In a March 2022 brief, the U.S. CDC estimated there were 151 million visits to emergency departments (ED) in 2019. The age group with the highest incident rate, in turn, were infants younger than 1, with 123 visits per 100 people. It was lower for children between the ages of 1 and 17 but still high at 43 visits per 100 individuals.
Those figures should give you an idea of how frail a child’s health can be.
Fortunately, there are several ways to keep your little one in good health. We’ll share them below, so read on.
1. Start With Yourself
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Congenital disabilities affect one in 33 infants born in the United States annually. Although some are genetic, many others are due to environmental factors. These include a pregnant mother’s diet, health, and habits (i.e., smoking or alcohol intake).
Thus, one of the best ways to protect your child’s health (unborn and born) is to keep yourself healthy. That involves making healthier choices, such as quitting smoking and reducing alcohol intake. Eating nutritious, high-vitamin foods and supplementing with folate and iodine can also help.
2. Seven Is the Magic Number
A well-child visit involves taking your little one to a kid’s doctor to ensure they’re healthy. Children’s doctors, also called pediatricians, can confirm your child goes through normal development. They’re the same specialists you can take your baby to if they become ill or injured.
Well-child visits also help doctors catch problems with a child’s mental health. The sooner they do, the better, as early stages of diseases are often easier to treat.
Moreover, you can use every well-child visit as a chance to ask questions about your growing child. For example, you can ask the doctor about children’s behavioral health. You can then compare the information you get with your little one’s behaviors.
Considering the many roles well-child visits play, kids need to get them at least seven times from ages 1 to 4.
3. Consider Vaccination
Immunity is the primary way the body prevents disease. However, babies don’t have a fully developed immune system at birth. That can then put them at a higher risk of catching infectious diseases.
For example, 10,000 to 50,000 cases of pertussis (AKA whooping cough) occur yearly in the U.S. alone. Most of those afflicted are people younger than 20, with the highest incidence rate in kids under 1.
Vaccines help minimize children’s risks for such infections. They do so by strengthening the body’s natural defenses against illness-causing germs. They also encourage the immune system to develop a powerful barrier against diseases.
4. Never Underestimate Dental Visits
Untreated dental cavities affect about one in 10 U.S. kids between the ages of 2 and 5. That makes tooth decay one of the country’s most common children’s dental health woes. Moreover, it causes pain and suffering and can impair a child’s diet, speech, and growth.
For these reasons, you should bring your little one to a pediatric dentist by the time they turn one. You can also take your child to their first dental visit as soon as their first tooth erupts.
After that, you can schedule regular visits every six to 12 months. That can help the pediatric dentist monitor your child’s oral health and development.
Protect Your Child’s Health With These Strategies
Remember: Keeping yourself healthy during pregnancy can do wonders to your child’s health. Then, once you give birth, take your little one to well-child visits. It’s also wise to consider vaccination, and lastly, don’t forget dental visits as soon as your kid turns one.
All that can help your precious child grow healthy and normal.
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