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The Children's Wellness Blog

Car Seat Recommendations to Help Keep Kids Safe

March 16, 2017

Car Seat Recommendations to Help Keep Kids SafeEvery year in America, thousands of young children are involved in dangerous car accidents. A recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control reported that, in one year, over 618,000 American children between ages 0 – 12 rode in vehicles without the use of a child safety car seat or even a seat belt at least some of the time. This is unacceptable, especially considering the amount of effective, dependable car seats that are on the market today. A study published in the medical journal Pediatrics, showed young children in car seats are 43% safer when the car seat is placed in the middle rear seat.

Finding the right car seat for your child is crucial for helping them avoid injuries in the case of an accident. The type of seat your child requires for optimal safety depends on a number of factors including the age and size of your child. Parents should always look at the height and weight recommendations of a specific car seat before purchasing. To help keep parents from getting overwhelmed, we have prepared a little guide (based on American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations) to help choose the appropriate car seat for your kids.

Rear-Facing Car Seats

  • Generally small with carrying handles.
  • Should be only used during travel in car, not for resting or feeding in the house.
  • Kids should be in a rear-facing seat until at least age 2 and should stay rear-facing as long as they can after that point.
  • Toddlers are up to 5 times safer if they remain rear-facing until age 2.
  • Just remember even though your toddler may protest and complain about being rear-facing, safety should always be our first consideration.
  • 2 kinds of rear-facing car seats:

1.) Rear-facing–only seats

  • Recommended for infants up to 22 to 40 pounds, depending on the model.
  • Are small and have carrying handles.
  • Usually attaches a base that is left in the car.

2.) Convertible seats (used rear facing)

  • If your child has reached the height or weight limit of their rear-facing-only seat before age 2, they should transition to a rear-facing convertible seat.
  • Seats that can be positioned to face the rear, but can also be adjusted to forward-facing for kids as they outgrow the height and weight of a rear-facing seat.
  • They are typically bulkier than infant seats and do not come with carrying handles or separate bases.
  • Most convertible car seats have rear-facing limits of 35- 40 pounds and should easily fit children until at least age 2.
  • Ideal for larger babies and toddlers.
  • Normally use a 5-point harness that attaches at the shoulders, at the hips, and between the legs to secure the child.

Front-Facing Car Seats

  • Typically includes safety harness straps to securely keep children from escaping.
  • Ideal for kids who have outgrown the weight or height requirements for their rear-facing seat.
  • Typically recommended for kids between the ages of 3 – 7, but kids should remain in a front-facing seat with a harness until they exceed the recommended height and weight as recommended by their specific model.

Booster Seats

  • Help raise children up so the adult seat belt fits them more safely.
  • Recommended for kids who have outgrown front-facing car seats, based on height and weight limits of the seat model, but are not big enough to safely ride with an adult seatbelt yet.
  • Typically used with lap and shoulder seat belts in your vehicle, instead of harness straps.
  • Two forms available: high-back and backless.
  • Regardless of age, kids should be in a booster seat until they weigh at least 40 pounds and are at least 4’9’’.


  • Recommended for kids age 12 or older.
  • According to the Georgia’s Office of Highway Safety, in order for kids to ride safely with an adult seatbelt, the shoulder belt should rest across the shoulder and chest (not the neck) and the lap belt should rest over the hip and thigh bones.
  • If kids do not meet these size requirements, they should be in booster seats.
  • Seatbelts are always recommended (and required by law in Georgia) once kids graduate from a booster seat (not just after age 12)

Remember that car seats should always be placed in the back seat of your vehicle. One of the most important jobs of any parent is keeping their child safe while riding in a vehicle. That begins with finding the car seat that will keep your child safe, secure, and comfortable. Remember to change car seats as your children age and grow. For more information on car safety, contact Children’s Wellness Center today. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for more news, tips, updates and upcoming Meet & Greet events.

How to Choose the Right Pacifier for Your Baby

February 23, 2017

How to Choose the Right Pacifier for Your BabyBabies have a natural, innate need to suckle. Though the bottle or a mother’s breast can sometimes meet this need, this desire can often persist long after mealtime is finished. That’s where a trusty pacifier can come in. Before introducing your baby to a pacifier, keep in mind that parents should wait until breastfeeding is firmly established to bring a pacifier into the mix.

A pacifier can provide a number of benefits for babies and parents alike. Offering infants a pacifier at nap time and bedtime can help calm them and ease them into sleep more easily.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, giving your baby a pacifier during naps and bed time can lower the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome by more than half. Additionally, a pacifier can help a baby self-soothe and make them feel secure even without a parent in the room.

We recommend keeping the following tips in mind when choosing a pacifier for your baby:

  • Try a few different nipple shapes to see which one your baby prefers.
  • We recommend picking a 1-piece model instead of a 2-piece model that can break apart and create a choking hazard.
  • The outer shield should be at least 1.5 inches across so your baby cannot put the entire pacifier into his or her mouth.
  • The shield should be made of solid plastic with air holes for breathing.
  • Try to find a pacifier that is dishwasher-safe for cleaning. If not, boil it to sanitize.
  • If you do boil it, make sure to squeeze the water out of the nipple with clean hands to prevent potential burns to your baby’s mouth.
  • Pacifiers don’t last forever. Be aware of the expiration date for your baby’s pacifier if there is one. Inspect the pacifier from time to time to check whether the rubber has changed color or has become torn. If so, it’s time for a new one.
  • Keep extra pacifiers on-hand in case of your baby’s pacifier falls apart, gets lost or becomes too dirty to use when your baby needs it.

