Friday, June 10, 2011

Health Risk of Exposing Baby to Sunlight

In ancient time, we found cultures that worshipped the sun because the sun brings warmth, light and life to humans, plants, and animals. As a God, it gives a present of free dose of vitamin D to everyone. Most life forms except underground and deep-sea creatures or plants highly depend on the sunlight. The sun is life clock which controls the day and night, also provides vision to enjoy surroundings. Every coin has two sides; similarly the sun also has positive as well as negative aspects. Apart from all the need which can satisfy through essential sunlight, there are also several drawbacks of it. Still today parents sun their infants to heal against neonatal jaundice, nappy rash or for primary source of vitamin D for bone development due to misconception of health beliefs. But prolonged exposure to sunlight is very dangerous to health.

Health Risk of Exposing Baby to Sunlight

Especially babies who are under age of 6 months are more vulnerable to sunlight. As they have underdeveloped skin-protecting melanin and thinner skin layer which allows UV rays easily access to the melanin producing cells – called melanocytes. Damage to such cells cause melanoma-death causing skin cancer in a long run. Damages which are done during infancy can heavily affect skin health for a lifetime. When the amount of UV exposure is greater than skin's melanin it develops sunburn. Light-skinned has less melanin than dark-skinned.

A light which radiates by the sun contains invisible ultraviolet (UV) rays. Repeated as well as unprotected exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays are liable to cause skin damage, immune system suppression, eye damage and skin cancer to your infant. Risks become higher if your baby has pale or fair skin.

All sunlight is not equal at UV level. As the intensity of the sunlight largely depends upon the time, UV rays become very strong during summer. When air and cloud cover is thinner, at that time it seeks extra protection for your little ones against damage. It doesn’t mean that cloudy, cool, or overcast days cannot damage our skin. Temperature or breeze keeps your baby’s skin cool just on the surface but invisible sun cause unexpected skin damages. UV rays can't be filter out by Clouds and pollution; they pass through the clouds and reflect off water, sand, and even concrete. So that it badly affects to your babies eyes.

Because of such dangers, parents especially mothers should be aware about pragmatic measures which keep their babies in safe hands. Normally, babies are supposed to warmly cuddle in mother’s bosoms, or to stay indoors. But there are some outside baby adventures and usual check-ups to the doctor which compel for baby-outing. So, here are some useful precautions which you can easily put in your practice.

Sun Creams:
Use sun creams which are especially formulated for the baby. Avoid using adult skin cream which may cause skin irritation to infant. Take care about not putting lotion around eyes, also keep the lotion away from baby’s hands because there may be chances that it end up in the mouth. Check properly that whether sun cream provides maximum protection from UVA and UVB rays with regards to SPF or not.
SPF 30+ sun cream keeps out about 97% of UV rays from your baby’s delicate skin. In fact your baby’s skin never gets 100 % protection from any sun cream. So, it would be better to keep your babies safe by shade, clothing, and hats if possible.

Clothing properly:
Most favorable option to protect your baby is cover exposed skin with comfortable-fitting clothes. Prefer such fabrics which are closely-woven. Choose long sleeve T-shirts and colorful hat that covers your baby in well manner. Dark colors give more protection against UVB rays. Neck, ears, lips, nose and face are most common sites for skin damage and skin cancer. Broad brims (8-10 cm) hats, or hats with a flap at the back also at the front like legionnaire style, or bucket hats give proper shade for face, back, neck and ears.

Avoid mid-day outing:
As sunlight becomes strong during 11am and 3pm, plan your work after such time. Avoiding outdoor activities in middle of the day gives total protection to your baby in easier way.

Keep baby in the shade:
When baby outing becomes compulsion due to any urgency then try to protect your infant by shade. Be sure that shade place is free from sun exposure and scattered and reflected light due to clouds and sand or concrete surfaces. Also make shade for your baby’s stroller and pram with such material that casts a dark shadow. It later on gives protection from rain. Apart from glass, long trips, window shades or tinting provide extra protection in the car.


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