Friday January 17, 2020

Parents Need to Act Quickly to Handle a Child’s Fears, Says Maneka Gandhi

Gandhi's earlier books include "Sanjay Gandhi" (on her late husband), "First Aid for Animals" and "The Complete Book Muslim and Parsi Names", among others

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Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi had asked for setting up Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) at the state and district levels for regular monitoring of the Specialised Adoption Agencies (SAA) and CCIs. Flickr
Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi had asked for setting up Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) at the state and district levels for regular monitoring of the Specialised Adoption Agencies (SAA) and CCIs. Flickr

There is no limit to the imagination of children, especially those below five. But not always what they see or feel may leave a positive image in their minds. And it is to guide not only children but also parents on how to battle such inner fears that Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi has once again donned the hat of a writer wth a new book, “There is a Monster Under my Bed”.

“The book gives parents a new way of looking at overcoming a child’s fears so that they can talk to their children. If ignored, it may seemingly appear to go away on the surface but the fear will remain in some form forever. Parents need to act quickly to handle childhood fears,” Gandhi, 62, told IANS.

Maneka Gandhi has written many books on a variety of topics. How did this one come about? Gandhi said her granddaughter Anasuyaa was the inspiration.

“One day she (Anasuyaa) came up to me and said she is afraid that there is a monster under her bed. I had to quickly act positive and responded how lucky she is and I also would like to have one. Its then I realised why the book needs to be written,” Gandhi said.

Parents often tend to ignore the inner fears of children, Gandhi said, adding the book has been to make parents aware about how to deal with such situations.

“A child is a newly-hatched baby they is discovering the world while growing and I think genetically they primed to be afraid of what they don’t understand…

“If we can immediately explain them like in darkness you can see the moon, stars and hear the owls then they can get rid of fear,” she explained.

The 47-page book, illustrated by Snigdha Rao and published by Penguin (Rs 399), deals with common childhood fears like dark rooms, lightening, clowns, injections and even shadows.

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Parents often tend to ignore the inner fears of children,  Pixabay 

“Believe it or not most children fear clowns. And of course, the space under one’s bed which is perhaps the most frightening part. Sometimes, children have difficulty in putting their feet down at night and going to the bathroom because they think something will come out from their bed,” Maneka Gandhi pointed out.

The book is a handy guideline for parents on how they can turn a scary thought or moment of a child into something positive. A bonus is the beautiful, bright and colourfull illustrations that the children can enjoy.

Although, Gandhi hasn’t included child sex abuse in the book, this didn’t stop her from talking about it and accepting it is another form of fear that children often encounter, especially within family.

“I haven’t brought that angle in book because what I wrote in this book is fears of mind that is an actual thing that has to be told to parents. And what we have done in this ministry is that we have made a helpline, childline and email. We respond very quickly to such complaints,” she stated.

Also Read- Government of Sri Lanka Urges to Uphold Laws For Disabled

Maneka Gandhi also mentioned that her ministry, for the first time, made it mandatory print details of child sex abuse and about ‘good and bad touch’ at the back of every CBSE book.

Asked about her next book, the minister said she is writing one on flowers.

“My next book would be about different varieties of flowers as today’s youngsters are not much aware of the names of flowers,” Maneka Gandhi said.

Gandhi’s earlier books include “Sanjay Gandhi” (on her late husband), “First Aid for Animals” and “The Complete Book Muslim and Parsi Names”, among others. (IANS)

Next Story

Babies in ICU More Likely to Get Protected from Parental Bacteria: Study

The researchers selected for study 190 newborn babies admitted to two NICUs at Johns Hopkins-affiliated hospitals in Baltimore, Maryland, between November 2014 and December 2018

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To reduce the spread of Bacteria, the researchers turned to a simple regimen for mothers and fathers to follow while their Babies are in intensive care. Pixabay

Researchers have developed and tested a relatively simple strategy for reducing the chance of parents exposing their babies in the NICU to one of the most commonly diagnosed and potentially deadly microbial scourges in a hospital: Staphylococcus aureus.

“Traditional procedures for preventing hospital-acquired Staph infections in the NICU have primarily focused on keeping staff and facilities as sterile as possible,” said study researcher Aaron Milstone from Johns Hopkins University in the US.

“Our study is among the first to focus on parents as a source of the bacteria and then test the effectiveness of an intervention to combat the problem,” Milstone added.

According to the researchers, Staphylococcus aureus infections in the NICU not only threaten a sick or premature infant’s survival but their neurological development as well.

In a 2015 study, Milstone and others estimated that there are more than 5,000 cases of invasive such infections each year in NICUs across the US and that 10 per cent of the children will likely die before hospital discharge.

To reduce the spread of Staphylococcus aureus, the researchers turned to a simple regimen for mothers and fathers to follow while their child is in intensive care.

The preventive measure includes the application of an antibiotic (mupirocin) ointment into the nose and skin cleansing with a wipe containing two per cent chlorhexidine gluconate, an antiseptic widely used on patients to remove surface bacteria around a surgical site before an operation.

The Treating Parents to Reduce NICU Transmission of Staphylococcus (TREAT Parents) clinical trial was conducted to test the proposed strategy’s effectiveness.

Babies
Researchers have developed and tested a relatively simple strategy for reducing the chance of parents exposing their babies in the NICU to one of the most commonly diagnosed and potentially deadly microbial scourges in a hospital: Staphylococcus aureus. Pixabay

The researchers selected for study 190 newborn babies admitted to two NICUs at Johns Hopkins-affiliated hospitals in Baltimore, Maryland, between November 2014 and December 2018.

Each of the infants had at least one parent who tested positive for the bacteria when screened at the time of their child’s entry into the NICU.

Baseline S. aureus counts were done for the infants at the same time.

The parents of 89 babies self-administered the antibiotic nasal ointment twice a day for five days and cleaned designated skin areas with antiseptic wipes for the same time period.

The control group, consisting of the remaining 101 parental couples, used identically packaged placebo treatments of petroleum jelly and non-antiseptic wipes.

Both sets of babies were monitored for Staphylococcus colonization until discharge from the NICU. Bacteria recovered from the infants were analyzed to determine if they were the same strain as seen in at least one parent.

Among the 190 infants studied overall, 42, or about 22 per cent, acquired S. aureus that matched bacteria recovered from either their mother or father, or from both parents. In this group, four babies had MRSA strains acquired from a parent.

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The study is among the first to focus on parents as a source of the bacteria to their babies and then test the effectiveness of an intervention to combat the problem. Pixabay

Of the 101 babies with parents in the control group, 29 per cent had parentally acquired bacteria compared with only 13 of the 89 babies whose parents were given actual antibiotic ointment and antiseptic wipes to use.

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“These results from our preliminary trial indicate that treatment with intranasal mupirocin and chlorhexidine wipes may significantly reduce the number of infants in the NICU who will get S. aureus from contact with a parent,” Milstone said. (IANS)