Sadly, this month is the one year anniversary of my nephew’s suicide. Let’s help prevent suicide.  If you or someone you know needs help with thoughts of suicide, reach out….call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK, or text the Crisis Text Line at 741741. You may be able to prevent a family tragedy just by caring and spreading a message of hope. Join me in praying that not one more family will endure the pain of suicide.

 

 Is your baby crying?

Never shake a  baby!

Shaking can cause permanent brain damage, coma and even death. Step away. Take a break.

Check the basics

Are they thirsty? Give a bottle.  Are they wet? Change a diaper. Do they have gas?  Burp them.  Are they too warm? Take a sweater off. Are they too cool? Put a sweater on.

Comfort them

Rocking, walking, baby wearing, car rides (in a car seat, backwards facing), white noice (fan or vacuum), a pacifier, soft music, or a stroller ride may help.

 

Read more

Check out my article: 

Tidewater Family Magazine: Why Is My Baby Crying

and get my book: Raising Today’s Baby 

Buy Book here

 

 

Sleep is vital to good health. This is never more true than with kids.  Are you aware that children need 10 hours of sleep each night?  I’m chuckling as it’s after 11pm….and I need more sleep as well. I’d bet, you do too! Since you’re not sleeping anyway, please take a look at my September column on getting a healthy night’s sleep in the Tidewater Family Magazine.  Maybe it’ll make you sleepy….yawn…..

Tidewater Family Magazine: A Healthy Night’s Sleep 

Do your kids ask for energy drinks? Mine do! The main ingredient in energy drinks is caffeine.  Other substances such as guarana, which contains caffeine, may be present as well. Some energy drinks do label the amount of caffeine, however, when tested some drinks had more caffeine that the label stated. Some energy drinks can have as much caffeine as 9 cans of soda! Although caffeine is the world’s most widely consumed stimulant, it can cause nervousness, increased blood pressure, irritability, sleeplessness, a rapid heartbeat, and may worsen psychiatric conditions. The long-term safety of energy drinks is not known. The American Academy of Pediatrics stands firmly that they are not recommended for children. Even so, 30 to 50% of adolescents admit that they consume energy drinks. As parents, we need to say NO to energy drinks.

Sports drinks are not much better. Sports drinks were developed and intended for use in college athletics when practicing for long hours in the heat. Today kids think that they are good for everyday lunch purposes. They contain calories, carbohydrates, electrolytes and flavoring. These are not recommended for children on a daily basis, and should be reserved for prolonged vigorous physical exercise. 

Juice should be used sparingly and limited to 4 to 6 ounces per day. The extra calories from juice may contribute to weight gain, so that it may be best to eat the fruit and drink water. Instead of apple juice, offer a sliced-up apple. Instead of orange juice, try an orange. Instead of grape juice, have some grapes.

We all know that sodas aren’t the best for us. Yet, I must admit, I enjoy an occasional diet soda. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, drinks that have been sweetened with non-caloric sweeteners can be used in a healthy diet to help improve the flavor of drinks. Also use of non-calorie sweeteners can help with weight control. Compared to the calories in soda or sweetened drinks, the non-caloric sweeteners offer another option for flavoring drinks while avoiding unnecessary calories. You can use non-caloric sweeteners to make lemonade or iced tea, which are both refreshing and delicious. Soda is not needed for a healthy diet and is not recommended, but if soda is offered, it should be given sparingly. The use of a diet soda would contribute fewer calories than a regular soda. Many sodas also contain caffeine.

The best drinks for children are low fat milk and water. Milk is available as 2%, 1% or skim. Any of those options are fine. Whole milk is only recommended for kids between 12-24 months. Milk contains essential Calcium and Vitamin D. Three to four cups of milk daily will provide the necessary requirements for children. If your child is not drinking the required amount of milk daily, or is lactose intolerant, then consider adding a supplement containing Calcium and Vitamin D.

Water is the best choice for quenching thirst and providing necessary fluid. Water should not be given to infants less than 6 months old, as they get enough fluid with formula or breast milk. Water may be flavored by slicing fresh fruit such as oranges, strawberries, or apples and letting the fruit infuse the water. No sugar is necessary to flavor the water as the natural sweetness of the fruit escapes. Cucumber slices give water a particularly crisp and refreshing taste. You can ask your kids for ideas to try new variations. A favorite is strawberry and blueberry water. It’s even more refreshing with a fresh sprig of mint. Making your own infused water is simpler than you think and much less expensive than the store-bought variety. Kids love it! Let them help with preparation and they will be more likely to try it.

