Babies need a variety of macro and micro nutrients to support their growth, including vitamin D. But is it really good to dry the baby under the heat of the sun?
Vitamin D and sunlight
Vitamin D, often called vitamin sun, has an important role for bone health. Vitamin D helps the formation and maintenance of bones by absorbing calcium and phosphorus in the blood to be deposited in the bone, so that the bones become strong and hard. This vitamin can be made by the body when the body is exposed to ultarviolet B from the sun.
Is it good to hang the baby in the sun?
Most babies are born with low vitamin D levels in the body, so babies rely on vitamin D from breast milk, sunlight, and supplementation. Vitamin D deficiency in infants can cause rickets, difficulty breathing, and various bone health disorders. Therefore, many believe that drying babies under sun exposure is good because it can help increase vitamin D levels and prevent vitamin D deficiency in the body.
Sun therapy was carried out in the mid-19th century. This therapy is carried out on people who experience rickets caused by lack of vitamin D. Whereas according to a study conducted in 1958, solar therapy was first used in infants to overcome jaundice that often occurs in newborns. The study, showed that drying a baby who is yellow for at least 10 minutes twice a day can make baby's yellow slowly disappear. This is caused by ultraviolet B light can break down excessive levels of bilirubin on the surface of the skin so that the skin becomes yellow.
Risk of sun exposure for babies
But starting in the 1970s, many researchers realized that prolonged exposure to sunlight can increase the risk of developing skin cancer and melanoma. Therefore, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under 6 months should not be exposed to sunlight. This is caused by the baby's skin that is sensitive and easily irritated if worn with sunscreen. Therefore it is better to avoid newborns from direct sun exposure.
Absorption of vitamin D is influenced by various factors such as age, skin color or skin pigment, body surface area exposed to light, and exposure time. People who have a darker complexion mean more skin pigmentation. People who have more skin pigmentation need more time to produce vitamin D. The body cannot produce vitamin D if the sun's exposure is blocked by something, such as glass and sunscreen. However, the longer it is exposed in the sun, the higher the risk of skin cancer and sunburn. In addition, to increase the production of vitamin D in the body, it takes at least 20% of the surface area of the skin exposed to sun exposure.
Until now there has been no research that can determine how much sunlight the child needs to produce vitamin D according to the body's needs. However, some researchers suggest that to maintain a stable concentration of vitamin D in the body, it's best to dry the child for 5 to 30 minutes between 10 am and 4 pm, and do it twice a day.
How to dry a good and right baby?
- Use sunscreen containing SPF 15 or more and reuse it every two hours or after the child sweats. But the use of sunscreen for babies less than 6 months old must be minimized, because the baby's skin is still thin and sensitive.
- Drying the baby every 10am and 4pm, and avoid exposure to the sun exposed to the face, especially the eyes because it will damage the baby's retina. Leave the hands and feet exposed to sunlight.
- Use clothes that are comfortable and thin when drying babies. If you need to wear a hat on your baby to protect your baby's face, neck and ears.
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