HEALTHY CHILD WITH DR RANJ SINGH
c e l e b r i t y
a n g e l s
Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh What Pain Medication Can I Give My Little One?
Make Time for Play! How play can support learning
Make Your Own: DIY Baby Food
Fun exercises to keep your little one moving
Baby’s Safest Sleep
GUEST EDITOR DR RANJ SINGH SUMMER 2018
Discussing the latest in kids’ health with Dr Ranj Singh PREGNANCY
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C H I L D H E A LT H
E A R LY Y E A R S
SUMMER 2018 | £3.99 ISSN 1758-597X
E D U C AT I O N
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ello mums and dads! Welcome to the inaugural issue of Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh. Children today benefit from great medical advancements and technologies that help to keep them safe and well—but there’s more to be done. Recent statistics tell us that one in 10 children in the UK are obese by the age of five and one in five children are obese by the time they turn 11. Obesity in young people is linked to serious life-threatening (but sometimes preventable) conditions in later life including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer. With this in mind, it is more pertinent than ever to be the influential force in our children’s lives and overhaul our bad lifestyle habits for the better. Interestingly, research in recent years has
demonstrated a strong link between physically active children and a sense of improved self-esteem, social skills and academic achievements—even more reason to ditch the junk and play outside. Mental health issues like depression and anxiety among school-age children is also another cause for concern—according to the Mental Health Foundation, an overwhelming 50 percent of mental health problems are established by age 14, yet this area of health and wellbeing has largely fallen to the wayside—until now. In a bid to stimulate dialogue about the wellbeing of the nation’s children, this filled-to-the-brim issue aims to give you the latest health and wellbeing information you need to ensure your little ones are both healthy and happy. hc
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CONTENTS 28 The Nursery Checklist
Construct a safe, soothing and practical nursery for your baby with this essential checklist
32 Cry Baby
Your baby cries to communicate with you, but gauging what they are trying to convey can be difficult
33 Choosing the Right Baby Clothes
Shopping for baby clothes can be a supreme joy, but there are a few important pointers that parents should keep in mind
37 The Best Buggy for Your Baby
Buy a buggy that is safe and adheres to current government regulations
38 Safety First
12 children under 10 years old are killed or injured in cars every day
40 Childhood Vaccination Schedule
Keep on top of your child’s recommended jabs with help from Healthy Child’s immunisation calendar
43 Ear, Nose & Throat ITV and the BBC's resident paediatrician, Dr Ranj Singh, talks about the biggest health concerns facing the nation's children today
Pregnancy & Early Years
10 What's New? Kids' Health Today
The latest stats and facts surrounding children's health today
14 Dieting Dos & Don’ts in Pregnancy
If eaten during pregnancy, certain foods may harm your developing baby
16 Prenatal Vitamins
The NHS recommends only a small selection of prenatal supplements be taken by pregnant women
18 What to Expect If My Baby Is Born Prematurely
Premature labour can cause a lot of undue stress and anxiety in expectant mothers; here’s what to expect
21 Sleep Safe & Sound
The risk of sudden infant death syndrome can be dramatically reduced by practicing safe sleep
25 Nodding Off
Enforcing healthy sleeping habits could be the key to a good night’s sleep for both you and baby
4 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh
Healthy Child reviews the common and severe conditions pertaining to the ear, nose and throat
46 Nappy Time Bonding
Nappy time presents a special opportunity to nurture and bond with your newborn baby
49 Squeaky Clean
It's nearly impossible to keep children clean all the time, but our tips make it that little bit easier
51 Newborn Skincare
Care for your young baby’s delicate skin with our useful tips and advice
52 Development Age by Age
The rate at which children learn and grow is truly astounding; track your little one’s development with our age-by-age guide
54 Breast Is Best
The UK has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world
57 Comfort Your Teething Baby
There are several effective tactics parents can employ to ease the discomfort of their teething baby
59 Weaning Your Baby
Weaning can be challenging yet rewarding—prepare for this magical process of growth and bonding with our tips
IMAGES © Shutterstock
6 A Champion for the Little Ones
celebrity PUBLISHER & CEO Kevin Harrington EDITOR Kayley Loveridge
64 DIY Baby Food
In making your own baby food at home, you can control your child’s nutritional intake, save money and practice creative flavour pairing
69 Green Cleaning
Make baby’s world eco-friendlier by switching to green cleaning products
72 Thinking About Fostering?
Fostering is a monumental decision; we help you determine its appropriateness for your home arrangement
74 Protect Your Child Against Meningitis Children and young people are the most susceptible to meningitis
76 What Pain Medicine Can I Give My Little One?
It’s important to know which medicines are safe and suitable for our little ones
81 A Boost in Immunity
Boost your child's immune system and ward off illness
85 Children & Allergies
More than one in four people are affected by allergies in the UK
87 I Spy with My Little Eye
Did you know that an estimated 20 percent of school-age children have an undiagnosed vision problem?
89 Make Room for Veg
With 50.4 percent of all household foods in the UK classed as ‘ultra-processed', it’s no wonder the nation’s children are being swept up in the current obesity epidemic
95 Vitamins for Children
The DoH recommends that children aged between six months to five years take vitamins A, C and D every day
96 Keep It Moving
Children require various hours of physical activity per day during their early years
99 All Aboard: Holiday Safety
Parents with young children should take extra precautions before jetting off on holiday
105 Play Mate
Leading psychologist Dr Elizabeth Kilbey from Channel 4’s The Secret Life of… sheds crucial insights into how play facilitates learning at its best
114 Jumping Safely
Some 130,000 children visit A&E each year due to trampoline injuries
116 Surviving the Terrible Twos
A period characterised by unruly behaviour, the ‘terrible twos’ can be a tricky time, especially for first-time parents
118 Childhood Obesity: A Growing Problem
One in five children are obese by the age of 11 in the UK
123 Supporting Learning at Home
Research shows active participation in children’s learning at home can have a positive impact on their overall performance in school
126 Easy as A, B, C
Communication skills are vital for early years right through to adulthood
127 The Social Network
33 percent of UK parents said their main worry was about their child making friends
128 Staying Safe Online
The internet contains both a world of possibilities and potential threats—teach your child the vital skills they need to surf the web safely
130 Healthy Drinks for Nursing Mums
Nursing mothers can quench their thirst with these tasty beverages—healthy for both mum and baby
SUB EDITOR Annalisa D'Alessio ART EDITOR Friyan Mehta FEATURES WRITER Phoebe Ollerearnshaw EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Sam Stevenson PRODUCTION DIRECTOR Joanna Harrington PRODUCTION COORDINATOR Joel Simpson OFFICE COORDINATOR Adam Linard-Stevens PUBLISHED BY Celebrity Angels © 2018 All rights reserved
Healthy Child Celebrity Angels Suite 2, 143 Caledonian Road, London, N1 0SL Tel: 020 7871 1000 Fax: 020 7022 1694 For sales enquiries call: 020 7871 1000 COVER IMAGES Shutterstock; Photograph of Dr Ranj Singh Courtesy of Talent4Media All material in Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh magazine is wholly copyright and reproduction without the written permission of the publisher is strictly forbidden. The views expressed in this publication are entirely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of Celebrity Angels. The information in this publication is carefully researched and produced in good faith, however, neither the publisher nor the editors accept responsibility for any errors. The Celebrity Angels Series is published in the UK under licence by Damson Media Limited. Damson Media Limited is registered in England and Wales under registration no. 07869300.
Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 5
for the Little Ones
Dr Ranj Singh, leading paediatrician on ITV’s This Morning and CBeebies’ Get Well Soon programme, talks to Kayley Loveridge about key health concerns among children, his thoughts on vaccinations and how we can close the poverty gap in Britain to ensure every child gets the healthcare they deserve
6 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh
Images: Shutterstock; Courtesy of Talent4Media
Q. What are your main concerns today when it comes to children’s health? RS: As a medical professional, my main areas of concern when it comes to child health are, firstly, infections and their prevention. Secondly, accidents in children and young people. The third thing is the increasing incidence of acquired diseases. These are 'adult' diseases that children are getting. Here, we’re talking about things like obesity, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. We would usually associate these conditions with older people, but we’re starting to see them in younger and younger ages, and that’s worrying. The fourth big area we are increasingly becoming aware of is mental health. We are seeing more and more young people struggling with mental health issues, but we are less and less able to deal with it. That’s a real worry. The final area that we need to keep in mind is personal and sexual health. That includes everything from sex education and awareness about safety and consent, to having healthy relationships. We
Interview have to equip our kids better for real life, and that means dealing with difficult subjects like this. While we’re bogged down in everything else, we mustn’t forget that these are the day-to-day things that young people have to manage, and we have a responsibility to help and guide them. Q. What are the key things that would-be parents should keep in mind when trying to conceive? RS: I would say, firstly, don’t fret; try not to panic. It’s very understandable and easy to be nervous around issues with conception, but difficulty conceiving is not uncommon. It’s also important to be realistic. Conception isn’t always easy and it can take time. It’s important to be aware that some of the treatments on offer at the moment—including IVF— don’t actually have very high success rates. That can be hard to hear. Thirdly, it’s important to look after yourself and your general health. General health is tied into fertility, so ensure you eat healthily, get some exercise, cut out smoking and watch your drinking. That applies to both men and women. That leads on to my fourth point, which is about taking care of your mental health. Problems conceiving can have a big impact on your mental wellbeing, too. Finally, be careful and don’t be conned. There are many companies offering a range of treatments, many of which are not evidence-based. It’s a seriously misleading market, and I think it’s a national scandal. Q. In your view, how important is it that children are administered the recommended vaccinations in their early years? RS: Speaking from the perspective of someone who looks after children and young people specifically, I can categorically say that one of the most
Eat thwe ! rainbo effective things you can do to protect the health of your child, and those around them, is to make sure they are immunised. There is a lot of scientific evidence for vaccinations, provided you look in the right place. There is a lot of evidence that they work and that they are safe for the vast majority of people. They prevent life-limiting and sometimes lethal conditions and we are very lucky to have a free national vaccination programme. If you look at it from an overall health perspective, there have been three major medical advances in the UK which have led to reduced disease and deaths amongst children. They are: better sanitation, the use of antibiotics and vaccination. Q. In what ways can parents incorporate healthy foods into the diets of even the fussiest of little eaters? How can malnutrition affect a child’s cognitive abilities?
RS: Get kids interested in food from an early age. As soon as you start weaning them, when the time is right, try different things. Get creative and try to make food colourful—and we know that colourful food tends to be better for our health. If your child doesn’t like the look of something, try presenting it in different ways. For example, if your child doesn’t like vegetables, put them into something or disguise them, or work out other ways of getting them in. Get kids involved in preparation of food, too, so that they are more likely to want to try it. It’s very normal for children to be wary or refuse food to start with, but just persevere. It can take as many as 20 goes before they will accept a new food! And don’t worry, your child will not go hungry. It’s important to make sure that children's diets are good enough as it doesn’t just affect their physical health, but also their cognitive abilities, too. Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 7
Interview Q. Some child healthcare cases— such as the Charlie Gard case— receive huge media attention. How far do you think this kind of coverage detracts from the core issue of the child’s health and becomes a more political argument? RS: The sad Charlie Gard case taught us a lot of things about how medical cases might play out in the media and the impact that can have, both positive and negative. There’s no doubt that when cases like this come to light, people will start talking about them and it raises awareness of rare conditions. Charlie’s case got lots of people interested in mitochondrial disorders and that was important. However, the downside of things playing out in the media, especially social media, was that facts were often misinterpreted and people made unfair judgements based on that. There were a lot of very unfair and inaccurate things being said and that caused negative opinions of hard-working people in the medical profession. I feel that amongst all that arguing, we sadly lost sight of the child that was in the middle of it all.
There’s lots of evidence that children from deprived areas have poor health. For example, babies are much more likely to die under the age of one if they’re from a poor background or area, if their mums are under 18 or if they’re from certain ethnic groups such as some Asian minority groups poverty divide that exists and we need to make sure that we address that. Firstly, we need to educate people about child health so they’re better equipped when it comes to caring for their kids. Secondly, we’ve got to fund resources and services better. This is where politics plays a big part: we have to try to reduce variation in services across the country if we’re
going to ensure that every child has the best start in life. Q. In your experience, what are the most common misconceptions parents make when it comes to their baby’s health? RS: I think there are lots of misconceptions around babies’ feeding and pooping. No child feeds perfectly and all of them have different bowel habits! We need to remember that every child is different, and as long as your baby is healthy, gaining weight and is generally well, you can probably relax a bit. Another misconception is that natural immunity is always better than vaccine-acquired immunity. That’s not the case at all, and not vaccinating your kids puts them in danger. Thirdly, I would say that lots of people panic when babies cry. Crying isn’t always a sign of something wrong. Babies will cry to
8 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh
Q. According to the RCPCH, ‘Children living in the most deprived areas are much more likely to be in poor health.’ How far do you think the class divide and poverty makes this true and what can we do to ensure that all children get the healthcare they deserve? RS: There is a lot of research to show that children from deprived backgrounds have poorer health. For example, babies from the most deprived areas of the country are several times more likely to die under the age of one year than those from the most affluent parts, or if their mums are under 18, or if they’re from certain ethnic backgrounds. This reflects the big class and
communicate when they are in pain, hungry, cold or if they just want some comfort. Crying doesn’t mean that you have to worry, although persistent crying for no known reason can sometimes be a worrying sign. Finally, I think we should address ‘fever phobia’. Lots of people worry about high temperatures, but they don’t usually cause your child any harm. What’s more important is to know what is causing the fever and whether you need to do something about that. Q. There has been much debate concerning breastfeeding versus bottle-feeding. What is your view on this? RS: No-one will disagree that breastfeeding is the natural way to feed your child. It’s associated with a range of short and long-term benefits for baby, such as better immunity,
reduced risk of allergies and reducing the risk of obesity. Similarly, there are a range of benefits for mum, too, such as reducing the risk of certain cancers. However, we have to understand and accept that breastfeeding isn’t always easy or possible, and that it is a choice. We have to support people who can’t or struggle to breastfeed, or those who simply choose not to. The important thing is that people are trying to do what is best for them and their child, and no-one deserves to be judged or feel unsupported. Q. Finally, what three key pieces of advice would you give parents who want to give their children the healthiest start in life? RS: Nourish, nurture and protect. Nourish your child physically and mentally. That means making sure they’ve got a good diet, that they’re
Vaccinatiuornbsaabrye's key to yo health active, that they have opportunities to learn, play and acquire all of those important skills. Nurture them by providing them with an environment where they feel supported, listened to and loved and where they can be who they are without fear. Protect them, not just physically, but in terms of their health and wellbeing, too. So that includes preventative measures like vaccinations, but also teaching them about safety and injury prevention. There’s no one best way to raise a child. Every child, parent and their relationship will be different. You do what is best for you and your child. hc Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 9
