U.S. Surgeon General Offers Toddler Health Tips

Monitoring, teaching and praising kids can keep them safe and feeling loved

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SATURDAY, May 21, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- The health and welfare of children are in the spotlight this year at the office of the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Richard H. Carmona. His team has released a dozen tips to help American parents keep toddlers safe and healthy this summer and throughout their lives.

"I've declared this 'The Year of the Healthy Child' for the Office of the Surgeon General. We're looking at ways to keep children healthy and safe, from pre-birth through their teen years," Carmona said in a prepared statement.

"Each phase of a child's life has its own series of potential hazards," he said, "and we're trying to shine a light on preventing those illnesses, injuries and deaths that are preventable."

The U.S. Surgeon General's 12 tips include:

  • Teaching healthy eating.
  • Getting children into the habit of good oral health.
  • Quitting smoking, and banning smoking around children.
  • Providing positive feedback by praising good behavior and accomplishments. Hug, talk, read, explore and play with your children to help develop a strong bond. Ensure that caregivers understand and agree with your points of view about discipline.
  • Using a car safety seat that's age- and weight-appropriate for the child. Make sure the car safety seat is correctly installed in the back seat of the car.
  • Safety-proofing your house in order to prevent accidental poisoning, burns, choking, drowning and other threats.
  • Monitoring children. Toddlers, especially, should never be left unattended.
  • Making sure your child has a primary health care provider.
  • Fully immunizing your child.
  • Learning child first aid and CPR.
  • Practicing prevention and safety by teaching children safety tips such as wearing a bike helmet, using sunscreen and never swimming alone.
  • Having fun raising your kids. If you feel overstressed by the demands of parenting, seek help.

More information

For additional insight into toddler health, check out the National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, press release, May 20, 2005

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