How Dads Keep Kids Healthy

Last updated on March 2nd, 2018 at 04:10 pm

To fatherhood...and making every second countIt’s no surprise that positive parenting affects a child’s health and happiness. Countless studies have shown powerful benefits of dad’s participation in children’s development: Kids of highly involved fathers score better on cognitive tests at 6 months of age, are better problem-solvers as toddlers and have higher IQs by age 3. In school, they get more A’s and perform better on standardized tests. There’s an emotional benefit too: These children report feeling less anxious and depressed, and they’re more social and empathetic.

But did you know that kids with involved dads are physically healthier too? Studies have shown that kids who live with active, involved fathers are:

  • Less likely to suffer a physical accident
  • Six times less likely to visit the emergency room
  • Up to two times less likely to suffer from asthma
  • More likely to be active — and four times less likely to be obese by the age of 18 — than kids with inactive, obese dads

And there are benefits for dad too: Fathers who engage with their kids are more likely to feel more satisfied and empathetic with others, as well as less stressed.

Young kids require lots of attention and love, especially when they’re sick. So every day, both mom and dad should make 10 minutes of one-on-one time with their kids a priority. Here are a few smart ways dads can get involved in kids’ lives:

Be the chauffeur. There’s no easier time for undivided catch-up time with your kids than when you’re driving home from school or swim practice. It can become important bonding time during which kids open up about what’s going on in their lives. Just make sure to ban cell phones to create an opportunity for meaningful conversation.

Get your hands dirty. Do a little yard work together! Your kids will love mucking around in the mud, and you’ll get a helping hand digging up the flowerbeds, raking leaves or scavenging sticks for the fireplace.

Build something. Whether it’s a living room fort or a kitchen science experiment, start a project together. While having fun, you’ll also create precious memories together: According to Harvard University, the more senses you use, the more involved your brain will be in making a memory (which means your kids are likely to remember the experience).

Experiment in the kitchen. You don’t have to be a master chef to cook with your kids. For your next weekend brunch or dinner, mix up boxed pancake batter with blueberries, or concoct an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink sandwich together. (Making a mess is the fun part, anyway!)

Read to them. Reading is essential to your child’s mental development: As early as the 1960s, studies showed that kids with fathers who regularly read to them were more likely to score better in many important cognitive skill categories — especially vocab — than children whose fathers did not. So start at an early age, and do it often.

Tell stories together. Boost your kid’s creative juices by telling a story and letting your kid fill in the parts. Play off of each other and, above all, have fun! Research shows that when toddlers chat with their dads, they tend to be more inquisitive and even use a larger vocabulary than when they’re talking with moms.

Make a coloring book. If your kid’s stuck in bed or if it’s a dreary day, make it a bit brighter by sketching the outline of a person or place and asking your kids to fill in the details. If you have a younger kid, draw a full image and give her the crayons to fill your mutual masterpiece.

Share your passion. Whether it’s walking your kid through a golf swing or simply explaining why the sky is blue, make sure to discuss the things you love with your kids. They might occasionally roll their eyes (“Dad’s at it again!”), but they won’t forget those impromptu lessons.

Hug them. Kids need physical attention — and not just from mom. Snuggle, show affection, love them — especially when your little one is stuck sick in bed (and all her friends are outside playing).

Moms, encourage dads to get involved. Studies show that when moms are supportive of their spouse’s parenting, men are more likely to be involved and feel more responsible for their kids’ well-being. Plus, there’s nothing better than sitting back and watching your family grow closer together. So keep a camera and a box of Puffs tissues at hand and prepare for moving experiences.



Child Health & Safety News Roundup: 06-17-2013 to 06-23-2013

Last updated on March 2nd, 2018 at 04:11 pm

twitter thumbWelcome to Pediatric Safety’s weekly “Child Health & Safety News Roundup”- a recap of the past week’s child health and safety news headlines from around the world.

Each day we use Twitter to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and other caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we may miss something, but we think overall we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed. But for our friends and colleagues who are not on Twitter (or who are but may have missed something), we offer you a recap of the past week’s top 10 events & stories.

