This Is How the United States Healthcare System Fails Its Children

Many Families Do Not Have Access to Safe Drinking Water Access to safe drinking water is a basic necessity for the health and wellbeing of all… Alexander Gabriel - May 2, 2023

The United States healthcare system is failing our children in many ways. Healthcare is important for children’s education and future success. Children who are healthy and well-cared for are more likely to perform well in school. They also have better long-term outcomes in life. Additionally, by addressing health problems early and ensuring that children receive the care they need, we can help set them up for success in the future. Overall, healthcare is an essential component of ensuring that children are healthy, happy, and able to reach their full potential. Let’s take a look at all the ways the United States healthcare system is failing its children.

Verywell Family.

High Infant Mortality Rates

High infant mortality rates in the United States refer to the number of deaths of infants who are under one year old per 1,000 live births. The infant mortality rate in the United States is higher than in many other developed countries due to several factors. One significant factor is the lack of access to healthcare and prenatal care for pregnant women. Many women in the United States do not receive adequate prenatal care, which can lead to complications during pregnancy and childbirth that can result in infant mortality. Another factor is the high rate of premature births in the United States. Premature infants are more vulnerable to complications and health problems, which can contribute to infant mortality.

Daily Mail

Doctors Not Discussing the Dangers of Secondhand Smoke Enough

Secondhand smoke is the smoke that is exhaled by a smoker or that comes from the burning end of a cigarette, cigar, or pipe. Exposure to secondhand smoke can cause a range of health problems in children. These include asthma, ear infections, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Many parents may not be aware of the dangers of secondhand smoke. It is important to create smoke-free environments for their children. Healthcare providers have an important role to play in educating parents about the dangers of secondhand smoke and helping them to quit smoking if they are smokers themselves. However, research has shown that many healthcare providers do not routinely discuss the dangers of secondhand smoke with parents. Addressing this issue requires healthcare providers to prioritize discussions about secondhand smoke during appointments and to provide resources and support for parents who are trying to quit smoking.

Breeze Technologies

Air Pollution is Not a Larger Concern

Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of air pollution. Their lungs are still developing so they breathe in more air per body weight than adults do. Exposure to air pollution has been linked to a range of health problems in children. This includes asthma, allergies, and developmental delays. Air pollution is not always a top concern for children’s health in the United States. This may be because the effects of air pollution on children’s health are often not immediately visible. It may also be due to the fact that the sources of air pollution are not always easily identifiable. Reducing emissions from vehicles and industry, promoting the use of clean energy sources, and encouraging communities to create green spaces and plant trees to help reduce air pollution are possible solutions.

Medical Xpress

Lack of Preventive Care

Despite the importance of preventive care in children’s health and development, many families in the US lack access to necessary services. Children may not receive regular check-ups, immunizations, or screenings, which can lead to undiagnosed or untreated health issues. The lack of preventive care can have serious consequences for children. These include delays in developmental milestones, increased risk of chronic conditions, and reduced academic performance. Addressing the lack of preventive care for children in the US requires a multifaceted approach. This could be done by increasing access to healthcare services, expanding insurance coverage, and improving public awareness of the importance of preventive care for children’s health and wellbeing. By prioritizing preventive care for children, we can help ensure that they have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Children’s Health

Insufficient Mental Health Resources

Insufficient mental health access for children in the US is a significant concern. This lack of access can have long-term effects on their development, academic performance, and overall quality of life. This lack of access to mental health care can result in untreated or undiagnosed mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, and behavioral disorders, which can have serious consequences. Children with untreated mental health issues are at a higher risk of developing substance abuse problems, dropping out of school, and experiencing difficulty in personal relationships. Addressing the issue of insufficient mental health access for children requires a comprehensive approach. Increasing funding for mental health services, reducing the stigma associated with mental health, and improving access to mental health services for children from low-income families.


Climate Change has a Serious Impact on Wellbeing

Extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, floods, and wildfires, can lead to physical injuries, mental health issues, and infectious disease outbreaks. Air pollution from fossil fuel combustion can also contribute to respiratory problems, including asthma, which is a leading cause of missed school days for children. Additionally, rising temperatures can exacerbate allergies and increase the spread of vector-borne diseases, such as Lyme disease and West Nile virus. Climate change also has indirect impacts on children’s health, including disruptions to food and water supplies, displacement from homes and communities, and increased risk of conflict and displacement.

Wikimedia Commons

Inadequate Coverage for Pre-Existing Conditions

Pre-existing conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, or heart conditions, can make it difficult for children to obtain health insurance coverage. This leaves children vulnerable to gaps in care or high healthcare costs. Before the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), children with pre-existing conditions were often denied coverage, charged higher premiums, or faced annual or lifetime coverage limits. Some insurance plans still exclude certain conditions or place limits on coverage. Additionally, inadequate coverage for pre-existing conditions can have serious consequences for children, including delays in diagnosis and treatment, financial strain on families, and barriers to accessing necessary care.

