The question of when it is safe to take a baby out in public is always confusing for parents. There is still the fear that babies’ fragile immune system makes them susceptible to infections or germs. But it is often said that babies receive very significant energy and mood benefits from sunlight and fresh air. Though some paediatricians have no serious objection with parents taking their healthy babies out in public, there are some necessary precautions parents may need to follow:
Avoid crowded places
To avoid exposing your baby’s delicate immune system to germs, it will be best for the two months of her life, to avoid crowded places like shopping malls, family gatherings, cinemas etc. Staying away from congested areas will mean avoiding people who are sick and asymptomatic. The fact is that airborne germs travel in the air and are difficult to avoid when lots of people are talking. So, keep your baby safe by not taking her to crowded areas.
Ensure your baby is vaccinated
Vaccination is super-beneficial to your baby’s immune system. With up to date vaccination, your baby will safeguard your baby from devastating illnesses like polio, chickenpox and measles.
Before taking your baby outside, make sure your baby is adequately vaccinated because it will allow your baby to build immunity, hence lowering her risk of catching infections. With strict adherence to the immunization schedule, your baby’s immune system will not be defenceless against diseases.
Avoid direct sunlight
Direct sunlight exposure can be dangerous to your baby’s delicate skin. Ultraviolet radiation is harmful and can interfere with your baby’s development. Your baby’s skin is highly sensitive and thin, which increases the likelihood of sunburns when exposed to sunlight. Frequent exposure to sunlight can also increase your child’s risk of melanoma in future.
One way to limit your baby’s sun exposure is by scheduling her outdoor time to early morning ( before 9 am) and evenings ( after 3 pm). Your baby’s stroller should have sun-protective canopy or shade.
Dress your baby for the weather
You must protect your baby from harsh weather scenarios. You will have to dress your baby correctly, whether in cold or hot weather.
If you are going outside during the cold weather, you will have to layer up your baby to trap heat. If she is in extreme freezing temperature, then mittens, hats, and thick socks will be necessary. Make sure you avoid dressing her in too many layers of clothes, to prevent overheating. In hot weather, dress your baby in thinner, breathable and lightweight fabrics. Avoid the use of sunscreen if your baby is below six months. Lightweight hats with a wide brim will be important to shield your baby from sunlight.
Stay away from sick persons
Babies are very vulnerable to infections and illnesses at the early stage of their life because of their weak immune system. So, to prevent exposure to diseases, which can be fatal to babies at a very young age, steer clear from sick people. This applies to hospital visits. Avoid mingling with visitors, friends and family members who show signs of infections, e.g. fever, cough, vomiting.
After the outdoor trip
On arrival back home, ensure you properly wash both your hands and your baby’s. It will also be wise to bathe your baby, if she has been touched by strangers or she has been to potential sources of germs, like shopping malls or restaurants.
Health Benefits of taking your baby outdoors
- Some researchers have proven that spending time outdoors with your baby will immensely benefit your baby’s immune system. That does not mean you should deliberately expose your baby to germs.
- According to research findings published by the Journal of Sleep Research, babies are occasionally outdoor sleep better and establish healthier circadian rhythm than babies who are always confined indoors.
- Early outdoor exposure is also linked to faster motor skill development and progress in babies.
- Sunlight is also beneficial for babies. Early morning sunlight ( 7-9) is a quality source of vitamin D, which aids bone growth for humans.
- New mothers who spend time outdoors are happier and less likely to develop postpartum depression or baby blues.