Improving Heart Health for Kids: 3 Things Parents Should Know


Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. Although symptoms usually appear later in life, the factors that lead to the illness begin much earlier — even experiences during infancy can contribute to heart disease. Children don’t always understand the risks of heart disease, so it’s up to parents to minimize a child’s chances of getting it. While hereditary factors are impossible to change, there are lifestyle choices that make a difference in heart health for kids. Help your child live a healthy life and do what’s best for their heart.

Get Creative with Activities

An active lifestyle can improve heart health, so it’s important to get your kids moving. The trick is to give kids activities they actually want to participate in, rather than ones that make them feel like they’re doing something just to stay healthy. As children are naturally curious, consider taking them somewhere they’ve never been before like a park, playground, or swimming pool. This will encourage your children to use their imagination, as they stay active and have fun. Don’t be afraid to join in — heart health is just as important for adults as it is for children.

Make Nutrition a Priority

Like any muscle, the heart requires a balanced and healthy diet to function correctly. Unfortunately, children are often picky eaters who don’t enjoy the foods that are best for their health. One way to change unhealthy eating behaviors is to start small — slowly introduce healthy foods into a child’s diet so they don’t feel overwhelmed by a plate full of greens. You could swap whole wheat for white bread, fruit for candy, and carrots for chips. Take it one step at a time and lead by example. After all, if you’re not eating healthy, your children have a real excuse not to consume nutritious foods themselves.

Ensure a Healthy Sleep Schedule

Getting a full night’s sleep doesn’t just make a child feel better in the morning; it can help their heart in the long run. The most important part of a sleep schedule is that your kids stick to it every day of the week. This might not be so difficult on weekdays when school and homework make your child feel tired, but children sometimes want to stay up late on the weekends. Stay firm with bedtimes and eventually your children will know that going to bed at a certain hour is non-negotiable. You might feel bad making them hit the hay early, but remember that you are simply improving their heart health one night at a time. Teens require around 9 hours of sleep every night, and younger children need even more, so be sure they are getting the right amount to stay healthy.

Every kid deserves a healthy heart, so do what you can to keep things pumping smoothly. The steps you take today are sure to have a positive effect later in your child’s life. When you improve a child’s diet, exercise, or sleep schedule, you are giving them the gift of a healthier heart. Even if they don’t understand it today, they will be grateful they grow up. If you’re wondering how to get started improving your child’s heart health, check out our blog post “Benefits of Cooking for Your Kids” to tackle nutrition first. There’s nothing quite like a home-cooked meal, so make dinner more delicious and nutritious every day of the week.

Sun Safety for Your Little Ones

From lake trips to weekend BBQs, there are plenty of opportunities to spend family time enjoying the sunshine together. Plus, growing children need plenty of vitamin D to help their bodies absorb calcium. But it’s important to know that it doesn’t take much time outside to get the adequate vitamin D we need and too much time in the sun has dangerous effects. Repeated, unprotected exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause skin damage, eye damage, immune system suppression, and skin cancer. Setting your child up for healthy sun habits now ensures they stay safe for life!

Continue reading “Sun Safety for Your Little Ones”

Twin Cities Mini Golf

Enjoy the outdoors this spring and summer with an afternoon playing mini golf with your loved ones and little ones! Mini golf is a great way to exercise as a family, and helps children with their hand-eye coordination. If you need a rainy day activity, several courses are available indoors as well.

To find a course near you, just move your curser over the map!

Keeping Your Children Safe with Poison Safety Tips for Kids

Did you know that children under the age of six make up almost half (48%) of the poison exposures each year? It is essential that you as a parent have access to the information and strategies you need to keep your child safe, so we wanted to give you some simple tips to prevent your child from getting their hands on something that could be hazardous to their health.

Around the House
Whether you have children, or are expecting, there are a number of things that you can do around the house to keep your children safe, and it all starts with baby proofing. Of course, softening sharp corners and edges around the house is one thing, but when it comes to poison prevention, your number one objective is to keep medicines, household cleaning products, and other potentially poisonous household goods out of sight and out of reach. How?

  • Install safety latches on any cabinets containing poisonous materials.
  • Store hazardous household products up high.
  • Purchase products that come in child-resistant packaging* as an extra line of defense.

*It is extremely important to note that child-resistant packaging is NOT childproof. This type of packaging is designed to make it difficult for a child to open the product, giving you more time to notice and remove it.

 
Medicine
Children get sick, it’s a fact of life, and naturally we reach for a variety of medicines to cure their ailments. But, with that being said, improper use of medicine, be it the wrong dosage or use of the wrong medicine, can have devastating effects on your child. To avoid any mishaps, use the following poison safety tips concerning your over the counter and prescription medicines:

  • Always turn on the light when searching for and administering medicine to avoid grabbing the wrong bottle
  • Read the label and any directions listed on the packaging thoroughly
  • Double-check the dosage before administering
  • Never leave a medicine bottle out (on a counter, at your child’s bedside)
  • Never refer to medicine as “candy” or a “treat” to entice your child to take it
  • Avoid taking medicine in front of children whenever possible

 

Household Chemical Products
Household cleaning products, especially things like bright colored laundry detergent pods, and other sweet smelling cleaners, are dangerous for young children who learn with their mouths. The same goes for things like paint, rodent/insect poison, and more. To protect your child…

  • NEVER, under any circumstance, use a food container, cup, or bottle to store chemical products
  • Always remove any toys (child or pet) from your yard before applying pesticides of any kind
  • Rinse and re-cap empty cleaner/product bottles before recycling or disposal
  • Keep products in their original containers whenever possible

 

In General
There are other potentially dangerous products and items that can be found around your house. For instance, you need to know about the plants in and around your home, removing any that are poisonous, regardless of how beautiful they may be. From washing all clothing worn when using pesticides and other aerosol paints to keeping purses containing medicine up high and out of your child’s reach, there are many ways to create a safe environment for your children. Two of the most important tips are the following:

  • Always close containers if you are interrupted during use, this way, your child never has access to an open hazardous product/medicine/etc. while you are distracted.
  • Teach your child to always ask an adult before eating or drinking anything.

By following these tips, you can help to protect your children from a potentially life-threatening encounter with poison. If you ever suspect that your child, or anyone that you know has been poisoned, do not hesitate to call the Poison Help Line at 1-800-222-1222.