We hope this was helpful. The right pacifier can help calm and soothe your baby, and a calmer baby usually means calmer parents too. For more tips on baby care or general information about the health and well-being of your child, please contact Children’s Wellness Center today. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for more news and updates.

Introducing your Baby to Solid Foods

February 14, 2017

Introducing your Baby to Solid FoodsIntroducing your baby to solid foods can seem like a daunting task. For starters how do you even know when a child is ready? Making the jump to solid foods is an important step in making sure your baby is getting the nutrition they need for healthy growth and development. For those parents seeking assistance, our pediatricians and physician’s assistants have provided a few telltale signs to look out for and tips to help you and your baby make the adjustment to solid foods.

First, is your baby old enough? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies stick to breast feeding or infant formula until they are 6 months of age (though some babies are not able to get all their caloric needs from breast milk or formula and may be ready sooner). Babies should be able to sit in a high chair or feeding seat and be able to keep their head up before trying solid foods. If a baby opens his or her mouth or reaches for your food while you eat, they may be ready. The ability to move food from a spoon into his or her throat without pushing it out of his mouth is a good indicator as well. It’s important to remember that if your baby has never tried anything thicker than breast milk or formula before, this will certainly take some getting used to. If you try but your baby does not seem ready, don’t force it. Wait a week or so and try again.

Pick a feeding time when your baby is happy and not too hungry or tired. You can try to ease the transition by giving your baby very small amounts of solid food in-between small portions of breast milk or formula. Start with just one food first. This will help the baby adjust and give you time to keep an eye out for potential allergic reactions. We recommend introducing no more than 1 new food every 3 days. If your baby experiences diarrhea, rashes, or vomiting after trying a new food, consult one of the pediatricians of physician’s assistants at Children’s Wellness Center. Remember to try not to get too flustered, this is a gradual process.

As for which food your baby should try first, that’s really up to you. Simple types of pureed fruits and vegetables as well as infant cereals can usually be started between 4-6 months, though discuss with your Children’s Wellness Center pediatrician at your child’s 4-month checkup to get the best guidelines for your baby. Many babies are not ready to try solid foods until 6 months of age, so don’t feel rushed to start and enjoy the process as your infant is experiencing all these new tastes. Fruits, vegetables and single-grain baby cereals are a common choice for a baby’s first solid food. Make sure to confirm that the cereal you choose is made specifically for babies and fortified with iron. Infant cereals should only be made up with either breast milk or formula.

At your child’s 6-month checkup, you and your child’s healthcare provider can discuss introducing more allergenic foods (peanuts, nuts, eggs, fish, or shellfish) and finger foods. Baby foods made with meat and other proteins like beans can be safely introduced when your infant is around 6-9 months old.

It is important for your baby to get used to the process of eating, so create a routine and stick to it. Instilling behaviors like sitting up while eating, resting between bites and stopping when full early on can help develop good eating habits for children as they grow. If you still have questions, please contact Children’s Wellness Center today. We are always happy to guide our patients. You can also visit our website patient portal under “Patient Info” for more helpful info and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for more news and updates.

Dear CWC: Healthy Snacks for Kids

February 6, 2017

Dear CWC Healthy Snacks for KidsHere at Children’s Wellness Center (CWC), we receive plenty of questions from parents about nutrition for kids. As parents ourselves, we understand how important it is to try to provide nutritious food for our kids, not only to help them grow up fit and strong, but to teach them healthy eating habits that they will carry with them as they grow older. That’s why we’re always happy to take time to answer some of the more common questions we receive about how to provide healthy snacks for young children.

Though we typically think of meals as the time to provide our children with the vital nutrients they need, snack time can be a great opportunity to supplement your kids with bonus nutrients between meals and give them the fuel they need to power through the day. So with that said, here are some common questions we receive about how to provide healthy snacks for kids:

Dear CWC: How can I increase my child’s interest in fruits and vegetables as snacks?

A.) Snack time offers ample opportunity to increase your kid’s access and intake of nutrient-rich fruits and veggies. Though some kids may not be receptive to vegetables as a snack, try to get creative. Try pairing fruits and veggies with other foods they enjoy like combining fruits and cheese or adding lean peanut butter and raisins to some celery to create fun and healthy snacks for kids. We recommend pairing fruits and vegetables with proteins (apples with peanut butter, carrots with hummus, etc.).

Dear CWC: What are some good snack options to help my kids get the Vitamin D they need?

A.) As we’ve mentioned before, Vitamin D is among the most important nutrients for growing kids. Snack time offers plenty of opportunity to help your kids load up on the Vitamin D they require. We recommend Vitamin D fortified dairy products like milk, and yogurt. A hard-boiled egg can be the perfect little snack to provide a Vitamin D boost, as can a bit of canned tuna.

Dear CWC: Can you recommend healthy alternatives to sugary drinks?

A.) Kids love sugary drinks like fruit juice and soda due to the sweet taste, but they can lead to poor nutrition, obesity and tooth decay in kids. Remember, every 12-ounce soda, juice, Gatorade®, or chocolate milk contains approximately 10 teaspoons of sugar and up to 200 calories. Drinking just one of these drinks per day can increase a child’s risk of obesity by 60%. We strongly suggest that parents substitute juice out for milk or water during snack time. A small serving of nutrient-rich coconut water or 100% juice can also be OK for kids. You can also consider low-sugar smoothies for added fruits and vegetables.

When it comes to the health and wellness of your kids, we appreciate any and all questions. After all, as parents there is a lot to know. That’s why our healthcare providers host Children’s Wellness Center Meet & Greet events each month. Our Meet & Greets are a great way to better get to know who we are, what we do, and how our practice can help provide your family with quality healthcare you can depend on. For more information, please contact Children’s Wellness Center today. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for more tips and updates.