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Play safe in the sun

Swiss researchers say that in summer, thick fabrics such as denim and wool offer the best protection against harmful UV rays. While few will follow their advice, it’s a fact that for children especially, flimsy summer clothing can offer very little protection – far less than most parents think. But for leading UK schoolwear supplier Trutex, this is old news. A range of Trutex garments was UV tested by the Australian government over two years ago, and all passed with flying colours.

Awareness of the harmful effects of UV rays may be growing, but few parents realise two things. First, sunscreen can’t be relied upon for full protection and so should be a secondary rather than primary line of defence. Second, clothing may provide far less protection than most people realise. Factors including type of fabric, finish, fit (the looser, the better) and even colour (the darker, the better) all determine the degree of UV protection. For example, a close-fitting, loose-weave white cotton T-shirt, especially if wet, offers very little protection and should only be worn over a generous application of sunscreen.

But the sun doesn’t just shine on holiday resorts. The need for UV-protective everyday schoolwear can be easily overlooked. Trutex, which supplies countries all over the world, has been designing UV protection into all its garments for several years. In line with its ruling that all garments for children must be UV tested, the Australian government tested around 75 per cent of the Trutex garment range. Results showed that all Trutex shirts, polo shirts, sweatshirts, blouses, blazers, trousers and skirts achieved at least a ‘Good’ rating, with many achieving ‘Very Good’ and ‘Excellent’ ratings.

For example, Trutex blazers, sweatshirts and trousers all have a UV protection factor (UPF) of 50+. To put this in context, the Health Protection Agency and Cancer Research UK both suggest a minimum UPF of 15, which means that a child clothed in garments with a UPF of 15 can stay in the sun 15 times longer than if he or she had no UV protection. Given that unprotected skin can be damaged after as little as 10 minutes in full sun, the protection offered by Trutex garments is clearly significant.

Says Clare Rix, Trutex’s Marketing Director, ‘We were delighted with the results of the Australian test, but not surprised. We’ve been researching the effects of UV protection provided by our garments for years, and ensuring that anyone wearing Trutex would have the best UV protection available. We aren’t aware of any other UK schoolwear supplier having this accreditation.’

Clare continues, ‘The need for UV awareness when dressing children for school may be something new to the UK, but for that very reason parents need to demand garments with high and reliable UPF ratings. The typical UK child’s skin can burn very quickly if it isn’t protected. This certainly isn’t something just for the summer holidays.’

Trutex is the UK’s largest supplier of schoolwear with a reputation for quality, durability and value. Trutex garments will maintain their outstanding looks, keeping students warm and dry in winter and cool and comfortable in summer.

[ c. 530 words ]

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