Pediatricians desire to work alongside parents in helping children grow up healthy physically, emotionally, and mentally. After all, raising kids is an awesome responsibility. So, here are five things your child’s doctor wants you to know, so you can parent confidently, armed with the right information.
1. Vaccines are effective and safe.
You may not know much about polio, the communicable viral disease that paralyzed numerous American children in the early 20th century. Perhaps, though, your grandparents, or their parents, have passed down stories about the real fear regarding this condition. The Salk vaccine distribution, which started in the 1950’s, all but eradicated polio in the United States and other developed countries.
The polio vaccine proved safe and effective and gave children the long, healthy lives they deserved. Today, the many vaccines given to children starting in infancy build important immunity against 14 preventable illnesses, including rubella, hepatitis B, mumps, and more.
Both the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics publish vaccine schedules, which pediatricians use to administer children’s shots at well-child visits. Plus, they urge parents to join their children’s doctors in following these schedules to ensure kids avoid the serious symptoms and complications communicable diseases cause.
2. A strict sleep routine benefits growth and development.
Sleep is not just about resting a child’s body. It’s also critical to brain development, learning, and mental health. Babies need 12 to 15 hours of sleep per day. School-age kids and teens need 8 to 12 hours.
Your pediatrician urges you to prioritize a household bedtime routine. Turn off the TV and other screens an hour before bed. Get baths and toothbrushing done early enough to have time for quiet unwinding with music or reading a book or two. In other words, ease kids into a restful atmosphere, which fosters a good night’s sleep for the whole household.
3. Don’t panic when your child has a fever.
A fever is a sign that your child’s body is fighting an illness. While it may seem alarming, a fever is part of the process to getting healthy again. That’s why you shouldn’t panic. Monitor your child, give them an age-appropriate pain reliever if necessary, give them lots of fluids to drink, and let them sleep and rest as much as possible. If your child’s fever continues to get higher after 24 hours or doesn’t subside after 48 hours, it’s time to see a doctor.
4. Take charge of screen time.
Too much screen time impacts normal brain development in toddlers. Limit it to one hour a day on all devices. For older kids, more frequent screen time is normal. However, make sure they put away their devices for quality time with their family every day, to do their homework, and at least an hour before bed. When they are online, you should know what they’re watching and who they’re speaking with. While fostering independence in forming friendships, in pursuing hobbies, and learning is important, parents are still in charge of monitoring who and what is safe for their kids.
5. Always use the right car seat.
It is an undisputable fact that using the right cat seats saves lives. The recommendations for keeping kids buckled into a car seat have changed dramatically from even a generation ago. Use a car seat appropriate for your child’s age, height, and weight, and position the seat forward-facing only after age five. When your youngster is taller and heavier than the seat recommendations for five year old kids, use a booster seat – even up to age 12 for smaller, lighter children.
Experienced and Reputable Pediatricians in Clearwater, FL
At Children’s Medical Center, we have a highly experienced team of pediatricians who really love kids. They feel honored to partner with parents in the many issues that impact children’s development, growth, and health.
If you have questions or concerns about your child, we’re here to help. Our offices are located in Palm Harbor, Trinity, Lutz, and Westchase, FL. Call for an appointment: (727) 787-6335.