Summer Care of Infants and Children

Dr. George E. Smith August 1 1917

Summer Care of Infants and Children

Dr. George E. Smith August 1 1917

Summer Care of Infants and Children


Dr. George E. Smith

MUCH may be said of the proper handling of the babies and older children daring the summer months. A few instructions are given below. The one point the writer wishes to emphasize above all others, however, is this—that the infants and children should be placed first, or at least given more consideration when the plans for the summer putings are being made. Too often the adults plan for themselves and leave to chance the fitting in of the children to the arrangements of the summer. Never was a greater mistake made. Children refuse to fit in to chance environments. They are the ones to plan for. Adults are accustomed to fitting in—not the children. The latter need freedom from restraint, places to exercise the body properly, an opportunity to use their, lungs, proper food and hygienic surroundings, and greatest of all, a chance to romp and play with their parents, if they are to grow up stropg, unhampered boys and girls. Take your children where you can have them to yourself. Avoid places where you have to expose them to the influences and unthoughtful kindness of strangers. Put your children first, consider their welfare, health and training, which are of more importance to you than the comfort of the stranger next door.

Aim to start them out in life with a sound mind in a sound body. The foundation is laid when they are young. The summer vacation often undermines that foundation unless you are careful an^ unselfish. Before deciding where you1 shall go, find out about the milk supply and as to whether fresh vegetables may be obtained. If you have to go to an hotel, choose the one that has a dining room for children and that tries in other ways, such as suitable playgrounds, playrooms, shallow beaches, etc., to meet the demands of their younger and more important visitors.



Every baby should, of course, be given a bath in warm water every day throughout the year. In the hot summer months the skin is much more active, throwing off the waste products than in the cooler months, so that to keep the pores open and performing this function properly, a second bath should always be given in Hie evening. This not only freshens and

invigorates the skin, but has a soothing effect on the infant tending to cause a restful sleep. Besides the excessive perspiration, the baby often suffers from prickly heat For the latter try sponging two or three times daily with a cool solution of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda will do) in water, using one teaspoonful of soda to each pint of water.


Remember that loose clothing keeps the child comfortable and allows proper growth. Do not hamper with an unnecessary weight They should be warm, but not warm enough to cause perspiration. Let them be clean, light and suspended from the shoulders. A napkin, a muslin slip, a loosely knitted band are all that is required in very hot days.


Fresh air and sunshine are pf as much importance as food. Have the baby sleep outside on a shaded verandah or under a tree. If in a room, have all the windows open. Use netting to keep off flies and mosquitoes, so that the child will not be disturbed. On the hot days, keep the child out of the direct glare of the sun. Use the shaded sides of the streets and keep in the parks when out, as much as possible. Let the baby develop its powers of initiative by playing alone outdoors or in large well-aired rooms.


During the first fifteen months of life, the digestive apparatus is working under full speed. Just think, an infant in six months usually doubles its weight, and by the end of a year triples it Such a rapid increase in growth occurs at no other time in life. In the summer months,7the digestive system does not work as well as in the winter months. Less food is handled properly and there is less gain in weight One must remember this and always give weaker milk mixtures in bottle-fed babies and a shorter nursing period in the breast-fed infants. A reduction of 1525 ^ is usually necessary. By reducing the food thus to the infant’s working capacity, one does not run so much risk of having intestinal disorders. Later on, moreover, the gain in weight will be all that is desired. This must be thought of in the handling of difficult feeding cases, where the weight is stationary or gaining very slowly. Such babies usually do much better when the fall weather comes.

The reduction in actual food is compensated for in a measure by an increased water intake. Frequent drinks of cboled boiled water should be given between meals. As long as there is a wateri-free interval one hour before and after feeding, any amount may be given in the remaining time.


Sometimes in the country,; one is able to obtain a milk comparable to our certified milk* by making special arrangements with the farmer. This is done by sutfplying him with quart bottles into which the milk is strained (using absorbent) cotton) as soon as the cow is milked, the bottles being then corked and! placed in a pail of cracked ice. Previous to milking the udders are washed and wiped off with a cloth. The first jets of milk are allowed to escape by the milker, wnose hands should be washed before beginning his work. Although one-is hot able to have this done in all cases, still it is possible to get good milk by, expending a little time and money. ,

However, all reasonably clean milk is made perfectly safe by boiling for ten minutes. It is then cooled off qs rapidly as possible, by placing the dish!in another filled with cold or ice water, changing the latter a few times until the milk is cooled. The milk is then placed in a bottle, stoppered and put on ice. If no icé is obtainable, stand the milk bottle in a shallow dish containing about one inch of water. Place one end of a piece of cheescloth or oM toweling in the water, wrapping the other about the bottle loosely. By capillary action the water spreads into the cheesecloth about the bottle. In the process of evaporation of the water, the heat is taken from the bottle, leaving the bottle cooler than it was before. By this continuous process, the bottle of milk may be kept sufficiently cool. This is the principle employed in the iceless refrigerators coming on the market at present.


