Tips for Gifting Your Kids with Optimal Health

As a parent, it is your job to ensure the health and well-being of your children. Paying attention to their health needs before they are even born and being diligent as they mature will help your child grow to be a strong, healthy adult.

Prenatal Care
As the mother-to-be, it's your job to consult a physician as soon as you think you are pregnant, or as soon as you decide to become pregnant. Under a doctor's care, you will receive all of the prenatal vitamins needed to keep you strong and healthy during pregnancy and to ensure that your baby grows strong and healthy in your womb. During pregnancy, it's important to remain under a physician's care, to avoid medications that can be harmful to your unborn baby, to eat a balanced and nutritious diet and to avoid smoking, drinking alcohol or using recreational drugs.

Breastfeeding is purported to be the best method of feeding baby. If, for any reason, you are unable to breastfed your baby, your pediatrician will recommend the formula best suited to your baby's needs.

Travel Safety
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends car seats that offer the best protection for babies. From your baby's first ride home from the hospital until he is at least one year of age, he should be transported in a rear-facing car seat. After the age of one, or by the time your child weighs at least 20 pounds, he can be safely transported in a forward-facing cat seat. When your child moves up to the next level of car seat, it's best to buy him a new one as opposed to using someone else's old car seat, which might be outdated, recalled or not in correct working order.

Caregivers
If you plan to return to work, you'll want to hire a competent nanny or caregiver. It's important that all parents take the time to find and hire the right nanny for their child. A baby cam-right along with the crib and the playpen-is a necessary piece of equipment in any home where a baby will be left under the care of someone other than the parents. Knowing what's going on with your child when you are away can be extremely important to your child's health.

Dental Hygiene
There are millions of germs in the human mouth. These germs form plaque and invade the enamel of our teeth, causing deterioration. Teach your child how important brushing his teeth is. In the first five or six years, it will be your job to make sure your child's teeth get brushed correctly. By the age of about seven, your child will begin to know the rights and wrongs of brushing. Early and continued dental visits are important to your child's oral health.

Correct Nutrition
What your child eats or drinks is also a concern for parents. Children who overeat or who eat the wrong foods have a much higher chance of becoming obese, a condition that already affects about 9 million children in the United States. Children should consume a healthy diet consisting of fruits and vegetables as well as protein and fiber. Limit snacks and sweets and encourage kids to drink water or milk instead of soda.

Physical Activity
Children need to play and to get adequate exercise. Limit time in front of the TV. Encourage your child to go outside and run around a bit. Remember, also, that though the sun is beneficial and necessary to your child's well-being, everyone should avoid being in the sun during the hottest hours of the day. While too much sun can be dangerous, a few minutes of sunlight on a daily basis can go a long way in keeping Vitamin D levels up in the human body. Consult your physician for information regarding the correct sunscreen to use on your children and for advice on how much sun is too much.

Regular Checkups
Start your baby off on the right foot with regular checkups that continue for the remainder of your child's life. When under a physician's care, simple as well as complex issues, such as developmental problems, vision care, obesity, allergies and more can be discovered early and corrected.

Overall Health
The best way to ensure your children remain healthy is to make sure that you put your child first in your life. Children cannot fend for themselves. They do not have the capacity to make the correct decisions when it comes to right or wrong. They are dependant on their parents for everything.

Children who are exposed to second-hand smoke tend to have more respiratory issues, such as asthma and allergies. Stop smoking long before your baby arrives. Don't allow people to smoke around your children and avoid any place where your children will be exposed to second-hand smoke. If you must smoke, take it outdoors, well away from children.

This list of tips for gifting kids with optimal health is a good reference point for parents to follow.

  • Children require supervision at all times.
  • Support your child by giving praise when needed and being there throughout your child's life, which will be filled with ups and downs.
  • Discuss nutrition with your pediatrician. Children require certain vitamins and minerals on a daily basis, and kids' nutritional needs vary from those of adults.
  • Know the dangers and the benefits of the sun.
  • Make sure your child is getting adequate rest.
  • Daily exercise is a must for children. Limit TV time.
  • Regular checkups with both the doctor and the dentist are important for the well-being of your child. Early detection is the key to preventing many issues from becoming permanent health problems.
  • Parents should look to their own habits when it comes to their children. If you drink, smoke or abuse drugs, you send a message to your kids that this behavior is acceptable. "Do as I say, not as I do," doesn't work; you must lead by example.
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