How to Get Your Child to Eat More Fruits & Veggies


We all know that eating fruits and vegetables is important. But how do you get kids to eat more of these foods?

Tips for Parents:

  • Provide fruits and vegetables as snacks. Keep fruit washed, cut up and in plain sight in the refrigerator.
  • Serve salads more often. Get prewashed, bagged salad at the grocery store. Teach your child what an appropriate amount of salad dressing is and how it can be ordered on the side at restaurants.
  • Try out vegetarian recipes for spaghetti, lasagna, chili, or other foods using vegetables instead of meat.
  • Include at least one leafy green or yellow vegetable for vitamin A such as spinach, broccoli, winter squash, greens, or carrots each day.
  • Include at least one vitamin C–rich fruit or vegetable, such as oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, melon, tomato, and broccoli each day.
  • Add a fruit or vegetable as part of every meal or snack. For example, you could put fruit on cereal, add a piece of fruit or small salad to your child’s lunch, use vegetables and dip for an after-school snack, or add a vegetable or two you want to try to the family’s dinner.
  • Be a role model — eat more fruits and vegetables yourself.

​More Things You Can Do:

  • Be sure your child is getting the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day. Visit choosemyplate.gov​ to find out how much of each food group your child should be getting.
  • When shopping for food, start in the area of the store where they keep fresh fruits and vegetables. Stock up. That way you know you always have some on hand to serve your child.
  • Avoid buying high-calorie foods such as chips, cookies, and candy bars. Your child may not ask for these treats if they are not in sight.
  • Limit or eliminate how much fruit juice you give your child and make sure it is 100% juice, not juice “drinks.”
  • Eat a​s a family whenever possible. Research shows that kids eat more vegetables and fruits and less fried foods and sugary drinks when they eat with the entire family.

Remember…By choosing health-promoting foods, you can establish good nutritional habits in your child that will last for the rest of his or her life.


Adapted from Pediatric Obesity: Prevention, Intervention, and Treatment Strategies for Primary Care (Copyright © 2014 American Academy of Pediatrics). The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.


Pesticides, Herbicides and Children

Pesticides represent a large group of chemical products (including herbicides) designed to kill or harm unwanted insects, plants, molds, and rodents.

Pesticides are used in a variety of settings, including homes, schools, parks, lawns, gardens, and farms. While they may kill insects, rodents, and weeds, some are toxic to people when consumed in food and water.

More research is needed to determine the short- and long-term effects of pesticides on humans. Although some studies have found connections between some childhood cancers and an exposure to pesticides, other studies have not reached the same conclusions. Many pesticides disrupt the nervous system of insects, and research has shown that they have the potential to damage the neurological system of children.

Prevention

Try to limit your child’s unnecessary exposure to pesticides. To reduce such exposure:

  • Minimize using foods in which chemical pesticides were used by farmers.
  • Wash all fruits and vegetables with water before your child consumes them.
  • For your own lawn and garden, use nonchemical pest control methods whenever possible. If you keep bottles of pesticides in your home or garage, make sure they’re out of the reach of children to avoid any accidental poisoning.
  • Avoid routinely spraying homes or schools to prevent insect infestations.

For more information see Pesticide Exposure in Children (AAP Policy Statement) and Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units (PEHSUs)​


Source: Adapted from Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age Five (Copyright © 2009 American Academy of Pediatrics). The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.


LISTEN: Summer Planning for Your Kids

What are your kids doing this summer? Sitting around playing video games all day? Or do you have something healthier and more fun in mind?

Have you planned out some summer fun for your kids?

Summer can be a real break for you from the busy days of the school year. However, watching your kids just sit around and waste the days can also be frustrating.

Coming up with activities that will stretch their minds and work their bodies can be a productive challenge for you both.

CLICK HERE to listen to RADIO-MD’s Dr. Cori Cross and Melanie Cole, MS, help you plan your summer so your kids get something out of it and still have a great time. You just might too!

Stay Safe this 4th of July

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) continues to urge families NOT to buy fireworks for their own or their children’s use, as thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured each year while using consumer fireworks.