In a child previously normal, one must regard vomiting or frequent loose green stools as a danger signal. All food must be stopped, a dose of castor oil given, and nothing given but cooled boiled water for 20 hours, then if the condition is improving satisfactorily (t.e , the vomiting stopped and the stools becoming normal) the food may be started again, using only one-third to one-half strength, and in-

creasing very slowly. The foods should be boiled for 10 minutes. In cases of breast-fed infants, allow only 3-4 minutes nursing at first. If on the other hand the condition is not improving on the second day, call in a physician. Don’t let the disturbance get ahead of you.


When convulsions occur in the summer, the cause is usually traced to some improper feeding. The child is at once placed in a mustard -bath. The temperature of the water should be about 105 deg., and the color a canary yellow (made by placing^ mustard in a'cheesecloth bag and flipping through the water as one would prepare water for blueing clothes). Two are necessary to give a good bath, the one holding ‘the head out of the water by one hand, with the other assisting the second helper to rub the child vigorously until the skin becomes reddened. This usually takes about 2-3 minutes. The infant is then wrapped in a warm blanket and put in bed. The next step is to clear the bowels of all foreign material. An injection is given at once, followed by a dose of castor oil as soon as the infant can swallow. Return to food should be gradual. If the convulsions continue or the child appears ill the next day call in a physician.


When going to the country take mosquito netting to close in its cot and windows of the house, and also a bottle of carbolized glycerine water. The latter is good for sunburn and all kinds of irritating bites.


Because the baby cries a little more than usual, probably because of the change, etc., mothers often begin to feed the infant oftener than they are accustomed t>. This leads to further trouble. If the babe is restless at nights give it a warm sponge bath on retiring. On no account break away from the regular routine. Let the neighbors suffer, not the baby. Because of the fear of disturbing others, this rule is often broken. Go somewhere where you can treat your children as they are treated at home.



There is every probability that we will see more cases of this disease throughout Canada during the warm months. Do net let the appearance of a case in your neighborhood stampede you. Remember that there is far more chance of your child having measles or any other communicable disease than there is cf it being afflicted with infantile paralysis. In all the epidemics there have been more deaths from the common contagious diseases than .from this disease. Know how it comes on. Don’t neglect the hygienic precaution given below. Call your doctor immediately on any appearance of acute illness. In this disease even more than in diphtheria, an early diagnosis is necessary to get the best results.

Infantile paralysis is a communicable disease. The organism causing it enters the system by way of the nose and throat. After gaining access to the blood, it localizes in the spinal coWl and brain. The early symptoms of the disease are: high fever, vomiting and constipation, sore throat, drowsiness or extreme.irritability.

All the symptoms are not present in each case, usually there are two or three. All cases should be quarantined until a positive diagnosis is made. Use the same precaution as in other communicable disease. Ordinary hygienic precautions should be followed at all times. Wash the hands and mouth before eating. Do not allow your child to be kissc 1. >(Jive the child a bath every day. Change the clothes in contact with the skin often. Do not take the child where it will be in crowded rooms, such as moving picture slums, closed street cars, shopping, etc. Keep the nose clean by blowing into thin cloths which may be burned. It may be washed most effectually by sponging the face and nose over a bathroom basin with hot running water. Use a diluted solution of hydrogen peroxide to wash the nose and throat daily.

Eternal vigilance is the price of safety. • Keep a clean home, clean clothing and a clean body. Use fresh air, sunshine, soap and water: *

As stated above the digestive organs should be relieved to some èxtent in ;the summer months. However, this season is peculiarly filled with conditions and events which tend to cause trouble. All kinds of fruit are eaten. Sometimes it

is not ripe, sometimes too ripe. Ice cream is offered for sale at every turn. Picnics are not complete without a bountiful supply of candies, fruit, etc. To deprive children of all the things they are. so fond of may appear inhuman. Nevertheless, parents as custodians must see that their children’s mode of life is such as to preserve the best final product. Dentists tell us that excessive sugars, etc., in the-, diet have a very destructive action on the teeth. It is well known that the appetitie is spoiled only too often by the use of excessive sweets. The eating between meals of the articles mentioned causes the greatest trouble. There should be no eating between meals. The stomach needs a rest. It was not built to operate all the time. It needs the food properly masticated. It has no teeth. Do not expose your child to the danger of ice-cream cones bought haphazard on the street, give it occasionally as a treat at'one of the regular meals. The* subject is well put by the National Child’s Welfare Association in the following words: ,

The child who is taught to eat— What he should,

When he should As he should.

Is gaining both physical and moral strength.