Genetic Literacy Project

Pesticides Continue to be Used Despite Known Health Risks to Children

Pesticides are linked to a range of health problems including developmental delays, respiratory issues, and cancer. Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of pesticides because their organs and immune systems are still developing. They often have higher exposure rates due to their hand-to-mouth behaviors and proximity to contaminated areas. Pesticides can also impact the environment and disrupt natural ecosystems, which can have additional effects on children’s health. It is essential for parents, healthcare providers, and policymakers to prioritize the reduction of exposure to pesticides for children. This includes adopting organic and pesticide-free food options, limiting exposure to pesticides in outdoor and indoor environments, and promoting safe and sustainable alternatives to harmful pesticides.

Clinica Hispana la Paz

Childhood Obesity Impacts Children’s Longterm Health

Healthcare plays a crucial role in addressing childhood obesity in the United States. Childhood obesity has become a significant public health concern in the US, with nearly one in five children considered obese. Obesity in childhood can have long-term consequences, including an increased risk of developing chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. Certainly, healthcare providers can play an important role in addressing childhood obesity by providing preventive care, counseling on healthy eating and physical activity, and monitoring weight and growth over time. Access to nutritionists and food related education may have a considerable impact on childhood obesity.

NYU Langone Health

Lack of Dental Care

Dental care is an important aspect of preventive healthcare. Untreated dental problems can lead to pain, infections, and even tooth loss. Some common dental health problems in children include tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss. Tooth decay is one of the most prevalent dental health problems in children and can lead to pain and infections. However, many children, particularly those from low-income families or rural areas, lack access to dental care services. This lack of access can be due to a variety of factors, including a shortage of dental providers in certain areas, a lack of dental coverage in insurance plans, and the high cost of dental care services. The consequences of inadequate dental care for children can be severe. Issues such as difficulty eating, speaking, and learning are all consequences of poor dental health.

Undark Magazine

Toxic Lead Exposure Threatens Childhood Development

Even low levels of lead exposure can have serious consequences for children, including developmental delays, reduced IQ, and behavioral problems. Lead exposure can also contribute to physical symptoms such as abdominal pain, fatigue, and constipation. Children are particularly vulnerable to lead exposure because they absorb lead more easily than adults and their developing brains and nervous systems are more susceptible to the toxic effects of lead. Lead exposure can occur from a range of sources, including lead-based paint, contaminated soil and water, and leaded products such as toys and jewelry.

The Vital Beat

High Rates of Uninsured Children

Without access to affordable healthcare, uninsured children are less likely to receive preventive care, which can lead to untreated medical conditions, delayed diagnoses, and worse health outcomes. The lack of insurance coverage can also result in families facing significant financial burdens when their children require medical treatment. Although the number of uninsured children has decreased in recent years, there are still millions of children without health insurance coverage, particularly among low-income families and communities of color. Expanding access to affordable healthcare services, and increasing funding for public insurance programs such as Medicaid and CHIP can help families financially struggling to provide health care and services to their children.


Limited Access to Specialty Care

Specialty care services, such as pediatric cardiology, neurology, and oncology, are essential for children with complex medical conditions or chronic illnesses. However, accessing specialty care services can be challenging for families, particularly those from low-income or rural areas. Children may face long wait times to see a specialist. Families may need to travel long distances or take time off work to attend appointments. In addition, the high cost of specialty care services can also be a significant barrier to access. These barriers can result in delayed diagnoses and treatment, which can worsen health outcomes and reduce the quality of life for children and their families.

The New York Times

Overuse of Antibiotics

Antibiotics are medications that are used to treat bacterial infections, but they are not effective against viral infections, such as the common cold or flu. However, many parents and healthcare providers still prescribe antibiotics for viral infections, which can contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Antibiotic overuse can also cause side effects, such as upset stomach, diarrhea, and allergic reactions. Additionally, the overuse of antibiotics can disrupt the balance of bacteria in a child’s gut. This can have negative consequences for their immune system. Healthcare providers should only prescribe antibiotics when they are necessary to treat a bacterial infection. Parents can also play a role by not pressuring healthcare providers to prescribe antibiotics for viral infections. Parents can also ensure they are following instructions for completing a full course of antibiotics when they are necessary.


Insufficient Funding for Public Health Services

Insufficient funding for public health initiatives has become a significant issue in many countries. Without adequate funding, essential public health programs such as disease surveillance, health education campaigns, and vaccination programs are not able to operate effectively. This leaves populations vulnerable to preventable illnesses and diseases. This lack of funding can also lead to inadequate research and development for new treatments and cures for existing and emerging diseases. In addition, a lack of resources can hinder the ability of public health officials to respond quickly to disease outbreaks. Addressing the issue of insufficient funding for public health initiatives is crucial to ensuring the health of individuals and communities.

