Tag Archives: children

‘Make Your Plate SC Grown’ for National Farm to School Month in October

By Amy Weaver, MSPH
SC Farm to Institution Director
Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity

Happy National Farm to School Month!

October was designated as National Farm to School Month by Congress in 2010 as a time to celebrate the importance of farm to school programs, which improve child nutrition, educate children on where food comes from and support the local economy.

In South Carolina, Farm to School is part of South Carolina Farm to Institution, which is a joint effort of DHEC, the S.C. Department of Agriculture, the S.C. Department of Education, and the S.C. Department of Social Services, as well as Clemson University.

South Carolina Farm to Institution encourages both children and adults to take part in celebrating National Farm to School Month. Join others across the state on October 27 and participate in Make Your Plate SC Grown. The purpose of this day is to celebrate South Carolina agriculture and support our local farms. Try a new dish or make one of your favorite recipes using South Carolina produce. However you choose to participate, share your story by registering online. Don’t forget to post a photo of your SC Plate on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #mycertifiedplate.

Here are some additional ways to celebrate National Farm to School Month:

  • Visit a local farmers market or roadside stand.
  • Prepare recipes using South Carolina produce.
  • Visit a local farm.
  • Start a garden and refer to the South Carolina Garden Toolkit for tips.

To learn more about National Farm to School Month and South Carolina Farm to Institution, visit the website, www.scfarmtoinstitution.com.

MakeYourPlateSCGrown

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NEVER leave a child in a parked car

Some things should never, ever happen. Leaving a child in a parked car, even if the windows are open, is one of those things.

And don’t leave pets in that dangerous situation either.

Despite the many warnings and, tragically, the child deaths reported due to being left in a hot car, there are still those who take the chance. Again, don’t.

Here’s what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about infants and children and heat:

Keep children cool and hydrated

  • Dress infants and children in loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Make sure they drink plenty of fluids. Avoid really cold drinks or drinks with too much sugar.
  • Follow additional tips on how to prevent heat-related illness.

Never leave children in a parked car

  • Even when it feels cool outside, cars can heat up to dangerous temperatures very quickly.
  • Leaving a window open is not enough: Temperatures inside the car can rise almost 20 degrees Fahrenheit within the first 10 minutes.
  • Children who are left unattended in parked cars are at greatest risk for heat stroke, and possibly death.

Tips for traveling with children

  • Never leave infants or children in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked open.
  • When leaving your car, check to be sure everyone is out of the car. Do not overlook any children who have fallen asleep in the car.

Visit the CDC’s website for information on symptoms of heat-related illness.

DHEC wants your child to have a healthy smile!

By Adrianna Bradley

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) wants parents to help their little ones brush up on oral health.

Although it’s preventable, tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in children. When left untreated, tooth decay can cause pain and infections that can lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing and learning. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that children who have poor oral health tend to miss more school days and receive lower grades than children who don’t.

Good dental habits start at home

DHEC encourages parents to support good habits at home, such as brushing teeth twice a day and visiting the dentist regularly, so children can have healthy teeth and gums for a lifetime. DHEC’s Division of Oral Health collaborates with the S.C. Dental Association and the Columbia Marionette Theatre to support a traveling puppet show called “Flora and Floppy go to the Dentist.” The purpose of this interactive show is to teach children what they need to do to have healthy smiles.  Some of the key messages in the puppet show are brushing and flossing, going to the dentist, drinking water with fluoride, getting dental sealants, and eating healthy foods.

“The Flora and Floppy puppet show has been able to reach over 35,000 children in schools and Head Start centers across the state with a positive oral health message since it began in 2007,” said Dr. Ray LaLa, director of the Division of Oral Health at DHEC. “The ability to deliver key oral health messages in an entertaining way is an extremely effective way to reach young children and their families.”

Tooth decay a problem among children

Even though tooth decay has been on the decline for the past 30 years, it is still prevalent in children ages 6 to 19. South Carolina’s Oral Health Needs Assessment in 2012 showed a decline in untreated decay, but there is still work to be done, particularly in the more rural areas of the state. For example, over 40 percent of the students screened in 2012 showed they had some form of decay, either treated or untreated. Consistent preventive messages and public health interventions such as community water fluoridation can go a long way to improve the oral health status of children in South Carolina.

Steps to take to protect children’s dental health

Here are some useful tips for parents and caregivers to help protect their children from future dental issues.

