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Tips of the Week for December, 2013

Healthy New Year's Resolutions for Kids
12-30-2013

The following New Year tips are from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Preschoolers

  • I will clean up my toys and put them where they belong.
  • I will brush my teeth twice a day, and wash my hands after going to the bathroom and before eating.
  • I won’t tease dogs or other pets – even friendly ones. I will avoid being bitten by keeping my fingers and face away from their mouths.
  • I will talk with my parent or a trusted adult when I need help or am scared.

Kids, 5- to 12-years-old

  • I will drink reduced-fat milk and water every day, and drink soda and fruit drinks only on special times. 
  • I will put on sunscreen before I go outdoors on bright sunny days. I will try to stay in the shade whenever possible and wear a hat and sunglasses, especially when I’m playing sports.
  • I will try to find a sport (like basketball or soccer) or an activity (like playing tag, jumping rope, dancing or riding my bike) that I like and do it at least three times a week!
  • I will always wear a helmet when riding a bike.
  • I will wear my seat belt every time I get in a car. I’ll sit in the back seat and use a booster seat until I am tall enough to use a lap/shoulder seat belt.
  • I’ll be nice to other kids. I’ll be friendly to kids who need friends or who may have a hard time making friends – like someone who is shy, or is new to my school.
  • I’ll never give out private information such as my name, home address, school name or telephone number on the Internet. Also, I’ll never send a picture of myself to someone I chat with on the computer without asking my parent if it is okay.

Kids, 13-years-old and up

  • I will try to eat two servings of fruit and two servings of vegetables every day, and I will drink sodas only on special times. 
  • I will take care of my body through physical activity and eating the right types and amounts of foods.
  • I will choose non-violent television shows and video games, and I will spend only one to two hours each day – at the most – on these activities.
  • I will help out in my community – through giving some of my time to help others, working with community groups or by joining a group that helps people in need.
  • When I feel angry or stressed out, I will take a break and find helpful ways to deal with the stress, such as exercising, reading, writing in a journal or talking about my problem with a parent or friend.
  • When faced with a difficult decision, I will talk about my choices with an adult whom I can trust.
  • When I notice my friends are struggling or making risky choices, I will talk with a trusted adult and attempt to find a way that I can help them.
  • I will be careful about whom I choose to date, and always treat the other person with respect and without forcing them to do something or using violence. I will expect to be treated the same way in return.
  • I will resist peer pressure to try tobacco, e-cigarettes, drugs or alcohol.
  • I agree not to use a cell phone or text message while driving and to always use a seat belt.

 Provided by HealthyChildren.org - http://www.healthychildren.org/English/news/Pages/Healthy_New_Years_Resolutions_for_Kids.aspx

Published  12/16/2013 12:00 AM

 


Flying with Baby
12-23-2013

We're not sure which is more stressful: being the passenger who first realizes he will be seated next to someone else's crying baby, or being that baby's parent. Fortunately for all involved, however, many young babies actually do travel well in flight; quite often it tends to be the crawlers and toddlers who get antsy and upset when confined, but that's a different book altogether.

High-Altitude Crying

Babies of all ages do cry for various reasons, so in the space constraints of aircraft, try to be resourceful when trying to calm your crying child. As you do, take comfort in knowing that the drone of the engines usually limits how far a crying baby can be heard. Keeping your own cool can go a long way when you're trying to soothe your baby and have to remain seated.

Check the usual suspects and respond accordingly: Is your baby hungry, wet or dirty, cold or warm, bored? If it's bright, try closing the window shade; if your baby wants a view, show her the one outside the window or in the pages of the airline's magazine.

If all else fails, try not to let a few dirty looks bother you and be assured that most people sympathize with the parents of a crying infant. After all, everyone was a baby once, many have had to try to quiet one in a public place at some time in their past, you're unlikely to have to face any of these people ever again and, lastly, they'll get over it.