PedSafe Headline of the Week:

Whooping cough can be deadly for infants but 61% of adults don’t know their own vaccine status  http://t.co/T2PbajR93T  a booster is needed every 10 yrs

Answers to the Top 4 Dental Questions Asked by New Parents

Last updated on June 30th, 2013 at 10:18 pm

Parents often have many questions in regards to taking care of their children’s teeth. When should our first visit to the dentist be? When should I start brushing their teeth? Do I use toothpaste? What about fluoride? Having the right answers to these questions can help your child have a healthy, cavity free mouth.

  1. help brushing teethTime to start brushing: In the beginning you should start cleaning your infant’s gums with a washcloth and continue as teeth come in. As more teeth come in you may change to a size appropriate soft toothbrush.
  2. What about toothpaste? It is not recommended that fluoride toothpaste be used until child is able to spit the toothpaste from his/her mouth. Begin encouraging your child to spit out the toothpaste as soon as you begin brushing your child’s teeth. For younger children there are non fluoride toothpastes that you may choose to use until they are able to release the toothpaste from their mouth.
  3. Don’t they need fluoride? If your child drinks bottled water without fluoride or is on well water a fluoride supplement is indicated. Fluoride is key to keeping teeth healthy. You might also discuss sealants with your child’s dentist. Sealants can be placed on baby teeth as well as permanent teeth. A sealant is a great measure that provides a barrier from cavity causing bacteria.
  4. Time for a visit to the dentist: There are many different recommendations as to child’s first dental visit age. The Academy of Pediatric Dentistry states once the first tooth comes in and no later that first birthday. In contrast, unless your child has risk factors such as sleeping with a sippy cup, family members with high cavity rate, teeth staining, thumb sucking, etc. the first visit can be around 3 years old.

Remember, in order to show your children the importance of regular brushing and flossing it is important that we as parents set a great example by practicing good dental habits ourselves.

6 Reasons to Call the Pediatrician

Last updated on August 29th, 2015 at 06:36 pm

sick is no funSick children at home? If they’ve got a cold, they’ll usually recover on their own within seven to 10 days, but in some cases, those sniffles can develop into a more serious condition that requires medical attention. If you notice any of the following warning signs in your kids, you’ve got reason to call the pediatrician.

Warning Sign No. 1: A high fever

A fever of 105 F or more can mean your child has another problem, like strep throat. If your baby is younger than 3 months old, you should also call your doctor if he or she has a fever of 100.4 F or more.

Warning Sign No. 2: Symptoms that persist after the fever subsides

Most kids start to perk up after their fever goes down. But if your little one still seems tired and miserable after the number on the thermometer drops, it could mean she’s dehydrated — or even has a more serious infection such as meningitis, so get a hold of your doctor’s office as soon as possible.

Warning Sign No. 3: Wheezing or vomiting while coughing

Call your pediatrician if coughing causes your child to gasp for breath or throw up. She may want to screen for asthma or whooping cough.

Warning Sign No. 4: Symptoms that don’t improve

Kids sometimes catch two colds in a row, so they can be sick for longer than the normal weeklong span. But if it doesn’t seem your child is improving and her runny nose remains consistent for more than 10 days, it’s worth calling your doctor.

Warning Sign No. 5: Rash with fever

Children can get rashes from viruses and allergic reactions. But if the rash doesn’t blanch — or fade — when you press on it, call your pediatrician immediately. It may be a sign of a serious infection.

Warning Sign No. 6: Gut feeling that something’s wrong

I’m a firm believer in a mother’s “sixth sense,” or gut intuition. You know your child best, so if something doesn’t seem right, call your doctor. It’s better to address your concerns early on, so we can catch any illnesses as soon as possible.



Child Health & Safety News Roundup: 06-10-2013 to 06-16-2013

Last updated on December 18th, 2017 at 06:13 pm

twitter thumbWelcome to Pediatric Safety’s weekly “Child Health & Safety News Roundup”- a recap of the past week’s child health and safety news headlines from around the world.

