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The Hidden Danger of Covered prams

I am really concerned when I see parents walking along the street with the pram covered with a sheet, blanket or bunny rug.  I know the parent  is only trying to protect the baby from  skin cancers and melanomas  from too much sun exposure.  In Australia we have the  public campaign of the ‘slip, slop, slap’  routine – slip on a shirt, slop on some sunscreen and slap on a hat.

Unfortunately  whilst I understand the parent’s worry, there is also a danger in this ‘cover up.” In our grandparents it was normal for  a naked  baby to be put out in the sun for a few minutes a day for a sun bath – not in direct sunlight mind you but in the fresh air.

Now because children and babies are not exposed to the sun,  for the first time in many, many years we are seeing a rise in  rickets which is a disease created through the lack of vitamin D which you naturally get through sunlight. Consequently there is an expanding business in the sale of Vitamin D3

However rickets really is not my main concern. My concern is that  the child has his or her world restricted and only sees whatever is on the inside of the blanket. Its a tiny little world with no fresh air.  It is a world where  the child cannot relate nor react nor learn about the world around it nor learn about the natural elements of a cooling breeze, wind, rain,  sun, cold nor heat.

How many kids these days get to  run outside and  taste the rain – getting soaking wet but loving every minute of it! Then into  a hot bath afterwards – bliss!

A child learns and incorporates its  6 basic human rights in its first 2 years – it also learns to spell ( yes, you read that correctly!) in its first year. So if it is protected from the world and shut inside a pram how does it learn  to understand the environment around it -it has no interaction with people or cars, or noise, or lights or a how parents interact with strangers, what attitudes they have, what the shops, parks , paths,  trees, bushes, lights are like.

A baby learns by experiencing the environment from the safety of the pram and in the company of its parent. It is protected and so can look at everything and everywhere and thus stimulate its senses, its brain, its understanding. It also matures emotionally in relation to the world  while safe with its parent.

When a baby looks left to right , up and down watching people it is not only learning what peole look like, the different races and colours, the different shapes and sizes, the clothes and colours people wear it is stimulating the hemispheres of the brain so that they are better integrated. If all the baby sees is the inside of the blanket there is no visual stimulation and no environmental awareness being developed at a natural level.

Boys have a greater ‘separation’ between hemispheres of the brain than do girls and they are prone to more learning difficulties so to take away one of the main stimulants to brain integration cannot be a good thing.

Do you remember when you used to think that the clouds looked like an elephant, or Uncle Bob’s nose, or a shoe -and to look at the stars was wonderful –  this was stimulating the imagination and developing the child’s sense of space, distance and perspective.

It used to be that the baby  slept on a walk  because of the stimulation it received from the world and it was tired, Now it is sleeping because it has no fresh air and is bored with nothing to look at!

Children are capable of far more understanding than we tend to give them credit for. They learn  by participating in life – especially as a new born baby.