Healthy Habits

5-3-2-1-Almost None | Car Seat Safety | Healthy Eating Tips | SIDS/Safe Sleep | Sun Protection | TSSAA Concussion Guidelines

5-3-2-1-Almost None

s-pediatric3.jpgTo prevent obesity, it is critical that children eat a nutritional diet and engage in exercise that will promote a healthy lifestyle. We recommend that parents follow this simple guide to keep their children healthy and active:

  • 5 – 5 or more servings of veggies and fruits daily
  • 3 – 3 balanced meals each day. Limit fast food and eat more prepared meals at home.
  • 2 – 2 hours or less of television and video games each day
  • 1 – 1 hour or more of exercise each day
  • Almost None – Limit your child’s consumption of sweetened beverages

Please view these guidelines for more information.

Car Seat Safety

Each year, thousands of children are injured or killed in car accidents. It is critical that you keep your child safe while riding in a vehicle by following strict car safety seat guidelines. The type of seat your child needs depends on your child’s age group and size. No matter what kind of car seat you child is currently in, always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions before installing your child’s safety seat.

Types of Car Seats by Age Group

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all infants ride in rear-facing car seats starting with their first ride home from the hospital. Infants should ride in rear-facing car seats until they are at least 2 years old and weigh over 20 pounds. When children reach the highest weight or height allowed by the manufacturer of their infant-only seat, they need to be moved into a convertible car seat and continue to ride facing the rear.

We recommend that children ride in rear-facing car safety seats as long as possible. When they have outgrown the rear-facing seat, they should begin using a forward-facing seat with a full harness.

School-Aged Children
Older children who have outgrown their forward-facing car safety seats should be transitioned into booster seats until adult belts fit correctly (usually between 8 and 12, when a child reaches approximately 4' 9"). A seat belt fits correctly when the shoulder belt lies across the middle of the chest and shoulder (not the neck or throat); the lap belt is low and snug across the upper thighs (not the belly), and the child is tall enough to sit comfortably against the vehicle seat back with his or her knees bent.

Older Kids
Children should use a lap and shoulder seat belt in the back seat until they reach their teenage years. Make sure your child does not tuck the shoulder belt under his or her arm or behind his or her back. This leaves the upper body unprotected, putting your child at risk of severe injury in a crash. Never allow anyone to share seat belts; all passengers must have their own car safety seats or seat belts.

Visit the American Academy of Pediatrics website for more information.

Healthy Eating Tips

In the United States, the percentage of overweight and obese children and teens is increasing at an alarming weight. Obese children and teens are at a greater risk for developing serious health conditions, such as diabetes, asthma, as well as high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol, which can lead to heart disease in adulthood. They may also experience low self-esteem due to teasing and bullying from their peers.

As a parent, you can help your child maintain a healthy weight. Lead by example. Prepare healthy meals for the entire family. Make an effort to prepare your family’s favorite meals in a healthier way.

Your child’s diet should include fruits, veggies, whole grains, low-fat or fat-free milk and dairy products, lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts and beans. Limit your family’s consumption of saturated fat and sugar. Encourage your child to drink plenty of water, and limit the amount of soda and sugar-sweetened beverages they consume.

Also make sure your child stays active by participating in at least one hour of physical activity each day. Make physical activity fun. Enroll your child in a sport sponsored by your community park or in individual sporting activities, such as martial arts, tennis, dance or golf.

Limit the amount of time your child spends playing video games, watching television and surfing the internet. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children younger than 2 years old not watch television at all; older children should only watch 1–2 hours each day.

Fostering good eating habits and encouraging physical activity early in your child’s life will help promote lifelong health!

Visit for more information.

SIDS/Safe Sleep

SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) refers to the sudden unexplained death of an infant when all other causes of death have been ruled out, including underlying health problems that parents may not have been aware of at the time of the tragedy. The tragedy of SIDS has become synonymous with parents who leave their infant sleeping in his/her crib, only to return and find them lifeless. SIDS is the leading cause of death among infants 1 month to 1 year old and claims the lives of about 3,500 babies each year in the United States.

Preventing SIDS

  • Put infants to sleep on their backs, even though they may sleep better on their stomachs.
  • Put infants to sleep on a firm mattress.
  • No blankets, pillows, bumper pads, stuffed animals, etc. should be in the crib when an infant is sleeping.
  • Make sure the infant does not have on too much extra clothing while sleeping, as overheating increases the chances of SIDS.
  • Never place an infant in an adult bed.
  • Do not fall asleep with your baby on the couch or in a chair.
  • Avoid exposing the baby to smoke, as this increases an infant’s chances of SIDS.
  • Using a pacifier lowers the risk of SIDS.
  • If your baby gags excessively after spitting up or has spells during which they appear to have difficulty breathing, inform your doctor, as their risk of SIDS may be higher.

Visit the American Academy of Pediatrics website for more information.

Sun Protection

The most effective way to combat skin problems is prevention. It is important to have a balanced, nutritious diet; to get plenty of exercise; and most importantly, to avoid overexposure to the sun. Sun exposure is responsible for the majority of medical and cosmetic skin conditions.

Any sunscreen is better than going without, but some types of sunscreen may protect your child better than others. Finding the right sunscreen is partly finding one with the right consistency for your child’s skin type. More importantly, it is crucial to get a sunscreen with a high SPF factor to help shield your child from ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

For more information, please visit the American Academy of Pediatrics website.

TSSAA Concussion Guidelines

Concussions are an unfortunate risk for kids participating in sports. Education is the key to accurately identifying and treating athletes showing signs of a concussion. Symptoms of a concussion include loss of consciousness, dizziness, changes in vision, confusion and a severe headache. Athletes experiencing these symptoms should receive medical care immediately.

View the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association Concussion Policy for more information.