Standards give something to work toward. It is possible to incorporate most of these standards in new dwellings for any income group, though it is recognized that certain of those relating to equipment and fireproofing and to the provision of a play room or nursery would seem to be out of the question to many contractors, realtors and home builders. Good management in the home can also largely overcome defects in equipment or prevent injury arising therefrom. Old homes, defective in many particulars, can, step by step, be brought up to standard, beginning with those matters which seem most urgent and bearing in mind always the more fundamental needs of the child.
1 Adapted from Housing Standards with Particular Reference to the Health, Safety and Welfare of Children (report of the Subcommittee of the White House Conference on Child Health and Protection, Washington, D.C., November, 1930). Published in The American Building Association News, February, 1931. The standards which follow are optimum standards drawn up for dwellings in which there are children. They are desirable standards toward which the great majority of families may look forward.
Even in those cases where the standards seem impractical because of their cost, they may, when judiciously applied, result in enhancing the sales value of the property and in reducing maintenance costs.
In cities, building codes and zoning laws already lead to the incorporation of many of these standards in all new construction, and improvements in such laws raise the requirements from time to time. In general, however, such legislation provides only for such protection of health and safety as may seem practical and expedient at the time the law is framed. Progressive improvement of such laws helps to make these standards increasingly available even for those citizens who are unaware of them and of their importance. To an increasing extent, through city planning and zoning, the amenities of life are becoming available to our city and suburban population. It is impossible, however, through law to provide universally all of the conditions that are essential to wholesome living. It is hoped through consideration of the suggestions which follow (which are based on studies made by leading specialists in the field of housing and home economics) that housing will be considered increasingly with reference to its effect upon the health, protection and welfare of children. No other aspect of the subject is as important as this, for it is the prerogative of parents to make any necessary and reasonable sacrifices which will give their children a better start in life and a better chance than they themselves had to grow to their full mental, moral and physical stature.
In substance, therefore, we may say that these standards appear to the Committee to represent desirable and reasonable objectives which may wisely be considered by all groups interested in housing and child welfare and toward which they may direct their efforts. They may also serve as a check list of the housing needs of children which parents may wisely take into consideration with reference to their applicability to their own domestic needs in buying or building a home.