10 pediatric tips for parents
Physicians from The University of Kansas Health System's pediatrics team offer 10 proven tips you can start today to help keep your family healthy.
- Get flu shots. Children are especially at risk because of their underdeveloped immune systems, but it’s an easy preventive health measure recommended for the whole family.
- Take vitamin D. 400 IU daily are recommended for children and adults. Check with your personal pediatrician for information.
- Stop smoking. Parents shouldn’t smoke. Keep trying to quit until you succeed. Don't give up. While you’re kicking the habit, don’t smoke inside your home or car to prevent second-hand smoke exposure.
- Eat dinner together. You’ll learn a lot by eating dinner together and it’s a good time to share information as well as healthy food. Make sure to turn off TV, radio, cell phones and iPods.
- Limit screen time. Limit viewing to 2 hours per night on school nights for TV, computer or smart phone. Instead of screen time, help your child study, have a conversation, read them a story or encourage them to read. The doctor says to continue this throughout teenage years.
- Get a good night's sleep. At least 8 hours a night are recommended for children and their parents.
- Be active. Find time to walk and play with your children. Daily activity including outdoor play should be practiced all winter long. Make sure to bundle up. Leave the cell phone on silent.
- Take shoes off at the door. Don’t wear shoes in the house. This prevents tracking in dirt and germs. Your house will be cleaner as a bonus and your family will stay healthier.
- Maintain fire extinguisher and smoke alarms. Keep a working extinguisher ($20 variety) in the kitchen, garage and basement. Likewise, install smoke alarms throughout the home especially near bedrooms.
- Switch and turn. Change your furnace filter every 3 months to keep everyone breathing easy. Turn the hot water thermostat down to 120 degrees to avoid scalding. Your dishwasher will still work just fine.
Learn more about pediatric services offered at The University of Kansas Health System.