Early childhood. Dry drowning, strangled hair… five preconceived ideas analyzed

“We face it every day”: False beliefs, numerous in pediatric health, spread even more easily in the age of social media. To see things more clearly, Dr. Nicolas Winter has differentiated truth from falsehood in a guide.

. With it we decipher five stubborn preconceived ideas Dry drowning: “against

does not exist “

This will reassure many parents: a dry drowning, that is, a child who dies, a few days after having drunk the cup one or more times, because the water has passed into his lungs, “that does not exist”, insists Nicolas Winter. “The fear of dry drowning spread virally after the death of a young child in similar circumstances in the United States,” he explains, “except that the autopsy finally revealed a heart problem. »

If your child drinks the glass, simply remove it from the water so they can cough and spit it out, without any further worries. But, above all, keep an eye on your little ones when they bathe, even with very little water, because drownings are frequent: Public Health France counted 253 fatalities, only between June 1 and August 20, 2023 (all the ages).

Hydrocution: “Yes, you can bathe after eating”

Another water misconception: No, your child is not at risk of hydrocution by going swimming immediately after a picnic. Hydrocution is thermal shock that causes vagal discomfort. “But this has nothing to do with digestion,” explains Nicolas Winter. “It is the fact of having spent a long time exposed to the sun, without activity, and suddenly making an effort in colder water, which generates discomfort.” The symptoms that appear later may be palpitations, small spots in the eyes, a feeling of weakness, etc.

The best advice to avoid hydrocution? Prohibit “bombs” for your children in swimming pools, “make them enter the water gently, first wetting the back or the back of the neck, in the end it doesn’t matter, the important thing is that the immersion is progressive.” ”, emphasizes the emergency doctor.

The amber necklace: “ineffective and…deadly”

They are easily found in pharmacies and are believed to have many benefits, including relieving pain associated with teething. But “no scientific study has proven the effectiveness of amber necklaces,” insists Nicolas Winter. “Putting stones on a child’s neck to make it hurt less is pure placebo effect, and more. On the other hand, children die after being strangled or after ingesting pearls. In fact, no collar of any kind should be placed around a baby’s neck. And yet, I still often see children in my apartment wearing amber necklaces, even though they have bronchiolitis and respiratory problems! »

There are other solutions against teething, “in particular the refrigerated teether or gels to apply to the gums,” the doctor advises.

Strangle hair: “To be taken seriously”

Its name is worthy of a horror movie, but it is not a myth, it really exists, and its dangers are real: “Strangler hair is hair that curls and forms a tourniquet around a finger, on the hand or on the foot. . It is difficult to discern, but as the finger changes color and turns blue/purple, you will quickly notice,” explains Nicolas Winter. The risk is necrosis and therefore amputation. Babies are especially worried because it is, in fact, often linked to postpartum hair loss in the mother.

Preventing it is simple: “Before putting your child to bed, look carefully at the socks and slippers, but also around the fingers and toes, to see if there are any small hairs lying around,” advises Nicholas Winter. If you have detected strangled hair, try to unroll it gently, but if you have the slightest doubt, consult as soon as possible.

Liver crisis: “We are more talking about indigestion”

This is a popular expression, which persists, although it has no basis. “Because when the child has eaten too much chocolate, for example, digestion is certainly difficult, but it is the stomach and intestine that are altered, they cause pain, they feel like vomiting. Not the liver. But in the history of medicine, this organ has a primordial place. The bile it produces, for example, played a central role in the theory of humors and, therefore, there continues to be a rich imagination around it,” explains Nicolas Winter.

In fact, the expert continues, “it is more accurate to talk about an intestinal crisis or simply indigestion. And to treat it it is necessary to hydrate, rest and eat a balanced diet. There is no need for “detox” products, the kidneys and liver do it for free. »

Does the Magic Kiss exist? published by Primera, 144 pages, 10.95 euros, in bookstores since March 14.

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