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The Children's Wellness Blog

Tips for a Safe Halloween for your Kids

October 17, 2016

Tips for a Safe Halloween for your KidsYou’ve probably started to notice decorations around your neighborhood and candy front and center in your local grocery store which means Halloween is nearly upon us. One of the most treasured nights on the calendar for kids of all ages, Halloween is a great chance for families to spend time together trick or treating. While fun, Halloween night can pose certain dangers for kids. That’s why we’re writing today to share some easy and effective tips for parents to help ensure a happy and healthy Halloween for the whole family.

Costume Selection:

  • Make sure your child’s costume is bright and reflective so it may be seen by other trick or treaters and passing cars.
  • Ensure all costumes are the right size to prevent trips and falls.
  • Beware of masks or helmets that may obstruct a kid’s vision. Safe face paint can be a good alternative.
  • Make sure all costume accessories (swords, knives, etc…) are made of safe material and are not sharp or dangerous to avoid injury.

Street Safety:

  • Kids under 12 should be accompanied by an adult while trick or treating.
  • For older kids, establish a pre-planned route, curfew and protocol.
  • Kids who trick or treat without adult supervision should be coached to not talk to strangers, enter stranger’s homes or cars or eat unwrapped treats.
  • Carrying flashlights with fresh batteries is always recommended while trick or treating after dark.
  • Teach kids to stay on sidewalks (if available) instead of walking in the street or through people’s yards.
  • Applying reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags can increase visibility.

Candy Consumption:

  • Sort through your kid’s treats before they start eating to ensure all treats are safe.
  • For younger kids, beware of certain treats that can be choking hazards.
  • Throw away any candy that is already opened or partially opened.
  • Don’t let kids eat too much candy at once to prevent stomach aches. Ration appropriately.
  • Beware of allergies (nuts especially).

Following these Halloween safety steps can help provide peace of mind to parents and allow kids have a safe and special night they’ll never forget. For more information on child safety, please contact Children’s Wellness Center today. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter & YouTube for updates, news, calendar events and more.

Pet Safety Tips for Parents with Young Children

October 4, 2016

Pet Safety Tips for Parents with Young ChildrenPets can be central components of any family. And though we all want our pets and kids to exist in perfect harmony, that isn’t always possible without training and education. Young children can sometimes feel intimidated or unsafe around even the most docile household pets and vice versa. This is why it’s important for parents to understand the responsibilities required of them while successfully trying to incorporate either a new child or pet into their household.

The first thing to consider is the personal safety of your kids. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, kids between the ages of five and nine are bitten by animals more than any other age group. Although most animals are friendly, some can become potentially dangerous if they feel threatened or territorial. A child may be at risk of injury if he or she is unknowingly teasing, hurting or playing too roughly with a pet.

Additionally, parents should be aware of potential illnesses from animals. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, newborns and children under five years old are more likely than most people to get diseases from animals. With that in mind, parents should be cognizant of certain health considerations and recommendations when it comes to kids and pets. Parents should try to keep kids from kissing pets and putting their hands or other objects into their mouths after handling animals. We also recommend assisting kids in hand washing with soap and water after contact with animals.

We’ve provided some safety tips and recommendations on some of the most common household pets to help parents with young kids:

Dogs

  • Kids should not pet or disturb a dog that is sleeping or eating.
  • Baby gates can help keep your dog away from your child when necessary.
  • Providing your dog with a crate or safe area can be a very good idea.
  • Teach kids how to properly pet the dog’s back and sides, instead of reaching around its head or mouth.
  • Consider having your dog spayed or neutered; this can help make it more calm and docile.
  • In the event of a dog bite that punctures the skin, antibiotics may be required to prevent a serious infection. Dog bites that pierce the skin should be evaluated by a medical professional.
  • Take care of poop scooping yourself to avoid sickness caused by germs and parasites.

Cats

  • Teach your child that if a cat is flipping its tail back and forth quickly, it’s more likely to scratch or bite.
  • Teach your kids how to gently pet a cat and where to pet it (on the back or behind its ears).
  • Consider declawing a housecat to avoid potential scratches.
  • If your child is scratched or bitten by a cat, wash the area thoroughly with soap and water and rinse for at least 30 seconds.
  • Don’t let your child handle the litter box to avoid potential germs.

Fish

  • Teach kids to not to put their hands in the tank, which may contain salmonella or other harmful bacteria.
  • Make sure fish food and any chemicals for the tank are kept safely out of a child’s reach.
  • Use a lid to protect your child from falling into an open fish tank.

