Archive | Child Safety

Home Safety: Preventing Lead Poisoning

Lead is a potential health risk and lead poisoning is life-threatening. When a child’s frail body encounters lead, several problems may possibly happen; that is, from mental retardation, lowered IQ, gastrointestinal problems and even anemia. That is why, ensuring that your house is safe from this substance is really critical in making sure that your child is safe.

Remember, a child can be really curious with anything. As a result, you may not even know what he is secretly doing or what is playing with when you are out at work. The facts about the death of children who have suffered from lead poisoning should not be dismissed. Therefore, following the tips experts are suggesting will be very beneficial.

Ensure that you check your house and your surroundings. If you happen that has been built before 1978 or has just been remodeled, it is highly recommended to let a reputable company check and evaluate the status of your house. Lead-based paint has been used before 1978. Additionally, chipping paint should also be evaluated. The soil and water in your house should also be assessed. Most likely, the lead in your water will not be from the water plant but  will be seen in your pipes.

Next, be sure to check on the toys, glassware and dishes that have been bought from thrift shops, taken from abroad with lax lead regulations or those that are handed from the older generation. Also, cooking wares that have a tag not recommending microwave use should be scrutinized. These are potentially toxic. Being aware of the recent string of recalls made specifically toys and even milk should be a warning for parents to  be very wary of the sources of what is offered to their children.

In relation to this, inculcating to your child and having yourself as an example will also work out in preventing or reducing the occurrence of lead poisoning. Always remind your kids to wash their hands with soap especially if they have just arrived from playing outside the house and when they are about to eat. Teach them not to make a habit of putting their fingers inside their mouths.

It is just as important to encourage healthy eating to your child. This is because nutritious foods minimize the absorption of lead. Foods that are rich in calcium and iron come highly suggested. At the same though, do not forget to check the source of your foods; those that are processed and canned in some countries that do have strict regulations on the use of lead should be avoided as much as possible.

Another important role parents should play in ensuring that lead is reduced in the home is to take off work clothes immediately after coming from work. This specially applies to the ones working with lead in their jobs like bullet makers and glassware workers.

Remember, lead poisoning will take your child from you if you do not make the steps to eliminate the substance from your home.

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Dealing with Haircuts: What You Should and Shouldn’t Do

When younger children are told about getting a haircut, a lot of them freak out in ways that can only be seen in maniacs. Admittedly, this is a dilemma for most parents. However, this reaction does not need to be forever that way if we parents try to be creative or resourceful enough to find the perfect ways for our child to give in to that badly needed haircut.

Here are some tips you may want to use and measures you might want to forget about when trying to seal the deal:

  • Hearing the word cut means it can inflict injury or pain. Bear in mind that toddlers and pre-schoolers are very sensitive when it comes to their body. The thought of losing a certain part of their body or even losing their parents or siblings because of an alien invasion is not taken lightly. Therefore, instead of using the word haircut, you may want to remind the other older people in the house that your child is only getting a trim. This way, your child may feel more comfortable about having a haircut. Additionally, associating scissors with injury, blood or death is a wrong thing. It may help if we try not to overwhelm our children with horrifying stories associated with the use of scissors.
  • Getting the snip will also help if an older person, say the father or the mother or even the siblings is the one to be serviced first. By having a model, the child is assured that nothing wrong will ever happen to him. He will surely be surprised at how easy and harmless the process is. Additionally, it is best to let your child sit in the salon chair for awhile while the haircut of the model is going on. This way, he will feel more relaxed and accustomed to the process. Conversely, you don’t have to really force your child to look at what is being done with the model; it may be excruciatingly painful for him without your knowledge.  You may want to let the salon be his play area in the meantime.
  • Speaking of the salon being a play area, there are certain parlors that specifically cater to haircuts for children. The personnel of these salons are well-trained to help a child in dealing with a haircut. Additionally, these establishments also have some perks with them such as DVD players, toys and other sorts of bribe or distraction available just to deliver the needed service.
  • You can also have your own ways of distracting your child. Since haircut only happens once in a while, you may want to help your child with his favorite snack or you may let him indulge in a helpful serving of some sweet goodies. This conditioning will make him believe that haircut is equal to a sweet reward.
  • Finally, let your child realize that nothing is really wrong with having a haircut by talking about the process with him. He might not be able to understand it but with tough love and the patience and affection you show your child, he may realize that “Daddy or Mommy just wants me to look good.” Make a mini-role play of the procedure and hopefully, you’ll get lucky.

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Choosing the Best Car Seat for your Baby

One of the most important preparation as a woman’s due date to give birth approaches is to purchase a car seat for the baby. While some parents forget this detail, it is very important not to neglect it because you can’t take the baby home without one. In purchasing a car seat for your newborn baby you might wondering what you safety features should you look for and what is the best one that will suit you and your baby’s needs the most. Read on to find out more about choosing the best car seat for your baby.

