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Minister Naughton Launches Annual ‘Get SunSmart!’ Art Competition

Minister for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy Hildegarde Naughton has invited budding artists to showcase their skills by entering the Get SunSmart! Art Competition.

The competition, which is open until Friday 31 May 2024, aims to raise awareness of the importance of adopting skin protection behaviours from a very young age.

An initiative of Healthy Ireland and the National Cancer Control Programme in the Health Service Executive, the competition is now in its third year. It is open to all primary school-aged children and this year for the first time will also be open to pre-schoolers.

Depending on their age category, children will be asked to colour the SunSmart colouring sheets or draw their own picture, illustrating SunSmart protective behaviours including wearing sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses, wearing long-sleeve clothing and seeking shade.

“There are around 11,000 new cases of skin cancer in Ireland every year and that number is projected to double by 2045

Exposure to UV radiation during childhood is particularly harmful. Severe sunburn during childhood (3 or more instances before the age of 20) is associated with a 2-4 times higher risk of developing melanoma in later life.

Minister Naughton said “We all love to get out and about when the sun shines but it is really important to protect our skin and our children’s skin. There are around 11,000 new cases of skin cancer in Ireland every year and that number is projected to double by 2045, so we need to take a multi-faceted approach to prevention. We know that healthy habits learned in childhood are more likely to be adopted for life, so it is vital that we encourage skin protection behaviours from an early age.

“Art is a brilliant medium for learning and the Get SunSmart! Art Competition is a wonderful initiative that helps kids to develop their artistic flair while absorbing a message that will protect their health into the future. I’m calling on teachers and parents to encourage children to enter this year’s competition and I look forward to seeing the creative ways in which the SunSmart message is illustrated.”

You can protect your skin by following the SunSmart code 5Ss, from April to September, even on cloudy days:

Slip on clothing that covers your skin such as wearing long sleeves and collared t-shirts.

Slop on broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) water-resistant sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30+ for adults and 50+ for children, with high UVA protection. Reapply regularly.

Slap on a hat with a wide brim: Protect your face, ears and neck.

Seek shade: Sit in cover of trees to avoid direct sunlight and use a sunshade on your buggy or pram. Keep babies and children out of direct sunlight.

Slide on sunglasses to protect your eyes.



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