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Updates in Child Health Care

By: Elizabeth Grace - Updated: 22 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Cot Death Reye's Syndrome Child Safety

When it comes to raising kids some things never change. Children do best in a loving environment, surrounded by responsible adults who make it a priority to meet the children's needs. Standards of care do change, though, with each generation following guidelines that are a bit different from those of generations past. In order to be helpful caregivers to their grandchildren, grandparents need to keep abreast of the latest developments in child health care recommendations.

Sleep Safety

One of the biggest changes regarding the health and safety of babies is in the area of sleep safety. Cot death, defined as the unexplained death of an otherwise healthy infant in the first year of life, is one of the greatest risks facing babies, but there are steps that can be taken to make the baby's sleeping environment as safe as possible.

Baby's cot should be free of blankets, duvets, Pillows, and stuffed toys.Babies should be placed to sleep on their back -- never on their tummies or sides. Once baby can roll over on their own, they do not need to be repositioned if they roll onto their tummies.

Studies indicate that using a pacifier may reduce the risk of cot death.

The room should not be overly hot and babies do not need to be bundled for sleeping. Light layers of well-fitted clothing are sufficient and the use of a cap should be avoided.

It is beneficial to babies under 6 months of age to sleep in the same room as an adult, so that they can be closely monitored, but the practice of co-sleeping is discouraged.

Dealing with Pain and Fever

Babies and children should never be given aspirin to reduce a fever or alleviate discomfort. Reye's Syndrome is a rare but potentially deadly illness, affecting the liver and brain of children up to 16 years old. There is a connection between Reye's Syndrome and children who were given aspirin for symptoms of a recent viral illness. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen are better choices for kids and medication labels must be read carefully to be certain that products do not contain aspirin. When in doubt, the child's doctor should be considered the best source of advice on all health matters.

Safe Travel and Play

Parents are increasingly aware of the need for caution when it comes to products that their children use. It is becoming commonplace to see children equipped with helmets and other safety gear when they are riding bikes or skateboarding. Head injuries from falls account for a large number of childhood injuries each year and the regular use of helmets can go a long way to protect children. Additionally, climbing frames and other playground equipment are being held to higher standards than they were a generation ago and new play areas are no longer constructed over concrete, dirt, grass, or other hard surfaces. Today's play surfaces typically consist of wood chips, sand, mulch, or shredded rubber. Rubberised mats are good choices, too, allowing for easy maneuvering for buggies, strollers, and wheelchairs.

Grandparents who plan to transport their grandchildren by car need to be certain that they are operating within the law regarding the use of appropriate care seats and safety belts. Consistent use of child safety seats and boosters is an easy way to reduce the chances that a child will die or be seriously injured in the event of a car accident.

Allergies and Other Common Childhood Illnesses

Increasing numbers of children suffer from food allergies, food intolerances, asthma, and allergic reactions to environmental triggers. Grandparents who are expected to provide care for their grandchildren must be made aware of any special health concerns that the child has so that they can be alert for possible symptoms. Sever allergic reactions can be deadly, so extreme care must be taken to avoid offending foods or other triggers. Many parents are choosing to postpone the introduction of the most commonly troublesome foods, including nuts and shellfish until the child's second birthday, hoping that this may reduce the chances that their children will develop food allergies. While expert opinions vary on the effectiveness of this method, grandparents should abide by the wishes of the children's parents regarding appropriate meal selections.

Too Careful?

While grandparents may feel that their children are being overprotective of the grandkids, there is solid research behind today's health and safety standards. Advancements in the medical community have made it possible for kids to stay healthier and for children who suffer from illness or disability to live richer lives. While there may be differences of opinion between the generations about some issues regarding modern childrearing, one thing has stayed constant. Today's parents, just like the generations that came before them, are simply trying to provide their children will every possible advantage.

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