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Tips of the Week for November, 2012

Holiday Safety Tips
11-26-2012

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 when bent between your fingers, needles do not break. 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.
  • 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 www.healthychildren.org

Published

11/20/2012 12:00 AM

 


A Minute for Kids - Avoiding Dry Winter Skin (Audio)
11-19-2012

Cold, dry winter air can cause dryness and irritation to skin. To prevent skin irritation in your child, bathe them less frequently and use moisturizers in cold weather.

Provided by www.healthychildren.org

Click here to listen


Flu Season Has Begun - It's Time To Get Vaccinated
11-12-2012

Parents are encouraged to get their children and themselves vaccinated to prevent influenza. Now is the time to get vaccinated since flu season might begin as early as October and can last through May.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends seasonal vaccination for all individuals, including all children and adolescents, aged ≥ 6 months during the 2012-13 influenza season.  It’s important to get vaccinated each year because the vaccine is updated to help prevent infection among the most common circulating flu strains; additionally, the protective effects of the vaccine lessen overtime. Getting vaccinated will also help prevent infection among infants younger than 6 months and others who are ineligible to get vaccinated.

Vaccination is important for all children and adults but it is especially important for certain people who have a higher risk of medical complications if they acquire influenza or who are in close contact with these high risk people, including the following groups:

 

  • Children younger than 5 years of age, and children of any age with a long-term health condition like asthma, diabetes or disorders of the brain or nervous system. These children are at higher risk of serious flu complications (like pneumonia). For the complete list of those at high risk, visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/high_risk.htm. The flu can make some medical conditions worse, and can increase the risk of serious complications.

 

  • Adults who meet any of the following criteria:

·         Are close contacts of, or live with, children younger than 5 years old.

·         Are out-of-home caregivers (nannies, daycare providers, etc.) of children younger than 5 years old. 

·         Live with or have other close contact with children of any age with a chronic health problem (asthma, diabetes, etc.).

·         Are health care workers 

It is important to get vaccinated to help prevent the spread of influenza which is a dangerous and unpredictable disease sometimes leading to hospitalization or, in rare cases, even death. Every year in the United States, even healthy children are hospitalized or die from flu complications. Annual vaccination is safe and effective in preventing influenza.

 

Talk to your child’s doctor or nurse about getting a flu vaccine.


For additional resources, visit http://www2.aap.org/immunization/illnesses/flu/influenza.html.

 Provided by www.healthychildren.org

Last Updated

11/6/2012

Source

American Academy of Pediatrics (Copyright © 2012)

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.

 


Brushing Up on Oral Health: Never Too Early to Start
11-05-2012

As the AAP and other children’s organizations report, tooth decay (also called early childhood caries, or ECC) is the most common chronic children’s disease in the country. As a result, it is very important that parents work with their pediatrician to establish good oral health care from the first weeks of their baby’s life. Although most of us think of dental care in relation to our own dentists, parents will be working closely with their pediatrician even earlier than with a dentist.

“Traditionally, the assessment and treatment of oral health problems has not been considered to be the domain of pediatricians, but that is changing,” says Eileen M. Ouellette, M.D., past president of the AAP.

“Since pediatricians see young infants and children frequently for preventive health care visits, we are in an excellent position to identify children at risk for dental health problems, coordinate appropriate care and parent education, and refer affected and highrisk children to pediatric dentists.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that dental caries is five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever in children. More than 40 percent of children have tooth decay by the time they reach kindergarten. Children with dental caries in their baby teeth are at much greater risk for cavities in their adult teeth.

Health care professionals know that tooth decay is a disease that is, by and large, preventable. Because of how it is caused and when it begins, however, steps to prevent it ideally should begin prenatally with pregnant women and continue with the mother and young child, beginning when the infant is approximately 6 months of age. Pediatricians have become increasingly aware that their own proactive efforts to provide education and good oral health screenings can help prevent needless tooth decay in infants.

For parents who wish to establish good dental health for their infants, the following general guidelines may be of help:

  • Fluoride and Your Child: Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that is found in many foods, and it also is added to the drinking water in some cities and towns. It can benefit dental health by strengthening the tooth enamel, making it more resistant to acid attacks that can cause tooth decay. It also reduces the ability of plaque bacteria to produce acid. Check with your local water utility agency to fi nd out if your water has fluoride in it. If it doesn’t, ask your doctor if you should get a prescription for fluoride drops or chewable tablets for your child.
  • Check and Clean Your Baby’s Teeth: Healthy teeth should be all one color. If you see spots or stains on the teeth, take your baby to your dentist. Clean your child’s teeth as soon as they come in, using a clean, soft cloth or a baby’s toothbrush. Clean the teeth at least twice a day. It’s best to clean them right after breakfast and before bedtime. At about age 2, most of your child’s teeth will be in. Once your child can spit and not swallow the toothpaste (usually around ages 2 to 3), begin using fluoride toothpaste. Use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste to limit the amount she can accidentally swallow. As your child gets older let her use her own toothbrush. It is best if you put the toothpaste on the toothbrush until your child is about age 6. Until children are 7 or 8 years old, you will need to help them brush. Try brushing their teeth fi rst and then letting them finish. Be sure that you spread the toothpaste into the bristles of the brush and use only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
  • Feed Your Baby Healthy Food: Choose drinks and foods that do not have a lot of sugar in them. Give your child fruits and vegetables instead of candy and cookies. Be careful with dried fruits, such as raisins, since they easily stick to the grooves of the teeth and can cause cavities if not thoroughly brushed off the teeth.
  • Prevent Tooth Decay: Do not put your baby to bed with a bottle at night or at nap time. (If you do put your baby to bed with a bottle, fill it only with water.) Milk, formula, juices and other sweet drinks, such as soda, all have sugar in them. Sucking on a bottle filled with liquids that have sugar in them can cause tooth decay. During the day, do not give your baby a bottle filled with sweet drinks to use like a pacifier. If your baby uses a pacifier, do not dip it in anything sweet like sugar or honey. Near his first birthday, you should teach your child to drink from a cup instead of a bottle.
  • Talk With Your Pediatrician About Making a Dental Home: Since your pediatrician will be seeing your baby from the first days and weeks of life, plan to discuss when and how you should later develop a “dental home”—a dentist who can give consistent, high-quality, professional care—just as you have a “medical home” with your pediatrician. Usually, your dentist will want to see a child by his first birthday or within six months of the first tooth’s emergence. At this first visit, your dentist can easily check your child’s teeth and determine the frequency of future dental checkups.

This article was featured in Healthy Children Magazine. To view the full issue, click here.

 Provided by www.healthychildren.org

Last Updated

8/2/2010

Source

Healthy Children Magazine, Winter 2007

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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