The Ears Have It

Before we discuss ear pain on airplanes, let us first offer you the reassurance that a great many babies never show the slightest signs of discomfort. Until you know that your own child (and you) will be spared, the thought of a baby screaming because of ear pain is easily and understandably one of the most dreaded aspects of air travel. And from firsthand experience, we can tell you it tends to be all the more disconcerting when that baby happens to be your own.

Any of you who have flown before know that ears can be quite sensitive to changes in pressure. Switching to pediatrician-mode for a moment, this is because the outer ear is separated from the middle ear by a thin membrane called the tympanic membrane, or ear drum. Experiencing a difference in pressure across this membrane causes a sensation that as many as 1 in 3 passengers (children more so than adults) experience as temporary muffled hearing, discomfort, or even pain. Unfortunately, having a stuffy nose or a head cold can increase a child's chances of ear problems.

For an adult, chewing gum or yawning is often all that is needed for the middle-ear pressure to equilibrate return to normal and make plugged-up ears "pop." Perhaps part of the reason that babies tend to complain more about their ears than adults is because chewing gum is simply not an option and we have yet to meet an infant who can yawn on command.

If your baby has a cold or ear infection, discuss with your pediatrician whether you should give him an infant pain reliever. Unfortunately, decongestants have not been proven to help, and in fact are not recommended for use in infants. For children with significant ear discomfort associated with a cold and/or ear infection, it may simply be best, if possible, to postpone flying. If your travel plans are not flexible enough to cancel because of a cold, just be aware of your increased odds of dealing with ear pain when you do hop aboard.

Out of Earshot

Airplane cabin noise levels can range anywhere from 60 to as high as 100 decibels, and tend to be louder during takeoff. Using cotton balls or small earplugs may help to decrease the decibel level your baby is exposed to, and as a result make it easier for her to sleep or relax.

Sucking Away One's Sorrows

Once on board, it's useful to know that there is a practical and realistic alternative to the traditional gum-chewing approach(which, for obvious reasons, is absolutely contraindicated at this age regardless of your level of desperation) that works very well for babies when it comes to relieving ear pressure. That alternative is sucking.

Pediatricians, flight attendants, and seasoned parents alike commonly suggest offering a bottle, breast, or pacifier during the times when the pressure changes in the cabin are likely to be greatest-during takeoff and initial descent. You'll notice we said initial descent, not landing. That's because the pressure change is typically most noticeable as much as a half hour or more before landing, depending on a flight's cruising altitude. The higher up you are, the earlier in the flight the descent usually starts.

If you generally don't tend to notice your own ears popping and the captain doesn't announce plans for the initial descent, you can always ask a flight attendant to let you know when it would be a good idea to try to get the sucking started. If sucking doesn't cut it and your baby seems to be bothered, stay calm and try rubbing his ears and singing a soothing song. Even if you find that nothing short of reaching solid ground (and normal air pressure) works to calm him down, remind yourself that you've done everything you can, and that most babies who have difficulty with ear pain on airplanes tend to outgrow it.

Provided by Healthychildren.org - http://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/on-the-go/Pages/Flying-with-Baby.aspx

For more information:

Last Updated

5/11/2013

Source

Heading Home With Your Newborn, 2nd Edition (Copyright © 2010 American Academy of Pediatrics)

The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

 


Holiday Safety Tips
12-19-2013

The holidays are an exciting time of year for kids, and to help ensure they have a safe holiday season, here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). 

Trees

  • When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label "Fire Resistant."
  • When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches and needles do not break when bent between your fingers. The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.
  • When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces, radiators or portable heaters. Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways.
  • Cut a few inches off the trunk of your tree to expose the fresh wood. This allows for better water absorption and will help keep your tree from drying out and becoming a fire hazard.
  • Be sure to keep the stand filled with water, because heated rooms can dry live trees out rapidly. 

