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Public Papers - 1991 - October

Proclamation 6348 -- Child Health Day, 1991

1991-10-07

By the President of the United States

of America

A Proclamation

Our children's state of health is, in many ways, a measure of our success and character as a people. Thus, on Child Health Day, we reaffirm our commitment to helping every American youngster enjoy the best possible start in life -- beginning with high quality health care throughout pregnancy for expectant mothers and extending through each child's formative years.

In recent decades, we have made important progress toward the goal of better child health. For example, early immunization has virtually eliminated some childhood diseases, and, with increased vigilance on the part of parents and public health officials, it has the potential to conquer several others. A variety of educational programs and support services -- both public and private -- have encouraged more and more pregnant women to protect the lives of their unborn children through proper nutrition and prenatal care. The United States Child Nutrition Programs, including the School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, have helped to bring healthy, well-balanced meals to millions of youngsters. Nevertheless, we know that we still have much work to do.

Statistics show that many children die or suffer permanent disability as a result of injuries -- injuries that could be prevented. In fact, the Department of Health and Human Services reports that more youngsters ages 1 through 19 die from injuries than from all other causes of death combined. In 1988 alone, injuries claimed the lives of more than 22,000 children. These injuries may be the result of accidents or physical abuse and other crimes.

Fortunately, we are finding ways to reduce the risk of accidental injury among children. Scientific research and advances in technology have enabled us to develop safer toys and flame-retardant clothing, as well as child-proof packaging for medicines and toxic chemicals. Growing public awareness of safety issues has led to protective legal measures, such as State statutes that require child passenger restraints in motor vehicles. Local initiatives requiring the use of bicycle helmets, fencing around swimming pools, and certain safety standards for playground equipment are also helping to reduce the risk of childhood injury. Of course, the success of these and other measures requires our vigilance and cooperation as parents and neighbors.

If we are to protect the lives and health of our Nation's children, then we must also redouble our efforts to stop the scourges of child abuse, drunk driving, and other crime. A stable, loving home and a safe, nurturing environment are essential to every youngster's physical well-being and emotional development.

Government cannot replicate the love and commitment of parents; neither can it fulfill their primary responsibility in caring for their children. However, public officials, parents, and physicians -- as well as educators and other concerned Americans -- can work together to promote the health and safety of our Nation's youth. Today, let us renew our resolve to do just that. Precious lives depend on it.

The Congress, by joint resolution approved May 18, 1928, as amended (36 U.S.C. 143), has called for the designation of the first Monday in October as ``Child Health Day'' and has authorized and requested the President to issue annually a proclamation in observance of this day.

Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Monday, October 7, 1991, as Child Health Day. I urge all Americans to join me in renewing our commitment to protecting the lives and health of this Nation's youngest citizens.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this seventh day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and sixteenth.

George Bush

[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 10:29 a.m., October 8, 1991]

Note: This proclamation was published in the Federal Register on October 9.

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