HEALTH-CARE OF CHILDREN.—Under this heading shall be given only a few hints with regard to the proper care of children more than one year of age, a thorough discussion of the care of babies being found under NURSLING. When children enter upon their second year of life, a radical change may be made in regard to their nourishment. They may be given eggs, soups, vegetables, fruits, and lean meat. Wine and beer should under no circumstances be given to children under fourteen, and even then it is better that they abstain from these beverages. Coffee and tea, \ v el I diluted with water or milk, may be given to children after the fourth year of age. Pure fruit juices (lemon and raspberry), mixed with water, and sweetened with a little sugar, make wholesome beverages for young children. The daily fare of children between one and a half and two years of age should be made up about as follows : At 7 a.m., half a pint of milk ; at 8.3o, a soft boiled egg or a raw egg stirred with a teaspoonful of sugar ; at 11.3o, a cup of soup or gruel, a slice of bread, and a small quantity of finely chopped vege tables ; at 4 p.m., half a pint of milk, either pure or with the addition of a teaspoonful of cocoa ; and at 7 p.m., some milk porridge prepared with rice, tapioca, or some other cereal. No food should be given after 7 p.m. Care should be taken not to accustom the children to an abundance of sweets. When children are about three years old they may be allowed to eat at the family table, but should not be given any spicy or very salt foods.
In the course of the second year it is possible, by watchfulness and care, to train the children so that they announce when prompted by a call from Nature. During the night, however, it often happens that even older children pass urine involuntarily. This condition is called " nocturnal enuresis," and its causes and treatment are fully discussed under ENURESIS.
The daily body-bath, which is a necessity for very young babies who soil themselves, is not absolutely essential for children who keep clean. Sponging with soap and cool water once or twice a day serves not only to cleanse the child's body, but also to harden it and increase its power of resistance against atmospheric changes. See HARDENING. Healthy children over three years of age may advantageously be given daily sea or river baths during the summer months ; and they should be taught to swim at an early age, possibly when six years old. On pleasant days children should be
allowed to stay in the open air as long as possible, and should be given opportunity to play in dust-free places with other children of the same age. No task which imposes a mental strain should be required of a child less than seven years old. A young school-child should not be kept too close to studies, and should be spared as long as possible from doing work at home. Lessons in music should not be given to children of less than ten years of age unless special talents manifest themselves.
The requirements of sleep are greater in a child than in an adult. Nurslings are seldom awake for more than half an hour or an hour at a time ; children between two and three years of age usually take a daily nap of 2 or 3 hours, besides sleeping to or 12 hours at night. Children between the ages of six and ten require at least To hours' sleep ; children over twelve, 8 to q hours. The children's room should be large, light, and airy, and easy to clean. The floor should be hard and smooth, and covered with matting, linoleum, or oilcloth. Walls painted with oil-paint are preferable to papered walls.
In winter an equable temperature should be maintained, and it is advisable to place a flat pan of water on the heating apparatus so as to keep the air sufficiently moist.
The dress of children who are old enough to run about and play should be made as loose and comfortable as possible. No restricting bands, no tight collars. The shoes should be waterproof and broad-soled, and large enough for comfort. The stockings should not be held up by means of elastic bands encircling the legs, as these tend to impede the circulation of blood. Hose-supporters fastened with clasps to the front part of the stock ings, and attached to the upper part of the child's underwaist, are advisable (see Fig. 213). To accustom little girls to wear corsets must be especially warned against, as the corset not only retards free respiration, hut even displaces and compresses internal organs. See DRESS. By dress ing children so that they can move and develop their muscles with perfect freedom, by encouraging them in wholesome plays and sports, and by endeavouring to cultivate at all times " clean minds in clean bodies," three of the most essential requirements for the making of good men and women will have been observed.