Street children in India face additional vulnerability because of their lack of access to nutritious food, sanitation, and medical care. Street children lack access to nutritious food because many are dependent on leftovers from small restaurants or hotels, food stalls or garbage bins. In a study of street children in Bombay in 1990, 62.5% of the children obtained food from hotels.
Lack of sanitation in bathing toilets, and water also contributes to poor health. In the same study of street children in Bombay, 29.6% of children reported bathing in the sea and 11.5% reported bathing in pipes, wells, or canals. Open air bathing of street children is in fact a very common sight in all parts of India. These children have to put up their naked bodies on display for a very long time before, during, and after bathing. As a result, they develop hardly any sense of modesty. They as well as the onlookers have a very casual approach to this phenomenon. Street children also lack restroom facilities, demonstrated by the fact that 26.4% of the children used the roadside or railway tracks for their toilet. For water, the children reported asking restaurants or hotels for water (69.1%) or using pipes and water taps (15.6%).
Most of the street children in India also lack access to medical care, which is especially detrimental during times of illness or injury. The study of street children in Bombay found that 34.9% had an injury and 18.9% had a fever in the past three months. Only about a third of the children received any help with their illness or injury, though some were able to receive help at a government clinic.
Other studies have found that many illnesses are prevalent among street children. A study conducted in 2002 on the street children in Kolkata found that every 6 in 554 street children from ages five to fourteen are HIV positive. In Bangor Basti, 98% of children are estimated to have dental caries. Additionally, most street children do not have winter clothing leaving them more vulnerable to illness during the winter.