• ultraviolet;
  • erythema;
  • dosimetry;
  • non-ionizing;
  • skin cancer

Quantitative estimates of the childhood and adolescent erythemal ultraviolet (UV) exposure received in South East Queensland schools are provided in this paper for age groups 0 to 6, 7 to 12 and 13 to 19 years. For the neck, hand and lower arm, sites of high UV exposure that are generally not covered by clothing, 13 to 19 year olds received the highest exposure of the three age groups, followed by 7 to 12 year olds. Exposure for 13 to 19 year olds contributed up to 44% of cumulative exposure to 20 years of age, and exposures for the 7 to 12 year olds contributed up to 31%. If the annual UV exposure for these two age groups were reduced to the average of all the age groups, cumulative erythemal UV exposure from 0 to 20 years would be reduced by up to 16%. On the other hand, if mothers can protect their babies by reducing the level of annual exposure to 30% of the annual UV exposure of the 7 to 12 year olds for the first four years then cumulative exposure to UV to age 20 would be reduced by up to 19%. These data confirm the importance of targeting young age groups in public campaigns for sun protection.