Parenting

Raising a Safe, Happy, and Healthy Child

8:53 PM



When we think about child safety, we tend to focus on the potential dangers outside the home; the dubious strangers, speeding motorists, or delinquent friends. These are the kinds of dangers that make the headlines, and understandably so. However, there is more to looking after your child than protecting them from external threats. Taking care of their health and wellbeing at home and in the normal course of their life is also extremely important, and statistically they have far more chance of coming to harm within their own homes than outside them.


Safety first
Toddlers are notorious for wanting to investigate everything as they try and make sense of the world. They have no idea that poking their fingers into an electrical outlet, or crawling out through the dog flap might lead to harm, and so you make efforts to insulate them from potential hazards by using baby-proofing kits to seal off electrics, fridges and cupboards, and putting in stairgates to stop them trying to climb the stairs. You also have to keep an eye on them all the time, to make sure they don’t find some new and inventive way of getting into mischief. As they grow up, gain control of their bodies, and learn to walk and talk, you can start to communicate with them and explain the dangers of certain actions. This is an essential part of their education, not because you want them to be afraid of everything, but so that they understand how to look after themselves and avoid getting into trouble.

Accidents do happen
Inevitably at some point, however thorough your efforts, an accident will happen, and you’ll have a screaming child on your hands. Although it’s distressing, take comfort from the knowledge that sometimes it’s necessary to learn a lesson first hand for it to make a lasting impression. Without ever experiencing the unpleasant side of life, they won’t learn to cope with it and will struggle when they grow up. Taking reasonable care to prevent accidents and injuries is a fundamental part of good parenting, but it’s a mistake to believe that children should never be exposed to anything bad.

The immune system
To build up a healthy immune system, kids need to be exposed to bacteria and viruses, so their immune system learns to create antibodies to fight invading bugs in the future. It is the principle behind vaccination, where a dead or harmless version of a serious illness is taken into the body, allowing the immune system to identify it and prepare the right antibodies. Then when the same virus is encountered later on, the defences are already in position, and the illness is killed before it takes hold. You might wonder why, if this is true, that you keep on getting things like colds throughout your life. The trouble is that there are many different strains of the cold virus, so when you’ve had one, you shouldn’t get that same one again, but you’re still vulnerable to all the ones you’ve never had. That’s also why flu jabs need to be tailored to the prevalent strain that season.

Allergies and autoimmune conditions
In addition to it being important for the immune system to be able to identify and create antibodies against invasion by viruses, it also needs to have contact with a wide variety of environmental conditions. Research has shown that children who are kept in scrupulously clean environments are more likely to develop conditions like asthma and allergies. A child’s best way of starting to build a healthy immune system is for them to be breastfed, taking in the protective qualities of the mother’s milk. To develop the immune system further, exposure to various types of dirt and contact with animals is required. If this doesn’t happen, then exposure at a later date can make the immune system go into overdrive, producing the distressing symptoms of allergies and other auto-immune disorders. Your role as a parent is to make sure they have exposure to all the conditions that will help them develop good immunity, without putting them in danger of contracting serious illnesses like food poisoning.

Treating childhood illnesses
Again, overprotection won’t benefit your child. If they have a bad cold, rest and plenty of fluids is the best way to get them better. Antibiotics are of no use because they only work on bacteria, and viruses cause colds. If you take the child to the doctor with a cold, there will be little they can do except give you the standard advice of rest and fluids; plus you could be spreading the infection. To treat your sick child appropriately, you need to be aware of the key signs of serious illness as compared to the normal process of recovery from minor illness. For example, a high temperature is an indication that the child needs checking by a doctor, so you need to know how to take their temperature accurately, and what readings are normal or elevated. If your doctor prescribes medicines for your child, follow the instructions carefully and always finish the course, even if they are getting better. You can find out more about what has been prescribed, and get the best deals on the medications your child needs if you view here for information.

Emotional wellbeing
It’s not just their physical welfare you need to be mindful of. You are the most influential figure in your kid’s life in terms of emotional intelligence and mental wellbeing. Set a good example for your child, and always pay attention to their needs. Don’t dismiss their fears or put them down, listen to what they say, empathize and explain why they don’t need to worry. There are many, many ways in which you can negatively affect your child’s emotional development, and if it’s not something you’ve thought about too much before, it’s worth finding out more about the subject, and the best ways to support your kid’s emotional development.

Caring for their safety, looking after them when they’re ill, and providing them with a sound emotional foundation are all essential aspects of raising happy, healthy children.




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