starter activity Why are infant mortality rates in the UK amongst the lowest in the world?
Why did fewer children die after 1900? Aims To understand why infant mortality rates decreased so much in the early twentieth century
Your task • Read the information on p. 160 and list the reasons why so many children were dying before 1900 Victorian street urchins
Reasons for high infant mortality • Diarrhoea caught from contaminated food and water • Insanitary living conditions • Badly ventilated housing • Contaminated milk • Overcrowding • Poor childcare, e.g. mothers accidentally smothering their children
Your task • Read p. 161-3 and list the reasons why infant mortality rates decreased. Workhouse children receiving their meals
Reasons for the decrease in infant mortality • Salvation Army - provided farthing breakfasts • Committee on Physical Deterioration - to investigate poor health of nation alarmed by condition of recruits for the Boer War (1900) • Better education in schools – advice on diet and hygiene • Rise in family incomes – more women working • Decline in infectious diseases • Govt measures ….
Government measures • 1902 Compulsory training for midwives • 1906 meals for school children • 1909 Back to back houses banned • 1918 Health visitors introduced • 1919 New building programme for working-class homes
Local authorities were forced to destroy slums like these and build better housing for the working classes
WWII • Immunisation - 1940 campaign against diphtheria • Food rationing – improvements in diet • Evacuation highlighted differences in living standards • Improved medicines - penicillin • 1942, William Beveridge proposed free national health service
Why were posters like this one so effective in improving public health?
Role play • Right your own 30 second radio advert highlighting the important steps the government has taken to improve health for children.
Plenary • What were the main reasons why child mortality decreased between 1900 and 1945? • What factors made the biggest difference, e.g. new technology, war, government etc?