BYO Playground

Lack of Education About Healthy Behavior

Without proper education, children may not learn important skills such as healthy eating habits, regular exercise, and hygiene practices. This can result in an increased risk of developing chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. In addition, lack of education on healthy behaviors can contribute to the spread of infectious diseases, as children may not understand the importance of handwashing or other preventive measures. It is essential that children receive education on healthy behaviors from a young age, as this can help them develop lifelong habits that will promote their health and well-being. This education can come from a variety of sources, including parents, schools, healthcare providers, and community organizations.

Center for Family Health

Limited Access to Healthy Foods

Children who lack access to healthy foods may rely on fast food, processed snacks, and sugary drinks, which are often high in calories and low in nutrients. This can contribute to the development of obesity, diabetes, and other chronic health conditions. In addition, limited access to healthy foods can have a significant impact on a child’s academic performance and overall well-being. Efforts are needed to increase access to healthy foods in low-income and marginalized communities. This can be accomplished through community gardens, farmers’ markets, and programs that provide healthy meals and snacks in schools.

The United Nations

Lack of Coordination Between Providers

The lack of coordination between healthcare providers can lead to a number of issues for patients, including delays in care, duplication of services, and even medical errors. When healthcare providers are not working together effectively, patients may have to repeat their medical history. Patients may also undergo unnecessary tests or procedures, and may not receive timely and appropriate treatment. This can result in a significant impact on the patient’s health outcomes and quality of life. One of the key challenges in improving coordination between healthcare providers is the lack of a standardized approach to sharing information. However, efforts are being made to address this issue. The use of electronic health records and the development of care coordination teams is improving patient outcome.

ReNue RX

Over Reliance on Medication

Children are often prescribed medications to treat conditions such as ADHD, depression, and anxiety, but there are concerns that some children may be receiving medication unnecessarily or in excessive amounts. Over medication can have serious side effects, including dizziness, fatigue, and nausea, and in some cases can lead to addiction or other long-term health consequences. Additionally, over medicating children can mask underlying issues that may require other forms of treatment. Therapy, lifestyle changes, and safe family homes can reduce the child’s likelihood of requiring medications. Healthcare providers should consider alternative treatments and carefully weigh the risks and benefits of medication for each individual child. It is also important for parents and caregivers to understand the potential risks of medication and advocate for their child’s health and well-being.


Inadequate Support for Children with Disabilities

Children with disabilities face a range of challenges, including difficulties with mobility, communication, and learning. Without adequate support, these children may be excluded from educational and social opportunities. This can have a significant impact on their overall well-being. In addition, families of children with disabilities often face significant financial and emotional stress, as they may have to navigate complex healthcare and educational systems to access the support their child needs. Efforts are needed to improve access to healthcare, education, and social services for children with disabilities and their families. This includes investing in early intervention and prevention programs, expanding access to assistive technologies and equipment, and ensuring that schools and other institutions are equipped to support children with disabilities.

National Geographic Society

Inconsistent Quality of Care

Children may receive different levels of care depending on where they live. Their socio-economic status, and other factors, can lead to disparities in health outcomes. In addition, healthcare providers may have different levels of expertise and experience in caring for children, which can impact the quality of care they receive. Children also may not receive adequate follow-up care, which can lead to missed diagnoses and delayed treatment. Efforts are needed to improve the quality of care provided to children. These include investing in training and education for healthcare providers, promoting the use of evidence-based practices, and ensuring that all children have access to high-quality care regardless of their background or location.

Moffitt Cancer Center

Lack of Investment into Children’s Medical Research

Despite the fact that children represent a large and diverse population with unique health needs, they are often underrepresented in clinical research studies. Research funding for pediatric conditions is often inadequate. This can lead to a lack of understanding of the underlying causes and best treatments for childhood illnesses and conditions. Additionally, without adequate research, healthcare providers may be forced to rely on treatments that are not optimized for children or may be using outdated treatment methods. There is a need for increased investment in pediatric research, including funding for clinical trials and research infrastructure. Changed in policies to encourage the inclusion of children in research studies are equally important.


Many Families Do Not Have Access to Safe Drinking Water

Access to safe drinking water is a basic necessity for the health and wellbeing of all individuals, including children. However, there are many families in America who do not have access to safe drinking water due to contamination in their water supply. In some cases, this contamination may be due to aging infrastructure, agricultural runoff, or industrial pollution. Exposure to unsafe drinking water can have serious health consequences, including gastrointestinal illnesses, developmental delays, and even cancer. It is essential for policymakers to prioritize access to safe drinking water for all communities in the United States, particularly those who are most vulnerable.


Homelessness and Poor Living Conditions Continue to be an Issue

Many families across the country live in substandard housing conditions, such as homes with lead paint, inadequate ventilation, and pest infestations. These conditions can contribute to a range of health problems for children, including respiratory issues and infection. Additionally, families living in substandard housing often face other challenges, such as exposure to environmental toxins and increased risk of injury. Investments in affordable housing, enforcement of housing codes, and policies that prioritize the health and wellbeing of families and children are important.