breastfeeding vs bottle feedingIt’s an exciting time! Your new baby will soon be a member of your family and you are doing all that you can to prepare for his or her arrival by buying clothes, setting up a nursery, and doing research on the best way to nourish your little one. If you are wondering about breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding your baby, we’ve compiled benefits for both options. The Association of Childcare Physicians knows that no matter which feeding option you prefer, placing their health and happiness first is a parent’s utmost concern.

Breastfeeding is the most common recommendation you will often hear from other mothers as well as physicians. Breastfeeding offers your new baby supreme nourishment, offering the baby an abundance of health benefits that breastfeeding provides. Breast milk is the perfect combination of proteins, fats, vitamins, and carbohydrates. There is nothing better for your baby’s health than breast milk, especially during the first six months of your baby’s life.

There are many pros to breastfeeding, but one attractive reason to breastfeed is that it’s free. Formula is not cheap, and the costs can add up quickly. Bonding time with your baby is another huge benefit of breastfeeding. Studies show that skin to skin contact between mom and baby exchanges sensory information that helps the baby stay calm and maintain a healthy body temperature and blood sugar level. Moms that breast feed are able to pump and save their milk for later so other family members can help during the feedings, which alleviates some of the sleepless nights.

One of the largest benefits to breastfeeding are the nutrients and health benefits breast milk provides to the baby. Breast milk helps protect against allergies and eczema, causes less stomach upset and constipation than formula, reduces the risk of viruses and lessons the risks of SIDS. The mother also benefits physically from breast feeding as studies show it can lower the risk of getting breast and ovarian cancers. Breastfeeding moms also tend to burn any extra baby-weight faster.

Breastfeeding is not for everyone. Cons of breastfeeding do exist, and one main issue is getting the baby to latch to the breast. Often times poor latch can cause nipple and breast pain for the mom when nursing. Breastfeeding can also cause painful clogged milk ducts and even lead to mastitis. Breastfeeding moms also have to be cautious of certain foods, drinks and medications because it can be passed on to the baby through breast milk.

Bottle feeding, also known as formula feeding, is a convenient alternative to breast milk and can be utilized by all caregivers of a new baby. Some babies do indeed have trouble latching on to a mother’s breast for milk. If this happens and the baby is not gaining weight appropriately, using formula to nourish your baby is a wonderful option. The nipples of a bottle come in a variety of sizes and options, making it easier for the baby to drink. Formula also comes in a variety of options. Consult with your baby’s pediatrician for recommendations.

Pros of bottle-feeding your baby may vary, but one benefit that stands out is that the pressure to feed the baby is not always on you. For working moms or moms that travel often, it’s comforting to know that anyone can make the formula and feed the baby. Another benefit of bottle feeding is that you don’t have to worry about altering your diet or medications because your baby isn’t breastfeeding. Today, there are very good formulas available with nutrients that will help your baby grow strong and healthy.

With bottle feeding, there is more cost involved. Bottles, nipples and the formula itself can get costly. For some babies, it’s difficult to find a formula that the baby digests easily because they can react differently to different ingredients. The good news is there are more options available than ever before.

Have more questions about breastfeeding or formula-feeding your new baby? We can help answer any questions that may surface as you prepare for your baby’s arrival. Learn more by contacting the Association of Childcare Physicians by calling (618) 235-2311 or by visiting our website. Dr. Kellow and Dr. Shaw can help you decide the best feeding option for your entire family.

Keeping Kids Healthy and Safe this HalloweenTrick or treat, smell my feet…are you sure what you’re handing out this Halloween is safe for kids to eat? We’ve included a list of what candy is best to hand out to trick-or-treaters this Halloween and which ones to steer clear from. Halloween should be an enjoyable time for kids of all ages, even children that may suffer from food allergies.

Gummy Candies. Delicious and chewy, gummy candies can certainly be addictive! Unfortunately, they are very high in sugar and are full of chemicals. Candies in this group are Skittles, Mike & Ikes, and Sour Patch Kids, to name a few. Gummy candies are full of chemicals and an amalgam of sugars. Sure, they taste good and may be easier for children of younger ages to suck and chew on, but it does not mean we should let our children devour them this Halloween. Gummy candies are best eaten within moderation, and children should be encouraged to brush and floss their teeth right after they eat it. As with most sugary treats, the longer gummy candies are on teeth the more time they have to begin to form cavities.