Lights

  • Check all tree lights--even if you've just purchased them--before hanging them on your tree. Make sure all the bulbs work and that there are no frayed wires, broken sockets or loose connections.
  • Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be electrocuted.
  • Some light stands may contain lead in the bulb sockets and wire coating, sometimes in high amounts. Make sure your lights are out of reach of young children who might try to mouth them, and wash your hands after handling them.
  • Before using lights outdoors, check labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use. To hold lights in place, string them through hooks or insulated staples, not nails or tacks. Never pull or tug lights to remove them.
  • Plug all outdoor electric decorations into circuits with ground fault circuit interrupters to avoid potential shocks.
  • Turn off all lights when you go to bed or leave the house. The lights could short out and start a fire.

Decorations

  • Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials to trim a tree. Choose tinsel or artificial icicles of plastic or nonleaded metals.
  • Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens. Always use non-flammable holders, and place candles where they will not be knocked over.
  • In homes with small children, take special care to avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable. Keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children to prevent them from swallowing or inhaling small pieces. Avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food that may tempt a young child to eat them.
  • Wear gloves to avoid eye and skin irritation while decorating with spun glass "angel hair." Follow container directions carefully to avoid lung irritation while decorating with artificial snow sprays.
  • Remove all wrapping papers, bags, paper, ribbons and bows from tree and fireplace areas after gifts are opened. These items can pose suffocation and choking hazards to a small child or can cause a fire if near flame. 

Toy Safety

  • Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills and interest level of the intended child. Toys too advanced may pose safety hazards for younger children.
  • Before buying a toy or allowing your child to play with a toy that he has received as a gift, read the instructions carefully.
  • To prevent both burns and electrical shocks, don’t give young children (under age 10) a toy that must be plugged into an electrical outlet. Instead, buy toys that are battery-operated.
  • Young children can choke on small parts contained in toys or games. Government regulations specify that toys for children under age three cannot have parts less than 1 1/4 inches in diameter and 2 1/4 inches long.
  • Children can have serious stomach and intestinal problems – including death -- after swallowing button batteries and magnets. In addition to toys, button batteries are often found in musical greeting cards, remote controls, hearing aids and other small electronics. Keep them away from young children and call your health care provider immediately if your child swallows one.
  • Children can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons; do not allow children under age 8 to play with them.
  • Remove strings and ribbons from toys before giving them to young children.
  • Watch for pull toys with strings that are more than 12 inches in length. They could be a strangulation hazard for babies.
  • Parents should store toys in a designated location, such as on a shelf or in a toy chest, and keep older kids’ toys away from young children.

Food Safety

  • Bacteria are often present in raw foods. Fully cook meats and poultry, and thoroughly wash raw vegetables and fruits.
  • Be sure to keep hot liquids and food away from the edges of counters and tables, where they can be easily knocked over by a young child’s exploring hands. Be sure that young children cannot access microwave ovens.
  • Wash your hands frequently, and make sure your children do the same.
  • Never put a spoon used to taste food back into food without washing it.
  • Always keep raw foods and cooked foods separately, and use separate utensils when preparing them.
  • Always thaw meat in the refrigerator, never on the countertop.
  • Foods that require refrigeration should never be left at room temperature for more than two hours.                          

Happy Visiting

  • Clean up immediately after a holiday party. A toddler could rise early and choke on leftover food or come in contact with alcohol or tobacco.
  • Remember that the homes you visit may not be childproofed. Keep an eye out for danger spots like unlocked cabinets, unattended purses, accessible cleaning or laundry products, stairways, or hot radiators.
  • Keep a list with all of the important phone numbers you or a baby-sitter are likely to need in case of an emergency. Include the police and fire department, your pediatrician and the national Poison Help Line, 1-800-222-1222. Laminating the list will prevent it from being torn or damaged by accidental spills.
  • Traveling, visiting family members, getting presents, shopping, etc., can all increase your child's stress levels. Trying to stick to your child's usual routines, including sleep schedules and timing of naps, can help you and your child enjoy the holidays and reduce stress.