Read more about this topic in my article “Beverage Buzz: Are Energy or Sports Drinks Good for Kids?” which is published in the Winter edition of Ready, Set, Grow Parenting magazine available at your pediatric office nationwide or online atwww.readysetgrowmag.com

Health issues are important for parents. We need to know what’s healthy for our children. Raising healthy children leads to longer, more active lifespans.

We want our kids to grow up to lead wonderful, productive lives. It starts now. Don’t wait to make your home, your life and your children healthier. Kids model what they see their parents do. Be a living role model for a healthy life.

Try to work on just one area at a time. Make improvements in your own health and your children will see improvements in their health because of you. If you want current health information for your family, subscribe for updates below.

If you have a topic that is important to you or that you are curious about, email me atraisingtodayschild@gmail.com. I may include your idea in a future segment! 

Our children are so precious to us. We love them with our whole heart. We want to be raising healthy, happy children. We need to stay informed and involved in order to be the best parents possible.

 

Are you sure that your car seat is protecting your child adequately? Did you know that 7 out of 10 children in car seats are not properly restrained? Are you aware that appropriately using child safety seats can decrease fatality by 71% in infants and 54% in children aged 1 to 4 years? 

Review these helpful tips to be sure that your car seat is the safest for your child’s age, weight and height.

  • Birth to age 2 years or until 35 lbs, use a Rear-Facing Child Safety Seat
  • Children age 2 years or older or until 60 lbs, use a Forward-Facing Child Safety Seat
  • When your child outgrows the limit of their Forward-Facing Care Seat: use a Belt-Positioning Booster Seat until the child is 4 foot 9 inches tall AND 8-12 years old.
  • When your child is at least 4’9″ AND is between 8-12 years of age: use an Adult Lap/Shoulder Belt.
  • The back seat is ALWAYS a safer place for your child, especially under 13 years of age.
  • An additional resource is www.seatcheck.org or 1-866-SEAT_CHECK to find out how to get your child car seat inspected and to be sure it’s properly installed. Just enter your zip code to find a resource near you to inspect your car seat. They can help you install a car seat, usually at no cost to you.
  • Discount car seats can be found at AAA club, Police or Fire Departments, Health Department, and Safe Kids Worldwide. It is not recommended to use hand-me-down car seats.
  • Car seats are NOT optional. If the buckles are not on, the car does not go. Feel free to stress this point to your children.
  • Be a role model for your child, and ALWAYS wear your seat belt as well. Kids watch what we do more than what we say.
  • A car crash can happen anywhere and at any time. Most crashes occur nearby home. Don’t take any chances, always use appropriate car restraints!

As someone who suffers with food allergies, I understand that dining out sometimes feels like an obstacle course. Friends and family members may not understand the importance of allergy avoidance. You can plan ahead by alerting them to any food allergy that you or your child may have. You could say, “We are looking forward to joining you at the restaurant for dinner, but we want you to be aware that little Timmy has a peanut allergy. ” You may wish to contact the manager at the restaurant to alert them to your child’s allergen before arriving. Ask what options are available.  Realize that many people don’t realize that food allergies can be more than annoying, that they can in fact be life-threatening.

Some restaurants, like Red Robin, have an interactive allergen menu online to assist you in planning your menu before you arrive. This is very helpful when preparing your child for the meal. Have a serious talk with your child before arriving at the restaurant. Alert your child to the potential dangers of consuming their allergen. Be sure that they understand that they need to ask a parent’s permission before eating anything. Always carry your child’s twin-pack epinephrine auto-injector in case of accidental ingestion emergencies.

Alert your wait staff when you arrive as to your child’s allergen. You can ask them to alert you to any dishes that may contain the allergen. Keep your purse or bag nearby with your child’s epinephrine auto-injector at hand. Usually allergies cause mild symptoms such as a runny nose and itchy, watery eyes, but a food allergy exposure can cause a life-threatening anaphylaxis reaction. Symptoms can include shortness of breath, swelling of the tongue, lips or throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and even hives. Allergies to food, insect stings and medication can be associated with this type of anaphylaxis reaction. Take any exposure to your child’s allergen seriously.

The twin-pack epinephrine auto-injectors are designed to inject into the child’s thigh through clothing in case of an emergent anaphylaxis type reaction. After injecting the epinephrine, dial 911 for emergent help. Anytime epinephrine is used, 911 should be called. If the ambulance does not arrive within a few minutes and the symptoms of anaphylaxis return, use the second epinephrine injector in the same manner as the first.

Although food allergies are serious, with careful planning they can be avoided. Be prepared and alert your host. Enjoy dining out and keep your twin-pack epinephrine auto-injector handy!