Each day we use Twitter to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and other caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we may miss something, but we think overall we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed. But for our friends and colleagues who are not on Twitter (or who are but may have missed something), we offer you a recap of the past week’s top 15 events & stories.

PedSafe Headline of the Week:

Children’s Hospital Develops First Pediatric-Focused Diabetes Calculator – calculates correct insulin dosage before eating   ow.ly/lXSj2

  • Treatment ‘toolbox’ helps children combat war trauma ow.ly/lWAC5 2012-06-12
  • Google, Yahoo, Microsoft challenged to put child safety first by identifying & auto-blocking users from child porn ow.ly/lWyfB 2012-06-12
  • Few children get hepatitis A in frozen berry outbreak ow.ly/lWxzM experts credit vaccinations for keeping kids safe  2012-06-12
  • Hero dog carries tiny baby to safety after finding her left for dead in roadside rubbish dump ow.ly/lWxtz amazing story 2012-06-12
  • Young pple who drink >1 can of soft drink per day more likely to suffer diabetes and strokes regardless of weight ow.ly/lVkuS 2012-06-11
  • NewYork-Presbyterian pediatric surgeon gives girl born with rare birth defect a new life ow.ly/lVjL9 nice! 2012-06-11
  • Children of Same-Sex Couples Excel in Key Health Indicators: according to new Australian Study ow.ly/lV9hx 2012-06-11
  • Health Tip: Choosing Your Child’s Pediatrician – US News and World Report ow.ly/lV8H5 Useful tips from the AAP  2012-06-11
  • What Are Those White Spots on My Child’s Face? | ow.ly/lU0qS 2012-06-11
  • The Benefits of Volunteering as a Family: pediatricsafety.net/?p=13352 2012-06-10

Summer Camp Health Tips – a Pediatrician’s Point of View

Last updated on July 5th, 2018 at 05:30 pm

Summer camp experiencesLetting go of your child for a day, a week or even a month of camp during the summer is often a very difficult thing for parents to do, and initially, might be very difficult for the child. Most children, however, when they return from such an experience almost invariably have enjoyed themselves and gotten the first taste of living without parents. This can be an extraordinary experience for your child as he or she learns to live and be accountable for certain rules and restrictions.

Of course, you as a parent will worry the first couple of times your children go off “by themselves”. It may help to know that every camp is equipped with fairly up to date equipment and at least a very experienced nurse or Doctor. I myself did this (physician for an overnight camp for a 6 week period) just as I completed my Pediatric Residency and prepared to enter the Air Force. It was a rewarding experience for me and my family.

Most incidences of a medical nature are minor although very rarely a serious issue may occur. When you first apply for the camp for your child they will ask for a complete medical history including chronic or serious conditions that your child may have and any and all allergies, medication or non-medication related. This is an extremely important bit of information so try to be as specific as possible.

Teach your child ahead of time about the importance of such simple things as the proper use of insect repellents and sun blocks as these constitute the causes of the majority of the “problems” in the camp setting. They must also need to be taught the importance of reporting to the nurse or physician any issues they are worried about or are experiencing, as some children will do all they can to avoid seeing these people. If your child has a chronic disease such as asthma, he or she must be aware of the problems they can experience as a result of their illness and report such occurrences to the medical staff. Of course, the medical staff will also be familiar with such individual problems. They should also know about how to self-medicate (inhaler, etc.) if necessary.

Poison Ivy is also a very common occurrence as children spend more time outdoors, they should be told what it looks like and feels like so they can see the medical staff when necessary.

Other “problems” are injury-related and should be brought to the attention of the medical staff – fortunately the majority of these are also of a minor nature.

Finally, they will likely be taught about insects and other critters that can be encounter in the wild during the first days or weeks of camp; snakes, small mammals, spiders, etc.  The camp staff will be very particular and complete when describing such encounters and will err on the side of conservatism while they are in charge of your child.

Wishing you and your kids a happy, healthy, and safe summer.