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Candies are in some ways a healthier option. In moderation, they have better health benefits because the chocolate contains cocoa and the nutty varieties include protein from peanuts. Candies such as Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Snicker, and Twix are great examples. The “fun size” versions of these candies also offer children a couple bites of sweetness to satisfy a sweet tooth with a lower calorie count and less sugar.

Hard Candies can be a choking hazard to younger trick-or-treaters. Consumption of Lemon heads, Gobstoppers, and Jawbreakers should be monitored closely when being enjoyed by smaller children. According to a study conducted by Pediatrics, hard candy accounted for 15% percent of all choking episodes. If your kids love jawbreakers, make sure they are old enough and that they take their time to eat them.

How do you say “no more candy” to your cute ghost, precious princess, or favorite superhero this Halloween?You can keep the candy on a higher shelf, unable to be reached by younger children and allocate how much and how often they are allowed to enjoy the candy. Halloween is the perfect time to practice eating in moderation with your children! A child between the ages of 2 and 18 should be consuming no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar every day. That is about 25 grams of sugar which equals out to about 100 calories. For your trick or treater, that is about one fun sized candy bar a day, depending on what treat you decide to divvy out. This may seem extreme, but one piece of candy a day teaches them they don’t need to devour all the candy at one sitting, possibly ending up with a belly ache afterwards. Enjoying Halloween candy in moderation is simply a healthier way to treat yourself, and your children.

Acknowledging Children with Allergies. Did you knowmilk, eggs, peanuts, soy, wheat, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish are responsible for 90% of allergens responsible for allergic reactions? This Halloween, you can make the holiday enjoyable for children suffering from food allergies by participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project. To participate in this project, you put a teal pumpkin out in the front of your home and pass out non-food related treats such as bubbles, stickers, and glow sticks. The teal pumpkin represents which houses are giving out non-food related treats that children with and without allergies can enjoy. Of course, there are also lists available online of treats that are “allergy-friendly” for kids this Halloween.

The Association of Childcare Physicians want you and your child to be educated this year as you enjoy all of your Halloween festivities, including the treats! The Association of Childcare Physicians can be reached by calling (618) 235-2311 or by visiting our website. Dr. Kellow and Dr. Shaw want your children to live healthy, quality lives, receiving the best medical care possible during this holiday season and all year long.

 

teach a baby to sleep on their ownEvery baby is different, and unfortunately their eating and sleeping patterns can change from one week to the next. Your new baby did not come with a handbook, and his/her development can’t be based on what your older sister did for her baby at the same age. Some babies sleep splendidly as soon as they are home with you, while others may struggle to sleep soundly until they are toddlers. Is there a strategy or technique for teaching your baby to sleep on their own?

Before parenthood, many of us thought that we’d simply be able to feed our newborn and gently place them down to sleep, without any issues or hassle. Instead, parents often discover that their baby may fall asleep after being fed and then rocked to sleep, but as soon as they are placed in their crib the crying starts. A popular concept referred to as “sleep training” may be something to consider.

Sleep training involves helping your baby to fall asleep on their own, without nursing, rocking or using a pacifier. It’s not just having your child “cry it out”, but the concept behind teaching your child they have the ability to fall asleep on their own. Experts state that whatever tools you are using to help your baby fall asleep at night will be the same things they look for in the middle of the night when they need soothing. If they are relying on your soft arms to hold them, while rocking them to sleep, they will miss that comfort and movement when they realize they are in their crib alone. With sleep training, the goal is to comfort your child so they are drowsy but not fast-asleep before lying down for the night. Inevitably, this causes tears, especially in the beginning.

Experts disagree on how much crying is acceptable during sleep training. But research does show that babies older than six months may benefit from sleep training and “controlled” crying. Again, every child achieves developmental milestones at different times so it’s important to know your baby and follow his/her cues. To a parent’s benefit, most pediatricians state that there’s no evidence suggesting it’s psychologically damaging to let a baby cry, as long as it’s for a reasonable amount of time.

