancer education and ways to protect the skin from the UV rays of the sun will be incorporated into the program’s curriculum and children will receive regular skin cancer education.

Sun Safety Equipment

All children in the (Program Name) care will wear sun-protective clothing and equipment, when outside, that includes:

  • a hat with a wide brim that protects the face, neck and ears
  • child safe, shatter resistant sunglasses with at least 99% UVA & UVB protection
  • sun-protective clothing (i.e., tightly woven, loose-fitting, full length, light-colored and light-weight) when temperatures are reasonable.

Staff will wear sun-protective clothing and equipment, when outside, that includes:

  • a hat with a wide brim that protects the face, neck and ears
  • sunglasses with 100% UVA & UVB protection
  • sun-protective clothing (i.e., tightly woven, loose-fitting, full length, light-colored and light-weight) when temperatures are reasonable

The (Program Name) will provide a hat, sunglasses, sun-protective clothing, sunscreen, and water bottle for children in their care when parents/guardians are unable.

Per signed written parent/guardian permission, for children older than 6 months, apply broad-spectrum, water-resistant SPF 30 or higher sunscreen to all exposed areas, especially the face (avoiding the eye area), nose, ears, feet, and hands and rubbed in well especially from May through September 30 minutes before exposure to the sun. Sunscreen will be reapplied every two hours if children are outside for more than an hour, and more frequently if they are playing in water. If the skin is broken or an allergic reaction is observed, staff will discontinue use and notify the parent/guardian. (An order from a health care provider for sun screen application is required in addition to parental consent for children under the age of six months.)


  1. The (Program Name) will provide sufficient areas of shade on the outdoor play area and encourage children to seek shaded areas for outdoor activities.
  2. Staff will be sun-safe role models

Planning Outdoor Activities

  1. Limit sun exposure between 10 AM and 4 PM, when UV rays are strongest. The availability of shade will be considered when planning excursions and outdoor activities during these times.
  2. Staff will monitor the UV Index and schedule outdoor activities accordingly to limit exposure to the sun on days when the Index is 7 or higher high in accordance with the EPA UV Index Scale. Children will be watched carefully for heat-related illnesses (e.g., extreme tiredness, nausea, irritability, increased sweating, etc.).
  3. Staff will offer water frequently for children before and during prolonged physical outdoor activities in warm weather.
  4. Staff will keep infants younger than six months of age out of direct sunlight (natural shade, umbrella, stroller canopy, etc.). Sunscreen is not recommended for children under 6 months of age.

Professional Development

  1. Staff will be trained on sun safety guidelines, proper sunscreen application, and proper protocols for skin allergies annually and through regular booster trainings.
  2. New staff will be orientated to this policy at the time of hire.
  3. Staff will be provided with educational materials and resources on sun safety practices.


  1. Parents will be provided with educational materials and resources on preventing skin cancer and sun safety practices.
  2. Parents will receive a copy of the Sun Safety Policy.
  3. Parents will be asked to provide a suitable hat, sunglasses, water bottle, and sunscreen for their child’s use when outdoors in the care setting.
  4. Parents/guardians will be encouraged to model sun safe behaviors and practice these guidelines outside of the child care program.
  5. Parents/guardians of children currently enrolled and children enrolling in (Program Name), will be required to complete and sign the Parent/Guardian’s Permission to Apply Sunscreen Form (see page 3) and it shall remain on file at the program. This form will be updated (annually, with each new bottle of sunscreen provided).
  6. A written order from a health care provider is required if parents request   sunscreen be applied to their infant under six months of age.
  7. Sunscreen will be applied to the child at least once by the parents/guardians and the child observed for a reaction to the sunscreen prior to its use in child care.

Definition of Terms

Ultraviolet Radiation—Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a form of non-ionizing radiation that is emitted by the sun and artificial sources, such as tanning beds.

Different types of UV radiation rays—UV radiation is classified into one of three primary group: ultraviolet A (UVA), ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet C (UVC). All of the UVC and most of the UVB radiation is absorbed by the earth’s ozone layer, so nearly all of the ultraviolet radiation received on Earth is UVA.  Even though UVA radiation is weaker than UVB, it penetrates deeper into the skin and is more constant throughout the year.  Since UVC radiation is absorbed by the earth’s ozone layer, it does not pose as much of a risk (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016).


Contact Regarding Policy

Contact (Program Representative) with questions or concerns about the policy.

Effective Date

The policy is effective (date).

Policy Monitoring and Review

(Program Name) will evaluate and revise this policy on an annual basis.

Review Date

The policy will be reviewed (date).


Contact the Comprehensive Cancer Control Program, , regarding questions about developing a sun safe model policy.


  1. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control: https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/sun-safety.htm
  2. American Academy of Pediatrics: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/pediatrics/early/2011/02/28/peds.2010-3501.full.pdf
  3. SD Department of Social Services: https://dss.sd.gov/childcare/
  4. SD Department of Health:  The SD DOH provides UV protection grants to support policy and sun safe behavior implementation. Grants are typically released in February and can be found at cancersd.com. For more information, contact .
  5. EPA Ultraviolet (UV) Index: https://www.epa.gov/enviro/uv-index-searchThe Ultraviolet (UV) Index predicts the ultraviolet radiation levels on a 1-11+ scale. The UV Index provides a daily forecast of the expected intensity of UV radiation from the sun. Enter ZIP Code or a City, and State to calculate the UV Index for that location through the United State Environmental Protection Agency website.