Health & Wellness & Beauty
Healthcare Guide for Children
Children grow at such an amazing rate and go through so many different stages in such a short span of time that writing a healthcare guide for them will take up all the pages of this book. Just look at the statistics – a newborn baby weighs a mere seven pounds at birth and is barely 20-inches tall. By the time, children complete their first year, they are about 22 pounds in weight and about 30 inches tall. And not just that – from barely being able to squeal their needs, by the time they are a year old, they can eat, drink and play on their own as also communicate what they want fairly well. So it is not just the physical growth that is as dramatic, so is the mental and emotional growth. Children therefore need special care and attention in the first year.
Even later on, though the physical and mental growth may not be as dramatic as in the first year, parents of young children should nevertheless take care of the following:
• The child has regular wellness exams during which he or she is weighed and the height measured.
• The child receives regular immunizations.
• The child has routine checkups to see that growth in all aspects is normal.
• The child is properly attended to when sick or hurt.
• The child has the emotional stability to deal with growing up pressures.
You should know that pediatricians as well as children’s healthcare professionals can provide regular and comprehensive services for your children. They handle routine check-ups and childcare as well as provide specialized care and treatment for premature babies as well as children with other disorders. They have the necessary experience and expertise to guide parents in doing what is best for their child’s health.
You should be aware that in order to ensure that your child’s development is on track, you should visit your child’s pediatrician not just when the child is ill but also in what are known as well-care visits. In well-care visits, the pediatrician carries out a range of physical examinations and also discusses the child’s health with the parents, allaying their concerns if any. For example, you could take your child to the child’s doctor for the following–
• Regular physical examinations.
• Immunization and immunization updates.
• To track growth and development .
• To get information about the child’s nutrition and physical fitness.
• To get information about child safety and health issues.
• Information about what to do during emergencies and serious illnesses.
In fact, many physicians will also provide you with guidance on issues such as understanding and dealing with learning and behavioral problems, emotional problems, socialization problems, family problems and problems of the teenage years.
Consult your doctor today about what is a good schedule for well-care visits.
One of the most important habits that parents can cultivate at the earliest in their children is that of good dental habits. They can do so by
• Teaching children how important it is to brush twice.
• Teaching children how to brush and floss properly.
• By providing proper diet without too many sweet and sugary items.
• By taking them to a dentist regularly.
Some doctors recommend that children as young as three should start visiting a dentist regularly since all the twenty teeth would have come in by then. Others recommend that a pediatrician can do the job till the permanent teeth start coming in.
Many parents are under the impression that because milk teeth or baby teeth are going to eventually fall out, it is not very important to take care of them properly. On the other hand, milk teeth are very important for the following reasons:
• They help children when they first start chewing food.
• They help them to speak clearly.
• They retain space for the permanent teeth to come in.
• Healthy milk teeth and healthy gums lay the foundation for healthy permanent teeth.
• Children who learn to take care of their teeth from a very young age are more likely to take proper care of their permanent teeth.
It is possible that during teething, a baby may experience irritation of gums, as they tend to get a little swollen. While a teething ring or pacifier may help, avoid doing what many parents do – dip the ring in juices so that the child keeps it her mouth. The sweet liquid will only cause more teeth decay.
Do not wait till you see all the baby’s teeth come in before you start cleaning them. Just use a piece of damp cloth or gauze to clean as many teeth as you can see. As the child gets older, you might want to switch to a proper toothbrush and toothpaste.
Of course, parents should bear in mind that despite their best efforts, some children do develop tooth decay. Take the child for regular visits to the dentist so that early problems can be detected and resolved.
Many parents are also worried about their infants or younger children sucking their thumb and when no amount of persuasion seems to work. One should remember that thumb sucking is fairly common in younger children and should not cause any permanent damage to the teeth so long as it is not continued beyond the age of 5.
Let us now take a quick look at some of the habits that could cause dental problems in a child.
• Sticky sweets like cookies or candy can cause tooth decay
• Sticky foods like raisins or crackers tend to stay on the teeth for longer and can cause tooth decay.
• Fruit juices contain a lot of sugar and if left in the teeth for a long time can lead to tooth decay.
• Since fruits, starches and juices are part of any child’s diet, it is important that the child have them only at mealtimes. Further, they have to be told to brush their teeth carefully after meals.
Every so often, a child is diagnosed with a learning disability causing great concern for parents. This is a term that is used to describe a very broad spectrum of disorders, their symptoms, various forms of treatment and outcomes. However, what makes learning disability disorders so difficult to mange is that they have no known causes or any known cure and are thus difficult to diagnose and treat. While some learning disabilities affect a person’s life and many other aspects drastically, like work, school, daily routines and personal relationships; some seem to affect only a small part thereby not having much of an impact on the person’s life.
Mental health professionals from all over the world have tried to understand what exactly causes these disorders particularly in children. While some believe that it is caused by a specific neurological problem, many believe that it is the culmination of a variety of diverse and complex causes. In fact, new research seems to suggest that most learning disabilities are not due to problems in any particular part of the brain but due to the inability of the brain to bring together and assimilate information that arrives from different parts of the brain.
In fact, many experts believe that some of these problems may be caused even before birth and hence pregnant mothers must take care that –
• There is no smoking or alcohol abuse during pregnancy.
• That the mother is physically and emotionally well.
• That there are no problems during pregnancy or delivery.
Types of Learning Disabilities
Learning disabilities amongst children are typically divided into three main types.
• Developmental Speech and Language disorders
These usually give the first sign that the person may be having a learning disability. Some of the symptoms of speech and language disorders are:
o The child not producing any speech sounds
o The child not using any spoken language to communicate with parents or caregivers.
o The child not being able to understand what other people are saying.
• Academic Skills Disorders
If children are considerably behind their classmates with respect to reading, writing or simple arithmetic skills, they may be suffering from academic skills disorder. These include dyslexia, developmental writing disorder and developmental arithmetic disorder.
• Other Disorders
These include other co-ordination or understanding disorders that cannot be covered by the other types.
Though Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is being considerably discussed in schools and amongst parents nowadays, it is not specifically considered to be a learning disability. However, it does have an impact on the child’s performance in school and hence it is often included in the list of learning disabilities.
As parents you should be aware that not all learning or developmental problems are due to learning disabilities. Children grow and develop at different rates and no child is like any other. Be patient if your child is having problems at school and do not rush to conclusions. Seek the guidance of your pediatrician if you are concerned.
Tagged children health