Good sleep habits are important regardless if you are 2 or 22 years old. Being able to fall asleep well – and stay asleep – is an important life skill no matter what age you are. Putting a healthy sleep routine into place for your child will help minimize the amount of crying as your child grows and matures. Of course, in the beginning, it may be quite hard to hear those cries and see those tears, but don’t give up.

Around the age of 4 months, babies tend to go through a sleep regression because sleep cycles change. During this time, babies sleep a bit lighter making it a good time to begin working on their sleep development skills. However, if you have a 9-month-old and you’ve never tried to work on a sleep routine, it’s nevertoo late to start. Some experts believe there are benefits to beginning a sleep routine a little later, too. Older babies can typically sleep all night without feedings and they also tend to understand routines better, day or night. Every situation is different, so it’s best to consult with your pediatrician before you implement a sleep-training method. It’s especially important to discuss any thoughts on withholding night-time feedings on younger babies (under 5 months).

Make sure you follow a regular schedule and put your child to bed at a consistent time. This can begin as early as 2 months. By placing your child in bed when they are a bit drowsy but still awake and establishing a calming routine like feeding them and then a bath, will help your child respond better and be ready for sleep.

There are many different methods highlighted in books and articles. Finding the right method for you and your family may take some trial and error. There may be crying and some fussing at night in the beginning of a new sleep training implementation. Keep in mind, if your baby is old enough not to need food in the middle of the night, is active, healthy and happy during the day, one of the most important benefits necessary to thrive is sleep. Doing what you can to create a comfortable sleep oasis is important to your child’s development.

As your child continues to grow, he/she will have the skills needed to fall asleep without too much fuss. Sure, sleep routines will change due to illness, vacations, daycare and/or school, but offering as much consistency as possible and being tuned in to their needs will help all of you adapt to change accordingly. Trying to stay on track with your child’s good routines and not acquire bad habits will be an important part of a restful night’s sleep!

If you would like to learn more about healthy sleep habits for your child, please contact the Association of Childcare Physicians by calling (618) 235-2311 or by visiting our website. Dr. Kellow and Dr. Shaw want your children to stay healthy and safe, learning beneficial sleep habits early.

feed kids before schoolIf we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it a thousand times, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” In simple terms, it makes sense to eat breakfast since your body has rested for eight hours and it needs the first meal of the day to refuel. It’s even more important to refuel those younger bodies getting ready to learn all day long. But, what is really the best meal to kick-off your child’s school day? Do some meals fare better than others?

Kids Health, an online source of information, offers many guidelines for your child’s health, including what foods are best for our children and their growing bodies. A relatively new program called “Go, Slow, and Whoa!” is a guide for kids wanting to eat right for breakfast as well as every other meal of the day (and snack time, too). This program is associated with the U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, which is part of the National Institute of Health. “Go, Slow, and Whoa!” is a way for all of us to think about food consumption.

The healthiest foods are considered the “Go” foods. Raw veggies, an apple, some grapes and milk or dairy are easy and quick foods to consume and fall in the “Go” category. “Slow” foods are things like hamburgers and pancakes that can be eaten, just not every single day. “Whoa!” foods are the items that may cause weight problems if eaten too often. French fries and ice cream are on the “Whoa!” list. A complete list can be found on their website.

Did you know kids (and adults) who skip breakfast end up eating more calories throughout the day? It’s true. Skipping breakfast is not the best way to lose weight. Some kids may skip breakfast because they end up sleeping in, but there are some easy and quick ways to start your day off right with food that doesn’t take time to prepare. Yogurt, fresh fruit and whole grain muffins are a great way to start the day. Hard boiled eggs are also an easy, on-the-go way to fuel your body first thing in the morning.

Studies show that kids who don’t eat breakfast are less prepared for learning at school, get less iron in their diets and can end up having a higher BMI, which is a body mass index and indicator of being overweight. Want to fend off added calories, weight gain and a negative learning curve? Eat breakfast! Eating a wholesome breakfast may take a little planning the night before, so we’ve included a tasty, easy recipe to start your day with (and it tastes good, too). Enjoy!