Despite the dangers of fireworks, few people understand the associated risks — devastating burns, other injuries, fires and even death. The AAP is part of the Alliance to Stop Consumer Fireworks, a group of health and safety organizations that urges the public to avoid the use of consumer fireworks and to only enjoy displays of fireworks conducted by trained professionals.

Fireworks Safety Tips for Families:

  • Fireworks can result in severe burns​, blindness, scars and even death.
  • Fireworks that are often thought to be safe, such as sparklers, can reach temperatures above 1000°Fahrenheit, and can burn users and bystanders.
  • Attend community fireworks displays run by professionals rather than using fireworks at home.
  • The AAP recommends prohibiting public sale of all fireworks, including those by mail or the Internet.​​
  • Keep the 4th of July fun and leave the fireworks to the professionals.

  • Source: American Academy of Pediatrics (Copyright © 2019). The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.


Summer Reading Programs for All Ages

LOCAL LIBRARIES’ SUMMER READING PROGRAMS

Branford
Blackstone Memorial Library
A Universe of Stories

Willoughby Wallace Memorial Library
A Universe of Stories

Cheshire
Cheshire Public Library
Summer Adventure

East Haven
Hagman Memorial Library

Hamden
Hamden Public Library
A Universe of Stories

New Haven
New Haven Free Public Library
A Universe of Stories

North Haven
North Haven Memorial Library
“Laugh Out Loud Library!”

Wallingford
Wallingford Public Library
Summer Reading

What can I do to get more fit?

Any type of regular, physical activity can improve your fitness and your health. The most important thing is that you keep moving!

Exercise should be a regular part of your day, like brushing your teeth, eating, and sleeping. It can be in gym class, joining a sports team, or working out on your own. Keep the following tips in mind:

  • Stay positive and have fun. A good mental attitude is important. Find an activity that you think is fun. You are more likely to keep with it if you choose something you like. A lot of people find it’s more fun to exercise with someone else, so see if you can find a friend or family member to be active with you.
  • Take it one step at a time. Small changes can add up to better fitness. For example, walk or ride your bike to school or to a friend’s house instead of getting a ride. Get on or off the bus several blocks away and walk the rest of the way. Use the stairs instead of taking the elevator or escalator.
  • Get your heart pumping. Whatever you choose, make sure it includes aerobic activity that makes you breathe harder and increases your heart rate. This is the best type of exercise because it increases your fitness level and makes your heart and lungs work better. It also burns off body fat. Examples of aerobic activities are basketball, running, or swimming.
  • Don’t forget to warm up with some easy exercises or mild stretching before you do any physical activity. This warms your muscles up and may help protect against injury. Stretching makes your muscles and joints more flexible too. It is also important to stretch out after you exercise to cool down your muscles.

Your goal should be to do some type of exercise every day. It is best to do some kind of aerobic activity without stopping for at least 20 to 30 minutes each time. Do the activity as often as possible, but don’t exercise to the point of pain.

A Healthy Lifestyle

In addition to exercise, making just a few other changes in your life can help keep you healthy, such as

  • Watch less TV or spend less time playing computer or video games. (Use this time to exercise instead!) Or exercise while watching TV (for example, sit on the floor and do sit-ups and stretches; use hand weights; or use a stationary bike, treadmill, or stair climber).
  • Eat 3 healthy meals a day, including at least 4 servings of fruits, 5 servings of vegetables, and 4 servings of dairy products.
  • Make sure you drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after any exercise (water is best but flavored sports drinks can be used if they do not contain a lot of sugar). This will help replace what you lose when you sweat.
  • Stop drinking or drink fewer regular soft drinks.
  • Eat less junk food and fast food. (They’re often full of fat, cholesterol, salt, and sugar.)
  • Get 9 to 10 hours of sleep every night.
  • Don’t smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, or do drugs.

Source: Get Fit, Stay Healthy (Copyright © 2006 American Academy of Pediatrics, Updated 3/2006). The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

THIS WEEKEND: Connecticut Trails Day

Did you know that Connecticut hosts the largest National Trails Day celebration in the nation?

