Preyer’s record stops here. But it may be added that children from three to eight years still require eleven hours’ sleep; and, although the child of three nay not need a daily nap, it is well for him, until he is six years old, to lie still for an hour in the middle of the day, amusing himself with a picture book or paper and pencil, but not played with or talked to by any other person. Such a rest in the middle of the day favors the relaxation of muscles and nerves and breaks the strain of a long day of intense activity.
Proper clothing for a child includes three things: (a) Equal distribution of warmth, (b) Freedom from restraint, (c) Light weight.
Equal distribution of warmth is of great importance, and is seldom attained. The ordinary dress for a young baby, for example, leaves the arms and the upper part of the chest unprotected by more than one thickness of flannel and one of cotton—the shirt and the dress. About the child’s middle, on the contrary, there are two thicknesses of flannel—a shirt and band—and five of cotton, i.e., the double bands of the white and flannel petticoats, and the dress. Over the legs, again, are two thicknesses of flannel and two of cotton, i.e., the pinning blanket, flannel skirt, white skirt, and dress. The child in a comfortably warm house needs two thicknesses of flannel and one of cotton all over it, and no more.
[Sidenote: The Gertrude Suit]
The practice of putting extra wrappings about the abdomen is responsible for undue tenderness of those organs. Dr. Grosvenor, of Chicago, who designed a model costume for a baby, which he called the Gertrude suit, says that many cases of rupture are due to bandaging of the abdomen. When the child cries the abdominal walls normally expand; if they are tightly bound, they cannot do this, and the pressure upon one single part, which the bandages may not hold quite firmly, becomes overwhelming, and results in rupture. Dr. Grosvenor also thinks that many cases of weak lungs, and even of consumption in later life, are due to the tight bands of the skirts pressing upon the soft ribs of the young child, and narrowing the lung space.
[Sidenote: Objection to the Pinning Blanket]
Freedom from restraint.. Not only should the clothes not bind the child’s body in any way, but they should not be so long as to prevent free exercise of the legs. The pinning-blanket is objectionable on this account. It is difficult for the child to kick in it; and as we have seen before, kicking is necessary to the proper development of the legs. Undue length of skirt operates in the same way—the weight of cloth is a check upon activity. The first garment of a young baby should not be more than a yard in length from the neck to the bottom of the hem, and three-quarters of a yard is enough for the inner garment.