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North Shore City walking buses get SunSmart

North Shore City walking buses get SunSmart

Eight of North Shore City's walking school buses have joined forces with the Cancer Society to walk the talk of staying safe in the sun.

Campbells Bay, Pinehill, Devonport, Target Road, Forrest Hill, Sherwood, Bayswater and Vauxhall primary schools will use their walking buses to build awareness of the Cancer Society's Tiger the Prawn's SunSmart message of Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap.

Tiger is a prawn with attitude who gives a serious SunSmart message in a fun way. His message is targeted particularly at children 12 and under and their parents.

Cancer Society health promotion manager, Wendy Fulton says children's skin is very vulnerable to sunburn.

"This burning which is very painful causes damage and leads to premature ageing of the skin and the risk of skin cancer later in life. Sometimes, for example when there is light cloud or the day is cool, we don't even realise how much Ultraviolet Radiation (UVR) is present. It is this UVR that damages our skin and contributes to our very high death rates from melanoma and other skin cancers," she says.

As part of the joint promotion, walking school bus parent volunteers will carry a Cancer Society UV Index Card and children will learn when the UV rays are at their highest. The Cancer Society will also be providing sunscreen for walking school bus first aid kits. "The children will be taking Tiger's advice and enjoying summer by being brighter than the sun by Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrapping this summer," says Ms Fulton.

North Shore City's traffic services manager, Tom Morton, says walking school buses were originally started to relieve congestion at the school gate but are now delivering a whole range of benefits.

"Linking the SunSmart message to the healthy exercise message is just another example of all the great things that walking school buses can deliver. They also provide road safety education from a pedestrian's point of view and safety from stranger danger. Parents and children are also finding they are meeting new people in their communities," he says.

Mr Morton says that the reduced traffic around schools (around 230 less cars in North Shore City) is also contributing to less air pollution, and less water pollution from the water that ends up in our stormwater drains from the road. "We have over 40 buses now in operation at 20 schools and the numbers are growing all the time. It's important that we remind the children on our walking buses of the need to protect themselves from the sun when walking to and from school .We are pleased to be part of this partnership with the Cancer Society," he says.

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