Sunday, May 7, 2017

Merchants, Chamber of Commerce, Community Club Setting Up Baby Welfare Station in Hickory, 1917

From the Hickory Daily Record, May 2, 1917

Tag! You’re it! What? A friend to little children.

That’s what a tag will mean on Saturday. All day Saturday everyone who comes to town will have an opportunity to be tagged and prove in a practical way his love for little children, his interest in their welfare, his civic pride, and his patriotism as an American citizen. All of these things are very closely allied with child welfare work. If a fearful epidemic should break out among Hickory babies how strenuously ever citizen would work, how eagerly every man, woman, and child in the community would strive to help wipe it out! Yet more babies die through ignorance and neglect than from any epidemic the world has ever seen. It is impossible to estimate what it would be worth to Hickory if every mother in the community could learn thoroughly the science of baby care. It would mean that every Hickory home would be clean and sanitary, all of Hickory’s babies would be healthy and happy, Hickory’s children would be bright and sturdy, and Hickory’s young men and young women would be capable, strong and intelligent. The observance of baby week is a long stride in the right direction, but the establishment of permanent child welfare work is the surest means to the desired end. The following plan has been suggested as one of several possible ways of beginning baby welfare work here in Hickory.

With the cooperation of the merchants, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Community Club, establish a comfortable, sanitary rest room for women and children and manage it as a Baby Welfare Station. The room should be simple but comfortably furnished with several rocking chairs and a couple of small beds in which baby could sleep while the mother rests and the father does his trading. On a certain day or days of each week have in attendance a trained nurse prepared to answer all questions in regard to the care of children. At all times have at the room a supply of Board of Health publications, U.S. bulletins, and leaflets, etc., published by the life insurance companies covering every branch of child service—feeding, teething, care of eye, ear, nose and throat, care during sickness, nursing of contagious diseases, the importance of sanitary conditions in the home, etc., etc. Then if there is sufficient financial support, have a child clinic on certain days of each week, at which time a reputable physician would examine and prescribe for sick babies free of charge.

The above would in all probability prove nearly as efficacious as similar work in other communities where they have succeeded in reducing infant mortality as much as 50 per cent. Think of saving one-half of the Hickory babies, that under present conditions are doomed to die this very summer! Every cent that is taken in on Saturday through the sale of tags will go toward furthering some such plan as suggested above. So come out prepared to pay anything from 10 cents to $100, and in this way do your share to save the babies.

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