Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Safety Rules for Grandchildren

Many of today's grandparents are very involved in the lives of their grandchildren.  Three million grandparents are currently raising their grandchildren; millions more regularly babysit them. However, at the 2017 Pediatric Academics meeting, the attendees discussed the fact that many safety rules have changed over the past few decades and grandparents could be unintentionally putting their young grandchildren at risk.  Whether you are actively raising your grandchildren or occasionally babysitting them, it is important to learn the new rules for keeping them as safe as possible.

Why Grandparents Are Not Aware of Safety Recommendations

Grandparents are often confused by the changing recommendations. Young parents are constantly bombarded by new recommendations on how to keep their children safe.  Grandparents, however, are only rarely included in the visits to pediatricians and they are even less likely to have conversations with their peers about the best way to feed, transport and care for an infant.  As a result, they are frequently left out of the loop when new suggestions are released by experts.  In addition, some grandparents are resistant to the idea that things have changed since they raised their kids and they need to change their child-rearing ideas, too.

Modern Safety Recommendations for Infants and Young Children

1.  Today's pediatricians recommend that babies be put to sleep on their back, not on their sides or stomach as they were in the past.  Caregivers should not put blankets, toys or pillows in the crib with an infant. Making these changes can reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), which is the leading cause of death for infants between the ages of one month and one year.

2.  If a child is burned, butter is not the proper treatment for it.  If the burn is severe, call the child's pediatrician or take the baby to the emergency care or urgent care center nearest your home.

3.  Injuries should be cleaned and covered with a bandage to reduce the risk of infection.

4.  When a child has a fever, they should NOT be put in an ice bath, although this treatment was common 30 or 40 years ago.  Today's experts point out that this treatment can drop the body temperature too much and cause hypothermia.

5.  Infants should be transported in a rear-facing car seat as long as possible.  Toddlers should ride in a forward facing car seat with a five point restraint system. Older children can use booster seats after they outgrow their car seat.  The exact age and size of the children in each type of seat varies from state to state, so make sure you know the requirements for your state.  Before you offer to car pool with another parent or grandparent, make sure your vehicle can accommodate all the necessary car seats and booster seats.  Many cars can only accommodate a maximum of two car seats in the back seat. Children cannot ride in the cargo area of an SUV or station wagon, which was common a few decades ago.  Below are the laws in the State of California, according to the California Highway Patrol website in 2017.  The laws may vary slightly in the state where you live:

2017 California Child Safety Seat Laws
  • Children under 2 years of age shall ride in a rear-facing car seat unless the child weighs 40 or more pounds OR is 40 or more inches tall. The child shall be secured in a manner which complies with the height and weight limits specified by the manufacturer of the car seat.
  • ​Children under the age of 8 must be secured in a car seat or booster seat in the back seat.
  • Children who are 8 years of age OR have reached 4’9” in height must be secured by a safety belt.
  • Passengers who are 16 years of age and over are also subject to California's Mandatory Seat Belt law.
How Grandparents Can Stay Up-to-Date on Childcare Recommendations

The rules above are just the tip of the iceberg, and new suggestions for proper child and infant care are released frequently, including when to begin feeding solid foods to an infant, the types of food they should eat, and the products which are safe to use on an infant. As a result, if you are raising a grandchild or occasionally babysit one, it is important you stay current.  Go to well-baby checkups at the pediatrician's office, if possible.  In addition, attend parenting meetings and read current books and magazines on child rearing.

Below are a few sites where you can learn the latest childcare recommendations:

American Academy of Pediatrics Healthy Children Website

Parents.com

Parenting.com

For Car Seat Laws, check your state Highway Department website

If you are interested in additional information for grandparents, or tips for senior citizens, including where to retire, financial planning, Social Security, Medicare, common medical issues and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

Watch for my book, Retirement Awareness: 10 Steps to a Comfortable Retirement, which is being published by Griffin Publishing in the fall of 2017.

You are reading from the blog:  http://www.baby-boomer-retirement.com

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