Is your kid getting enough sunlight?
Reported June 07, 2008
DUBAI Administration of Vitamin D drops have been made compulsory by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) for infants aged between two and six months, said a senior health official.
The step has been taken after it was found out that at least 90 per cent of mothers in Dubai did not think it was important to expose their children to the sun’s rays, thereby placing the children at a greater risk of growing up with weaker bones.
All children visiting the authority’s Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) will be administered the drops, said Dr Fatima Sultan Al Olmaa, Head of the Maternal and Child Health Department at DHA.
“The decision has been taken as a majority of children have been found to lack the vitamin which can result in different diseases, especially rickets (that makes the bones weaker),” she said. She explained that the children exclusively on breast-feed needed more calcium than those being fed formula milk since extra calcium added to the formula.
The children will be given a dose equalling three millilitres of Vitamin D which, according to Dr Al Olmaa, was sufficient for the child at that age.
Dr Al Olmaa said that a study carried out by her revealed that more than 90 per cent of mothers did not expose their children to enough sunlight. “At least 100 mothers from different nationalities that I met in over a week in different PHCs in Dubai said they were afraid to expose their children to the sunlight,” said Dr Al Olmaa.
“Children need a ‘sun shower’ in the morning time. It is wrong to believe that direct sun rays are harmful and may cause cancer,” she stressed. “Babies should have at least a five minute ‘sun shower’ daily during the morning time, best between 9am and 11am, when the sun’s rays provide the maximum Vitamin D,” she noted.