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Monday, July 21, 2008

Young Children and Feeding and Eating Disorders

Children with eating disorders are characterised as having eating and feeding disturbances in their eating behaviour. In young children, this includes Pica, Rumination Disorder and Feeding and Eating of infancy or Early childhood. Other disorders such as Bulima Nervosa and Anorexia Nervosa would only develop in older children.

A child with this disorder can be described as having a persistent consumption of non-nutritive substance such as dirt, hair, bugs, pebbles, etc. Such a behaviour is developmentally inappropriate. However, there should be no aversion to food.

The onset is usually between 12 and 24 months of age, with remission during childhood. Such a disorder occurs more in children that lack or have little adult supervision, or are mentally retarded.

Rumination Disorder
This disorder is much more common in children than in adults. It has the characteristic of repeated regurgitation of partially digested food, which is then chewed, spat out, and swallowed without having any nausea and retching.

This disorder can be potentially fatal if the child becomes malnourished, loses excess weight, or does not gain enough weight. Its onset is between three to 12 months of age. Such behaviour is not due to any medical condition, such as gastrointestinal illness and esophageal reflux, nor is it a result of mental disorders.

Feeding Disorders of Infancy or Early Childhood

The essential characteristic of this disorder is the persistent failure to eat adequately, which causes either weight loss, or difficulties in gaining weight. As with the Rumination Disorder, this disorder is not a result of any medical causes or mental disorders. It has to occur for at least one month.

Children require sufficient nutrients for efficient growth of their bodies and brains. In other words, survival needs are the most important for growing children.

Therefore, when a child misses out on this important milestone, it could cause cognitive problems (such as slow brain growth, which in turn causes slow development), and health problems due to irregular consumption of food or inappropriate items and deficiency in important minerals.

In the emotional aspect, if the child is not able to meet his basic needs, he may experience distress which may in turn cause stress, anxiety or other psychological or behavioural problems later.

What Parents Can Do

* Monitor the child's consumption of food.

* Avoid using force or pressure on the child, which may cause more damage.

* Take the child for professional assesment and consultation if the problem persists and he does not improve his condition with time.

* If the child appears to be weak, sick or in danger, take him immediately to seek medical attention.

Do check out my other post on children and healthy eating habits.

10 food safety tips for our young ones

Fast Food at Home

Encouraging Healthy Eating Habits for Children

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

10 food safety tips for our young ones

When the symptoms of food poisoning come a rumbling, they can range from discomfort to downright debilitating, especially when those spasms are racking the little ones. Share these 10 easy-to-swallow food safety tips with your kids now. They'll thank you for it.

Wash your hands
Tip 1 - This is the way I wash my hands
Do get your kids to wash their hands thoroughly with soaps before eating, after touching pets, or after a trip to the bathroom. Hands are one of the most common medium for breeding micro-organisms. The bacteria then get transferred to food. If ingested, harmful germs can act up. Sometimes within hours. No-rinse, fuss free sanitising gels are also a great alternative for children on the go.

Tip 2 - Close those water bottles
Teach your child to keep their water bottles closed after drinking. This will prevent contaminants from entering their drinking water. Liquid-borne micro-organisms are just as capable of causing food poisoning.

Tip 3 - Check expiry dates
Always check expiry dates. Kids need to know this, especially when it comes to produce such as milk and other dairy products; these items are more likely to turn bad faster, especially once the packaging has been opened.

Wash those Vegies

Tip 4 - Wash
Encourage children to wash fruits and vegetables before packing them into lunch boxes. Show them how they can soak vegetables in clean tap water for 15 minutes to remove unwanted dirt. This will do the job without the need for fancy washes or detergents. Trim bruised portions to remove harmful bacteria present in these area.

Tip 5 - Good hygiene
When it comes to eating in school, let your kids know that it's important to buy only from canteen vendors who have clean and tidy stalls, and who are well-groomed and properly attired. Food handlers who practice good hygiene and maintain a clean environment reduce the risk of food contamination.

Tip 6 - Out with that!
When in doubt, throw it out. It's never a good idea to consume food that might be spoiled. Reheating dubious food may not always do the job either. The toxins of some bacteria won't get destroyed even during the reheating process. Toss out cans that are rusty, bulging or dented and reject products that look or smell bad.

Tip 7 - Microwave-safe
Practise microwave-safe food habits. Teach kids not to microwave with containers that are not specially made for microwave use. Minute particles form the plastic can migrate to food at high temperatures which may lead to health complications. Opt for microwave-safe glassware instead.

Avoid Raw Meat
Tip 8 - Avoidance
It's best to avoid some food altogether. Food poisoning can be especially severe for young children so take extra care. Avoid raw or rare meat, raw or undercooked shellfish, eggs, unpasteurised milk and dairy products, as well as uncooked deli meats.