Fireplaces

  • Before lighting any fire, remove all greens, boughs, papers, and other decorations from fireplace area. Check to see that the flue is open.
  • Use care with "fire salts," which produce colored flames when thrown on wood fires. They contain heavy metals that can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting if eaten. Keep them away from children.
  • Do not burn gift wrap paper in the fireplace. A flash fire may result as wrappings ignite suddenly and burn intensely.

 Provided by Healthychildren.org - http://www.healthychildren.org/English/news/Pages/Holiday-Safety-Tips.aspx

Published

11/20/2013 12:00 AM

 


Fat, Salt and Sugar: Not All Bad
12-09-2013

Forcing children to eat food doesn’t work. Neither does forbidding foods. When children think that a food is forbidden by their parents, the food often becomes more desirable.

It’s important for both children and adults to be sensible and enjoy all foods and beverages, but not to overdo it on any one type of food. Sweets and higher-fat snack foods in appropriate portions are OK in moderation.

The following is information about fat, sugar, and salt and dietary recommendations based on recommendations from the US Department of Agriculture and the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Encouraging Healthy Eating for a Healthy Heart

Childhood is the best time to start heart healthy eating habits, but adult goals for cutting back on total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol are not meant generally for children younger than 2 years.

Fat is an Essential Nutritent for Children

Fat supplies the energy, or calories, children need for growth and active play and should not be severely restricted.

Dangers of High Fat Intake

However, high fat intake—particularly a diet high in saturated fats—can cause health problems, including heart disease later in life. Saturated fats are usually solid at room temperatures and are found in fatty meats (such as beef, pork, ham, veal, and lamb) and many dairy products (whole milk, cheese, and ice cream).

For that reason, after age 2 children should be served foods that are lower in fat and saturated fats.

Healthier, More Low-Fat, Low-Cholesterol Foods for Children Over Age 2:

  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Lean meat (broiled, baked, or roasted; not fried)
  • Soft margarine (instead of butter)
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Low-saturated fat oils from vegetables
  • Limiting egg consumption

The General Rule on Fats

As a general guideline, fats should make up less than 30% of the calories in your child’s diet, with no more than about one-third or fewer of those fat calories coming from saturated fat and the remainder from unsaturated (polyunsaturated or monounsaturated) fats, which are liquid at room temperature and include vegetable oils like corn, safflower, sunflower, soybean, and olive.

Some parents find the information about various types of fat confusing. In general, oils and fats derived from animal origin are saturated. The simplest place to start is merely to reduce the amount of fatty foods of all types in your family’s diet. 

Note: Whole milk is recommended for children 12 to 24 months of age. However, you child's doctor may recommend reduced-fat (2%) milk if your child is obese or overweight or if there is a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease. Check with your child's doctor or dietition before switching from whole to reduced-fat milk.

Serve Children Foods Low in Salt

Table salt, or sodium chloride, may improve the taste of certain foods. However, researchers have found a relationship between dietary salt and high blood pressure in some individuals and population groups. High blood pressure afflicts about 25% of adult Americans and contributes to heart attacks and strokes.

Take the Salt Shaker Off the Table

The habit of using extra salt is an acquired one. Thus, as much as possible, serve your child foods low in salt. In the kitchen, minimize the amount of salt you add to food during its preparation, using herbs, spices, or lemon juice instead. Also, take the salt shaker off the dinner table, or at least limit its use by your family.

Check Sodium Levels in Processed Foods

Processed foods often contain higher amounts of sodium. Check food labels for levels of sodium in:

  • Processed cheese
  • Instant puddings
  • Canned vegetables
  • Canned soups
  • Hot dogs
  • Cottage cheese
  • Salad dressings
  • Pickles
  • Certain breakfast cereals
  • Potato chips and other snacks

Sugar in Your Child's Diet: More Than Just a Sweetener

Caloric sweeteners range from simple sugars, like fructose and glucose, to common table sugar, molasses, honey, and high fructose corn syrup. Although the main use of sugar is as a sweetener, sugar has other uses. For example, sugar can be used as a preservative, can change the texture of foods, and can enhance flavors and add color.