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cer itute of Can by The Inst ew vi te re or ac A maj ildhood u und that ch fo as h h e bl rc ti Resea ia in suscep ic leukaem exposure of ck lymphoblast la by d be triggere ay ses m n re child ning most ca rly life—mea ea table. in s en ev rm to ge e likely pr ukaemia ar le d oo y h da ild of ch children to ng, sending y to Breastfeedi uld be the ke oor play co td ou em and d st an care immune sy little one’s r u yo g n ti boos e this diseas earch preventing Cancer Res e Inst Source: Th
Kids' Health Game time Images: Shutterstock
For the first time in history, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has listed ‘gaming disorder’ (characterised as priority given to gaming over other activities) in its International Classification of Diseases (ICD). As compulsive gaming now qualifies as a mental health condition, treatment for the disorder will now be offered by the NHS Source: World Health Organisation
10 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh
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The government recommends that children aged 7 to 10 eat no more than 24g of free sugars each day. Yet, children aged 4 to 10 have already consumed more than their recommended sugar intake for the whole of 2018, say Public Health England. Sugary soft drinks, cakes and pastries are shown to be the main culprits Source: Public Health England
TIME FOR A DIGI-TOX? Recent research has shown a link between parents who use digital devices during family time (including meals, playtime and bedtime) and a poor relationship with their children. The researchers found that technological devices almost always interfere with child-parent relationships at least once a day, causing an increase in frustration, tantrums, whining and hyperactivity in children Source: Brandon T. McDaniel, Jenny S. Radesky. Technoference: longitudinal associations between parent technology use, parenting stress, and child behavior problems. Pediatric Research, 2018
Just under 300 babies in the UK die due to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) each year, says the NHS. Do not smoke during pregnancy and practice safe sleep when baby is born to reduce the risk by up to 50%
Children under 3 years old are 70 times more likely to contract fatal bacterial meningitis than adults. The meningitis B vaccine is available on the NHS for babies aged 8 weeks, 16 weeks and 1 years old Source: Meningitis Research Foundation
Source: NHS Choices celebrityangels.co.uk
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Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 11
The trouble with pollution
Children are especially vulnerable to traffic pollution, with evidence showing it can cause stunted growth of the lungs. Queen Mary University in London and Mayor Sadiq Khan have recently launched an international research project looking at the effect of air pollution on children’s health. Over the next 4 years, over 3,000 primary school children in polluted areas of London and Luton will have their lung health monitored Source: Children’s Health in London & Luton
A recent study into childhood vulnerability has estimated that 2.1 million children out of England’s 11.8 million children—nearly 1 in 6—are living in families with risks so serious that they need some level of help. These dangers can include domestic violence or living with parents with substance abuse problems
According to the latest statistics published by Public Health England, the prevalence of breastfeeding at 6 to 8 weeks is on the rise. The breastfeeding rate for England for 2016-17 is 44.4%, a slight increase on previous years at 43.2% (2015-16) and 43.8% (2014-15)
Source: Children’s Commission
Source: Public Health England
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BREASTFEEDING ON THE RISE
1 in 3
children are now overweight or obese by the age of 11. Excess weight is a significant health issue that can have serious implications for the physical and mental health of a child, which can then follow on into adulthood Source: gov.uk
Children only need a very small amount of salt in their diet, so watch your supermarket labels! Salt is added to many packaged foods including bread, baked beans and even biscuits. As a rule of thumb, the maximum recommended amount of salt for babies and children per day should be: <1g for babies up to 12 months; 2g for children 1 to 3 years; 3g for children 4 to 6 years; 5g for children 7 to 10 years; and 6g for children 11 and over Source: NHS Choices
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1 in every 10 women are affected by postnatal depression within a year of giving birth. It can also affect fathers and partners, although this is far less prevalent. Some common symptoms are feeling down, tearful or anxious for over 2 weeks post-birth. If you think youâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; or anyone you knowâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;may be depressed, speak to your GP or health visitor Source: NHS Choices
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Pregnancy & Early Years
Dos & Don’ts During Pregnancy It’s important to know what you can and can't eat during pregnancy as certain foods may harm your developing baby
LEAFY GREENS The NHS advises pregnant women to take folic acid supplements to prevent birth defects. But this vital nutrient can also be obtained through a healthy diet. During pregnancy, eat plenty of leafy greens—such as spinach and kale—to increase your folic acid intake. 14 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh
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As a general rule, it is vital to wash all fruits, vegetables and salads to remove all traces of visible dirt and soil.
FISH You can eat most types of fish when you are pregnant as fish is both good for your health and your baby’s development. There is no need to limit the amount of white fish or shellfish you eat while pregnant or breastfeeding— just don't eat raw shellfish. However, if pregnant or trying to conceive, you should avoid shark, marlin and swordfish. You should also limit tuna intake to no more than two tuna steaks, or four medium-sized tins of tuna, a week. This advice is due to the high mercury levels found in these types of fish. You should also limit your oily fish intake to no more than twice a week, as it may contain pollutants like dioxins. Oily fish includes salmon, herring, trout and mackerel. In addition to this, experts recommend to not take any fish oil supplements or supplements containing vitamin A, as these may harm your baby.
CHEESE All hard cheeses—such as cheddar, parmesan and stilton—are safe to eat in pregnancy. But pregnant women should avoid mould-ripened soft cheese, such as brie and camembert. You should also avoid soft, blue-veined cheese such
regnant women should take dietary precautions to safeguard the health of their unborn child. There are several foods to avoid in pregnancy and others to eat plenty of. This advice can be confusing for mums-to-be; it may not be clear as to why some foods are suddenly off limits and others are beneficial. The main reason behind most of these dietary guidelines is to minimise the risk of food poisoning in pregnancy and to increase folic acid levels. During pregnancy, parts of a woman's immune system are suppressed. This suppression makes both you and your baby more vulnerable to viruses, bacteria and parasites, which can cause foodborne illnesses. Even if you don't feel sick, some bacteria—such as listeria and toxoplasma gondii—may still cause health and development problems for your baby. For this reason, official advice stipulates to avoid foods that carry a risk of harbouring these, and other, unwanted bacteria.
Pregnancy & Early Years
steaks—because of the potential risk of toxoplasmosis (a parasitic disease that can be harmful to the foetus). Cook all meat thoroughly, especially poultry, pork, sausages and mince. Wash all utensils completely and wash and dry your hands after handling raw meat to stop the spread of germs.
as roquefort and gorgonzola, because they could cause a listeria infection. Even a mild form of the illness can lead to a miscarriage or stillbirth. For more information on the symptoms of listeria, visit the NHS website.
MILK & YOGHURT Stick to pasteurised or UTH milk (otherwise known as long-life milk). If only unpasteurised milk is available, boil it first. Avoid drinking goat's or sheep’s milk, or eating foods made from them, such as soft goat's cheese. All types of yoghurt, including bio, live and low-fat, are safe to eat. Just ensure any homemade yoghurt is made with pasteurised milk.
EGGS Lion Code eggs—those with a lion logo stamped on their shell—carry a very low salmonella risk and are safe for pregnant women to eat partially cooked. If they are not Lion Code, ensure the eggs are cooked through to avoid disease. Always fully cook non-hen eggs, such as duck, goose and quail eggs.
RAW OR UNDERCOOKED MEAT Do not eat raw or undercooked meat—including meat joints and rare celebrityangels.co.uk
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According to experts, it is not safe to eat pâté—including vegetable pâté— during pregnancy as it may contain listeria. In addition to this, make sure to avoid any liver products, as they contain high levels of retinol.
PEANUTS The current advice is that peanuts are safe to eat while pregnant, contrary to previous government guidelines.
CAFFEINE High levels of caffeine consumption during pregnancy can result in babies having a low birth weight, which can cause health complications later in life. You don’t need to cut out caffeine completely, but you shouldn't have more than 200 milligrams a day (about two cups of instant coffee). To cut down on caffeine, try decaffeinated tea and coffee, fruit juice or mineral water instead of regular tea, energy drinks, coffee and cola.
