Experience being a good teacher, no doubt many of our parents’ methods in caring for their children were very good. Some of their ways, however, were quite wrong, since they were based on old customs that do not meet the demands of modern hygiene. Just think of the almost superstitious fear of water which led them to believe that bathing, especially if frequent, was bad for the health. There are still some older people who have never sat in a bath tub and, what is more, who actually boast about it! When you read that in days gone by children were carefully protected from exposure to light, air, sun and water, so that they would not catch cold, you may smile for knowing better, thinking it was a story from the ancient past. But not so; it was the custom in our parents’ or grandparents’ time. Again, it was also feared that children would develop crooked limbs unless they were so tightly wrapped that they were rendered practically immobile. Even today in some parts of Italy we find evidence of babies so bandaged up that they look like mummies. It is, therefore, not surprising that infant mortality was once much greater than it is today.
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