Spinach Banana Muffins

Joyfoodsunshine.com

2 cups old fashioned oats

¼ cup ground flaxseed

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ cup coconut sugar (or your favorite sugar)

½ cup almond milk

2 cups packed spinach leaves

¼ cup coconut oil

2 extra-ripe bananas

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease or line a muffin tin. Blend 2 cups of old-fashioned oats in a blender until it’s the texture of flour. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl. Add the rest of the dry ingredients to the oat flour and set aside. Add almond milk to the blender followed by 2 cups of spinach. Blend until smooth. Add bananas and coconut oil and continue blending. Add vanilla and eggs and blend until combined. Pour wet ingredients to dry mixture and stir to combine, making sure there are no lumps. Fill each muffin with ¼ cup of batter and bake for 20-25 minutes. Muffins can be frozen until ready to heat up and eat!

 

vaccinating your childIf you haven’t heard about the threat of measles resurfacing, then you haven’t been watching the news or listening to the radio. This year alone, more than 900 cases have been reported, and even anti-vaxxers are taking notice. In 1963, nearly every child in the United States contracted measles before they turned 15, although there’s believed to be even more cases that went unreported. The CDC estimated that 4 million people actually caught the measles every year, resulting in death, hospitalization, encephalitis and brain swelling.

Today, lawmakers, doctors and scientists work diligently to spread the word about the importance of vaccinations. In 1993, the Vaccines for Children Program was created to allow those unable to afford vaccines to get them for free. Regarding measles, the year 2000 was declared “measles free” with the disease no longer being believed to be transmitted amongst Americans. If measles was eliminated from the American population, why is there now a resurgence of it? Measles is among the most contagious diseases in the world and can still be found in some places around the globe. When unvaccinated people travel, their exposure brings the disease back to the U.S. upon their return.

An article on CNBC.com quotes Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, as saying, “It’s hard to un-scare people. It’s easy to scare them, but it’s much harder to un-scare them.” Even though there are almost 20 studies from seven countries that have proven children who receive vaccines are at no greater risk of getting autism from vaccinations, the fear still lives in the news, anti-vaccination groups and social media.

As mentioned earlier, serious diseases still exist worldwide, but thanks to vaccines, most parents today have never seen the devastating effects of these diseases. Diseases like polio, measles and whooping cough that have been known in the past to completely overcome communities still exist, and when vaccination rates are low, it’s probable an outbreak can occur.

In the U.S., vaccines are tested repeatedly and thoroughly before being given to children. As new information becomes available about any vaccine, updates are made to ensure safety as well as effectiveness. Side effects are quite rare from vaccinations and are most definitely less of a risk than contracting one of the diseases if one decides NOT to vaccinate. Most all children can be vaccinated safely with the exception of children with allergies to something in a vaccine or children with a weakened immune system due to illness.

If you are looking for more reasons to vaccinate or have questions about any vaccinations recommended for your child, don’t hesitate to ask your child’s doctor at their next visit. The Association of Childcare Physicians can be reached by calling (618) 235-2311 or by visiting our website. Dr. Kellow and Dr. Shaw want your children to live healthy, quality lives, receiving the best medical care possible.

summer safety tipsIt’s finally flip flop weather and that means more outdoor activities, warmer temperatures, and summer fun. Now is the perfect time to go over safety tips with the entire family so they know how to protect themselves from too much sun, bug bites and more. Children of all ages can benefit from a summer safety conversation to kick off the best summer yet!

Sunscreen safety. Actions speak louder than words when, as parents, you use sunscreen regularly. Your children will likely not resist the application of sunscreen before an afternoon at the pool when they see you are also being cautious. Help younger children apply sunscreen, and eventually teach them how to do it themselves, with supervision. Generally speaking, use generous amounts of UVA and UVB blocking sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, reapplying every two hours. Long day outside on the water or beach? UV protective clothing, hats and sunglasses will prevent too much sun exposure and also ensures you’ll be able to enjoy the next beautiful day without a sunburn!

Keep bugs at bay. There are some repellents made with DEET, which can be toxic when consumed. If you do decide to use DEET, make sure to get it washed off your hands especially before bedtime to prevent any overexposure. Doctors recommend a 30% DEET concentration to prevent viruses like West Nile. There are other options available, however. Talk to your Association of Childcare Physician; they’d be happy to suggest DEET alternatives. It’s important to know that just because some insect repellents are listed as “natural”, doesn’t necessarily mean they are safe. Wearing long sleeves, avoiding play by stagnant pools of water, and the avoidance of perfumed soap will help keep those bugs from biting you or your loved ones.