HERBAL & GREEN TEA The Food Standards Agency (FSA) advises to drink herbal and green teas in moderation during pregnancy—no more than around four cups every day. Always seek advice from your doctor if you are unsure about which herbal products are safe to consume. Experts advise avoiding the herbal remedy liquorice root, as it may cause developmental issues. hc Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 15
Pregnancy & Early Years
Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the Deal with
Prenatal Vitamins? 16 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh
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Contrary to popular belief, the NHS recommends only a small selection of prenatal supplements be taken by pregnant women celebrityangels.co.uk
Pregnancy & Early Years
If for any reason you follow a restricted diet—such as vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free diets— during pregnancy, you may find it more difficult to get sufficient amounts of vitamin B12 and iron. This specific circumstance may call for extra supplement intake. Consult with your midwife or request a consultation with a nutritionist to make sure that you are getting all the nutrients you and your baby require
here is ongoing debate as to whether pregnant women require prenatal vitamins. Various multivitamin products have flooded the market in recent years which typically contain up to 20 different different types of minerals and vitamins including B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C, D, E, K, iodine, magnesium, copper, selenium and zinc. These products can prove to be expensive, costing up to £15 a month. In 2016, the NHS stated that maintaining a healthy, nutritious diet during pregnancy would ensure women get the majority of the essential vitamins they need. This advice comes as the result of an evidence-based review that was published in the Drugs and Therapeutics Bulletin —part of the British Medical Journal (BMJ) publishing group—in the same year. ‘For most women who are planning to become pregnant or who are pregnant, complex multivitamin and
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mineral preparations promoted for use during pregnancy are unlikely to be needed and are an unnecessary expense,’ the study concludes. The review also states that: ‘The marketing of such products does not appear to be supported by evidence of improvement in child or maternal outcomes. Pregnant women may be vulnerable to messages about giving their baby the best start in life, regardless of cost.’ The only supplements that the NHS currently deem necessary are folic acid and vitamin D. Folic acid is known to reduce the risk of spina bifida—a birth defect of the spine and spinal chord. Spina bifida is often associated with hydrocephalus—an accumulation of fluid around the brain. It can also affect mobility, along with bowel and bladder control. Pregnant women are advised to take 400 micrograms of folic acid per day until the end of the first trimester (12
weeks). Vitamin D is important for regulating the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, both of which are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy. All adults, including pregnant and breastfeeding women, need 10 micrograms of vitamin D per day. In the right conditions, our bodies can obtain this vital vitamin from sunlight. It can also be found in a small selection of foods including oily fish (like salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines), red meat and eggs. It's the lack of naturally occurring vitamin D that leads the NHS to recommend taking daily supplements of it. The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines recommend that pregnant women avoid taking vitamin A supplements. Both NICE and the 2016 review found that consuming too much vitamin A during pregnancy may harm your unborn baby and could cause birth defects in worst-case scenarios. hc Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 17
Pregnancy & Early Years
What to Expect If My Baby Is
remature babies are defined as children born before 37 weeks completed in gestation; according to NHS Choices, statistically some eight out of every 100 babies will be born premature. Premature labour can induce major anxiety in pregnant women about the health and life expectancy of their unborn babies—especially if preterm labour comes unexpected. However, modern medical technologies mean that preemie survival rates in the UK are quite high. According to prematurebabies.co.uk, babies born at 23 weeks have a 15 percent survival chance; this increases to 55 percent at 24 weeks and 80 percent at 25 weeks. Babies born from the 30th week of gestation onwards have more than a 90 percent chance of survival. 18 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh
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SIGNS OF PRETERM LABOUR Sometimes, parents-to-be might plan for a preterm birth. This is usually because inducing labour early is safer for the baby than carrying them to term. Early inducement is usually advised in the case of serious health conditions in the mother or baby, such as pre-eclampsia. Pre-eclampsia is a condition that develops in pregnant women and is a combination of hypertension (high blood pressure) and high levels of protein in the urine. Signs of preterm labour can be very similar to the signs of full-term labour. These symptoms include period-like cramping pains, breaking of water, back ache and contractions. Waters breaking before the expected date is called preterm pre-labour
rupture of the membranes (P-PROM) and does not necessarily mean that a pregnant woman is in labour. Women should seek immediate medical attention in the occasion of P-PROM, as there is a risk of infection for both mother and baby. A pregnant woman will be tested for infections with blood and urine tests and will be prescribed antibiotics for a maximum of 10 days or until true labour begins—whichever comes first. Sometimes, symptoms of preterm labour can even occur without the telltale sign of broken waters. A midwife or doctor can perform checks to ascertain whether a pregnant woman is in labour including a vaginal examination or blood pressure check. A midwife or healthcare professional should also ask about baby’s movements within the last 24 hours.
Premature labour can cause a lot of undue stress and anxiety in expectant mothers; here’s what to expect
Pregnancy & Early Years CARING FOR YOUR PREEMIE
Did you know?
Statistica lly, 10% o f all pregn ancies en d in premature birth Source: pr em atur babies.co.u ek
If premature labour has occurred, then a midwife or doctor may offer medication that will slow or stop labour. This includes the administration of corticosteroid injections that help prepare baby’s lungs for breathing outside of the womb.
RISKS TO BABY Premature babies tend to ‘catch up’ in terms of development stages to children born to term—including putting on weight and growth. But it is important to note that there are several health implications associated with surviving preterm babies, including long-term disabilities. For example, when labour is induced
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early as a result of medical conditions such as pre-eclampsia, a baby may have been deprived of oxygen in the womb. Oxygen deprivation that has not resulted in death may cause brain damage and physical or developmental disabilities. Premature babies are also at a higher risk of developing neurological disorders such as cerebral palsy and autism, a condition defined as a group of disorders that affect a person’s speech, behavioural and social skills. Children born prematurely may also be at an increased risk of hearing loss, intestinal problems, vision problems and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Sometimes, premature babies require special neonatal care in a hospital to help them with breathing, feeding and keeping warm once they are born. Neonatal care can either be provided on an ordinary postnatal ward or in a special newborn area. The duration of this special care depends on several factors including how prematurely the baby was born, whether they are gaining weight appropriately and if they have suffered health complaints as a result of early birth. When it is time to take baby home, parents often feel nervous about coping with a premature baby without the support of hospital staff, but help is available. Every family in Britain is assigned a health visitor when a new baby is born. A health visitor will carry out basic health checks for growth and development milestones, and will also be an invaluable source of advice and information when it comes to home safety, parenting skills and feeding. Mums should be as confident in feeding their premature baby as they would be with a baby carried to full term. Every child is different, but if fed frequently and to their fill, babies should stop feeding when they have had enough. If you are concerned that baby is feeding too much or too little, then seek advice from a midwife or doctor. hc
Babies are born prematurely in the UK every year Source: premature-babies.co.uk
Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 19
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Pregnancy & Early Years
Safe & Sound
A staggering 89 percent of sudden infant death syndrome cases occur within baby's first six months of life—a risk that can be dramatically reduced by practicing safe sleep
or the first six months of life, the Department of Health (DoH) suggests that the safest place for a baby to sleep is in a cot or Moses basket in their parents’ room. Some parents like to be in reaching distance of the crib so that they can gently reassure their child that they are close by if needed.
The right position Always place your baby in the supine position (on their back) when putting them down to sleep—both during the day and at night. Be sure to implement this from day one and instill it as a regular sleeping habit. Infants should lie with their feet at the foot of their crib to prevent celebrityangels.co.uk
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them from wriggling beneath their blankets. Covers should also be tucked securely under their arms; lightweight blankets are the most appropriate for young infants. Placing your baby prone (on their front) or on their side can actually put them at higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). If your infant rolls onto their stomach, gently return them to the correct position. Once your baby reaches the age where they can roll from front to back by themselves, they can be left to find their own sleeping position.
Reduce the risk The term SIDS describes the sudden and unexplained death of an infant
where no cause is found, even after a postmortem exam. While the definitive cause of SIDS remains unknown, there are some steps that parents can take to ensure the safety of their little one. Start by doing the following: ✤ Avoid smoking during pregnancy and while breastfeeding; secondhand smoke can cause premature birth, weaken baby's lungs and doubles the risk of SIDS. ✤ Avoid sleeping with your child on a sofa or armchair; this is considered to be one of the most unsafe sleeping positions for babies. ✤ Avoid leaving your child to sleep with loose or excess covers; use only the sheet and blankets that are needed. Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 21
Pregnancy & Early Years
Swaddles & slings
CO-SLEEPING At some point during an infant’s first months, parents may be tempted to sleep with their baby in their adult bed—this is known as co-sleeping or bed sharing. While co-sleeping can be a fantastic way to bond, it can also be dangerous in certain circumstances. You should never sleep with your baby if either you or your partner smoke, either you or your partner has drunk alcohol or taken drugs (including drowsy medications), if you are extremely tired, if your baby was born premature (37 weeks or less) 22 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh
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or your baby has a low birth weight (5.5 pounds or less). Co-sleeping may also mean that parents run the risk of rolling onto their child—this can lead to suffocation or injury.
FOR PEACE OF MIND Baby monitors can provide peace of mind for some parents. There are various types of baby monitors on the market that can cost anywhere from £20 for a basic audio monitor to approximately £300 for a top-of-therange video monitor with multiple sensors. Monitors allow carers to keep track of a child’s noises, movements or breathing patterns— depending on the model—from another room. Such devices can be useful for keeping track of infants. However, the Lullaby Trust maintains that there is no substantial evidence to suggest that they can prevent SIDS. Monitors should be used as an aid rather than a substitute for adult supervision. hc
Swaddling is an ancient method of wrapping a child up in a thin blanket so that they feel safe and secure. Some parents find that swaddles help their child to settle more quickly. Currently, there isn’t sufficient evidence to prove or disprove this assessment, so care should be taken when pursuing this method. If you decide to start swaddling, do so as part of a regular bedtime routine. Try to adhere to the following: • Don’t swaddle too tightly. • Swaddle below the shoulders. • Use a thin blanket or sheet. • Never put a swaddled baby to sleep on their front. • Check your baby’s temperature to ensure that they aren't overheating.
