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Air Exercise

child, head, infant, bed and time

EXERCISE, AIR, AND SLEEP.

Even the youngest infant derives great benefit from such exercise as is possible to it, as it lies free and unrestrained on its mother's or nurse's lap. For this reason the washing and dressing of a child should be leisurely rather than hur riedly performed, provided care be taken against the risk of cold. Even the youngest infant should be accustomed to the open air, carried in its nurse's arms. The daily airing should be a regular ceremony, on dull as well as on bright days. The child should have extra clothing according to the season and the state of the atmosphere on the particular day ; and the face should be protected by a light veil. With such precautions the child will not be affected by moderate changes of weather ; and it will seldom be necessary to prohibit its going out. At first, of course, the infant is to be taken into the open air for only a few minutes at a time, fifteen to twenty, and the time is to be gradually extended as seems desirable, and according to the state of the weather. Carrying in the nurse's arms is better than wheeling in a perambulator. The motion of the perambulator is not so agreeable, and the child is apt to become stiff and chilled in a constrained position.

As regards rest, the infant passes most of its time asleep, and it is, therefore, important to make no mistake regarding its bed and bed coverings. From its birth the child should sleep in its own bed and not with its parents or num. A wicker basket, lined inside, provided with a firm mattress, covered by a small blanket, a small, not too soft, pillow, and a miniature pair of blankets and down quilt, form a very com fortable sleeping-place. The bassinet should be raised off the floor. Children are commonly kept too warm in such little cots, coverings being heaped upon them, curtains being drawn round their heads, so that they are often completely covered up, no regard being paid to the means by which fresh air is to reach the child. As a

result, when the child is lifted out of the bed it is streaming with moisture, its head being bathed in perspiration. Care is certainly to be exercised to prevent draughts sweeping below the crib or round its head, but the basket should be freely open in front towards the child's face, which should never be covered up. Perspira tion bursts out over the child's head if the pil low is so soft that the head sinks down into it. Down pillows and mattresses are, therefore, bad. The pillows and mattresses should, on the other hand, be firm enough to offer sufficient though gentle support to the child.

The excessive warmth to which the child is usually subject in its cot is not so injurious even as the bad air which it is so frequently caused to breathe. Not only, therefore, must curtains not be drawn round its head, but care should be taken to ensure that the room in which it sleeps is duly and properly ventilated, but so as to avoid draughts. The opportunity should also be taken whenever the child is out of the apartment to air it properly. The room should be directed to the south, if possible, and air and sunlight should have free access to it, for air and light are as necessary for healthy growth as food. It is always advisable to regulate the warmth of the room by means of a thermometer, instead of leaving it to the feeling of parent or nurse, and the heat should be kept as regular as possible, the mercury standing at 65° Fahr.