Babyhood lasts from birth to one year old, a period of extremely rapid growth. The birth weight of a baby can double within six months and triple within a year. By one
year, most babies can stand. Childhood as a stage of human development extends roughly from one to twelve years old. During this period the immune system flexes its muscles,
so to speak, in readiness for puberty and adulthood. Illnesses contracted in childhood help to provide the body with the resistance to, and ultimately immunity against,
many diseases in later life. Parents often prefer to treat their children with gentle, natural products to reduce the risk of side-effects, resorting to conventional drugs only when a child’s immune system is unable to cope with extremely serious ailments. Unless there is a congenital, genetic disability, a child’s immune system should respond well to homeopathic treatment. In most cases, a child’s vital force will enable him or her to deal with many common threats to childhood health. Homeopathic remedies are easily administered to children, and can help them bounce back to health quickly and efficiently.

Colic is believed to be spasm of the intestines that causes a baby to scream, pull up its legs, and turn red. Colic occurs at about three months of age, usually in the evening, and for several hours. It may be aggravated by the mother’s tension or her diet (if she is breast-feeding), or by the baby gulping milk or swallowing air.

SELF-HELP If breast-feeding, avoiding foods such as citrus fruits,
strong spices, caffeine, legumes, and cows’-milk products may be
helpful. If bottle-feeding, enlarge the nipple hole.

CAUTION If the baby vomits or has diarrhea, see a doctor within
12 hours. If the baby is pale and limp, call 911.

A baby’s buttocks, genitals, and even thighs may become red and sore due to contact with soiled diapers. This is caused by irritating chemicals released from urine and feces, or in the detergent used to wash nondisposable diapers. The rash may develop into candidiasis as a secondary infection, especially if a baby or breast-feeding mother is taking antibiotics.

SELF-HELP Wash the baby’s bottom with a solution of calendula and hypericum, dry well, and apply calendula cream. Change the baby’s diapers frequently.

CAUTION If the condition does not improve, consult a doctor.


Teething describes the discomfort that may arise during the eruption from the gums of a baby’s milk teeth. This usually starts at the age of about six months and continues until approximately the end of the child’s third year. Symptoms include sore gums, irritability, and upset stomach.

SELF-HELP Combination R tissue salts may be given throughout the teething period.

CAUTION If there is a high fever do not assume that it is a symptom of the teething, and consult a doctor.


A young child has outbursts of anger, shouting, and crying when thwarted. The causes may be emotional tension within the family, a lack of parental affection, inconsistent disciplining by parents, which may produce insecurity, or simply a child testing the boundaries. Tantrums are exacerbated by teething, allergy, or digestive ailments.

SELF-HELP Discipline a child consistently, and avoid arguments. Give the child plenty of attention except during a tantrum, when unacceptable behavior is best ignored. Distract the child from the undesirable behavior.

CAUTION If problems persist, ask a doctor about family therapy.


Newborn babies need about 16 hours of sleep, 2-year-olds 12 hours, 6-year-olds 10 hours, and 12-year-olds 9 hours. Sleeplessness in babies may be due to being hot or cold, hunger, a dirty diaper, teething, colic, or too much stimulation. In older
children it may be caused by being hot or cold, irregular bedtimes, caffeine in carbonated drinks, other food allergy, noise, stress, or anxiety. Nightmares may result from watching television or videos.

SELF-HELP Keep a baby’s or young child’s room at 64–68°F (16–20°C). Establish a bedtime routine: bath, last feeding, then bed, at the same time every day, and avoid overstimulation. If a child wakes frequently during the night and becomes overtired, bring bedtime forward by 15 minutes every 3 nights until the child sleeps through. Maintain this bedtime, and then gradually put it back by 15-minute intervals. Look for
the underlying causes of sleeplessness. Do not punish a child by sending him or her to a bedroom, which will acquire bad associations.

CAUTION If the problem persists, consult a doctor.


By the end of their second year, most children have a degree of bladder control. Daytime control is usually achieved between 18 months and 3 years of age: nighttime control may take another year. About 10 percent of 4- to 5-year-olds wet the bed regularly. Primary bedwetting means a child has never been dry at night. This may be due to immaturity of the nervous system or to psychological reasons—for example, a child’s diapers may not have been changed often enough, so that he or she did not learn what it felt like to be dry. Secondary bed-wetting means a child was dry for a time but then starts to wet the bed again—because of emotional stress, for example.

SELF-HELP With primary bed-wetting, encourage a child of 7 or over to take control—by changing soiled sheets, for example.

CAUTION If there is a burning sensation on passing urine with secondary
bed-wetting, see a doctor within 48 hours.


A rise in body temperature above 98°F (37°C) usually indicates that the body is fighting infection. In young children, however, before the temperature regulation mechanism has matured, temperature may rise simply because the child is overheated. Other symptoms of fever include restlessness and hot skin.

SELF-HELP Remove the child’s clothes and sponge him or her all over with tepid water. Open the windows or use a fan to cool the air. Provide plenty of fluids. If the child’s temperature rises above 102°F (39°C), or if there is a history of febrile convulsions (seizures induced by high temperature), give children’s acetaminophen.

