Organising a SunSmart outdoor event

Planning an outdoor event?
School events like carnivals, incursions, outdoor assemblies, and lap-a-thons can leave wonderful, lasting memories for students and staff – unless you’re left with a painful dose of sunburn. When planning any outdoor event, particularly if students, staff, and spectators will spend extended periods outdoors during peak UV hours, it’s important to consider how everyone can be protected from the sun and stay safe. Implementing as many of these strategies as practical will help to ensure your outdoor event is protecting everyone from UV radiation.

Make it fun!
Reward and encourage students, spectators or factions for being SunSmart. Or even try special awards such as ‘Best Sunscreen Application’ or ‘Biggest Hat’.

Keep an eye on UV
When picking a date for an event, consider the amount of time that students will be outside and the forecast UV level. The UV will be higher in terms one and four.
• UV levels peak during the middle of the day so try to schedule events to avoid this time. Consider offering shaded/indoor alternatives, or hold twilight events in the evening.
• Remember that when the UV Index is 3 or above, it is high enough to cause skin damage, so sun protection is required. In Western Australia, this is every day of the year in most of the state.


Scope out the site beforehand to consider shade needs and how existing shade can be utilised. Maximise shade where the most people will congregate, such as faction bays and marshalling areas.
• Consider providing temporary shade such as marquees, portable gazebos, or umbrellas if the existing shade is inadequate.

Ensure that SPF50 or SPF50+ sunscreen is available and accessible to all staff, students, and spectators.
• Recruit faction captains or senior students to remind younger students to re-apply sunscreen.
• Make a ‘time to reapply sunscreen’ announcement every two hours.

Slipping and Slapping
Covering clothing and hats offer the best protection from UV radiation. For special outdoor events, encourage staff, students and visitors to wear a broad-brimmed, legionnaire or bucket hat and sun protective clothing such as collared shirts, elbow or full-length sleeves, longer shorts, skirts or long pants.

• Wearing hats might not be practical for some activities such as during events at sports carnivals. Removing them for competition is fine – just remember to put them back on again!
• For staff and visitors, broad-brimmed hats are best. Ditch the baseball caps to ensure that areas vulnerable to skin cancers (like the back of the neck and ears) are protected.
• Don’t forget the sunnies!

Download the following resources to support your next SunSmart event:
Tips and checklist for organising an outdoor event
Outdoor event communication kit