At a young age children are usually in their active stage of growth which makes them more vulnerable to environmental risks when exposed to harmful factors such as excessive solar radiations. A child's body continually develops where the rate of breathing is high and eats a lot to produce energy for growth and development. During the Early stages of development, a child is likely to encounter severe permanent damages in nervous, immune, breathing, digestive, and reproductive system that is still underdeveloped. Parents and caretakers of infants should take caution in the duration which an under-5 child is exposed to solar radiation.
The Ozone layer performs a very vital role in the protection of the earth from excessive ultra-violent radiations from the sun. Due to depletion of Ozone layer, more dangerous Ultraviolet radiation penetrates and strikes the earth surface. The radiations results in severe sunburns on infant's skins thus weaken infant's immune system by destroying the melanin and also may impair the visual ability of the child. In Europe, parents are warned against taking children outside at midday as infants can experience sunburns in less than seven minutes.
Health effects on an infant exposed to excess solar ray's ranges from sunburns, skin cancer and accelerated skin aging. The beams can destroy the conjunctiva and cornea that results in optical cataracts at old age. UV damages the skin's melanin that has the protective role in the body making body's immune system weaker (Wu, et.al, 2014, p.1080-1089). The damage also triggers immunosuppression of the body against a disease when body cells are destroyed.
It should be realized by parents and caretakers of infants that children need sun expose for production of Vitamin D, which; prevents the development of rickets, and also increases the rate of bones growth. This exposure should be done on a controlled basis as infants skin is thinner and more sensitive where small beams can result in severe burns. In addition to that children are vulnerable to the development of lifetime impairments at a young age if any system is affected. Skin cancer and optical cataracts are among diseases that develop at young age, but they show up at an adult age thus reducing one's life expectancy.
The optimal level of UV index is health to a child but when the UV index becomes strong at midday in summer season caution must be paid to protect life. Therefore the following recommendations have to be considered. First, shades may be constructed in a child's play area since they can't be locked in a house. Thick materials that shield the penetration of solar rays are advisable to ensure that less or no rays penetrate through to reach the child.
A slip which is clothing that covers the entire body of the child can be essential as it limits the skin part that if exposed to sun rays. Cool, loose and thick fabric made clothing is advisable since they have a fabric factor that repels UV rays. Slap that is a hat that covers the head and deck made of fabric material is also a means of protection of infants from beams. The use of sunglasses can also be an efficient solution to sunray expose. The lenses protect the entry of radiations into the infant's eyes thus preserving the conjunctiva and cornea.
The use of sunscreens that include slips, slap, and slop works in two ways, first, it protects, reflects the sun energy and scatters it away, and some of them absorb the rays preventing it from penetration to the skin cells. The presence of chemicals in the absorbers such as zinc oxide and benzophenones makes this sunscreen work. In conclusion, the significance of exposing infants to the sun and its disadvantages should be considered to ensure that none of them produces a permanent adverse effect on the life of the child. Caretakers and parents need to understand the environmental health hazards in their area and lay mechanisms on how they will safely nurture their children.
Wu, S., Han, J., Laden, F., & Qureshi, A. A. (2014). Long-term ultraviolet flux, other potential risk factors, and skin cancer risk: a cohort study. Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Biomarkers, 23(6), 1080-1089.
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