CAUTION If the child suffers a febrile convulsion—abnormal breathing and limb movements, rolling eyes, and a loss of consciousness— try to lower the child’s temperature and consult a doctor. If the child is unconscious for more than five minutes, call Doctor. If fever is accompanied by symptoms of meningitis (inflammation of the membranes around the brain)—severe headache, nausea and vomiting, abnormal drowsiness, oversensitivity to light, a stiff neck, and a rash that does not fade when pressure is applied—call Doctor.


Recurrent infections may result in overactivity of the mucous membrane lining the middle ear and inadequate drainage via the eustachian tube. This results in a build-up of sticky fluid and the poor transmission of sounds, hence reduced hearing. Glue ear may
also be due to allergy. The insertion of a grommet (a small tube passed through the eardrum) may be necessary to drain the fluid and aerate the middle ear.

SELF-HELP If symptoms persist, investigate the possibility of allergy to food or atmospheric irritants. If a child is catarrhal, eliminate dairy products from the diet, but only for one month.

CAUTION If deafness persists, see a doctor within a month.


The tonsils are two sacs of lymphatic tissue at the back of the throat that form part of the body’s immune system. They often become infected, especially during childhood. Symptoms include sore or painful throat, fever, and general malaise. The tonsils look bright red at first, then become covered with a slimy, whitish coating. The glands in the neck may become enlarged.

SELF-HELP Encourage the child to rest, drink plenty of fluids, and take garlic preparations. Apply alternate hot and cold compresses around the neck. Gargling with sage tea may soothe the soreness or pain in the throat.

CAUTION If symptoms persist for more than 48 hours, see a doctor. If
temperature rises above 102°F (39°C), see a doctor within 12 hours.


Resulting from an infection of the larynx, epiglottis, or trachea, or from an obstruction of the airway, croup causes a sudden narrowing of the larynx, which produces hoarseness, wheezing, stridor (grunting while breathing), and a distinctive, barking cough.

SELF-HELP Humidify the bedroom or, during a coughing fit, put the child in a bathroom with all hot faucets on. Stay with the child.

CAUTION If there is fever, call a doctor within two hours. If stridor is acute with no sign of infection and there are breathing difficulties, call Doctor.


This highly infectious, bacterial illness is serious in young children, and is occasionally fatal in babies. The incubation period is 1–2 weeks. A child is most infectious during the first week, and may remain infectious for up to three weeks. A fever is followed by spasmodic coughing characterized by a whooping noise. Complications include pneumonia and brain damage.

CAUTION If you suspect that a child has contracted whooping cough, see a doctor within 48 hours. Antibiotics can minimize severity, but follow up with an acidophilic supplement, such as live yogurt, to reestablish beneficial intestinal bacteria. If a child turns blue during coughing, see a doctor within two hours.


This highly infectious, viral disease is spread in droplets of mucus expelled in coughs and sneezes from an infected child or an adult with shingles. Incubation is 13–17 days. Symptoms are a slight fever for 24 hours, followed by the eruption of a rash and a worsening of the fever. Clusters of small, red, itchy spots evolve into fluid-filled blisters, which heal in 6–10 days. A child is infectious from just before the onset of fever until all the spots heal. Scratched spots may become infected and leave pockmarks. Most children recover completely, but the virus may lie dormant and
be triggered in adulthood as shingles.

SELF-HELP To soothe the spots, rub in honey or vitamin E cream on unbroken skin, dab on baking soda solution (1 tsp soda to ¾ cup water), or take an oatmeal herbal bath.

CAUTION If you suspect that your child has chicken pox, consult a doctor within 24 hours. If the temperature is still high two days after the rash appears, or if the child seems very ill and chesty, see a doctor within two hours because of a risk of pneumonia.


A highly infectious, viral disease, measles is spread in droplets of mucus expelled in coughs and sneezes. The incubation period is about ten days, after which the first symptoms develop—an inflamed throat, runny nose, dry cough, red and watering eyes,
and fever. After 3–4 days, dark red spots appear, which may join up to form blotches. A child is infectious from the first symptoms until five days after the rash develops. Complications include acute middle-ear infection, bronchitis, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), and febrile convulsions.

SELF-HELP Give the child plenty of water and a light diet until the runny nose and the cough clear up. Treat as for fever. Bathe the eyes with a saline solution (1 tsp salt to ¾ cup boiled, cooled water).

CAUTION If fever persists, or if the child feels ill after the rash begins
to fade or has an earache, see a doctor within 12 hours.


A viral infection of certain salivary glands (the parotids in front of the ear and the submandibulars in the lower jaw), mumps is spread by droplets of mucus expelled in coughs and sneezes. The incubation period is 2–3 weeks and a child may be infectious for a week before the symptoms appear. These include fever, headache, and pain in front of the ears as the glands become swollen. The swelling subsides within ten days, during which time a child is still infectious. Complications may include meningitis or inflammation of the pancreas, ovaries, or testes. Rarely, the effect of this disorder
on the reproductive organs results in sterility.

SELF-HELP Avoid acidic drinks, such as citrus fruit juices, since these will stimulate the salivary glands, causing pain.

CAUTION If there is a severe headache, oversensitivity to light, confusion, rowsiness, or any other symptoms of meningitis, see a doctor within two hours. If the testicles or ovaries are painful, see a doctor within 12 hours.

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