Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Preventing Your Toddler From Choking

Little ones often explore new discoveries by immediately popping them into their mouths.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children in every age group can be at risk for a choking accident. For example, around 17,500 children in the United States ages 14 and younger are taken to the emergency room each year for choking episodes. Because of their exploratory nature and limited ability to chew certain foods, toddlers are at an increased risk for choking.

*Keep small objects out of reach. Any item can pose a choking threat, coins, buttons and other small objects
*When in doubt, dice it up. Remember to cut all foods into tiny bites before serving.
*Make kids sit down. Make sure your child sits while eating meals, as well as snacks or treats such as candy or lollipops.
*Properly prepare fruits and vegetables. To prevent little ones from choking on raw fruits or vegetables, consider cooking them until soft or even mashing them up before serving them. Grapes, peanuts and popcorn are some of the most common foods that cause choking in children younger than 2 years old. Cut the grapes up and do not give peanuts and popcorn to young children.

If a Choking Accident Occurs
It’s important to know what to do in the case of an accident. Remember that a child whose airway is fully blocked won’t be able to speak or cough. If your child is coughing or gagging, his or her airway isn’t fully blocked. Encourage him or her to cough.

However, if your child cannot clear his or her airway by coughing or can’t speak or cough, call 911. Ask your pediatrician to show you appropriate methods to assist your toddler in clearing his or her airway in case of a choking accident.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Safe Splishin' and Splashin'

Warm temperatures, blue skies and sunny days make summer time the best time to enjoy outdoor activities. Swimming is by far the most popular summer activity and can provide fun for people of all ages. However, for young children, swimming can be dangerous, so proper safety precautions need to be taken.

Toddlers between the ages of 1 and 3 require constant supervision around water, and even shallow water can present a safety hazard for these youngsters.

* Use “touch supervision.” The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that adults be within an arm’s length of their toddler at all times while the child is in the water. Inflatable flotation devices should not be used as a substitution for supervision, as the devices could deflate at any time, leaving your child in danger.

*Fence in backyard pools. If you have a pool at home, a fence needs to surround the perimeter of the pool. This fence should be at least 4 feet high and contain a self-closing and locking mechanism. Ensure the fence works properly to prevent your child from being able to open the gate to get to the pool. Also, the fence should be constructed out of wood instead of chain links, so the child cannot climb over the fence.

*Don’t think your child is safe in the water just because he or she has had swimming lessons. Until the age of 4, many pediatricians discourage formal swimming lessons because children younger than 4 are generally not developmentally ready to swim on their own. If your child has had swimming lessons, do not rely solely on the instruction provided to keep them safe. Even children who know how to swim can find themselves in dangerous situations.

*Remove toys from the swimming pool and empty wading pools after every use. By leaving water in a wading pool or toys in a swimming pool, you are increasing the temptation for little ones to jump in the water while mom and dad are not looking. By removing toys, curious toddlers will not be tempted to get back in the water to retrieve them.

By properly supervising your toddler during all water activities, you will ensure that your day at the pool will be filled with nothing but fun.

Credit goes to St. Vincent Children Hospital in Indianapolis. Reviewed by Ralph Reiff, director of Sports Medicine and Sports Performance at St.Vincent Sports Performance–Northwest.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

About 35-40 children die each year from hypothermia.

With the hot summer season now upon is, remember to never leave your child in the car for any length of time unattended. About 35-40 children die each year from hypothermia. Hypothermia occurs when the body temperature rises, your car's internal temperature can raise over 35 degrees in just 30 minutes on a hot day. Leaving the windows open doesn't always help much depending on the temperature, humidity levels, and winds. A baby locked up in the back seat of a car can die in just 15 minutes on a 75-degree day.

Only 15 states have enacted laws prohibiting parents from leaving their children unattended in cars. But states do prosecute and sentence parents who leave their children inside a hot car.

The Golden Gate Weather Services has a lot of good factual information on this topic. This month's Parenting Magazine contains a powerful story about a family who inadvertently forgot their child in the car and the tragedy they've gone through.

Inadvertently leaving a child can happen to anyone. Experts suggest that moms and dads leave an item of importance on the floor of the car by the car seat so that they must open the back seat to get the item and remember baby is along for the ride. This could be a purse, briefcase, laptop, office keys, or other item.

Have a safe summer with your baby!!