dry drowning, strangling hair… Five preconceived ideas scrutinized

dry drowning, strangling hair… Five preconceived ideas scrutinized

“We are confronted with it every day”: false beliefs, which are numerous in matters of pediatric health, spread even more easily in the age of social networks. So, to see things more clearly, Dr Nicolas Winter has sorted out the truth from the falsehood in a guide

. With him, we decipher five stubborn preconceived ideas Dry drowning: “VS

it does not exist » This will reassure many parents:dry drowning

, that is to say a child who dies, a few days after drinking the cup one or more times, because 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 little boy in similar circumstances in the United States,” he explains, “except that the autopsy ultimately revealed a problem cardiac. »

If your child drinks the cup, simply take them out of the water to have them cough and spit it out, without further worry. But above all, watch your little ones when they bathe, even in a very small quantity of water, because drownings are frequent: Public Health France counted 253 fatalities, just between June 1 and August 20, 2023 (all ages).

Hydrocution: “Yes, you can bathe after eating” Another misconception related to water: no, your child does not risk hydrocuting himself by going for a swim right after having a picnic. Hydrocution is thermal shock

which causes vagal discomfort. “But this has nothing to do with digestion,” explains Nicolas Winter. “It is the fact of having remained exposed to the sun for a long time, without activity, then suddenly making an effort in cooler water, which leads to discomfort.” The symptoms that then occur may be palpitations, small dots in the eyes, feeling of weakness, etc.

The best advice to avoid hydrocution? Forbid “bombs” for your children in swimming pools, “have them enter the water gently, first wetting their backs, or the nape of their necks, it doesn’t matter in the end, the important thing is that the immersion is progressive,” underlines the emergency physician.

The Amber Necklace: “Ineffective and…deadly”

They are easily found in pharmacies and are believed to have many benefits, including soothing 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 so that it hurts less is the pure placebo effect, and more. On the other hand, children die after strangling themselves or after ingesting pearls. In fact, no collar of any type should be placed around a baby’s neck. And yet I still often see, in my department, children with amber necklaces, even though they have bronchiolitis and are in respiratory distress! »

Against teething, other solutions exist, “notably the refrigerated teething ring or gels to apply to the gums”, advises the doctor.

Strangling hair: “To be taken seriously”

Its name is worthy of a horror film, but it is not a myth, it really exists, and its dangers are real: “The strangling hair is a hair that will twist and form a tourniquet around of a finger, on the hand or foot. It’s difficult to discern, but as the finger will change color, becoming blue/purple, you will quickly realize it,” explains Nicolas Winter. The risk is necrosis and therefore amputation. Infants are particularly concerned, because in fact, it is often linked to postpartum hair loss in the mother.

Preventing it is simple: “Look carefully, before putting the child to bed, in the socks and slippers, but also around the fingers and toes, if there are no small hairs lying around,” advises Nicholas Winter. If you have detected a strangling hair, try to unwind it gently, but if you have the slightest doubt, consult as soon as possible.

Liver crisis: “Talk about indigestion instead”

This is a popular expression, which persists, even though 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 will upset, create pain, make you want to vomit. Not the liver. But in the history of medicine, this organ has a primordial place. The bile it produces, for example, had a central role in the theory of humors, and there therefore remains a rich imagination around it,” explains Nicolas Winter.

In fact, continues the expert, “it is more accurate to speak of an intestinal crisis or simply indigestion. And to treat it you need to hydrate, rest and eat a balanced diet. No need for “detox” products, the kidneys and liver do that for free. »

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

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