Sun Safe Outdoor Events
Are you planning an outdoor event? As event planners, we have a responsibility to protect children, staff, volunteers and the public who attend outdoor events from overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays (UVR).
Resources to Plan a Sun Safe Event
By using the following tips and resources, you can play an important part in raising awareness and promoting sun safety at your event through:
- Article/newsletter inserts
- Handouts/fact sheets
- Education sessions
- Check to see if your organization has sun safety policies and procedures and ensure they are included in your plans.
- Review Environment Canada’s UV Indexand the Ontario Sun Safety Working Group’s recommendations, and provide this information to others involved in the event through handouts and orientation sessions.
- Consider including heat alerts and the Air Quality Health Index(AQHI) readings in your planning.
- Schedule the event when the UV Index is lower than three, usually before 11 a.m. or after 3 p.m.
- Assess and map the site at the same time of day as your event for adequate natural shade such as from trees.
- Plan to use shaded and indoor areas as much as possible.
- If shade is not available, create your own. Check to see if your organization owns awnings, canopies, tents or umbrellas and arrange to use them. If not, make arrangements to rent, borrow or purchase what you need.
- Consider arranging an alternate site (indoor, air conditioned) in case of a heat alert, high UV Index, and/or high AQHI on the day of your event. Cooling station(s) with water in shaded or indoor locations can encourage hydration.
- Highlight shade and cooling stations on any maps, activity routes or set-up plans.
- For events with pre-school to grade 6 children, plan sun safety activities to raise awareness.
- Encourage staff, volunteers and participants to wear a wide brimmed hat, clothing to cover skin, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
- Schedule time for staff, volunteers and participants to apply/reapply sunscreen.
- Promote the event as being sun safe by including sun safety graphics and tag lines in promotional materials
- Request sun safety resources in advance from Toronto Public Health and other organizations.
The Day of the Event:
- Check the daily UV index forecast and encourage staff and volunteers to follow and model the Sun Safety Recommendations.
- Check the forecast for temperature, heat alerts, and the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) readings and follow recommended precautions.
- Arrange for staff/volunteers to rotate into shaded areas to minimize time exposed to the burning rays of the sun.
- Provide signage and directions to shaded rest areas and water.
- Post sun safety information at your event and provide sun safety resources.
- Have water available for hydration
- Make announcements during the event to remind staff, volunteers and participants that water and shaded areas are available and to reapply sunscreen as recommended.
Enjoy the sun safely. Protect your skin and eyes from the sun by following the Ontario Sun Safety Working Group’s recommendations.
Time of Day: If you can, limit time in the sun when the UV (ultraviolet) Index is 3 or higher, usually between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Shade: Seek shade or make shade by using an umbrella, a UV protective tent or pop-up shade shelter. Keep babies younger than 1 year of age out of direct sunlight.
Cover Up: Wear clothes that cover as much skin as possible or UV-protective clothing. Wear a wide brimmed hat or baseball cap with flaps that cover the head, neck and ears.
Sunscreen: Apply plenty of sunscreen with SPF 30 or more, labelled “broad spectrum” and “water resistant”. Reapply when needed (especially after swimming, sweating, or toweling). Use a sunscreen lip balm. Sunscreen may be used on babies over six months of age; avoid the mouth and eye areas. Read more about sunscreen.
Sunglasses: Wear close fitting/wrap-around sunglasses with UV 400 or 100% UV protection. Children’s and babies’ sunglasses should be unbreakable.
Things to Avoid
- Getting a tan or a sunburn.
- Exposing yourself to UV rays to meet vitamin D needs. Use food or supplements instead
Promote the event as being sun safe by including sun safety graphics and tag lines in promotional materials. Include sun safety tips such as:
- Wearing a wide brimmed hat
- Wearing clothing with long sleeves to cover as much skin as possible
- Wearing 100% UV (ultraviolet) protective sunglasses
- Applying sunscreen with SPF (sun protection factor) 30 or higher
- Bringing an umbrella for shade
- Drinking water to stay hydrated