With more than 250 events to choose from, it could be a hard decision. Thankfully, the Connecticut Forest and Park Association has a great directory of events for you and your family to use.

START HERE > Go to the Online Directory, sort by what interests you, how hard it is, and even if you can bring your dog! Next choose the event and let the event leader know you’re coming using the green button on the bottom of the event description page. That’s it, now all you have to do is attend and have a good time!

Printed directories are available at town halls and public libraries across the state. Additionally, select nature centers, state parks, and outdoor retailers will have some for public distribution – keep an eye out for them or click here for more information

NOW…get outside this weekend and celebrate Connecticut’s awesome network of trails and outdoor spaces!

AAP Updates Recommendations to Prevent Drowning in Children

Drowning can be silent and quick, and it kills nearly 1,000 children every year. To refocus the attention of parents and physicians on one of the leading causes of death among children, the American Academy of Pediatrics is publishing updated recommendations on water safety.

“Drowning is the single leading cause of injury-related death among children ages 1 to 4,” said Sarah Denny, MD, FAAP, lead author of the policy statement, “Prevention of Drowning” published online March 15, 2019, in Pediatrics. “Many of these deaths occur when children are not expected to be swimming or when they have unanticipated access to water. Toddlers are naturally curious; that’s why we must implement other strategies, such as pool fencing and door locks.”

The second age group at highest risk of drowning deaths is teens, said Dr. Denny. Every year, about 370 children ages 10 to 19 drown. “Adolescents can be overconfident in their swimming abilities and are more likely to combine alcohol use with swimming – compounding their risk significantly. Children of color, especially African American teens are especially at risk.”

In the policy statement, the AAP lays out strategies to protect children at each stage of their life. New parents are advised to be vigilant at bath time and to empty all buckets and wading pools immediately. All children should learn to swim, and children and teens should wear life jackets while near open bodies of water. Teens can learn CPR and other water safety skills.

Injury prevention has long been a priority of pediatricians, and public health initiatives over the past 50 years have led to dramatic reductions in deaths from injuries related to motor vehicle crashes, sudden infant death syndrome, drowning, and other unintentional injuries. In the past few years, however, the rate of decline in these deaths has slowed.

Drowning remains the third leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages 5-19 years. In 2017, nearly 1,000 children died from drowning and 8,700 visited a hospital emergency room because of a drowning event – with toddlers and teens at the highest risk.

The topic will be the subject of a panel presentation March 16, when leaders of the AAP will gather in Itasca, Ill., for an annual leadership conference. Family advocates, including Nicole and Jonathan Hughes, and Bode Miller, will share their experiences of losing a child to drowning. The panel will also include Sam Hanke, MD, FAAP, who lost his son to sudden infant death, and parent Greg Schell, chair of the AAP Family Partnerships Network. The panel will address recent trends in preventable child injuries, and how pediatricians can work with families to improve child health.

“We appreciate the chance to partner with these families, who have decided to channel their grief to help other parents prevent a similar tragedy. It is critically important for us to collaborate with families and communities to protect kids from drowning” said Ben Hoffman, MD, FAAP, Chair of the AAP Council on Injury, Violence & Poison Prevention. “Pediatricians should be talking about water safety routinely during well-child visits. But having families share their personal stories, we hope, will help connect with parents who may think it could ‘never happen’ to them. Tragically, it can happen to anyone.”

AAP will also publish new information for families on its website for parents, HealthyChildren.org, including water safety advice based on children’s developmental stages, and recommendations on choosing a good learn-to-swim program.

“Research has found that swim lessons are beneficial for children starting around age 1, and may lower drowning rates”, said Linda Quan, MD, FAAP, a co-author of the policy statement.

“Learning to swim is a great family activity,” said Dr. Quan. “Families can talk with their pediatrician about whether their child is developmentally ready for swim lessons, and then look for a program that has experienced, well-trained instructors. Ideally, programs should teach ‘water competency’ too – the ability to get out of the water if your child ends up in the water unexpectedly.”

