This is the more remarkable from the consideration, elsewhere urged, that in general we take more rational pains about the physical well-being of domestic animals, than of children. However, it will be seen, on a little reflection, that the number of those who carry children about, is, after all, very inconsiderable. The greater portion of the community regard it as too troublesome or costly; and if poverty brought with it no other evils than a permit to children to walk on the legs which the Creator gave them, it could hardly be deemed a misfortune.
It is scarcely necessary to add that there will be nothing gained to the young—or to persons of any age—from walks which are very long and fatiguing. Walking should refresh and invigorate: when it is carried beyond this, especially with the young child, we have passed the line of safety.
SEC. 5. Riding in Carriages.
It will be seen by the foregoing section, that I am not very friendly to the use of carriages for the young, after they can walk. Before this period, however, I think they may be often serviceable; and there are occasional instances which may render them useful afterward. On this account, I have thought it might be well to give the following general directions.
Carriages for children should be so constructed as not to be liable to overset. To this end, the wheels must be low, and the axle unusually extended. The body should be long enough to allow the child to lie down when necessary; and so deep that he may not be likely to fall out. Everything should be made secure and firm, to avoid, if possible, the danger of accidents.
The carriage should be drawn steadily and slowly; not violently, or with a jerking motion. Such a place should be selected as will secure the child—if necessary—from the full blaze of a hot sun. This point might indeed be secured by having the carriage covered; but I am opposed to covered carriages, for children or adults, unless we are compelled to ride in the rain.
While the child is unable to sit up without injury, and even for some months afterwards, he ought by all means to lie down in a carriage, because it requires more strength to sit in a seat which is moving, than in a place where he is stationary. In assuming the horizontal position, in a carriage, a pillow is needed, and such other arrangements as will prevent too much rolling.
After the child’s strength will fairly permit, he may sit up in the carriage, but he ought still to be secured against too much motion. As his strength increases, however, the latter direction will be less and less necessary. I need not repeat in this place, (had I not witnessed so many accidents from neglect,) the caution recently given, that great care should be taken to prevent the child from falling out of the carriage.
While children are riding abroad in cold weather, much pains should be taken to see that they are suitably clothed. It is well to keep them in motion, while they are in the carriage, and especially to guard against their falling asleep in the open air, until they have become very much accustomed to being out in it.