Health Literacy and Sun Safety

Spring is nearly here! Now is a good time to think about and share information about sun safety. There are many excellent resources about sun safety for both children and adults. Some are wonderful examples of using plain language in health-related literature. Plain, or clear, language and design is a large part of encouraging health literacy. Here are some things to keep in mind when creating sun safety materials:

  • Use audio-visuals such as posters, infographics or videos.
  • Demonstrate sun safety. This is particularly powerful in videos that show how and when to apply sunscreen or what good protective clothing looks like. It’s also always helpful to model good sun safety yourself.
  • If speaking directly with someone, circle or highlight parts of sun safe literature that you want to emphasize.
  • Convey the most important concepts first.
  • If speaking either in person or on audio/video, speak slowly.
  • Avoid using acronyms or jargon.

Using rhyme, animations or catchy songs has also been proven to be quite effective. An example is Australia and New Zealand’s Slip-Slop-Slap mass media campaign that was first launched in 1981 and continues to be used and adapted to this day. For example, Island Health is currently using an adapted version of this campaign today called the 5 S’s: Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide.

The Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation is pursuing a new campaign called #newfamilyrule aimed at educating parents and children about the importance of sun protection.

The website also has a good selection of resources you can download. There are many more great videos on sun safety for children and adults. Below are just a few examples you can use.

Videos For Kids

Videos For Adults

Did you know that May is Skin Cancer Awareness month? Keep an eye out for the announcement of Sun Awareness Week and the associated resources.


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