Your great, great grandmothers lived in a world vastly different from our world. Most lived on farms, ate no processed foods, walked all day, did mostly physical farm labor, had no immunizations, almost never saw a doctor except to die, and birthed a LOT of children. Think about your life through the prism of theirs. To survive to be an adult, these women had to be tough both physically and emotionally. Life was cruel to many in those days. In 1900, approximately one out of every ten babies died before its first birthday (100 deaths for every 1000 live births). Children, especially infants, died at an alarming rate. Death seemed to be everywhere. Average life expectancy was 47 years.
Fast-forward to today, 2013. The statisticians at the Center for Disease just published the latest numbers for infant death in the United States. We continue to make progress in having healthier infants. The current overall infant mortality rate is now 6.9 for every 1000 live births: this translates to a 93% reduction from the early 20th century rate. Thank goodness for immunizations, antibiotics, hospitals, nurses and doctors, clean treated water and food, formula companies, baby food manufacturers, car seat and crib makers, automotive engineers and the wonderful parents having babies today! Although modern life may seem stressful and too complex, once in a while we need to stand back and look at the progress we have made. With everyone’s continued vigilance and best efforts, progress will continue to be made in lowering the infant mortality rate, saving the lives of countless future scientists, teachers, fireman, artists, and of course, pediatricians.
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