The car seat will depend on the size of the child who will be using it. The car seat manufacturing industry has provided it parents with many options to choose from that choosing one becomes extraordinarily difficult. The American Academy of Pediatrics provides a helpful guide in choosing the best one for your child.

Newborn infants and toddlers need to use the rear facing car seats as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Rear facing car seats comes in 3 types and they are classified as follows.

Infant only seats – are small and have a carrying handle. It can be attached unto a base in the car seat so parents can just attach the infant car seat and detach it without installing.

Convertible seats – are seats that can be used in two ways. It can be assembled as rear facing for infants and toddlers and when they reach the age of 2, the car seat can then be converted to forward facing. These kinds of car seat don’t have a carrying handle and are bigger in size than infant car seats. Most manufacturers make a 5 point harness that secures the shoulders, hips and legs.

3 in 1 seats – can be used longer from infancy to toddlers. It is bulkier than the other two rear facing car seats mentioned above and is ideal to bigger babies.

In choosing the right car seat you should look keep in mind the following tips.

  • Harness fits snugly with your baby and is positioned in mid level
  • Provides easy steps in installation and make sure that it is installed securely in the vehicle.
  • Never place the car seat in the front seat of the vehicle
  • Make sure the car seat you buy matches the vehicle’s seat belts and that it would lock securely in place
  • Some vehicles have LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) which has anchors where the car seat attaches to providing a secure installation. Most vehicles made on or after September 2002 have LATCH system.

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The Big Decision: How Do I Choose the Appropriate Nipples and Bottles?

It is not unusual to have lots of choices when one becomes a parent. There are just too many alternatives or substitutes that are being constantly introduced in the market to challenge the more conventional items and even ideas that we have known since we were younger. Add to the situation is the fact that most of our children these days are more vulnerable than in the past. We have to be guarded and to be always on our toes when it comes to knowing what really works best for our children. Therefore, as parents, we have to be empowered and well-informed.

In choosing the right nipple, one should decide between three materials; the latex, silicon or rubber. Nipples made of latex are known to be more flexible and softer as compared to nipples made of silicon as these are firmer and therefore, tend to last longer. Rubber nipples, on the other hand are also firm. However, most rubber nipples these days have been implicated for allergic reactions as well as cancer-causing components.

You may want to ask other important information from the salesperson or directly call the manufacturers regarding other concerns like the presence of the controversial Bisphenol A, a compound found in plastics that have been linked to obesity, cancer and even neurological problems.

Another thing about the nipples is that there are three current shapes from the traditional, the orthodontic and the flat-topped nipples. You may also encounter nipples that have holes in strategic areas. You will also determine that some nipples are designed to imitate the natural contour of a mother’s breast while some nipples are more concerned with the accommodation of the nipple in the palate and gums of your baby. Also, manufacturers offer different sizes of nipples; you will also chance upon different flow rates of milk passing through the nipple because of differently sized holes.

In the end, as you try different nipples, you’ll find out that your baby is the one making the decision as he has to figure out his own preference. Your job is to be sensitive to his needs and to buy what really suits him.

In terms of choosing the right bottles, a lot of parents these days have growing concern on whether to give preference to the age-old and durable plastic bottles or go with the breakable and yet perceived safer glass bottles. Parents are also given options that include streamlined bottles that may be held by the baby himself, disposable bottles and right-angled bottles that direct less air into the nipple causing less discomfort for the baby.

For those who prefer to stick to the plastic bottles, experts accept that this practice is perfectly fine as long as the plastics used are replaced on a regular basis. Additionally, the problem on Bisphenol A only surfaces when the bottle being sterilized contains formula milk. Manufacturers also advise consumers not to make the plastic bottles as storage bottles. Wash the plastic bottles immediately after use and discard the unconsumed formula milk. The size may also be a cause of concern as the products come in 4-ounce, 8-ounce and even 9-ounce bottles; all depending on the manufacturer but size problems will only come in as your baby grows and his needs increase.

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Managing Ear Infections

Here goes your child again. After incessantly wailing for a good eternity while tugging his ear, he now complains of headache and shows a difficulty in speaking and even in listening. Probably tired of the same problems repeating over and over again, you re-evaluate the situation and find out that your child has a fever. Add to that already burdening problem is a fluid leaking from one of his ears. At last, he is able to verbalize that something is oddly buzzing or ringing in his ear.

This, my dear parent, are classic signs and symptoms of acute otitis media that commonly affects young children and sometimes, even teenagers who are overly hygiene-conscious of themselves. When the condition worsens, expect the unexpected and rare complications such as mastoiditis, meningitis and even damage to specific bones as the bacteria seeps into the body. Consequently, an unattended acute otitis media may lead to hearing loss.

