What are the ill-effects of UV rays?
At the outset, let me clarify that only extended exposure to UV rays has been proven as harmful. Anything beyond 15 minutes of exposure to direct sunlight on the naked skin should ring alarm bells. Your baby's skin is extremely sensitive and thin. And prolonged exposure (for more than 15 minutes) may cause sunburn, leading to fever and dehydration. Absence of steps taken to protect your baby's skin may be the trigger to a series of ailments that she may face as she grows up. UV rays suppress the immune system when it comes in contact with the human body – this process is much quicker in a child than in an adult.
How can you protect your child from the harmful effects of UV rays?
Here are a few things you need to consider:
Ideal time for the outdoors
It may be ideal to avoid the sun between 10am and 4pm, as the sun is at its harshest during this time. These hours may change with the season and the region you are in. Please use your best judgement to gauge the best time slot.
Hat, sunglasses and umbrella
In case a day out with the family is on the cards, it is advisable to carry that hat and glares for the little one. While a wide-brimmed hat will reduce direct exposure as far as possible, infant-sized glares will reduce the pressure on her sensitive eyes. It may also be a good idea to carry an umbrella with you when stepping into the sun with your little one. This would be handy if you do not find a shaded area to keep the baby under.
Although you've probably heard this advice a zillion times, it doesn't harm to have a reminder. Ensure that your little one is dressed in light-weight and light-coloured clothes, and is fully covered so that there is no direct exposure.