We hope this was helpful. We understand that kids will be kids. This is why parents should ensure that your kids and pets can safely coexist before settling on a new pet for your home. Make sure all your pet’s immunizations are up to date to protect both your pet and your family. If you have any questions about safety for young kids, please contact Children’s Wellness Center today at (404) 303-1314. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more information and updates.

New Flu Vaccination Guidelines for Children in 2016

September 23, 2016

new-flu-vaccination-guidelines-for-children-in-2016Flu season is approaching and that means it’s time for parents to brush up on recent flu developments and available treatments for the virus. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently updated their annual flu season guidelines for the 2016-17 flu season. We at Children’s Wellness Center consider the AAP to be a consistently dependable, vital resource in the field of children’s medicine and recommend adhering to these new guidelines.

Updated annually, the AAP flu guidelines are an extremely valuable resource to parents trying to keep their kids healthy through the long flu season. These guidelines provide recommendations on when treatments for children should be administered, as well as how often (depending on a child’s age and vaccination history). There are also specific updates about which immunizations are available and recommended this season.

The AAP stated that immunizations remain the best available preventive measure against the flu virus and recommend that all children (starting at 6 months of age) receive a seasonal flu shot during the 2016-17 season. Children between 6 months and 8 years may need 2 doses per season, depending on their immunization history. Kids 9 years or older will only need 1 dose. Additionally, they recommend that vaccinations should be administered by the end of October, though it’s never too late. Flu immunizations are currently available at Children’s Wellness Center now. Immunizations may continue to be offered until June 30th, effectively marking the end of the flu season.

Perhaps the most surprising development in these new guidelines is the AAP withdrawing their recommendation for FluMist. This vaccination, taken in the form of a nasal spray, became a popular alternative to flu shots in recent years for parents who preferred to avoid injections for their children. Unfortunately, the AAP and the Center for Disease Control have mutually agreed that FluMist did not effectively protect against certain strains of the flu that were prominent during the past three seasons.

We understand that thinking about this kind of stuff can be unsettling for parents, but information is crucial in the fight against the flu and we at Children’s Wellness Center are happy to provide it. If you have questions or concerns about flu shots or would like to schedule an appointment for your child please contact Children’s Wellness Center at (404) 303-1314. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter & YouTube for more information and updates.

Instilling Healthy Sleep Habits in Preschoolers

September 7, 2016

Instilling Healthy Sleep Habits in PreschoolersSleep is a massively important component to the development and general wellness of young children. Think of it like this: if a child is a machine and his or her brain is the battery powering the machine, then sleep is the power that recharges the battery and allows the machine to properly function. For preschoolers, between 10-13 hours of daily sleep is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. This can include daytime naps. The quality of your child’s rest is as important as the amount of it they are getting. It’s essential for your child to get deep, uninterrupted sleep. Instilling a routine with your child to help them develop a steady, consistent sleep pattern is essential.

Healthy sleep enables children to function at their highest levels, a state known as optimal alertness. Optimal alertness is the key to preschoolers maximizing their attention span and learning. Conversely, a lack of quality sleep often leads to sluggishness and poor performance in the classroom. A lack of adequate sleep at an early age can lead to symptoms of ADHD and other behavioral disorders. Additionally, sleep contributes to the overall physical health of a child by promoting growth and helping build the strength to fight off harmful bacteria like cold and flu germs.

Parents are largely responsible for their young child’s sleep habits so it is important to be diligent and instill good sleep habits in kids while they’re young. After all, it’s much easier to create good habits in kids than it is to fix bad ones. The following recommendations for healthy sleep can help your child live a happier, healthier life and carry on healthy sleep behaviors as they grow and develop:

Create a Bedtime Routine and Stick With it

Consistency is huge when it comes to developing a healthy sleep pattern in young children. Once you have determined an appropriate bedtime for your kids (we recommend something before 9pm), make sure to stick to it to instill regularity. Get in the habit of alerting your kids when bedtime is approaching so they may have time to unwind and get ready for bed.

Create an Ideal Sleep Environment

A child’s sleep environment should be quiet, dark, cool and comfortable to ensure optimal sleep conditions. Limit a child’s television viewing and computer time before bedtime to limit stimulation before sleep. Exposure to TV or computer screens can affect the quality and quantity of your child’s sleep, so we recommend cutting off all screens an hour before bedtime.

Promote Napping

Napping during the day can play a large role in a child receiving the necessary amount of daily rest. Be sure to time your child’s naps accordingly so they do not interfere with their night of sleep.

If you’re worried about your preschooler’s sleeping patterns, you can speak with one of the healthcare providers at Children’s Wellness Center. Sleep problems in young children can be overcome with time and attention, but spotting bad sleep habits early is essential to eliminating them. If you have questions or concerns about your child’s sleep behavior, feel free to contact us today at (404) 303-1314.

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