Despite the troubling symptoms a child may exhibit during a case of an ear infection, recent studies have suggested that mothers need not use antibiotic to treat their children. A recognized authority, the American Academy of Pediatrics specifically recommends that babies 6 months and below diagnosed with AOM be given antibacterial. For those who are older than 6 months, the organization suggests that antibiotics should only be given if the symptoms are severe. Interestingly but backed by scientific studies, AAP advocate for the non-usage of antibacterials if there is an uncertain diagnosis and if the symptoms are only mild. However, at this point, parents should keep a watchful eye and observe other symptoms that might appear in the next 48-72 hours.

Recent studies have shown that the ear infections will most likely heal on its own using the body’s defenses. Additionally, it might help you to know that a lot of healthcare providers these days are becoming more wary about ordering antibiotics even for adults, especially for children. For babies as well as children who were prescribed with antibiotics, it is very important to finish the course of the therapy to ensure that the bacteria are eradicated and that the organisms do not become resistant. If the bacteria become resistant, chances are, the next time your child suffers from an infection, you’ll have to buy more expensive and stronger class of bacteria.

In the meantime, while your precious little one suffers from ear infection, you might want to relieve the pain by giving over-the-counter pain medicines such as Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen. This will greatly reduce the pain felt and that it would be relatively easier to doze off. You can also apply a warm compress near the affected ear while keeping the head elevated for more relief.

Finally, prevent ear infections by building and boosting your child’s immunity through breastfeeding, the maintenance of a house that is free from allergens and possible infectious agents like tobacco smoke, pollens, dusts etc. Make sure that anyone especially caregivers wash their hands before holding your baby or interacting with your toddler or pre-schooler. Check with your doctor vaccinations that can help you against immunizations that may reduce the occurrence of ear infections.

Posted in Child Safety, Medical Care0 Comments

Autism in Children

Autism is a rare condition where kids affected act differently than other kids. An autistic child experiences a world of his own different from other kids. It’s hard for kids with autism to communicate effectively with others as they cannot express themselves fully through words that they sometimes get frustrated and isolated from everyone else.

Raising a child with autism requires a great deal of patience, care and understanding. It is painful for some parents to feel as though they cannot talk to their child and communicate with them. Kids who suffer of autism sometimes react to people, happenings or things around them differently. They may suddenly shout towards strangers or become agitated when talked to by children their age. Sometimes being touched by a family member can aggravate them and cause them to throw tantrums.

Common gestures may not be understood by an autistic child and are often ignored. Greeting or smiling at them may not elicit a response at all for they cannot connect these simple gestures with a person’s feelings.

What causes Autism?

Autism is a neurologic disability that usually runs in families. For some autism may be linked to another medical condition such as Phenylketonuria (PKU) or congenital complications such as rubella or toxoplasmosis. Although research has yet to determine its definite cause, until now it remains idiopathic.

What are the signs and symptoms of Autism?

  • Lack of non-verbal communication such as eye contact, facial expressions and gestures.
  • Apathy or not caring of other’s feelings
  • Cannot distinguish other’s feelings like happiness evident by someone laughing or frustration as evident by crying. When they see these emotions in others they don’t recognize it as feelings and often ignore it
  • Isolation or preference of being alone
  • Doesn’t want to be touched, hugged or cuddled
  • They sometimes appear to be unresponsive when called
  • Abnormal speech or lack of spoken language
  • Difficulty in expressing themselves through Words per minute
  • Inability or lack of interest in conversation
  • Repetitive body movements such as rocking, flapping hands or banging toys against the wall

Children with autism mostly have an IQ of below average while some can have an above normal IQ. Some children may develop seizures usually for those who have mental retardation.

Finding out that a child is autistic can be difficult as they appear normal kids that exhibit extreme shyness however parents are usually the ones who notice that there is something wrong. Doctors diagnose autism by performing lab tests and other medical tests to rule out other medical conditions. Then referral to a neurologist, pediatrician and psychologist is made when autism is suspected.

Caring for a child with autism can be very painful and emotionally stressing for the parents as there is no cure for it. Treatment aims for the child to function as close to normal as possible enabling them to do day to day activities on their own. Therapists will focus on teaching autistic kids and their parents to communicate effectively through pointing pictures and sign language. Therapy will also help the child learn social skills such as greeting people and follow simple directions. With constant therapy and a strong support group children with mild autism can grow up to be responsible individuals that can live alone by themselves.

Posted in Child Psychology, Child Safety, Communication, Medical Care0 Comments

When Your Child Sleepwalks

Some children can be found at a different room at the wee hours of the morning as if walking aimlessly around and eventually goes back to their bed after a while. If you have experience seeing this phenomenon then it is most likely that your child is sleepwalking.