  • Oral care begins with wiping out the mouths of infants with soft cloth even before the first tooth arrives.
  • Once teeth arrive, brush your child’s teeth with fluoridated toothpaste twice a day. Children under age 3 should use a smear of toothpaste, and children over age 3 should use a pea-sized amount.
  • Children should be supervised when brushing their teeth until age 6-8.little-girl-brushing
  • Children should visit the dentist regularly beginning at age 1.
  • Talk to your pediatrician, family doctor, nurse or dentist about putting fluoride varnish on your child’s teeth as soon as the first tooth appears in the mouth.
  • Limit sugary snacks and drinks.
  • Talk to your child’s dentist about dental sealants. Sealants protect teeth from decay.
  • Have your child drink tap water that contains fluoride. If you have well water, you can contact your water utility company and request a copy of the utility’s most recent “Consumer Confidence Report.” This report provides information on the level of fluoride in your drinking (tap) water.

A healthy mouth is an important part of overall health. To learn more about Children’s Dental Health Month, please visit http://www.ada.org/en/public-programs/national-childrens-dental-health-month.

Santa’s Safety List: 12 Tips for Toys

Toys are an essential part of the holiday gift-giving and while many parents are still crossing off presents on their children’s Christmas lists, DHEC wants to make sure little ones stay safe this holiday season.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 252,000 children were treated in U.S. emergency rooms for toy-related injuries in 2015. Here are 12 tips to make sure your family stays safe this holiday.

Make sure to follow the age recommendations for toys and games.
Always pay close attention to the age recommendations on toys and choose one according to a child’s age, interest, and skill level.

Take notice of warning and safety labels.
Be aware of other safety labels such as “Flame retardant/flame resistant” or “Washable/Hygienic materials” on dolls and other stuffed toys.

Plastic wrappings can be deadly for small children – discard them immediately.
Discard the plastic wrappings from toys immediately; they become deadly playthings to small children.

When choosing toys, keep in mind that kids under one like to see, touch, hear and taste.
For children one and under, choose toys that are colorful, lightweight, have various textures and are made of non-toxic materials. Children, this age learn through sight, touch, sound and taste and often put things into their mouths to explore them.

Small parts like removable eyes are choking hazards.
Don’t give young children any toys with small parts such as removable eyes, noses, etc., they are choking hazards.

Stay away from toys with sharp points, edges, and wires that stab, cut or shock.
Inspect all toys for sharp points or edges made from such materials as metal or glass—these toys should not be given to children under eight years of age. This includes stuffed animals with wires that could stab, cut or shock if exposed.

Never hang toys with strings, cords, or ribbons of any kind in cribs or playpens.
Toys with strings, cords or ribbons of any kind should not be hung in cribs or playpens. Young children can become entangled which can cause injury or death.

Teach older children to keep toys with removable small parts or sharp points away from younger siblings.
Teach older children to keep their toys that may have removable small parts, sharp points or toys ran on electricity out of reach of younger siblings. Young children are very curious and may investigate toys that aren’t appropriate for them.

Worn or broken toys can cause injuries.
Keep toys and play equipment in good condition, discard any toys that are broken to prevent injuries.

Check toys regularly for safety and durability.
Toys get used and abused by children; regularly conduct a toy maintenance check for safety and durability.

Provide safe hazard-free play environments both indoors and outdoors.
Supervision is essential; provide safe hazard-free play environments both indoors and outdoors.

Toys can be a tripping hazard!
Teach children early to put toys away when they are finished playing with them. This will prevent accidental falls over them.

To learn more about preventing your child from other injuries you can visit our website at http://www.scdhec.gov/Health/ChildTeenHealth/EarlyChildhood/PreventInjuries/

Make Halloween SAFE and HEALTHY

halloween_socialKids love Halloween – dressing up, going to parties and, of course, eating yummy treats. But parents need to keep some guidelines in mind to make sure the day is full of treats, not tricks. Use these tips to make the festivities SAFE and HEALTHY.

Swords, knives and other costume accessories should be short, soft and flexible.

Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.

Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.

Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.

and

Hand out some healthier treats for trick-or-treaters such as low-calorie treats and drinks. For party guests, offer a variety of fruits and vegetables.

Exercise can be part of the fun. Use party games and trick-or-treat time as an opportunity for kids to get their daily dose of 60 minutes of physical activity.

Avoid walking areas and stairs that aren’t well-lit and free of obstacles that could cause someone to fall.

Look both ways before crossing the street. Use crosswalks wherever possible.

Test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation.

Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you.

Yes, a little candy is OK, but limit the sweet treats beyond the holiday.

For more ideas on safe, healthy Halloween fun, check out these pages: