Healthy Families

Booster Seat Safety Tips

Kids are back to school and fall sports are in full swing, which means families will be traveling all over the place. We found some great information on www.safekids.org with tips on keeping your child safe while driving in the car.

Kids who have outgrown their car seats are not quite ready for a seat belt alone – although they might try to convince you otherwise. Instead, have them transition to a booster seat that enables the adult seat belt to fit properly. Booster seats can actually be pretty cool. Here are a few tips to make sure your kids are safe in a booster seat.

Hard Fact

Children seated in a booster seat in the back seat of the car are 45% less likely to be injured in a crash than children using a seat belt alone.

Top Tips

When your child is seated in the booster seat, make sure the lap and shoulder belts fit. The lap belt should fit low across the hips and the shoulder belt across the shoulder.

Do not place the shoulder belt under the child’s arm or behind the child’s back.

Older kids get weighed and measured less often than babies, so check your child’s growth a few times a year. Generally, kids need to use a booster until they are at least 4 feet 9 inches tall and weigh between 80 and 100 pounds. For most kids, they will be between ages 8 to 12 years old.

Talk with everyone who drives your kids so they understand that booster seat use is a must when your child is in their vehicle.

Use a booster seat with the vehicle lap AND shoulder safety belts until your child passes the following Safety Belt Fit Test:

  • The child’s knees should bend at the edge of the seat when his or her back and bottom are against the vehicle seat back.
  • The vehicle lap belt should fit across the upper thighs.
  • The shoulder belt should fit across the shoulder and chest. Children are usually between 8 and 12 years old when the seat belt fits them properly.

See more at: http://www.safekids.org/safetytips/field_risks/booster-seat#sthash.PXfaIoHv.dpuf

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What Are The Dangers of iPod Use in Youth?

4278457135_9658776c39_qListening to music at unsafe volumes for extensive lengths of times can cause hearing damage. Here are some answers to questions you may have about the risks your child or teenager might be exposed to. We found an article from Hearing Health that had a lot of great information about the risks involved.

These devices are used by kids for socializing, videos, games, music, reading, studying and much more. Although each of these things is positive, there is one potential danger area for kids — unlimited Internet access through Wi-Fi or a carrier network.

Noise may not be an issue parents often consider as a threat in their children and adolescent’s life. Like anything else, in moderation it is fine, but overexposure can put your kids at serious risk.

A 2010 report in the Journal of the Medical Association shocked the nation when people learned that kids in the age groups of 12-19 had suffered hearing loss by over a third of what it had in the past decade.

Here are some common questions surrounding these findings:

How does hearing affect babies?

The surprising answer is that it’s likely they hear better than you or I. Just like skin and other body parts, exposure to nature will diminish the ability to hear.   When your grandfather leans in and asks you to repeat your story he may genuinely be struggling with natural hearing loss over years of different exposure. Things like vacuum’s and household appliances may seem to keep them captive, but they actually hurt your children’s ears. Keep them away from loud appliances when you can!

Is there a genetic connection that may make some kids more susceptible than others to hearing loss?

Some low weight fetus’ or pre-term babies have developed a correlation with hearing loss early on. More problems can develop and make them more at risk in the future with these problems.

How does loud noise actually affect hearing?

Some of the cells on the inner ear convert sound to wave energy to the brain. When the hair cells die, that results in permanent hearing loss to the brain.

When is sound too loud?

There are multiple apps (most costing only a dollar or so) that will tell you exactly what level is acceptable to be listening at.

When should your child be wearing ear protection?

Earmuffs are great for smaller children, but be careful when looking for sizes. It’s important to get the right size. With ear buds in older children, limit the time that is used daily, no more than a few hours.

When should ear protection be used?

A lot of this boils down to common sense. A concert, a race track, etc. Any situation where sound level measurement is a 90 dba level or higher.

Resource Article: Hearing Health: The Dangers of iPod Use

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Fruits & Veggies Really Do Matter

A variety of delicious culinary products.September is “Fruits and Veggies – More Matters Month,” and according to the site www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org, 90% of us do not eat the daily recommended amount of either. We know how important they are for everything from nutrition to fiber to digestive health, yet most of us just don’t eat enough of them.

Fruits and veggies not only pack a serious nutritional punch, but add visual interest and color to our plates, are low in calories, may reduce the risk of diseases like heart disease and high blood pressure, are easy to grab as a snack, and are fun to eat! So here are a few tips to help us get them into our diets:

First, remember the ‘half rule;’ fill your plate half full of fruits and vegetables. This even goes for snacks. Remember also, that all forms (frozen, dried, fresh, 100% juice), count towards the recommended daily serving. So when shopping, don’t just think about fruits when you’re in the produce dept. Dried fruits are great and easy snacks, and 100% juices are always a better choice than sodas.

Try these specific ways to add them into your diet:

  • Eat strawberries with breakfast; 8 whole strawberries = 1 cup
  • Add a quarter cup raisins to oatmeal; ¼ c dried = ½ c fresh
  • At snack time, 1 banana = ½ cup, and 100% apple/orange juice instead of soda
  • Add frozen or canned veggies to casseroles
  • Smoothies, smoothies, smoothies…any fruits or berries
  • ½ cup of fat, in many recipes, can be replaced with applesauce
  • Add beans to salads and veggie soup
  • Add dried fruit to grain side dishes such as rice or couscous
  • Stir fry and pasta dishes (my favorites): Anything goes in stir fry, and pretty much anything goes in Alfredo dishes and primaveras

Fruits and veggies are so good for us; we should really start reaching for the carrot sticks and dried cranberries instead of the candy bars, don’t you think?

Written by: Tricia Doane, FizzNiche Staff Writer

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National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

One in 3 children in the United States is overweight or obese. Childhood obesity puts kids at risk for health problems that were once seen only in adults, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. The good news is that childhood obesity can be prevented.

In honor of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, Dearborn Pediatrics encourages your family to make healthy changes together.

Here are just a few healthy changes you can make:

Get active outside

Walk around the neighborhood, go on a bike ride, or play basketball at the park.

Limit screen time

Keep screen time (time spent on the computer, watching TV, or playing videos games) to 2 hours or less a day.

Make healthy meals

Buy and serve more vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain foods.

Even chores count

Clean the house, wash the car, or mow the lawn with a push mower. Know that these activities count toward your goal of at least 150 minutes each week.

For more information visit: http://healthfinder.gov

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Five Tips To Help Your Young Athlete Avoid Sports Injuries

The occurrence of children’s sports-related injuries has dramatically increased in the last decade. More than 3.5 million children, ages 14 and under, receive treatment for sports-related injuries. Getting your child involved in a sport can be great for his or her self-confidence, while improving health and just plain having fun. But, by helping them avoid injury, they’ll enjoy the game more, stay in the game more, and keep training on track!

Children are more susceptible to sports-related injuries for these reasons:

  • Their bodies are still growing.
  • Their coordination and reaction time are sometimes unpredictable.
  • They mature at different rates.
  • Children may take unnecessary risks.

Alas, injuries will happen, but they can be kept to a minimum if parents have a plan to teach their children how to avoid them. Here are several easy tips for parents’ use to guide their children in preventing sports-related injuries:

Get Proper Nutrition

Children should eat a low-carbohydrate, high-protein breakfast. Pack high nutrition snacks in the backpack, like apples, bananas, whole wheat crackers, peanut butter sandwiches, or oatmeal cookies, for when hunger strikes.

Stay Hydrated

Since the body, muscles, tendons and ligaments are made up of at least 70% water, then does it really make sense to drink soda? No! Juices and energy drinks don’t add to your body’s water content. Drink a glass of cool clear water with each meal. Guzzle at least a glass before working out, and at least one or two glasses afterwards. This helps prevent muscle cramping, and carries out the many chemical processes that a healthy body requires.

Warm Up & Stretch

Muscles should be warmed up with light stretching. Don’t bounce or pull the muscle until it hurts. Stretching brings blood into the muscle and actually lengthens the muscle. So, as muscles are used in sports play, they contract like they’re supposed to. Warming up with stretches prevents strains and sprains. By the way, stretching after a workout eliminates a lot of soreness, helps the muscles heal and repair itself.

Don’t Overuse

Avoid injuries from overusing the same muscles, by playing different sports. On the day off from practice, play a different game for fun. Or ride bikes, skateboards or skate. Using different muscle groups makes a young athlete’s body stronger overall.

Take Rest Days

Even major-leaguers and professional athletes vary their workouts and take time off to rest. Children should never be allowed to play, or coaxed into playing, when they have pain. If a muscle hurts, it needs heat, stretching and rest. Children set themselves up for even more serious injuries, when they play sore or in pain. Forget that “no pain, no gain” stuff. They will stay in the game longer, if you as parents teach them the basics of avoiding sports-related injuries.

Written by: Ruby Holder Moseley, FizzNiche Staff Writer

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Do Athletic Mouth Guards Protect Children During Sports?

Athletic mouth guards play an important role in oral safety and should be worn by children when playing contact and non-contact sports, or even recreational activities (i.e. skateboarding). Designed with two major goals in mind: to protect teeth against the impact of objects or body parts and to protect against a concussion. Mouth guards help prevent damage to your child’s soft tissue, tongue and lips, and reduces chipping and breaking of your child’s teeth.

Depending on your finances, there are a variety of mouth guards available for purchase at sporting goods stores or you may have them professionally made. When purchasing a mouth guard from a sporting goods store, it is recommended that you get a “boil and bite” guard (made of thermoplastic material that can be shaped around the teeth when heated) thus offering more protection than your average performed ready-to-wear guard that cannot mold around a child’s teeth.

Performed mouth guards are less expensive but bulky, so they offer little protection and make breathing very hard. If you’re looking to protect your child during contact and non-contact sports, purchasing a custom fitted mouth guard is best. Your dentist can custom fit one from the impression of your child’s mouth.

Mouth guards usually only cover the top teeth, but there are children that may need a lower guard due to braces, bridges or retainers. Just remember, a mouth guard should be odorless and tasteless, tear resistant, easy to clean, remain firmly in place, not limit your ability to talk or breath and should always be replaced at any signs of wear and tear.

If you apply these important factors when purchasing an athletic mouth guard, you help reduce your child’s risk if he/she ever received a crushing blow from someone’s body part via the mandible into the skull. Such a blow could cause severe damage, including broken teeth or a concussion with long-lasting effects. Playing sports and recreational activities offer so much fun and lots of health benefits. Just remember to keep your child safe and protect your child’s mouth when they play sports or participate in recreational activities.

Written by: Jamacia Magee, FizzNiche Staff Writer

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We Have A Better Rainbow For You To Taste!

fruits-and-veggiesI know you may have heard that expression before on some candy commercial, but really? Their rainbow is chock full of sugar and artificial colors & ingredients.

The rainbow I am talking about is one that not only gets its color from Mother Nature, but is so wonderfully tasty and good for your insides and out. It’s natural, nutritious and ever so sweet!

So we all know that fruits and veggies are better for us, but which ones are best? Here is a short list of my own personal favorites:

APPLES

Apple’s antioxidant properties prevent cell and tissue damage. Studies by nutritionists have shown that apples contain abundant amounts of elastin and collagen that help keep the skin young. Applying a mixture of mashed apple, honey, rose water and oatmeal can act as a great exfoliating mask on your skin.

CARROTS

Carrots are brimming with tiny orange pigments called beta-carotene. When you eat foods with those pigments, you are not only giving your insides a healthy boost, but your skin a healthy glow. And what’s more, research shows that this can actually help prevent premature aging from sun damage.

AVOCADO

Recent studies have shown that people with higher intakes of monounsaturated fats, the essential fats that make up more than 50% of the calories in an avocado, have fewer wrinkles. Avocados are also rich in B vitamins, which help to keep your skin looking vibrant and smooth. Other monounsaturated-fat foods: olive oil, almonds, and peanut butter.

GRAPES

Besides providing protection from heart attack and stroke, antioxidants called polyphenols found in grapes can also help keep middle-aged skin from sagging. That’s because polyphenols improve skin’s elasticity by strengthening collagen, the primary protein in skin’s innermost layer. Blueberries are another great choice!

BEANS

Or legumes, to be exact. These include black beans, chickpeas, lentils, soybeans, and peanuts. And how do these puny pods protect your face? By smoothing out wrinkles. Australian researchers analyzed the diets of more than 400 elderly men and women and found that high intakes of legumes—alongside vegetables and healthy fats—resulted in 20% fewer wrinkles over time. The effect is likely a result of isoflavones—potent antioxidants—concentrated in the beans.

TOMATOES or WATERMELON

Lycopene, the phytochemical that makes tomatoes red, helps eliminate skin-aging free radicals caused by ultraviolet rays. Cooking tomatoes helps concentrate its lycopene levels, so tomato sauce, tomato paste, and even ketchup pack on the protection. So does a hunk of lycopene-rich watermelon, which gives you hydrating benefits as well.

We suggest you skip the candy rainbow, even if the commercials are funny, and instead opt for the healthy one. Not only will you look better, but you’ll feel a whole lot better overall, too. So, what’s your favorite food color?

P.S. My favorite of the above group is watermelon! I’ve been eating it, but also cutting a hole in a seedless melon (the hole should be big enough for a blender attachment) and whipping it right in the melon. It makes the best, freshest watermelon juice ever!

Written by: Roberta Perry, President of Scrubz Body Scrub, Inc.

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About the Author

After years of being totally selfless and taking care of everyone else’s needs, Roberta’s skin was peeling, dry, itchy and irritated. In 2005, she decided to create her own skin care product and headed for the kitchen. She played the “mad chemist” role, mixing different combinations of botanical oils and came up with a formula she loved. However, it was not until she did extensive research, that she realized how lucky she was with the recipe she had created. Natures oils are incredible for skin. She brought in her sister and together they started Scrubz™ in 2006. She has been published and quoted in blogs, beauty magazines and articles. She is a proud member of Indie Beauty/Indie Business, American Made Matters, Independent We Stand, Bethpage Chamber of Commerce, and the Bethpage Kiwanis Club.

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Healthy School Lunches For Your Kids Oral Health

biggersandAs the mother of a picky 8 year old boy, who loves to take his lunch to school every day, it’s my job to make sure I provide him with healthy lunch options. His favorite food is Chef Boyardee. Unfortunately this is a highly acidic food, and foods high in acid (i.e. fruits and their juices) consumed on a regular basis will harm your tooth’s enamel. Enamel, the protective layer that fight’s against decay, cannot be replaced.

Research has found that some of the best food choices for your kid’s teeth are filled with calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, and offer a healthy crunch. Low-fat or fat-free dairy products are filled with calcium and are healthy. Eating a hard cheese will neutralize acids in food that can harm enamel. Cheese is also full of protein, which gives you energy and keeps you full longer.

Most fish and egg yolks offer an excellent Vitamin D source, and help absorb calcium for healthy teeth. Fruits and vegetables with a healthy crunch (i.e. carrots, apples, pears, celery) increase saliva production which helps remove plaque-causing bacteria from the teeth. They also increase saliva production which will help neutralize bacteria in the mouth.

If you eat apples slow you will expose your teeth to damaging acid. To avoid acid build up, always brush before you eat and drink a glass of water or rinse immediately after eating.

Want more specific ideas for a good school lunch to help maintain your kid’s oral health? Then try some of these:

  • Fresh/canned/frozen fruits (no added sugars), vegetable/bean salad, celery, and carrots with low-fat ranch dressing/yogurt or low fat sour cream
  • Tuna on a whole wheat tortilla wrap, low or no salt pretzels (pretzel kabobs made with lean cold cuts and cheese) or whole wheat crackers and cheese
  • Peanut butter & jelly on mini waffles or rice cakes, instead of bread for a healthier snack/meal and water.
  • Low-fat yogurt, cottage cheese, or a yogurt smoothie
  • Zucchini muffins or banana bread with a side of fruit and vegetables
  • Trail mix with whole grain yogurt-covered cereal, nuts, pretzels, dried fruit or raisins, and a few chocolate morsels (full of vitamins, calcium, and fiber)

For more information and ideas go to http://www.choosemyplate.gov/

Written by: Jamacia Magee, FizzNiche Staff Writer

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The Basics of Immunizations

young doctor with babyAugust is National Immunization Month and we want to give you some basic information about immunizations that we found on www.healthfinder.gov.

Make sure your child is up to date on their immunizations before school starts. Contact your doctor today to schedule an appointment. Take the time to educate yourself on how to best keep your child, and all children in general, safe and protected.

The Basics

Shots (also called vaccines or immunizations) help protect children from serious diseases. Vaccines can save your child’s life. Getting all the shots recommended by age 2 will help protect your child from diseases that can be dangerous or even deadly, including:

  • Measles
  • Whooping cough (pertussis)
  • Chickenpox
  • Hepatitis A and B

It’s important for your child to get all the shots. Each vaccine protects your child from different diseases. And each vaccine usually requires more than one dose (shot). For the best protection, your child needs every dose of each vaccine. If your child misses a shot, she may not be protected. It’s important for every child to get shots. The bacteria and viruses (germs) that cause serious childhood diseases are still around. Each child who isn’t vaccinated can spread those germs to other children.

When does my child need shots?

  • Shots work best when children get them at certain ages. Doctors follow a schedule of shots that begins at birth.
  • If your child is age 6 or younger, find out which shots your child still needs.
  • If your child has missed getting some shots, talk to the doctor about “catch-up” shots.
  • Doctors recommend that pre-teens ages 11 and 12 get important shots, too. Find out more about shots for pre-teens.
  • Ask the doctor for a list of the shots your child has received. Keep the list in a safe place – you will need it for school and other activities. Kids who don’t get all their shots may not be allowed to attend certain schools.

Are there any side effects from shots?

Side effects from shots are usually mild and only last a short time. The most common side effect is pain or redness where the shot was given. Some children have no side effects at all. Ask the doctor what to expect after your child’s shots.

Shots are very safe

Vaccines are tested for years before doctors start giving them to people. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) checks vaccines every year to make sure they are safe. The risk of harm from shots is very small.

Shots don’t cause autism

Research shows that shots don’t cause autism. Autism is a disorder of the brain. Some kids with autism have trouble talking and connecting with other people. Some parents notice the first signs of autism at the same age their children get certain shots. They may think these things are connected, but research hasn’t shown any link between vaccines and autism.

Articles source: http://healthfinder.gov/HealthTopics/Category/doctor-visits/shotsvaccines/get-your-childs-shots-on-schedule#the-basics

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Screen-Free Activities For Kids

Little girl on country bike ride with momExcessive screen time has been associated with lower reading scores, poor school performance, disturbances of sleep patterns, being overweight and violent behavior.

It is therefore important to limit screen time for your children to one hour a day for those who are less than 12 years and two hours for teens. This restriction can be done by steering them towards screen free activities that they enjoy.

Reading

Reading is a great summer activity, since children can be taken to bookstores or libraries to choose the books that appeal to them. Those who cannot read can have audio books played for them to boost their imagination.

Art Projects

Art projects are other summer activities that can be tailored to suit children of different ages. For example younger children can be given water paints and encouraged to use their fingers, while older ones can be given paintbrushes and oil paints to create works of art that will be used to decorate the home.

Cooking/Gardening

Cooking simple meals or baking cookies, cakes and other treats that they will enjoy are other summer activities that are double beneficial since they are screen-free and they teach children a valuable life skill. Gardening is another superb activity since it also imparts important life lessons.

Gender Specific Ideas

Girls who do not want to play in dirt can be enticed to make simple beauty products like bath salts which they can use or give as presents. Boys on the other hand might have more fun dissembling and reassembling broken down clocks, radios and other items found in the home.

Outdoor Fun

Scheduling time to exercise outdoor as a family is another summer screen-free activity that children can learn to enjoy. These sessions can include riding bikes, playing team games like volleyball or just taking simple walks. These family fun times can also be extended into weekend camping trips and nature trail hikes to encourage more bonding.

Written by: Marian Kim, FizzNiche Staff Writer

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