Don't burn the baby: advice from Australian nurses recommending therapeutic sun exposure during infancy

Harrison, Simone, and Nikles, Jane (2012) Don't burn the baby: advice from Australian nurses recommending therapeutic sun exposure during infancy. Annals of the ACTM, 13 (2). p. 30.

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Abstract

Background / Aims: To investigate inappropriate nursing advice advocating therapeutic sun exposure post-partum and during the first year of life.

Methods: Questionnaires were completed by 363 nurses (57.2% response) responsible for the care of post-partum women in 11 maternity hospitals in Queensland (QLD) and the Australian Capital Territory ACT).

Results: A high proportion of nurses reported holding risky beliefs about the therapeutic benefits of sun exposure, including the treatment of: cracked nipples (QLD 41%, ACT 66%), neonatal jaundice (QLD 50%, ACT 75%), nappy rash (QLD 23%, ACT 17%) and acne (QLD 12%, ACT 30%) and made recommendations consistent with their beliefs. Relatively few nurses stipulated sunning through glass or specified exposure time limits. Approximately 40% of respondents thought people generally looked healthier with a suntan, and 79% [95% CI: 74.4% - 82.8%] of these respondents also had one or more risky beliefs about therapeutic sun exposure. Nursing staff in obstetric and post-natal wards working in public hospitals in Queensland were significantly more likely than nursing staff in private hospitals in Queensland to have one or more risky beliefs about therapeutic sun exposure (p=0.008). However, being born in Queensland was borderline (p=0.08) protective against having one or more risky beliefs about therapeutic sun exposure.

Conclusion: As mothers are likely to intentionally expose their babies or themselves to sunlight if advised to do so by nursing staff, professional education is needed to change the beliefs and practices of those who make such recommendations, which could increase children's future risk of skin cancer.

Item ID: 26458
Item Type: Article (Abstract)
ISSN: 1448-4706
Keywords: sun exposure; neonate; midwives; jaundice; nappy rash; diaper rash
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2013 23:54
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111706 Epidemiology @ 50%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111716 Preventive Medicine @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920401 Behaviour and Health @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920412 Preventive Medicine @ 50%
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