Oz docs brand surf lifesaving nipper caps skin cancer peril

January 12th, 2009 - 3:22 pm ICT by ANI  

Melbourne, Jan 12 (ANI): Aussie doctors are calling for a ban on the traditional red and gold cap worn by lifesavers, for they may increase the risk of skin cancer for surfers.

The lifesaving nippers movement faced flak from skin cancer specialists for failing to protect children against sun exposure.

The Australasian College of Skin Cancer Medicine has criticised the popular nipper program because it operates in the most dangerous time of the day, and thus exposes kids to high levels of UV rays.

Hence, it has urged for the swimming cap be scrapped, as it fails to offer adequate sun protection.

In fact, it has suggested that the children should rather wear a wide-brimmed hat in between competitions, and also asked for the long-sleeve rash vests to be made compulsory.

Anthony Dixon, Associate Professor, condemned surf clubs for placing tradition over safety.

In summer, about 50,000 nippers between the age group of five to 13 hit the beaches to participate in lifesaving skills every week.

Although, nipper events are usually held early in the morning, but older children compete later in the day, a time when the sun is most harmful.

Therefore, the college wants to see all events held before 11am and after 2pm.

However, despite a two-year campaign by the doctors to change the attitude of the lifesaving fraternity, surf clubs have still not budged from their opposition to the changes.

“The children are often wearing scanty clothes. There is usually no compulsion by nippers programs that the children must wear rash vests even though most nippers are provided with them,” the Daily Telegraph quoted Dixon as saying.

He added: “It seems to me that we can do three simple things to dramatically reduce the UV levels kids get. Our members approached individual clubs but none wanted to make changes and kept telling us change would have to occur from management.”

However, the Surf Life Saving Association has rejected the proposal to scrap the swimming cap. (ANI)

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