✤ Avoid letting your baby overheat or become too cold. If your child is sweating or is hot to the touch, remove a layer of bedding. ✤ Avoid covering baby’s head with bedclothes or blankets. ✤ Avoid using pillows altogether until baby is one year old—according to the the Lullaby Trust, pillows increase the risk of SIDS by 50 percent.
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Pregnancy & Early Years
Nodding Off The importance of a solid bedtime routine cannot be stressed enough—enforcing healthy sleeping habits is the key to a good night's sleep for both you and baby
abies’ sleeping patterns can vary, as can the amount of sleep that they need. By three to four months of age, infants tend to require between 13 and 16 hours of sleep per 24-hour period. It is unlikely that a young baby’s sleep schedule will match up with yours—especially during these earlier stages. Because of this, experts recommend that parents try to sleep whenever their baby does.
NIGHT & DAY Gradually, you can start teaching your infant the difference between daytime and nighttime. During the day, make sure the curtains are open and the house is filled with natural light. When they are awake, make sure your baby participates in games and active play. Try not to worry too much about everyday noises during their daytime naps. As the evening approaches, keep the lights down low and loud noises to a minimum. Put your baby down as soon as they’ve been fed and change them only if necessary. In time, your baby will start to associate nighttime as a period for sleeping.
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BUILD A ROUTINE Children can greatly benefit from having a bedtime routine—a consistent programme to soothe them into a restful slumber. A healthy routine may consist of: ✤ Giving your baby a warm bath. ✤ Massaging them with a suitable lotion. ✤ Changing them into pyjamas and a fresh nappy. ✤ Brushing their teeth if they have begun cutting through. ✤ Spending some quiet time together—close contact can help to steady your baby’s breathing. ✤ Dimming the lights and making sure your baby is comfortable in their crib. ✤ Singing a lullaby or turning on a musical mobile to help them drift off. Parents can adapt this guide to suit their specific circumstances. Growth spurts, teething and illness can all affect your baby’s quality of sleep. Consistently enforcing healthy sleeping habits will help to make the transition between these stages easier for both you and your child. hc
Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 25
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Pregnancy & Early Years
Baby-proof covering el your nursery by ectrical ou tucking a tlets and wa down any y loose cords. Anch or fu potential th rniture that poses a reat and a pply non-s pads to ru lip gs to Finally, a avoid slipping. dd child lo ck on the nu s rsery and stora cabinets ge units
Nursery Checklist Construct a safe, soothing and practical nursery for your baby with this essential checklist
28 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh
HC9B.Perfect Nursery.Rev1.indd 28
Go gender neutral Nursery trends have taken a gender-neutral turn as of late. Antiquated notions of decorating your tot’s nursery according to their gender no longer apply: long gone are the days of having pink hues designated only for girls and blue for boys. With this revelation comes a huge amount more freedom. Implement a universal scheme for your newborn and adapt it to your child’s tastes as they grow
soft lighting supplied by a nightlight or dimmer lamp—both help to instill a sense of calm. Also consider investing in blackout blinds; these are fantastic for getting baby down to sleep during the day. For a personal touch, include wall art or sensory stimuli in the scheme to help facilitate your child’s development.
DESIGN SCHEMES When it comes to designing a nursery, lean towards muted pastel hues—ones that are warm and comforting— and avoid overly garish colours or patterns. Soft yellows, oranges, greens and blues work nicely to make a space feel inviting. Contrast your chosen colours with white or natural wood furniture for a clean finish. Young infants will spend a lot of time on their backs looking at the ceiling during nappy changes. With this in mind, offer them something to
onstructing a nursery is a delicate balancing act. Soonto-be parents can become so immersed in the idea of decorating that they neglect the overall functionality of the room. Above all, this room should facilitate nursing, changing and putting your baby to sleep. Selecting essential furniture is a good place to start (see the nursery checklist). Try to avoid over-cluttering the space; too many objects may overwhelm your child and detract from the room’s true purpose. The nursery should be centred around the crib and changing table. Once these have been secured, you can focus on the decorative flourishes. Try to invest in furniture that will last the test of time. Choose furniture that can be used at any age, so that once your child outgrows their crib, it will make the transition to a 'big bed' a little easier. Illuminate the room with
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Pregnancy & Early Years gaze at like a fun mural or a hanging mobile. Accentuate the room with soft furnishings such as a fluffy rug or a stylish throw over an armchair. For flooring, hardwood options are a preferable choice as these ensure that spillages can be cleaned up in a flash.
SPACE-SAVING SOLUTIONS Use smart storage solutions to hide away bedding, clothing and other knick-knacks—this may come in the form of under-crib drawers or customised wall shelving. In the spirit of saving space, you could opt for a changing table that folds away. Alternatively, consider purchasing an all-in-one unit that includes a crib, changing table and storage section. Install a pegboard with catchall accessories to keep all the necessities within reach. This feature can also be used for displaying keepsakes.
Think carefully about furniture that will last the test of time. During these early stages of life, children grow at a phenomenal rate. You may find that your child transfers from a crib to a bed in a very short space of time. Instead of throwing the redundant crib away, try to recycle it. With a little manipulation, an old crib can be converted into storage or a small child-sized desk. This will come in handy when your child is a little older—it can form the perfect drawing cove or homework station. Children also have a tendency to outgrow their beds quickly; for this reason, choose one that is appropriate for all ages—something they can mature into. Making smart furniture choices will mean that you won’t have to constantly change the scheme of the room. Through tactical storage choices and up-cycling methods, your nursery can fulfill its true purpose of helping your child to develop and grow. hc
The Nursery checklist The essentials ✎ ✎ ✎ ✎ ✎ ✎ ✎ ✎ ✎
Crib or bassinet Mobile Crib mattress Bedding Changing table Nappy pail Night light Dresser or storage unit Clothes hamper
The niceties ✎ ✎ ✎ ✎ ✎ ✎ ✎
Rocking chair or glider Room thermometer Portable stereo Wall art and bookshelf Toys Baby swing or bouncy seat Baby monitor
When your lit tle one reache s their toddler ye ars, choose bedroom furn iture like storag e beds with draw ers and shelve s that are larger than a toddle rsize bed so that your little one can grow into it as they get older
30 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh
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Pregnancy & Early Years
Cry Baby Your baby cries to communicate with you, but gauging what they are trying to convey can be difficult
Hunger One of the main reasons babies cry is hunger. As the weeks go by, you can begin to learn your baby’s hunger cues, so you can feed them before they begin to cry. Signs include fussing, smacking their lips and putting their hands to their mouth.
Tired It's a common myth that babies can fall asleep on cue; it’s actually more
32 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh
Purple crying Purple crying is a term used by some experts to refer to colic or persistent crying. The phrase, coined by crying expert Ronald Barr, is used to assure parents that this is just a phase that is very common in young infants. During this time, babies tend to refuse and resist attempts to soothe from their parents. Purple crying typically peaks at around two months but will often become less frequent as your baby approaches three to five months. However, the comfort of knowing that excessive and uncontrollable crying is natural does not eliminate any feelings of anguish or frustration associated with not being able to calm your little one. Work in conjunction with your partner or a family member and support each other as much as you can throughout this time.
difficult than one may initially think. Babies who are over-tired tend to whine and cry. Soothe them by holding them close in a quiet, low-light environment, speak to them in hushed tones and gently rock back and forth to send them to sleep.
Feeling unwell Take notice of the different ways in which your baby cries; if they are feeling unwell, their cries may be more urgent, continuous or high-pitched than usual. If you feel that something is not right, contact your doctor or paediatrician as soon as possible or call 111 for advice.
