Expecting parents: What your pediatrician may not tell you

Photo Credit: Prevent Needless Death

Expecting a child can feel overwhelming: There’s a lot to learn in the months before your baby arrives. Your obstetrician and pediatrician are excellent resources for caring for your baby and keeping them healthy, but they may not tell you how to keep your child safe in your home.

Parents and caregivers often think preventable tragedies won’t happen to their family, but sadly, accidents can happen to even the most attentive parents and caregivers. In 2018, 33 children in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties died from unsafe sleep, accidental drowning or abusive head trauma (also known as shaken baby syndrome).

These deaths are 100 percent preventable. Learn and share these life-saving tips for safe sleep, water safety and safe stress relief.

Safe sleep

The safest way for infants to sleep is Alone, on their Backs, and in a Crib. Your infant’s crib mattress should be firm and fit snugly inside the crib’s frame, and a fitted sheet should fit tightly around the mattress. Crib bumpers, stuffed animals, toys, sleep positioners, pillows and blankets increase the risk for suffocation and should remain outside of the crib.

Place your baby’s crib or a bassinet in your room while they are an infant. It offers the same benefits of bonding without the risks.

More infants die in adult beds than anywhere else. Infants are 40 times more likely to die in an adult bed than in a crib. They can get stuck in blankets or pillows, and without control of their neck muscles, can lead to suffocation. Anyone sharing the bed with the infant can also accidentally roll over and suffocate the child – this includes adults, other siblings or even pets.

Safe stress relief

Surprisingly, parents are most often responsible for causing injury or death from shaking a baby. As stress levels rise, parents and caregivers may shake their baby out of frustration, causing permanent injury or death.

The parent or caregiver does not mean to cause abusive head trauma, but they lack the knowledge or skills to cope with a stressful situation. Shaking an infant or young child – even once – can be fatal.

Crying is normal for babies – it’s how they communicate. A baby may cry because they are hungry, need a diaper change, are teething, are too hot or too cold, or because they’re simply over-tired. Prepare for and prevent situations that might cause your child to cry, and attempt to soothe your baby.

Know that it’s okay to take a time out. If a crying child becomes frustrating, leave the child safely on their back in the crib and step out of the room to regroup. Stepping away reduces the chance of stress leading to a dangerous situation. Check on the child every few minutes to ensure they’re still safe.

Make time for yourself by getting a trusted caregiver to watch your baby. Make sure your caregiver also understands it’s ok to put the baby down safely for a few moments if they need a break.

Water safety

The best protection against an accidental drowning is supervision. Children can drown in as little as 20 seconds, and without splashing or calling out for help. Designate a “water watcher” who pays close attention while children are near water.

Install door alarms that alert you when your child goes outside your home. Most children who drown in a nearby pond or pool were last seen inside the house, and caregivers thought the children were napping or playing inside.

Add pool and yard fences with self-closing gates and locks, which can keep a crawling or walking child from reaching the water. Check pool fences for tears and damage – like a small tear that a child could fit through – that need to be repaired.

Understand that there are hidden hazards in the home too. Children can drown in as little as one inch of water, which means that a pet’s water bowl, toilets, buckets with water, and bath tubs all pose a threat.

Unsafe sleep, abusive head trauma and drowning are the top preventable deaths among babies and young children in the Tampa Bay area. For more information on how to keep kids safe, visit PreventNeedlessDeaths.com.

(The review is written by the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County, Florida Department of Children and Families and PreventNeedlessDeaths.com campaign and shared on my blog for awareness.)

GUEST POST: Your Diet, Your Health: How to Eat Well, Feel Better, and Save Money

Do you think eating healthy is too expensive or wonder why you should bother? A healthy diet can shrink your waistline, but weight loss isn’t the only reason to choose nutritious foods over empty calories. Just look at these mental and physical benefits of a nutritious diet:

  • Better moods and fewer mood swings.
  • Improved focus.
  • Better sleep.
  • More energy.
  • Improved athletic performance.
  • Clearer skin.
  • Reduced digestive problems.
  • A stronger immune system.
  • Lower risk of chronic lifestyle diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

Eating well doesn’t have to break the bank, either. If you think healthy eating means shopping organic at high-end stores like Whole Foods, think again. While eating well on a tight budget might require more planning, it absolutely can be done. Don’t believe us? These six budget-friendly shopping and cooking tips will show you how.

Buy in Bulk

Why pay for packaging? Instead of buying grains, beans, nuts, and other pantry staples pre-packaged, shop for these items in the bulk section. At most stores, bulk goods are considerably cheaper than packaged foods, and by transferring to a reusable container when you get home, you can keep these foods fresher for longer.

Use Coupons

When you do buy packaged foods, use coupons to score a lower price. You’ll find the cheapest prices on packaged foods at big box stores like Walmart. If you do a little digging before you shop, you can pair Walmart promo codes with coupons to save on everything from groceries to supplements.

Go Meatless

Beans aren’t just one of the healthiest foods you can eat, they’re also one of the cheapest. Instead of eating meat with dinner every night, cook a meatless meal once or twice a week. Opt for cost-effective vegetarian proteins like black beans, lentils, or tofu over meat substitutes, which can be expensive and aren’t always made with healthy ingredients. Not sure what to do with beans? Check out this list of 24 vegetarian recipes that even the most devoted meat-lovers will enjoy. Just be sure to prepare beans properly to avoid gastrointestinal problems.

Know When Organic Matters

You’re better off skipping the boxed macaroni and cheese entirely rather than spending more on the organic version — most highly-processed foods simply aren’t good for you, organic or not. However, some foods are worth buying organic, even if it means spending a little more. Foods on the “dirty dozen” list, including strawberries, apples, leafy greens, tomatoes, dairy, and beef, are the best use of your organic dollars, whereas foods on the “clean 15” list use fewer pesticides to grow and are less important to buy organic.

Shop In-Season

If you really want to save on produce, buy what’s in season. Seasonal produce varies depending on location, but in general, you can count on leafy greens, snap peas, and broccoli in the spring, tomatoes, peppers, melons, and sweet corn in the summer, and winter squash, cabbage, and apples in the fall. Eating seasonally also keeps your menu interesting!

Understand Your Supplement Needs

Even the healthiest of eaters need to supplement their diet sometimes. However, that doesn’t mean you should add a multivitamin to your daily regimen. To avoid getting too much of some vitamins and too little of others, tailor the supplements you take to your specific dietary needs and health goals. Talk to your doctor about which supplements can improve your health, and shop carefully to find high-quality supplements. If you buy from a company that doesn’t stand behind their product, you might spend money on something that doesn’t do what it claims. Don’t forget to be on the lookout for coupons for vitamins and supplements — brands like One A Day almost always offer them on their site.

Everyone deserves to fuel their body and mind with a nutritious diet, no matter what their budget looks like. Instead of assuming you can’t afford to improve your diet, try using these strategies on your next shopping trip. You’ll be amazed at just how much money you save!

Image via Rawpixel

About the author: Sheila Olson has been a personal trainer for five years. She created Fit Sheila to spread the word about her fitness philosophy and encourage her clients to stay positive. She incorporates mindfulness and practices for reducing negative talk into her sessions

If you’re interested in being a guest blogger on No Ordinary Liz, feel free to contact me with your creative ideas!!