Read PART I: LESSON V of Parent and Child Vol. III.‚ Child Study and Training, free online book, by Mosiah Hall, on


1. Show that the infant is not an adult in miniature.

2. What are some important differences between the child and the adult?

3. What is the supreme need of the infant? Why?

4. What should be observed in caring for the child?

5. What should be avoided in caring for the child?

6. What should be the rule in early mental development?

7. What is active in the child immediately after birth?

“The Care of the Child in Health,” by Oppenheim, will be helpful here. If the book is in the parents’ library, let someone prepare and make a brief report on it for next lesson.

The following other helps may be had for the asking by writing to the U.S. Bureau of Education: “Parental Care,” by Mrs. West, Series N, publication N, U.S. Department of Labor, Children’s Bureau. The following chapter is taken from one of these bulletins prepared for parents by our Government.


Summer Is a Critical Time for the Infant, During This Time It Should Receive the Most Careful Attention

A baby must be kept as cool as possible in summer, because over-heating is a direct cause of summer diarrhea. Even breast-fed babies find it hard to resist the weakening effects of excessive heat. Records show that thousands of babies, most of whom are bottle-fed, die every year in July and August, because of the direct or indirect effects of the heat. Next in importance to right food in summer are measures for keeping the baby cool and comfortable; frequent baths, light clothing and the selection of the coolest available places for him to play and sleep.

A baby should have a full tub bath every morning. If he is restless and the weather is very hot, he may have in addition one or two sponge baths a day. A cool bath at bedtime sometimes makes the baby sleep more comfortably. For a young baby, the water should be tepid; that is, it should feel neither hot nor cold to the mother’s elbow. For an older baby it may be slightly cooler, but should not be cold enough to chill or frighten him.

If the water is very hard a tablespoonful of borax dissolved in a little water may be added to three quarts of water to soften it. Very little soap should be used and that a very bland, simple soap, like castile. Never rub the soap directly on the baby’s skin, and be sure that it is thoroughly rinsed off, as a very troublesome skin disease may result if a harsh soap is allowed to dry on the skin.

Use a soft wash cloth made from a piece of old table linen, towel, knitted underwear, or any other very soft material, and have two pieces, one for the face and head and one for the body. The towel should be soft and clean also. Even in summer the baby should be protected from a direct draft when being bathed lest he be too suddenly chilled.

A young baby should be carefully held while in the tub. The mother puts her left hand under the baby’s arm and supports the neck and head with her forearm. But an older baby can sit alone and in summer may be allowed to splash about in the cool water for a few minutes.

When the bath is finished the baby should be patted dry, and the mother should take great care to see that the folds and creases of the skin are dry. Use a little pure talcum powder or dry sifted corn starch under the arms and in the groin to prevent chafing. If any redness, chafing, or eruption like prickly heat, develops on the skin, no soap at all should be used in the bath. Sometimes a starch, or bran, or soda bath will relieve such conditions.

Bran Bath. Make a little bag of cheesecloth and put a cupful of ordinary bran in it and sew or tie the top. Let this bag soak in the bath, squeezing it until the water is milky.

Starch Bath. Use a cupful of ordinary cooked starch to a gallon of water. (If the laundry starch has had anything added to it, such as salt, lard, oil, bluing, it must not be used for this purpose.)

Soda Bath. Dissolve a tablespoonful of ordinary baking soda in a little water and add it to four quarts of water.

Clothing. Do not be afraid to take off the baby’s clothes in summer. All he needs in hot weather are the diaper and one other garment. For a young baby this may be a sleeveless band which leaves the arms and chest bare, and for an older baby only a loose, thin cotton slip or apron, or wrapper, made in one piece with short kimono sleeves. Toward nightfall when the day cools, or if the temperature drops when a storm arises, the baby should, of course, be dressed in such a way as to protect him from chill.

Cotton garments are best for the baby in summer. All-wool bands, shirts and stockings should not be worn at any time of the year, and in hot summer weather only the thinnest, all-cotton clothing should touch the baby’s skin, unless he is sick, when a very light part-wool band may be needed. In general, neither wool nor starch should be allowed in the baby’s clothing in summer. Wool is too hot and irritating and starched garments scratch the baby’s flesh.

The baby should be kept day and night in the coolest place that can be found. The kitchen is usually the hottest room in the house, especially if coal or wood is burned for fuel. While the mother is busy with her work the baby should be kept in another room, or better, out of doors, if he can be protected from flies and mosquitoes.

A play pen, such as is described in “Infant Care,” a booklet published by the Children’s Bureau and sent free on request, makes it possible to leave the baby safely by himself on the porch or in the yard, after he is old enough to creep.

A screened porch on the shady side of the house is a boon to every mother, affording a cool, secure place for the baby to play and also to sleep. Let him have his daytime naps on the porch and sleep there at night during the heat.

Do not be afraid of fresh air for the baby. He cannot have too much of it. Night air is sometimes even better than day air, because it has been cooled and cleansed of dust by the dew.

The essentials in the summer care of babies are:

1. Proper food, given only at regular intervals.

2. A clean body.

3. Fresh air, day and night.

4. Very little clothing.

5. Cool places to play and sleep in.

Do not give the baby medicine of any sort unless it is ordered by the doctor. Never give him patent remedies which are said to relieve the pain of teething, or to make him sleep, or to cure diarrhea, for such medicines are likely to do the baby much more harm than good, especially in summer when the digestion is so easily disturbed. It is so much easier to keep the baby well than it is to cure him when he is sick, that wise mothers try to take such care of the baby that he will not be sick.

Do not fail to give the baby a drink of cool water several times a day in hot weather. Boil the water first, then cool it, and offer it to the baby in a cup, glass, or nursing bottle. Babies and young children sometimes suffer cruelly for lack of drinking water.