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Is exposure to direct sunlight through a window harmful to a newborn baby?

I left my 3 weeks old son's face under the direct sunlight through the window while I fell asleep by accident. It was around 10:30am and I am not sure how long he was under the sunlight for. I woke up and moved him when he cried (for milk, I think). His skin is naturally darker because he is a mix of Asian and Caucasian. Our pediatrician said the sunlight on his face is safe if it is through a window to treat his jaundices, but I was not sure if he meant the direct sunlight as well.

Submitted by kunsukekunkun

Sunlight through a clear glass window has essentially the same effects as direct sunlight on the skin. In the newborn period the UV light from the sun helps to break down bilirubin through the infants skin which is how it helps with jaundice. Everyone, young and old should get some sunlight during the day as it helps with Vitamin D. Too much sun is not great for a person's skin, esecially in infancy and childhood so I would not leave him in the sun either direct or through a window for prolonged periods of time.

The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.

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One edit to the above answer: Direct sunlight has significant amount of UVa and UV-b in addition to the visible light (blue - red). The UV radiations are bad for the skin, suspected reasons for skin cancer. Sunscreens usually block these UV lights. Glass (commercial ones used in home windows) is transparent to visible light (blue - red) but not to UV radiation. So sunlight through window has little UV-a and almost no UV-b and hence is much safer to an infant than outdoor direct sunlight.
Submitted by bdan00gmailco