Tip 9 - Safe Temperature
Keep food at a "safe" temperature. Food is most easily contaminated between 5 degree Celsius and 60 degree Celsius. Keep hot food hot and cold food cold to prevent bacteria from multiplying. Purchase insulated food bags and a thermos. These are great for kids to store lunch.

Tip 10 - Cool it is
When it comes to chilling out, teach kids to keep an eye out for self-service refrigerators that drinks and desserts are stored. These should be cold enough so that there is no condensation on the food or food packets. Cold food must be kept cold to prevent harmful bacteria form multiplying so give those that are lukewarm a miss.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Protecting Your Baby

Protecting your Newborn

Bringing home your newborn baby, check out this great list of safety measures and Baby Safety Checklist. I came across this Checklist from GranMamma, who is the webmaster at the Baby Names Box - http://www.babynamebox.com

Baby Safety Checklist incorporates safety measures with General Safety Tips, Protecting your kids rooms, Keeping the bathroom safe, safety measures for the kitchen as well as the yard.

When bringing home your new baby, there are so many things to do in order to get ready. Making your home a safe haven for your new little one is one of the most important things you will do to get ready. Each room contains its own set of dangers. Below is a baby safety checklist to ensure that every room in your house is baby friendly.

General Safety Tips:
Baby safety gate

___ Place child-resistant covers on all electrical outlets.
___ Install safety gates at the top and bottom of the stairs.
___ Don't use baby walkers because they have been known to have caused serious injuries to babies. Use stationary exercisers instead.
___ Keep all dangerous chemicals out of the reach of children.
___ Shorten curtain and blind cords.
___ Install smoke detectors on each floor of your home, especially near sleeping areas. * Be sure to change the batteries each year.
___ Keep all small objects away from young children. (This includes tiny toys and balloons.)
___ Use corner bumpers on furniture and fireplace-hearth edges.
___ Know the names of all plants in case a child eats one of them.
___ Be sure that furnaces, fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, space heaters, and all gas appliances are vented properly.
___ Place screened barriers around fireplaces, radiators, and portable space heaters.
___ Keep firearms and ammunition safely locked away.
___ Secure unsteady furnishings.
___ Check your house for lead and asbestos. If you detect either of these substances, contact a professional. Any house built before 1978 is at risk for lead paint.

Protect your kids rooms:
Baby crib

___ Ensure that your crib meets national safety standards.
___ Place guards on windows and stops on all doors.
___ Make sure your baby's crib is sturdy and has no loose or missing hardware.
___ Make sure that the mattress fits snugly.
___ Be sure the crib sheet fits snugly.
___ Never put stuffed animals or heavy blankets in the crib with your infant.
___ Never leave your baby unattended on the changing table.
___ Remove mobiles and other hanging toys from the crib as soon as your child can reach up and touch them.
___ Place infants under one year of age on their backs to sleep. Mattress should be firm and flat with no soft bedding underneath. * Following this advice will reduce the risk of suffocation and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
___ Place night-lights at least three feet away from the crib, bedding, and draperies to prevent fires.
___ Check age labels for appropriate toys.

Keep the bathroom safe:

___ Put a lock on the medicine cabinet.
___ Lower the household water temperature. (It should be set at 120 degrees F or below to avoid burning your baby)
___ Always test the water first before bathing a child.
___ Never leave your child alone in the bathtub or near any water.
___ Secure toilet lids. Many young children are fascinated by putting objects inside.
___ Make sure that bathtubs and showers aren't slippery.
___ Install ground-fault circuit interrupters on outlets near sings and bathtubs.

For the Kitchen:
Safe highchairs

___ Keep all knives, cleaning supplies, and plastic bags out of children's reach.
___ If stove knobs are easily accessible to children, use protective covers to prevent kids from turning them.
___ Never leave your baby alone in a highchair. Always use all safety straps. ___ Replace any frayed cords and wires.
___ Keep chairs and step stools away from counters and the stove.
___ Remove all household cleaners from the bottom cabinets or put them in a cabinet that is out of your baby's reach.

In the Yard:
Fenced swimming pools

___ Store tools, garden, lawn-equipment, and supplies in a locked closet or shed.
___ Don't use a power mower when young children are around.
___ Don't allow children to play on a treated lawn for at least 48 hours following an application of a fertilizer or pesticide.
___ Know the types of trees and plant life on the property in case children ingest berries, leaves, or other plant life.
___ If you have a swimming pool, install a fence that separates the house from the pool. ( Make sure that the gate is childproof)

This list is a general guide. For more in-depth information go to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission at www.cpsc.gov.

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