Food safety in the summer heat. Bacteria grows faster in hotter temperatures and humidity. With outdoor picnics and cook-outs, food is being prepared and eaten outside, sometimes being left in the warmer temperatures longer than it should be. Additionally, the ability to find a place to wash your hands before that summer feast may be hard to find. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before eating if you can’t find a sink with soap and don’t cross-contaminate your food by re-using utensils or plates that may have been exposed to uncooked food at your summer campsite.

Other tips, like drinking enough water when in the outdoor heat, wearing safety helmets when biking around town or on the bike trail, and safeguarding home playgrounds to ensure safe, summer fun are topics the entire family should discuss. Own a trampoline in your backyard or know of one in the neighborhood? Everyday Health offers some handy tips to keep your kids safe while jumping at https://www.everydayhealth.com/kids-health/5-tips-for-trampoline-safety.aspx.

If you would like to learn more about keeping your children safe this summer, please contact the Association of Childcare Physicians by calling (618) 235-2311 or by visiting our website. Dr. Kellow and Dr. Shaw want your children to stay healthy and safe, enjoying the summer months and making memories that will last a lifetime.

dry drowningAs the warmer summer months approach, so do the fun-filled trips to local pools. Pool parties and cool pool fun can be a highlight of the summer, but it’s also important to know that children are at a higher risk than adults for drowning. About one in five people who die from drowning every day are children 14 and younger, based on a factsheet from the CDC about water safety.

As parents, we want to keep our children safe from harm and it’s important to know about water safety as pools open this Memorial Day weekend. However, we should also be watching out for our child when they get out of the water. Drowning is a risk that can happen, but there are also extensions to traditional drowning that may cause harm – or even death.

Have you ever heard of dry drowning? This occurs after someone has accidentally attempted to inhale water (although it doesn’t enter the lungs) and the vocal cords do not relax. Due to this spasm, air does not enter the lungs, thus mimicking a drowning effect. As parents, it’s important to recognize the symptoms of dry drowning. They are:

  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Difficulty Swallowing
  • Persistent Coughing
  • Sleepiness
  • Choking
  • Vomiting

There are ways to avoid this frightening occurrence and lower the risk of water injuries and accidents.

  • Monitor your children around water at all times. It’s important your children know the dangers of the water and learn to swim.
  • Designate an older child or another adult to watch out for everyone with you. Two pairs of eyes are better than one.
  • Own a pool? It’s best to have a barrier around it so no one accidentally falls in. In many jurisdictions, this is also required by law.
  • For the little ones: puddle jumpers, life vests and more. You can never be too careful with floating devices and strong supervision.
  • Don’t put too many rafts in the pool; they can block the surface and your little one might not be able to come up for air quickly enough.
  • Limit pool time. As children grow more tired and less aware, accidents are more likely to Children of all ages benefit from rest and breaks from being in the pool.

In addition, there is also another term referred to as “secondary drowning” where water does reach the lungs but the person slowly drowns over the next 48 hours. You can monitor both types of drowning by looking for the symptoms that we have listed above. If you see any of the symptoms in your child, take them to the emergency room immediately. They will be able to quickly assess the situation and decide the best course of action. There are medical tests and medical options for your loved one that may be experiencing lack of oxygen, so don’t delay when seeking medical care after a presumed dry drowning incident.

Need more information about dry drowning and how to prevent it? Contact the Association of Childcare Physicians by calling (618) 235-2311 or by visiting our website. Dr. Kellow and Dr. Shaw want your children to stay healthy and safe this summer and all year long.

co-sleepingWhen you become a parent, you are making crucial decisions on an ongoing basis regarding the health and happiness of your child. One of those decisions, as common as it may sound, is regarding where your child sleeps and it’s a wildly debated topic.

A parent can decide to co-sleep with their baby – which means having your newborn sleep in bed with you or next to the bed in the same room. However, the high risk associated with sleeping with your child in the bed with you as a parent or caregiver is often considered too high of a risk to take.

