Pediatricians take care of diseases that children get. They also make sure that children develop normally and try to prevent illness. One of the most important ways that children's diseases can be prevented is by immunization. Immunization is also called vaccination. In the nineteenth century, one in five children died before the age of five. Most of these deaths were from infectious diseases. Today some of these deaths are prevented by treating disease when it happens. Most of it is from preventing disease with immunizations. Pediatricians also try to prevent other diseases and injury before they happen. They teach parents about safety and nutrition.
They may teach older children or adolescents about avoiding injury or addiction to alcohol and tobacco. Because childhood is such a time of change, prevention is a major part of pediatrics. Some common childhood onset chronic illnesses are cystic fibrosis, cerebral palsy, juvenile diabetes, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer. Chronic illness is often a risk factor for developing psychopathologies, due to the psychological toll it takes on the children and their developing brains. Approximately 10 million children in the United States suffer from a childhood onset chronic illness. Chronic illness can affect a child’s development at any stage. During infancy and childhood chronic illness can be detrimental to the development of secure attachment, interpersonal trust, self-regulation, and/or peer relation skills. During middle adolescence, chronic illness can prevent a child from being in school on a regular basis. This can affect a child’s academic and social competence. During adolescence, chronic illness can affect the development of autonomy and self-image. It can also interfere with peer & romantic relationships, and the desire for independence can lead to poor treatment compliance.