For affection Babies require lots of cuddles and physical contact. A study published in the journal Applied Developmental Science has found that babies who receive lots of physical affection as infants are more likely to develop into happier adults. While holding your little one, sing, sway and rock them for added comfort. hc
baby’s cries are designed to be shrill, piercing and disturbing in order to attract attention. Parents-to-be expect excessive crying (in theory), yet it is always one of the most stressful and anxietyprovoking aspects of taking care of a newborn. Babies cry for many reasons; they cry when they are hungry, when they need changing and when they are uncomfortable or in pain. But babies also cry for love, soothing and to communicate with mum and dad. Here are four main reasons babies cry and various methods of soothing.
Pregnancy & Early Years
£5.6 billion The worth of the UK childrenswear market Source: Euromonitor
Choosing the Right
Baby Clothes Shopping for baby clothes can be a supreme joy, but there are a few important pointers that parents should keep in mind
or new parents, wading through the sea of advice on baby garments can be a challenge. It’s easy to get swept up in the adorable prints, tiny booties and matching ensembles—something about miniature clothes just makes adults coo. But, practicality and structure should also play a part in your selection process. Use our handy tips to find baby clothes that are suitable and safe for your little bundle of joy.
SHOP BY WEIGHT Parents instinctively judge the fit of baby clothes by age—usually in months. While this is a good place to start, it isn’t always an accurate measure— especially if your baby doesn’t conform to the ‘regular’ sizing structure. celebrityangels.co.uk
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Instead, judge the garment’s suitability by the weight written on the label.
THINK OF THE STRUCTURE
KEEP IT SEASONAL Infants feel the elements as much as we do. Prepare for all eventualities with a closet of clothes to suit all seasons. Opt for light materials in the summer months—like cotton—to prevent overheating; winter will require thicker fabrics.
DON’T CHOKE Try to keep small buttons, decorative rhinestones, bows and ties to a minimum as all present a choking hazard. Clothes with long ties or ones that pull tightly around your baby’s arms, legs or neck should also be avoided.
Dressing a wriggly newborn is a task within itself, so baby clothes should therefore be easy to manipulate and remove. Wide necks, poppers and zips will aid this process immensely, as will snaps and easy openings at the crotch, enabling straightforward nappy changing.
Pick clothes that are suitable for your child’s stage in development. Newborns are known to wriggle out of socks, so bodysuits tend to be the best choice. Older children can wear more durable materials, two-pieces and fashionfocused ensembles.
SAFE & SOUND
Babies grow at an incredible rate; always be one step ahead with their wardrobe. Purchase a few clothes that are a size or two bigger than your child, just in case they experience a sudden growth spurt. hc
Check the safety specifications on the label of the garment: is it flame resistant? If so, does it involve a specific washing method? Opt for hypoallergenic clothes where possible.
Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 33
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Pregnancy & Early Years
for Your Baby A buggy is essential for travelling with a child. Before buying, it is imperative to select one that is safe and adheres to current government regulations
irst-time parents can feel overwhelmed by the massive selection of baby products on the market—especially when faced with the mammoth task of choosing a buggy. Read on for our guide to finding the best buggy or pushchair to suit your baby’s needs. All pushchairs—both new and second-hand—must conform to the British Standard 7409:1996. They should also be marked as meeting the Furniture and Furnishings Regulations 1988, which set the bar for resistance of upholstered products designed for babies and young children. Products containing these trademark labels prove that they observe these standards—if they don’t, do not buy the product.
SAFETY CHECKLIST Check the weight limit. Always be sure to know the weight limit of the buggy or celebrityangels.co.uk
stroller. Extra baggage or even an extra child could overload the device and lead to instability, making it potentially dangerous. Check the seat recline. Ensure that the buggy has the ability to position your baby in a safe, lie-flat position—not all products support this function. Check the brakes. Before buying, check that the pram’s brakes are effective. Test-drive the buggy to make sure the mechanism is easy to apply, even on an incline. Check the harness. Harnesses are perhaps one of the most important features of a pushchair. Check that the clasp is easy to operate and the straps are adjustable. Select one with a five-point harness if possible—these keep babies secure and prevent them from wriggling free.
Check the hood. Test how far the hood of the buggy reaches. Ask yourself: will this adequately shield my child from the elements? hc
Be wary of pram charms Pram charms are decorative toys that clip onto the hood of a pram or buggy. While they look pretty and can be mentally stimulating for your child, they also present a very real choking hazard. For this reason, Which?— the impartial product review brand—suggests avoiding such accessories completely
Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 37
Pregnancy & Early Years
According to the Child Accident Prevention Trust, 12 children under 10 years old are killed or injured in cars every day—car seats and belts are imperative for your child’s safety whilst travelling
CAR SEATS & SAFETY BELTS Car seats—or child restraints—prevent death and serious injury. Governmentapproved car seats in the UK are clearly labelled with a capital ‘E’ in a circle. It is advised to seek professional assistance when fitting a new car seat—expert retailers and online resources, such as the Good Egg Car Safety Guide, can help.
BEHAVIOUR INSIDE—& OUTSIDE—THE CAR Teaching children how to behave appropriately inside the car is vital. But setting an example outside of your vehicle is just as important. For example, to encourage your little one to stay still in their seat on longer journeys, you could use technology such 38 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh
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as tablets or handheld gaming devices to hold your precious cargo’s attention. Children are just as likely to be involved in an accident outside of the car as they are in it. Car parks, in particular, can be potential minefields. Secure your child in the car while you pack in the shopping to keep them away from other moving vehicles. Show them where it is safe to stand and explain how the lights on cars work so they know when a car is reversing.
GENERAL CAR SAFETY POINTERS To protect your child while travelling, follow these simple safety tips: ✤ It is always safer for children to travel in the back of the car where possible. ✤ Buying second-hand car seats is not safe as it is impossible to tell—just by looking—if the seat has been dropped or damaged. ✤ There is no such thing as a ‘onesize-fits-all’ car seat—choosing the best seat for the height and weight of the child is crucial. ✤ Ensure your child’s car seat is easy to fit; if it is hard to fit, it may
be tempting not to use it on shorter journeys, where the majority of accidents take place. ✤ Try the car seat before you by it to ensure it doesn’t move side to side. hc
Did you know? ✎ Adult seat belts are not designed for children as they do not sit across the right parts of the body. If a child is not in the correct booster seat, seat belts can injure them in a crash. ✎ It is the law for all children under three years old to travel with an appropriate restraint— usually a car seat. ✎ Trying to hold a small baby in a car crash at 30mph would be like trying to lift eight bags of cement at the same time. ✎ All children under 12 years old who are under 135 centimetres in height must use a child restraint by law.
f you are driving with a child passenger in the car, you are responsible for their safety and welfare. Maintaining child safety involves observing best practice both on and off the road. It is vital to not only know your legal duties, but also to understand the reasons for their existence.
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Pregnancy & Early Years
Vacc nation Schedule Keep on top of your child’s recommended jabs with help from Healthy Child’s immunisation calendar B), polio, tetanus and whooping cough (pertussis). It is administered in the thigh as a single dose at eight, 12 and 16 weeks after birth. The vaccine contains no live organisms and comes with very few side effects.
Pneumococcal or pneumo (PCV)
As the name suggests, this primary jab for babies protects against six different types of disease: diphtheria, hepatitis B, Hib (haemophilus influenzae type
40 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh
The PCV jab protects against serious and potentially fatal types of pneumococcal infection. Such infections can lead to pneumonia, septicaemia (blood poisoning) and meningitis. This particular vaccination is administered at eight weeks, 16 weeks and one year of age.
This oral vaccine protects against the rotavirus infection—a common cause
of diarrhoea, vomiting, tummy ache and sickness. This highly infectious bug usually strikes babies and young children. The immunisation is usually provided in two doses for babies aged eight and 12 weeks. It can be administered as a liquid, which is put straight into the baby’s mouth for them to swallow.
Meningococcal group B (Men B) This jab protects against meningitis caused by meningococcal group B bacteria, the category of bacteria responsible for 90 percent of meningitis cases in young children. The vaccine is administered in the thigh at eight weeks, 16 weeks and one year as part of the NHS routine programme.
Pregnancy & Early Years
The second dose of this jab is administered at 12 weeks old.
immunisation has very few side effects and is generally deemed safe.
