A large share of the diseases to which infants and young children are subject, arise from the ignorance of mothers and nurses respecting the hygiene of infancy, or how to feed, clothe, and care for human beings during the first years of their existence. If adults suffer for want of attention to the laws of health, infants suffer still more, not generally, however, so much through intent to neglect, as through ignorance of the requirements of the human system during the first years of life. Undoubtedly, a large share of the most serious constitutional diseases from which adults suffer have their foundation laid in infancy by various injurious practices, to which attention is more particularly called elsewhere in this volume.

The treatment of the diseases of infants has, until recently, been in a very unsatisfactory condition. Fortunately for these little ones, recent investigations, which have been conducted independently in all the principal civilized countries of the globe, have resulted in the development of many new features and principles, by the aid of which they may now receive as fair a chance for recovery from illness as their older relatives.

The treatment of the diseases of infancy is attended by difficulties much more serious in many respects than those met with in the treatment of adults. One of the first of these is the difficulty of obtaining a full account of the patient's symptoms. The little one is not able to tell how it feels, and the information must be almost wholly gathered from observation. Only the quick eye of the well-informed and anxious mother and nurse, or the intelligent physician, is able to detect the evidences of disease manifested in early life. Many of the most serious conditions are indicated by slight symptoms which might escape detection if not well understood.