Instead of actually sleeping in the bed with your newborn, bassinets are a wonderful option. A new parent can make co-sleeping work for them without the newborn actually sleeping in the bed. Co-sleeping benefits can be achieved by placing a bassinet next to the bed instead. One statistic on co-sleeping indicated that there were 8,207 infant deaths from 2004 to 2012 in 24 states, and 74% of those deaths occurred in a bed-sharing situation.

Some may argue that co-sleeping reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). However, you gain more risks when putting the child in the bed with you. By simply putting the newborn in a bassinet next to the bed, rather than in the bed, you are decreasing the risk factors of two sleeping adults possibly suffocating the newborn accidentally while in bed with him or her. The American Academy of Pediatrics says sleeping in the parent’s room, separately, on a safe surface (such as a crib or bassinet) lowers SIDS up to 50%.

The US National Library of Medicine states that co-sleeping is popular, even though there are risks involved. In 2012, a study was done on bed-sharing between parents and newborns and the occurrence of co-sleeping doubled from 1993 and 2010 from a mere 6% to 13.5%. Why do parents still co-sleep?  Studies show that babies can get a boost in development from sleeping with their parents. Keep in mind this feeling of added security is also believed to happen when the newborn sleeps in the parent’s room, safe and secure in a nearby crib.

Another reason to co-sleep is for mothers that breastfeed. Breastfeeding can be easier when the baby is in the room because newborns are eating around the clock. However, even if your baby is within arms reach in a crib nearby, you can breastfeed with ease, if you chose to do so.

It’s true: being a parent can be exhausting, especially with a newborn! Co-sleeping often disturbs a parent’s deep sleep because of the worry that your newborn is sleeping right next to you in the bed.  Your sleep is imperative to your well-being, especially now that you have a newborn you are caring for every day and night.

Think about the ABC’s of Safe Sleeping, found at the website pathways.org:

A –  Alone. The newborn sleeps alone. Not with you in the bed. This is good for the first six to twelve months of an infant’s life.

B –  Back. The baby sleeps on their back with nothing interfering. Such as a back pad, blankets, and covers or toys.

C –  Crib. Your infant needs to be sleeping somewhere, and a crib or bassinet is your best option.

Deciding to co-sleep is a decision between you and your partner. But it’s important to understand the significance of setting up a good routine for you, your baby and your entire household. If you have questions or concerns about your newborn’s sleep schedule or co-sleeping, contact Dr. Kellow or Dr. Shaw and we’d be happy to discuss what’s best for your beautiful, new family member. Give us a call at 618-235-2311 or contact us here.

protect your child from dangerous online behaviorThe Tide Challenge is one of the most dangerous internet challenges that may have influenced impressionable children in decades. The challenge began by viral videos surfacing of teens biting into the pod, with the detergent running down their face and into their bodies. The trend started in late 2017, still circulating the internet today.

The Tide challenge, of course, was incredibly dangerous. There have been hospitalizations, deaths, and cases of children nearly losing their lives…all because kids wanted ten minutes of fame on YouTube or other social media outlets. The incredible danger of putting one of the colorful detergent-filled packs into their mouth, then biting down, seems unthinkable. As adults, we know that the pod bursting with harmful chemicals into the mouth and into the digestive system of children is a ridiculous way to get attention.

Although this particular video challenge is in the past with new containers being introduced and parents being placed on high-alert, there are always other “challenges” making the news.

Other challenges that have swept the internet include the Kylie Lip Challenge, the Ice and Salt Challenge, the Cinnamon Challenge, and even more recently—The Bird Box Challenge. Based off of the popular movie by the same name, kids are putting on a blindfold and completing their daily activities like working, cooking, and even more dangerous—driving.

Protecting your children from dangerous behaviors they may be exposed to is imperative to their well-being. As parents, there are things we can do to make sure an internet challenge doesn’t turn into an internet tragedy.

There are ways to limit the dangerous videos they view going viral on YouTube. On most devices, you can remove the “YouTube” permission entirely. Another option, allowing them to use “YouTube Kids” solely, protects children from the unfiltered “YouTube” website, often not filtering the videos showcasing harmful behaviors.

Another social media platform, Snapchat, is where some of the wilder challenges can spread, with no trace found. This platform shows the message with seconds to spare, only to disappear moments later. Many Snapchat channels can be viewed showcasing celebrities and their escapades, other area youths doing “day to day” activities, and more. Filtering is non-existent, and often kids add friends to their Snapchat groups they hardly know. Monitoring this app is important and having discussions about what is appropriate is always a crucial step in communicating with our children about social media. If you are asking yourself if your child is too young for Snapchat, he or she probably is.