Sleepwalking is a condition wherein a person walks or does any other activity while asleep. People who are sleepwalking may actually look like they are awake but they are not. When we sleep we experiences different stages of sleep wherein our brain is still active. Sleepwalking usually happens in the first hours of sleep where they are in a stage of deep sleep. Not all sleepwalkers walk as the name suggests, they may just sit up in their beds and appear to be awake only to lie back to bed after a few minutes. Most people who sleepwalk however move around for minutes to as long as half an hour.

What Causes Sleepwalking?

Sleepwalking happens mostly to identical twins and to individuals who have a familial history of the condition. Sleepwalking runs in families and children who have both parents with a history of sleepwalking is at risk of experiencing the same thing by 60 percent. Factors such as sleep deprivation, alcohol intoxication, fever and stress can cause a child or teen to sleepwalk. Children are most commonly affected due to the greater length of their slow wave or deep sleep compared to adults. While some theorists say that sleepwalking in children is a sign of delay in maturation. The peak age in children sleepwalking is within 4 to 8 years of age.

Is it harmful to wake a sleepwalker?

This is a common belief that waking a person who is sleepwalking is detrimental and may produce a psychological imbalance. Research has yet to prove this misconception and most experts say that waking up sleepwalker will not cause harm but will only disorient them. It is therefore needed to put away sharp objects that can be harmful and lock all windows and doors before going to bed when you have a sleepwalker in the house to promote safety.

How can you tell that a person is sleepwalking?

Symptoms of sleepwalking can vary for every individual. Some may actually appear awake with their eyes open and walks from room to room. Some may even run around looking agitated and anxious as if trying to run away from something. The eyes of a sleepwalker appear glassy and can be described as if in a state of trance or blank stare. When a sleepwalker gets back to bed and wakes up the next morning they usually have no account of what happened the previous night.

When should we consult a physician?

Generally sleepwalking is not a very serious problem and can be addressed by maintaining a safe environment to prevent injury and harm to the person who sleepwalks. There is no known cure for sleepwalking but there are ways on how to prevent its occurrence. One way is to get ample rest and sleep and avoid over exhaustion as this is one factor for sleepwalking. Keeping a regular sleep schedule will also help establish a pattern of sleep that can normalize and eradicate sleepwalking. When you see a sleepwalker gently guide them back to bed promoting safety by keeping the way clear of obstacles and other things.

Posted in Adolescence, Child Psychology, Child Safety0 Comments

My Angel’s First Pair of Shoes

Do you remember how your first shoes looked like? Probably not but it is likely that since your child is about to take those memorable steps, you want to make sure that your angel wears the right pair of shoes. For this reason, you want to, as expected, hunt for the most suitable shoes that will give the needed support for your baby to carry on and accomplish a milestone in you and your baby’s life.

An important thing to remember when shopping for your child’s shoes is to look for a pair that has supportive soles. You must remember that your child’s shoes will not only be used indoors but also outdoors. Choose the non-skid shoes over the ones that may cause accidents. Although laces and strings may be a good idea, these accessories may prove risky.

Here are a few things you have to remember when purchasing your child’s first pair as well as the other shoes he will be using when he’s older:

  • Choose shoes that offer good traction especially if you are planning to introduce the thrill of the outdoors to your baby. Rocks, pebbles, sands and other things might get in the way but good shoes that offer traction will go a long way. Equally important are the soles to provide more flexibility.
  • It is best to let your child wear breathable shoes. Rubber shoes are best known for this compared to leather or synthetic footwear that will result in sweaty, foul-smelling feet.
  • A perfect time for shopping would be towards the end of the day. This is because our feet expand by around 5% its original size at the end of the day, which will more or less, is undoubtedly a better fit.
  • Also, check that the shoes snugly fit your child’s feet. When you depend on your child’s opinion, you may end up buying the shoes that attracted his attention. Even if it the shoes don’t really fit but your child is bent on having the shoes, his opinion may be different. Consider letting your child stand up. Evaluate if there is enough room for wiggling his toes, if not, the shoes may be too tight. To further assess if the shoes are really a good fit, let your child wear the shoes for some time in the store and let him walk around. Then, remove the shoes and inspect whether there are spots that seem irritated or sore.
  • Another thing you should bear in mind is that your child will grow up faster than what you expect of him. Sooner or later, you’ll again have to buy shoes.

Finally, in the event that your baby is not yet ready, walking barefoot or using socks is still perfectly okay especially if your baby is still practicing indoors. Just make sure that the floors are warm and no materials are scattered along your baby’s way. Walking barefoot is actually advised as this will enhance your child’s motor, coordination and strength.

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