Tips from Your Pediatrician for Prevention
- Wipe your baby’s gums with clean a gauze pad or washcloth after each feeding.
- Begin brushing your child’s teeth (without toothpaste), when his or her first tooth comes in.
- Clean and massage gums in areas without teeth.
- Floss once all the baby teeth have come in.
- Ensure your child is receiving enough fluoride.
- Schedule regular dental visits by your child’s first birthday.
Despite all of the research supporting the effectiveness of immunizations, many parents still question the safety of vaccines for their little ones. Will they protect my infant from serious disease? Or are the vaccines themselves harmful?
Immunization is one of the best ways parents can protect their babies from serious childhood diseases ranging from tetanus and mumps to whooping cough and seasonal flu—and have been for more than 50 years. In fact, vaccinations have reduced the number of infections from vaccine-preventable diseases by more than 90%!
Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that every child receive the protection that immunization provides.
Do vaccines even work?
Yes, vaccines work every year to protect millions of children from serious illnesses. Because infants are particularly vulnerable to infectious diseases, if an unvaccinated baby is exposed to a certain germ, the baby’s body may not be strong enough to fight the disease. Therefore it is very important that parents take the necessary steps to ward off harmful complications through immunization.
Are there side effects?
As with any medication, side effects can occur with vaccines. These side effects are usually very minor and include redness or tenderness at the injection site or a low fever, which indicates that the body is reacting positively to the vaccine. Most babies do not experience any side effects from vaccines, and severe reactions are very rare.
Parents have the power to protect their baby from serious illnesses. Deciding not to vaccinate your child could put him at risk for life-threatening childhood diseases. If you have questions about immunization, talk with your pediatrician. You can also visit the sites listed below for additional information and updated immunization schedules.
American Academy of Pediatrics
Food and Drug Administration
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Network for Immunization Information
Your Pediatrician Shares the Symptoms
- Predictable crying episodes.
- Intense or inconsolable crying.
- Posture changes.
When to Visit Your Pediatrician
- Can’t be soothed, even for a few minutes
- Doesn’t suck strongly at the bottle or breast
- Doesn’t like to be held or touched
- Has an unusual-sounding cry, or sounds like they are in pain
- Has diarrhea or blood in the stool
- Has trouble breathing
- Is less alert or sleepier than usual
- Is eating less than usual
- Is running a fever of 100.4 degrees or more
- Is throwing up
Start Early. Try to introduce a sippy cup at 6 months to get your child acquainted with it before it is necessary for them to give up the bottle. Children than are older than a year often have a much more difficult time with this transition because the bottle becomes a source of comfort and security.
Too often, children fall into unhealthy routines when it comes to eating. These habits can jeopardize their long-term overall health, potentially leading to serious complications later in life. In fact, nearly 1 in 3 children in America is overweight or obese. That’s why the early years are important for building a child’s nutrition habits. By starting young and encouraging a fun, healthy diet, it’s possible to lay the foundation for a lifetime of healthy, independent eating.
Here are a few simple tips for instilling healthy eating habits in your kids.
- Eat in moderation
Eating healthy doesn’t mean your kids can never have a little “junk” food as a treat. Teach your child the importance of moderation, healthy portion sizes and self-control when it comes to making daily food choices.
- Quality over quantity
Rather than making your child clean his plate, encourage him to eat slowly. This will help your child detect hunger and fullness better, preventing overeating and teaching portion control.
- Shop smart
If you don’t buy it, they can’t eat it. When shopping for foods choose fresh fruits and vegetables, whole-grains, low-fat dairy products and lean meats. Stock up on healthy snacks for after school, and avoid buying too many junk foods or sugary drinks and sodas that are stumbling blocks to healthy eating.
- Pack smart for school
Be aware of your child’s school lunch options by reviewing the menu. Help your child understand how he can make good meal choices at school, and if you need to, pack your child a nutritious lunch to ensure he’s getting a variety of healthy foods that he likes to eat.
- Load up on fruits and vegetables
When cooking, introduce a variety of fruits and vegetables into your meals as a great way to get your kids to try—and even acquire a taste for—healthier foods. It may take several tries, so be persistent and creative in your meal planning.
- Set a good example
One of the best ways a parent can support healthy eating habits for their child is to model similar habits. Most kids are more willing to try foods if they see their parents enjoying them.
- Make meals family-time
Eat together as a family when possible, and make mealtime fun by trying new foods together.
Bottom line: Instilling healthy eating habits in children is an ongoing process that takes time and patience, but the benefits of a healthier lifestyle can last throughout their entire life. Talk to your child’s pediatrician for guidance if you have questions about your child’s eating habits or dietary needs.
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