The last dose of the PCV vaccine is given at one year of age. This is the final time this jab will be necessary until the age of 65, after which the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV) is offered to those who have underlying health issues or weak immune systems.
The final dose of the rotavirus vaccine will be dispensed at 12 weeks. It is also provided in liquid form for baby to swallow.
Measles, mumps & rubella (MMR)
The final dose of the six-in-one vaccine is administered at 16 weeks. This will ensure that your baby has built a considerable tolerance to the diseases it protects against.
The second dose of the PCV vaccine is administered at 16 weeks, with the final one being delivered at one year.
Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) & Meningococcal group C (Men C) This single injection is given to one-year-olds. It protects against haemophilus influenzae type B and meningococcal group C. Both are serious and potentially fatal infections—causing septicaemia (blood poisoning) and meningitis. This particular jab boosts the efficacy of the previous six-in-one vaccine received in earlier life. This
The second dose of the Men B vaccine is provided at 16 weeks of age as a jab to the left thigh.
The vaccine protects against measles, mumps and rubella—all of which are extremely contagious. Each can lead to potentially fatal complications. This shot is delivered in two stages: the first one at one years old and the second one at three years and four months old. It is either administered in the upper arm or thigh.
The final Men B booster is provided at the age of one.
Three years & four months MMR
The final dose of the MMR immunisation is provided at three years and four months of age.
In the form of a nasal spray, this immunisation is offered annually to children between the ages of two and eight from September to October. It protects against the flu, an unpleasant illness with coldlike symptoms. In small children, flu can lead to more serious complications such as bronchitis and pneumonia.
Four-in-one pre-school booster
The four-in-one pre-school booster protects against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and polio. These four diseases can each be very serious. Children are routinely vaccinated with the six-in-one jab; this booster builds upon that, further strengthening a child’s immunity.
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Meet The Children’s Ear Nose & Throat Surgeon: Ian Lilly Ian Lilly is a specialist children’s ear, nose and throat surgeon, and has been a consultant in London for 11 years. He has carried out more than 4,000 children’s tonsils operations to date.
CHILDREN’S TONSIL SURGERY MOVES FORWARD TO HELP CHILDREN’S SLEEP
Tonsils are the small glands on either side of the uvula (dangly bit) at the back of the mouth. With adenoids (another gland at the back of the nose), they may sometimes block children’s breathing while asleep. When children are awake, the muscles in the throat are strong and the throat is held open. When children fall asleep, however, the muscles in their throats relax and the tonsils may collapse, effectively plugging breathing. When this happens, a child may snore. Sometimes, if the snoring is severe, their breathing may be blocked completely for a few moments (sleep apnoea) which can be scary for parents. After a few moments blockage, carbon dioxide levels in the body starts to increase, and the child’s brainstem responds to this by effectively waking the child up. The child’s throat muscles become strong with wakefulness and the throat opens once again. While this condition is usually not dangerous, your child may miss out on the deep restorative, restful part of sleep they need. They may wake feeling tired and this can result in either being overactive or sleepy during the day. Up until five years ago in the UK, severe cases of sleep apnoea may have been treated with tonsil removal surgery with a traditional total tonsillectomy technique. Surgeons started between the muscle of the throat and the tonsil. This led to exposure of raw muscle (which has a lot of nerve pain fibres in it). In the following two weeks after the procedure, the child would likely experience a great deal of pain in the area each time they swallowed. Recently, however, a new surgical technique has been adopted. This procedure starts in the space in the middle between the tonsils, and effectively shaves the tonsils back towards the muscle, aiming to do so without disturbing the muscle itself. The operation focuses only on the tissue causing the breathing problem (i.e., the tonsil) rather than the surrounding tissue (i.e., the muscle that the tonsil sits in). The blood vessels in the tonsil are smaller than in the muscle and so this operation has a far lower risk of bleeding compared to traditional tonsil surgery. This method of surgery also reduces pain and promotes a quicker recovery for your child. The surgery is often combined with removal of adenoids, as children with large tonsils frequently have large adenoids, which may contribute to blockage of the airway. Great caution is taken to carry out any surgery only where it is thought to be of absolute benefit—and appropriate—to that individual child. Where it is necessary, though, surgery allows more room for breathing so that a child’s sleep and their quality of life can be transformed.
For more information: Call: 02074875677 Visit: ianlilly.com Ian Hore Children’s ENT Consultant.Rev1.indd 1
Pregnancy & Early Years
Ear, Nose & Throat Healthy Child reviews the common and severe conditions pertaining to the ear, nose and throat
Images: Shutterstock; 123RF
ar, nose and throat (ENT) disorders are extremely common in children and infections are particularly prevalent in these areas. This is primarily because the ENT region is developmentally immature at this age and therefore prone to dysfunction. For example, the eustachian tube—which is a canal that connects the middle ear to the upper throat and back of the nasal cavity—is shorter and does not effectively open until puberty. The sinuses only become fully developed when children reach the age of eight years old. Tonsils and adenoids tend to be enlarged in children but shrink as they become teenagers. While some conditions are plain to
Keep clear Ear, nose and throat conditions are naturally very common due to the close proximity of children in nurseries and schools— viruses and infections can spread like wildfire. There isn’t much you can do to avoid this. However, if your suspect your child may be coming down with something—if they have a fever, for example—schools will often advise keeping your child at home
see, others can go undetected for long periods of time—mostly because young children find it difficult to express the origins of their symptoms. Healthy Child maps some of the most common and severe ENT conditions, pointing out some effective treatments.
Ear External ear infection External ear infections affect the outer opening of the ear and the ear canal—this is known as otitis externa. Such infections are often triggered by swimming and excessive washing or cotton bud usage. The ear should be cleaned out using a suction method; it should also be kept away from water and
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Pregnancy & Early Years
Middle ear infection Middle ear infection—also known as otitis media—causes redness, swelling and a buildup of fluid behind the eardrum. While anybody can develop this condition, infants between the ages of six and 15 months are most commonly affected. Symptoms can include pain, fever, ear discharge and hearing loss. Oral antibiotics are necessary to combat the infection. Analgesics may also be required for light pain relief. If the condition progresses, suction should be employed to clean the area followed by medicated eardrops. Middle ear effusion Middle ear effusion is a common byproduct of middle ear infection. Due to the buildup of fluid behind the eardrum,
44 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh
If your child is ill with an ear, nose or throat infection, important things to watch out for include redness and swelling behind the ear, redness and swelling around the eye and difficulty breathing—all of which can indicate serious infection —Ian Lilly, Children's E.N.T Consultant
a blockage in the eustachian tube may occur; this fluid usually drains out of the ear through this canal. Middle ear effusion often goes away on its own, but if it doesn’t, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics or drain the fluid from the area. If middle ear effusion persists, it can negatively affect your child’s ability to hear and talk.
NOSE Nasal allergy There are several symptoms that indicate a nasal allergy in children such as rhinorrhoea (runny nose), blockage, sneezing and itchiness. Most allergies are nothing to be concerned about, however, if your child displays concerning symptoms like a rash or closing of the airways, seek immediate medical advice. Identifying the source of the allergy is the first point of call; you can then start to implement avoidance strategies. Relievers can include nasal sprays, antihistamines and immunotherapy.
swimming pools while the condition is being treated. Antibacterial drops, which can be bought from a local pharmacy, should clear the infection effectively.
Pregnancy & Early Years Epistaxis Epistaxis—spontaneous nosebleeds—is a frequently seen condition in young people. It is caused by a number of influential factors including allergies, injury, infection, a thin and undeveloped mucus of the nasal cavity and trauma from rubbing, blowing and digging. Recognising the underlying cause of epistaxis will direct the treatment; in some cases, treating allergies and infections appropriately will make the problem desist. If bleeding from the nose is heavy or doesn’t stop after 20-30 minutes, seek medical advice. Chronic sinusitis Children usually suffer infection of the maxillary sinus; mostly because this sinus is developed at birth while others take shape over time. Symptoms
include persistent nasal discharge, blockage, coughing and some facial pain. If symptoms persist for longer than three months, a course of antibiotics will likely be prescribed by your child’s physician. You may also be supplied with a sinus flush in order to wash out excess pus that has been trapped.