Even the best swim lessons cannot “drown-proof” a child, and so AAP strongly recommends parents take steps that make a child’s environment safer. For homes with a pool, the most important safety measure is a 4-sided fence that completely surrounds the pool and isolates if from the house.

AAP also recommends:

  • Parents and caregivers should never leave children alone or in the care of another child while in or near bathtubs, pools, spas, or other open water.
  • Adults should empty water from buckets and other containers immediately after use.
  • Do not leave young children alone in the bathroom. Toilet locks can prevent drowning of toddlers.
  • When infants or toddlers are in or around the water, a supervising adult with swimming skills should be within an arm’s length, providing constant “touch supervision.”
  • Even with older children and better swimmers, the supervising adult should focus on the child and not be engaged with other distracting activities.

“Water is everywhere, and we need multiple layers to protect children from the deadly risks it poses,” said Dr. Quan. “As pediatricians, we cannot overlook this risk. Pediatricians can help by counseling families and working in their communities to improve safety, especially around pools, lakes and in boating communities.”


©The American Academy of Pediatrics, March 2019. The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.

5 Questions to Ask Before a Playdate

Playdates are a fun way for children to develop friendships and learn important social skills. Visiting another family’s home will also expose your child to a new environment.

Before the playdate, it’s a good idea to talk with the other parent about household habits, rules and expectations. It’s also a great opportunity to share any important details about your child―like a food or pet allergy or other health issues.

Here are a few important questions to ask:

1. Who will be watching the children?

​Will a parent be home, or will another adult caregiver be home? Will older siblings, other adults or relatives be there? If it’s a sleepover, it’s a good idea to understand who will be in the home when your child is there, including other relatives or adults. If you feel uncomfortable with the situation, you can suggest your child have a “late over,” with fun pajama time, games or a movie, and then come home when it’s time to sleep.

2. Do you have a swimming pool, trampoline, or any other things that are potentially unsafe?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends pools be surrounded by a four-foot high, four-sided fence with a self-latching gate, so that kids can’t easily enter without supervision. If swimming is planned, ask who will supervise. Whenever children under age 5 are in or around water, an adult―preferably one who knows how to swim and perform CPR―should be within arm’s length, providing “touch supervision.” Older children and teens who know how to swim should also have an adult supervising them.

​​Trampolines are popular among children and teens, but cause thousands of injuries every year, especially to children under age 6. Injuries often happen when more than one person is using the trampoline. Because injuries are so common, the AAP recommends trampolines never be used at home, but if they are used, supervising adults should limit jumpers to one at a time.

3. Do you have any guns in your house?

Roughly one-third of U.S. homes with children have a gun, and many of these are left unlocked or loaded. Just talking to a child about the dangers of firearms is not enough. Children are naturally curious. If a gun is accessible in someone’s home, there is a good chance a child will find it and play with it. Tragedies have occurred when kids found guns that parents thought were hidden.

​​If the home your child is visiting does have a gun, ask how it is stored. All guns should be stored unloaded and locked up, with the ammunition locked up separately. If you are uncomfortable with the answer, you can offer to host the kids at your house instead.

4. What are your rules about screen media use?

Families have different rules about what kind of movies or video games are allowed. If you don’t want your child to watch movies that are rated higher than PG or PG-13, or to play a video game rated higher than E, let the other parent know. You can explain you don’t think your child is ready for more mature content yet.

To research whether a particular movie or game is ok for your child, use a site like Common Sense Media, which offers detailed reviews and ratings on movies, TV shows, apps and video games.

5. What pets are in the house?

If the family has a pet, ask if it’s friendly. Let the parent know if your child is nervous or scared around animals. More than any other age group, children are the most frequent victims of animal bites.

It’s ok if the conversation feels a little awkward. The other parent is likely to be glad you asked―and you can volunteer the same information about your home for the next time the kids get together.


Source: American Academy of Pediatrics (Copyright © 2018). The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.