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Care of Children

Care of Children in Georgia

10 Things to Consider When Caring for Children

When it comes to the care of children many factors come into play, and with the changes in society and technology, how parents and caregivers approach rearing the next generation has altered. Children need guidance and care, some of which health care providers can help with and others were caregivers are left up to on their own to be in charge. Within this article, parents and those helping take care of little ones will hopefully shine a few ideas to add to their repertoire.

1. Nutrition - Childhood obesity has increased significantly in recent years. Since 2012, nearly 18 percent of children ages 6-11 years old were obese. With fast food, processed foods, sugary drinks, and poor eating habits, it is no wonder why obesity has increased in kids.

Obesity contributes to a wide range of health issues including type II diabetes, lower self-esteem, bone and joint problems, and a plethora of other issues. Helping children eat healthier and appropriate portion sizes can help keep children from being overweight and even reverse it. Taking care of children includes taking care of their nutritional needs since what goes into our bodies plays such critical roles both physical health and mental performance. To do a disservice to children's nutrition is to do a disservice to their overall health.

2. Appropriate Activity - Keeping children active is vital, for their sake and for their parents' sanity. Of course, different ages will require different levels of activity. Talking to a pediatrician about age-appropriate sports and daily activities is a great way to get started. Teaching children that exercise is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle is a lesson they will take with them into adulthood.

3. Home Safety - Keeping poisons out of reach of children can help prevent awful accidents from happening. For caregivers, it is a good idea to go through the home and check for things that may put children at risk. For those with young children, it is good to know poison control's telephone number or keeping it within easy reach.

Furniture should also be secured so children cannot pull in on top of themselves. Access to knives and other dangerous objects should be accessed, as should the operation of fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

4. Firearm Safety - Children are curious and often do not realize when something might be dangerous. Statistically speaking, children in the United States are sixteen times more like to be killed in unintentional shootings. It is estimated that two-thirds of these accidents can be avoided with proper firearm practices. Keeping guns and ammo locked up and out of reach is an easy and preventable way to keep accidental gun deaths from occurring.

For parents who own guns, it is worth being vigilant about keeping guns out of reach of children and teens. If a parent's child is spending the night at a friend's or relatives, it is worth asking the other adults involved if there are guns in the home and checking to see if they are properly out of harm's way. Sometimes these conversations are difficult, but they are worth it when parents consider what is at stake.

5. Vaccinations - Staying on top of vaccinations for children can help prevent numerous harmful and sometimes deadly diseases from spreading. Lately, many parents have voiced concerns over the safety of vaccinations despite the reassurances from doctors and industry professionals.

The truth is, vaccinations are safe and necessary. Vaccinations and booster shots do not just protect those who receive them, but those who are either too young to get them or unable to. With the majority of adults and children staying on top of their vaccinations, herd immunity helps protect those most vulnerable. If caregivers have concerns about vaccinations, then they are encouraged to talk to their doctors or pediatricians about their worries.

6. Babysitters - When leaving children with someone other than their primary caretaker, babysitters are often to the rescue. Finding the right babysitter will vary from family to family. Overall, it is discouraged to leave children under the care of other children, usually those under the age of 14, and those with their own health issues.

7. Phone Numbers - With technology today, memorizing phone numbers seems like outdated. However, it is still a good idea to have tiny tikes learn a couple phone numbers in case the need arises. The phone can be lost and batteries die, some children do not have their own cell phone, and sometimes children get lost. These can all be scary situations, but if children memorize a few emergency phone numbers, including their caregivers, many panics can be avoided.

8. Safe Person/Spot - In the case of a natural disaster or another emergency, having a safe spot for the family to meet in the event that they are separated can put minds at ease. Sitting down with children and discussing where they can find you if something happens and they were unable to make it home are something to discuss next time around the dinner table.

9. Understanding Basic Safety - In terms of basic safety, making sure little ones understand how to cross the street, the importance of seat belts, and who to talk to if lost in a store are great things to reinforce. Often times when it comes to the care of children, these basic safety tips can be the most underappreciated but highly valuable.

10. Screen Time - In this digital age, we are surrounded by screens. Too much exposure to electronic devices has been linked to poor attention spans, obesity, sleep problems, and many other health issues. On average, children in the United States are exposed to up to seven hours of screen time a day. That is a lot! Monitoring how much screen time children get is something countless health professionals have suggested.