Nordic unity: Greater availability of shaded areas needed for children

Radiation safety authorities in the Nordic countries have issued a joint statement recommending that municipal authorities and urban planners develop and design healthy outdoor environments offering shaded areas for children and teenagers. The background to this recommendation is the fact that the incidence of skin cancer continues to rise in the Nordic countries.

The joint statement, from the radiation safety authorities of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland, points out that children who get sunburnt risk developing skin cancer later in life. The level of risk can be sharply reduced by taking breaks in the shade when the sun is strongest. This is why greater availability of shaded spaces is needed where children and teenagers spend time.

"We hope to raise the level of awareness among municipal authorities and others in charge of urban planning so that they take into account and design shaded areas as part of development and planning of new sites, pre-schools and schools," says Johan Gulliksson, an analyst at the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority.

Mr Gulliksson mentions good examples of shade planning in the form of shade sails adjacent to playgrounds, transparent roofing with UV filters over outdoor break areas, trees planted on open sites and benches placed under large structures.

"Although solar radiation is not the strongest here in the Nordic countries, it can still pose a health hazard. An additional factor is that many people in the Nordic countries have fair skin and get a sunburn easily. We believe that a combination of easily accessible and attractive shaded areas and better awareness of sun safety and protection measures will reduce the risk of experiencing sun damage," says Mr Gulliksson.

For more information, please contact: Johan Gulliksson, Analyst, Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, via the Authority's press officer on +46 8 799 40 20.

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