It’s also important to communicate with other parents as well as school administrators about what your child may be watching online. Even doing a quick “online search” of the latest social media crazes is easy to do. By far, the best way to keep your children safe is by talking to them about the benefits and pitfalls of social media. Make sure they know keeping their privacy online is a key safety step. Never use their full name, phone number or address without a parent’s permission. Don’t open emails from people they don’t know, and never respond to hurtful or disturbing messages. Talking to your children is one of the most important things you can do. By understanding and asking what is going on in their lives, they are more likely to communicate with you any issues or concerns.

If you would like to learn more, please contact the Association of Childcare Physicians by calling (618) 235-2311 or by visiting our website. Dr. Kellow and Dr. Shaw want your children to stay healthy and safe, learning practical lifestyle behaviors that they can use for a lifetime.

Should I Give My Kids Supplements?Fruits, grains, protein and vegetables are all a part of the classic “food pyramid”. A newer representation of this handy graphic, called MyPlate, can be found at www.choosemyplate.gov offering an easy reminder for all of us to eat healthy. A variety of foods offer our children the vitamins and minerals needed to maintain active, healthy lifestyles. And, eating right at an early age will only help to develop young taste buds in children – cravings that prefer a diet with limited sugar and a lot of natural, healthy goodness found in the MyPlate guidelines.

We all know the importance of eating a well-balanced diet, but then reality sets in. Late night practices, slept-through alarms, and rushing from point A to point B can make ensuring your children always receive the healthiest options more difficult. With fast food drive-throughs and skipped meals, how do we make sure our children are receiving the nutrients they need to thrive? That’s when supplements may need to be considered as part of your daily routine.

If your child is a picky-eater or maintains a poor diet, supplements may make sense. Other reasons supplements can be used include incorporating them into the diet of children that follow a vegetarian or a vegan diet. Integrating vitamin B12 would be beneficial since it’s only found in animal-based proteins. Some celiac diseases also put children at a higher risk for deficiencies, making supplements a wonderful option for them.

The best option? Strive for a well-rounded diet. A balanced diet includes dairy (or dairy alternatives), fruits, veggies, grains and proteins like eggs, nuts, and poultry. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, most of our children simply do NOT get enough iron and enough calcium. Some foods that offer iron include beef, pork, turkey, beans and spinach. Why is iron important? It builds strong muscles and helps to produce red blood cells. If your child is lacking iron, you may notice they are tired, are more anxious, and become ill more often. Calcium found in dairy products, spinach and broccoli helps grow healthy bones and if children don’t get enough of it, they could suffer from poor growth and osteoporosis as they age.

Other supplements typically important in a child’s development include Vitamin D, A, and B. Vitamin D is important because it controls the absorption of calcium and helps grow strong bones and teeth. Kids that consume less than 32 ounces of Vitamin D may need a supplement to meet those recommended amounts. Vitamin B helps with metabolism and energy, and Vitamin A helps with normal growth for healthy skin, eyes and resistance against infection.

Unsure if your child would benefit from a supplement? It’s best to check with your child’s doctor and discuss options. Taking large amounts of vitamins, for example, can prove to be more harmful than beneficial. Thousands of children are taken to the ER each year because they have consumed too many vitamins, usually unsupervised. Although children’s vitamins in chewable, gummy-form are more desirable to take, sometimes children can treat their consumption like candy. It’s best to always administer any vitamins to your child and keep the bottle on a tall, hard-to-reach shelf to be safe. Ideally, getting vitamins and minerals through food and drink should be your ultimate goal for a happy, healthy lifestyle.

Have specific questions about your child’s diet or other ways to incorporate healthy eating? We are happy to help! Deciding to incorporate supplements, like a daily vitamin, into your child’s diet may make sense but it’s important to discuss it with one of our pediatricians first. Learn more by contacting the Association of Childcare Physicians by calling (618) 235-2311 or by visiting our website. Dr. Kellow and Dr. Shaw want to make sure your child learn healthy eating habits as a foundation for an overall healthy lifestyle!

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