Providing the first comprehensive history of child health in the United States, this book offers a thorough historical account of the ways that professionals and the state have addressed child health problems. Six original essays reflect the growing scholarly interest in the history of childhood and youth, particularly issues affecting child health and welfare. These important new essays show how changing patterns of health and disease have responded to and shaped notions of childhood and adolescence as life stages. Until the early 20th century, life-threatening illnesses were a sinister presence in the lives of children of all social classes. Today, many diseases and threats to child health have been eliminated or alleviated. Yet critical problems remain. New threats such as AIDS and violence take a steady toll. Child health remains an active concern for all families. Despite the development of health care policies, social welfare policies, and effective medication, the home remains--as it was in the Colonial period--the most critical site of care. Parents are still central to the preservation of children's health. This work imposes a holistic view of this experience for children and families. By examining the child's perspective of illness, the authors make an important contribution to the understanding of illness as part of the developmental process of growing up.