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Bed-rest for sick children


The value of bed-rest in the treatment of sick children was first critically assessed in 1963 with the conclusion that it helped only in the meningeal stage of poliomyelitis and in infective hepatitis, and that early ambulation was best in rheumatic fever, rheumatoid arthritis, nephritis and tuberculosis.1 Recent editions of paediatric textbooks, which specifically mention bed-rest in a general discussion on the treatment of sick children, agree that there are virtually no indications for enforcing bed-rest unless a child is feeling ill enough to want to stay in bed.2–4 Nevertheless, it is still recommended for certain diseases and probably some children are kept in bed for no good reason when they and their mothers would prefer them to be up.

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