LOOKOUT FOR KID’S HEALTH

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As parents, we are always on the lookout for kids’ mental and physical health state. Some key points have been neglected during parenting but a closer look at these pinpoints would definitely help us to shape a better future.

.1. Dealing with Financial
Turmoil:
The tanking economy, credit crunch, housing crisis, and rising
unemployment rate have put money (or, rather, lack of it) at the very top of
people’s minds, especially when we enter a new year, a recession, and a new
administration.

Parents
have an additional challenge: helping their children through these difficult
times.

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Even
if parents don’t always say so, kids are very aware of the tension felt by
their parents. Whether you are dealing with a job loss, a foreclosure or just a
tightening of the family budget, it’s best to be honest with your children,
communicate on their level and reassure them that your family will always be
your number one priority and everyone will do his/her part.

2.
The Impact of Instant Communication:
From a conviction tied to suicide to
ongoing concerns about cyber predators, communication technologies – and their
hazards – garnered many headlines this year. Modern communication technologies
will continue to grow and diversify. This means parents need to stay in the
loop and make sure their children are using cell phones, texting, social
network sites like Facebook, WhatsApp and other communication technologies
safely and appropriately.

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3.
The Case for Immunizations:
A major push to promote complete and timely
vaccinations of kids of all ages.

Despite
what many parents may hear from ‘celebrity moms’ or read on the Internet, there
is no link between vaccinations and autism. Numerous studies have documented
this as well. Parents should be encouraged to ask their pediatrician questions, but be
assured vaccinations are safe and have nearly eliminated the threat of many
deadly childhood diseases, such as mumps, measles, rubella and polio. But, that
protection remains only when all the children are immunized.

4.
A Mobilized Youth Movement
: The enthusiasm and involvement of
young and old in  public service keeps
the movement alive. Parents can set a good example by getting involved
themselves and encouraging the whole family to help out where needed – at
school, at religious places or the many non-profit agencies in their community that rely
on volunteers. It’s never too early to teach children to be kind, empathetic and
socially aware; traits that will serve them well into adulthood. 

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5. Start the Dialogue
Early and Keep it Going
: When the pregnancy of a popular teen TV star, movie
character and vice presidential candidate’s daughter took center stage,
premarital sex became an even more pressing topic for parents. In the coming
year, there will likely be more debate about the curriculum of sex-ed classes
and other initiatives to promote abstinence, deter the spread of sexually
transmitted diseases and reduce the number of teen pregnancies

Kids
hear about sex from friends and get messages from the media at an early age,
said Nneka Holder, M.D., a specialist in Adolescent Medicine at Akron
Children’s. Although it may be awkward to discuss sex with your children,
parents should start the dialogue early and use ‘teaching moments’ every day to
communicate their family’s values. The topic is too important; don’t leave it
to the kids on the school bus to do all the talking.

6.
Safer Kids’ Stuff on the Horizon:
Toys and other kids’ products must be deemed
safe before they actually make it to the store shelves, and, ultimately,
children’s hands. Lead is being officially phased out of kids’ merchandise and
there is increased awareness about chemicals used in the production of plastic
products, such as baby bottles.

Although
we’re making major headway, global oversight of products is lacking. Parents
should remain vigilant by reading product labels, keeping abreast of product
recalls and supervising young children who naturally put everything in sight in
their mouths.

7.
Safety First When it Comes to Kids Meds:
More and more medications are being
prescribed for children and teens. Recent news stories have focused on the
dangers of over-the-counter cough and cold formulas targeted to infants and
toddlers and a proposal aimed at prescribing medication for children with high
cholesterol. Every medication has potential benefits and risks. Parents should
question their child’s doctor about all medications being taken and be
especially careful about drug interactions. Children are not just small adults.
Their bodies react to medication differently and caution is always advised.

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8.
The Fight Against Childhood Obesity Continues:
Government health officials
reported that the childhood obesity rate leveled off in 2008 – welcome news, to
be sure. But it’s too soon to get complacent. Kids still eat too much junk food
and exercise too little and the risks of obesity-related conditions, such a
high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and orthopedic problems, require
attention. As the economy keeps spiraling downward and trips to the supermarket
get pricier, it may become more challenging for parents to keep their kids’
diets rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and other
nutritious foods.

9.
Safer Water and Sanitation:
The United Nations General Assembly declared 2008
the “International Year of Sanitation,” highlighting the crucial need
for countries worldwide to have safe drinking water and sanitary places to wash
up. Global health officials still have a long way to go before the people of
many Third World nations can enjoy high level of sanitation.

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The
No. 1 way parents can keep their children healthy and keep a variety of
illnesses at bay, including the common cold and flu, is to encourage frequent
and thorough hand washing, said Karen Mascolo, R.N., director of School Health
Services for Akron Children’s. Have kids sing a song, count their fingers or
try other fun routines to keep them at the sink until hands, fingernails and
all nooks and crannies are clean.

10.
Hope for Health Care Reform (Finally):
A lack of insurance and gaps in coverage
causes many families to go completely without preventive care or to hold off on
seeing a doctor until it becomes a must. Past attempts at solutions to overhaul
our health care system haven’t succeeded. There should be a proposed plan,
which would include mandatory coverage for children and get the support it
needs. Whatever happens, kids have no say in whether they’ll be able to get the
care they need to stay healthy. So parents, health care professionals, and
community leaders must be more proactive than ever about advocating for kids’
health.

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“Let’s Forge a Brighter future”

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