Sugar Supplies Energy

Sugars in foods, whether natural or added, provide calories—the fuel that supplies energy necessary for daily activities. And if given the choice, many children would probably request sugary foods and beverages for breakfast, lunch, and dinner—research shows that humans are naturally drawn to sweet tastes.

Too Much Sugar Means Too Many Calories

Parents should keep in mind that calories from sugar can quickly add up and over time can lead to weight gain, and sugar also can play a role in the development of tooth decay.

Additional Information:

 Provided by – Healthychildren.org - http://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/nutrition/Pages/Fat-Salt-and-Sugar-Not-All-Bad.aspx

Last Updated  11/13/2013

Source

Healthy Children, Fit Children: Answers to Common Questions From Parents About Nutrition and Fitness (Copyright © 2011 American Academy of Pediatrics)

The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

 


How to Buy Safe Toys
12-02-2013

How can I be sure I am buying toys that are safe for my child?

Children can have a lot of fun playing with their toys. However, it’s important to keep in mind that safety should always come first. Each year thousands of children are injured by toys. Read on to learn what to look for when buying toys and how a few simple ideas for safe use can often prevent injuries.

How to prevent injuries

Most injuries from toys are minor cuts, scrapes, and bruises. However, toys can cause serious injury or even death. This happens when toys are dangerous or used in the wrong way.

Tips for buying toys

Here are 10 tips to help you choose safe and appropriate toys for your child.

  1. Read the label. Warning labels give important information about how to use a toy and what ages the toy is safe for. Be sure to show your child how to use the toy the right way.
  2. Think LARGE. Make sure all toys and parts are larger than your child’s mouth to prevent choking.
  3. Avoid toys that shoot objects into the air. They can cause serious eye injuries or choking.
  4. Avoid toys that are loud to prevent damage to your child’s hearing.
  5. Look for stuffed toys that are well made. Make sure all the parts are on tight and seams and edges are secure. It should also be machine washable. Take off any loose ribbons or strings to avoid strangulation. Avoid toys that have small bean-like pellets or stuffing that can cause choking or suffocation if swallowed.
  6. Buy plastic toys that are sturdy. Toys made from thin plastic may break easily.
  7. Avoid toys with toxic materials that could cause poisoning. Make sure the label says “nontoxic.”
  8. Avoid hobby kits and chemistry sets for any child younger than 12 years. They can cause fires or explosions and may contain dangerous chemicals. Make sure your older child knows how to safely handle these kinds of toys.
  9. Electric toys should be “UL Approved.” Check the label to be sure.
  10. Be careful when buying crib toys. Strings or wires that hang in a crib should be kept short to avoid strangulation. Crib toys should be removed as soon as your child can push up on his hands and knees.

Gift ideas by age

Age recommendations on toys can be helpful because they offer guidelines on the following:

  • The safety of the toy (for example, if there any possible choking hazards)
  • The ability of a child to play with the toy
  • The ability of a child to understand how to use a toy
  • The needs and interests at various levels of a child’s development
  • Important information about recalled toys

One of the goals of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is to protect consumers and families from dangerous toys. It sets up rules and guidelines to ensure products are safe and issues recalls of products if a problem is found. Toys are recalled for various reasons including unsafe lead levels, choking or fire hazards, or other problems that make them dangerous. Toys that are recalled should be removed right away. If you think your child has been exposed to a toy containing lead, ask your child’s doctor about testing for elevated blood lead levels.

 Provided by Healthychildren.org - http://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-home/Pages/How-to-Buy-Safe-Toys.aspx

 Last Updated 8/7/2013

Source

A Parent's Guide to Toy Safety (Copyright © 2008 American Academy of Pediatrics)

The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

 

 


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