London's Pulse: Medical Officer of Health reports 1848-1972

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Southall-Norwood 1897

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Southall-Norwood]

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7. The best bottle to use is the old-fashioned long straight one
with a short indiarubber teat; it is often called the slipper
or boat bottle. It is so designed that it can be kept
perfectly clean with a minimum of attention. The worst
kind of bottle is that with a long india rubber tube,
named the "Alexandra" and other fanciful names; it
would be fitly named the infant's "death trap." "A
' foul' bottle " is the most common cause of diarrhoea.
8. The worst nourished, fat, flabby, rickety children are those
brought up on Swiss milk and the various patent starchy
foods. Every day and twice a day if possible the child
should be taken into the fresh air, unless there be a cold
wind, fog or rain. It should be washed all over night and
morning in warm water. No child should ever be put in a
cold bath.
Woollen clothing should always be worn next to the skin.
A child cannot be "hardened" by scanty clothing and cold
baths. Neck, arms and legs should be covered as well as
the chest and body.
As might be expected child mortality (deaths occuring between the
ages of 1 and 5 years) also differs greatly under different circumstances.
Thus in the healthy parts of England, out of every 1000 children
(under 5 years of age), only 50 will die during the year, whilst in the
most unhealthy districts 100 or 110 per 1000 perish annually.
In addition to their liability to the various Infectious Diseases,
exposure to cold is a very common cause of disease, e.g., Bronchitis in
children. This is accounted for by the small bulk of child's body
which renders it more susceptible to changes of temperature and also
allows cold to penetrate more deeply into its tissues than into those of
adults, a fact which is well worth remembering in the clothing of
children.


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