THROAT Chronic cough Deep, chesty coughs that last for longer than three weeks can be categorised as chronic and these require medical assessment. Such coughs can appear as a result of viral pharyngitis, postnasal drip (mucus dripping from the nose into the throat), reflux pharyngitis (gastric acid escaping towards the throat) and infection. Your doctor may suggest a
chest X-ray to get to the root of the problem. Specific medications will be recommended depending on the cause; these could involve antihistamines, antibiotics or an inhaler. Obstructive sleep apnoea Enlarged tonsils and adenoids during childhood can narrow the upper airways and cause partial nasal obstruction. This can be a concern when children are sleeping, especially because breathing through the mouth and nose is difficult. Obstructive sleep apnoea can be identified through excessive snoring, gasping and choking during sleep. It can often lead to poor and disrupted sleep patterns. If the problem is causing severe distress, doctors can surgically remove the tonsils to relieve the obstruction. hc
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Pregnancy & Early Years
Nappy Time Bonding
Nowaday s, it is pop ular for a nursery to have a ch anging table as p art of its fu rn ishings. Despite bei ng a usefu l aid, their heig ht presents a hazard. To preven t your infa nt from rolling off the table, never leav e them unattended
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Pregnancy & Early Years
Nappy time presents a special opportunity to nurture and bond with your newborn baby
n average, newborn babies poo four times a day; needless to say, they need to be changed frequently. Changing time is a perfect opportunity to connect with your child, forming a bond that will last a lifetime. Meanwhile, the application of certain techniques has been known to facilitate infantile growth—both socially and linguistically.
Time to bond From a psychological perspective, the first weeks and months of a newborn's life are centred around adjustment. During this time, both mum and dad should be proactive in their efforts to build a relationship with their child. There are several ways parents can accomplish this through nappy changing. The task typically involves skin-to-skin contact which is extremely significant. Immediately after birth, this physical interaction releases a hormone called oxytocin, which promotes feelings of love and trust between babies and their carers. The continuance of this tradition is recommended so that your baby can get accustomed to your touch. You may even like to massage your baby’s legs and arms as you change them so that they feel safe. Taking an active role in monitoring your baby’s bowel movements will also mean that you can track their digestive health. Breastfed babies tend to exhibit runny poo with a mild odour. Meanwhile, formula-fed babies’ stools are usually firmer and a little smellier. Having a sense for baby's bowel health will make you more attuned to their mood and needs.
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Make changing time fun For many infants, changing time can be a cause for distress or anxiety. This may be, in part, due to the swift change in position that comes with replacing a nappy. Luckily, parents can prevent this from becoming a daunting activity. Changing a soiled nappy may be somewhat unpleasant, but try to smile during the entire process. Cherish these moments spent together with no interruptions. Retain eye contact with your child so that they don’t become disgruntled or confused. For babies that are especially wriggly, give them a small toy to hold or switch on the radio as a form of distraction. This is also the perfect opportunity to sing a soothing song to your child. Alternatively, simply talk to your infant as you change their nappy. They may not be able to understand the words, but conversing with your baby will
Nappy hygiene Once used, disposable nappies can be resealed using their sticky tabs. Place the soiled nappy into a bag and throw it away immediately either using a nappy disposal unit or a waste bin. To avoid infection, wash your hands thoroughly with soap or hand gel after every change
ultimately help them with language acquisition in the future. According to a 2014 study by The Sutton Trust, 40 percent of young children do not experience what psychologists call ‘secure attachment’. Their research found that insecure attachment is associated with poorer language skills and behaviour before school. hc
Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 47
cleaning up after your messy little ones
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Pregnancy & Early Years
It is nearly impossible to keep children clean all the time, but our tips make baby hygiene that little bit easier
abies and toddlers have a knack for getting themselves dirty. Although most parents can safely wash and bathe their child, many may neglect to notice other potential hazards to their hygiene.
SANITISE YOUR HOME Use a disinfectant throughout your home, paying particular attention to your child’s play area and belongings. Bottles and dummies should also be thoroughly washed between uses. Both objects are often exposed to harmful bacteria—when left on countertops or dropped on the floor—making them a risk factor for spreading viruses and infection. The same goes for infant toys, which children often chew or bite. Bath toys are notorious breeding grounds for germs, especially those that trap water inside and allow mould to form. Squeeze out excess water from such toys after bath time, soak in
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a bleach and water solution and leave to dry on a rack.
NAPPY CHANGING Changing your baby’s nappies regularly will help to prevent nappy rash and thrush—both of which are very common in young children. Parents should wash their hands before and after nappy changes— carrying a hand sanitiser may make this easier. Changing mats should be cleaned with antibacterial wipes before laying baby down and dirty nappies and waste should be disposed of quickly and appropriately.
OTHER BODILY MAINTENANCE Keeping up with your infant’s bodily maintenance will help them lead a healthier and happier life. Gently remove dried mucus from around your child’s eyes with a clean, damp cloth or cotton pad. Use a new cotton
pad for each eye to avoid transferring bacteria from one to the other. Clean around and behind their ears using the same method, but be cautious to avoid cleaning inside the ears. Trim your child’s nails using special baby scissors or an emery board.
EDUCATION As your child grows up, they will become more capable of managing their own hygiene. Instilling healthy hygiene habits from an early age will aid their personal growth and provide them with essential knowledge for the future. Make trips to the sink together and explain the process of washing hands before eating or after using the bathroom. Cover coughing and sneezing etiquette by explaining that using a tissue stops the spread of dirt and germs, which can make us sick. hc
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Pregnancy & Early Years
Skincare Care for your young baby’s delicate skin with our useful tips and advice
ue to its fragile nature, newborn skin requires extra special care. Infant skin differs to adult skin in terms of its function and composition; its barrier is far thinner, higher in acidity and loses water more easily. Above all, newborn babies shouldn’t be exposed to products that include harsh chemicals or perfumes—this can damage their skin and cause sensitivities in later life. Similarly, over-bathing your baby may remove protective natural oils. The Royal College of Midwives recommends bathing newborns no more than two times a week, while faces and bottoms can be cleaned daily.
The cleanser debate There is much conjecture surrounding the topic of baby cleansers and their suitability for newborns. The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) suggests bathing newborns in water alone and only using a scentfree soap if it is necessary. However,
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Reduce flare-ups For newborns with especially sensitive skin, try the following to reduce flare-ups: ✎ Practice once-a-week bathing ✎ Cut out harsh chemicals and perfumed products ✎ Use baby-safe materials such as cotton
since the establishment of the NICE guidelines, major randomised control trials—which are regarded as the gold-standard method for evaluating the effectiveness of a treatment—have found evidence to the contrary. In 2009, a European Round Table panel of expert dermatologists and paediatricians published evidence-based consensus advice recommending the use of 'mild, thoroughly tested liquid cleansers rather than water alone for newborn
cleansing'. They also cited evidence that associated using only water and using soap and water with dryness, irritation and atopic dermatitis (eczema). For more information about suitable products for newborns, consult your midwife or paediatrician.
Tackling early skin complaints The first few months of life are typically when babies could start to display signs of eczema. This red and itchy rash appears mainly on the face, scalp and elbows. If such a rash appears, request a suitable ointment to reduce the inflammation from your doctor. Another common skin complaint is nappy rash. The damp and warm environment created by nappies triggers this, resulting in irritation. To reduce the risk of nappy rash, allow your baby to air dry after nappy changes. Treat nappy rash with specialised nappy creams such as Bepanthen Nappy Care Ointment. hc Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 51
Pregnancy & Early Years
Age by Age
The rate at which children learn and grow is truly astounding; track your little one’s development with our age-by-age guide
One to four months
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As their muscles start to develop, you may notice that your baby is reaching out for more objects. Babies will demonstrate their interest in sounds by bashing items together or producing gurgling noises. In linguistic terms, this is commonly known as the cooing stage. Children will usually produce the ‘a’ vowel first and build upon it. The head circumference of children increases by one centimetre per month until they reach six or seven months of age—a positive indicator of brain development. Physically, children will often hold their head erect and be able to hold a bottle unassisted. Your child’s true eye colour will also now be established.
Get involved According to a National Literacy Trust research review on the importance of families and the home environment, parental involvement in a child’s literacy practice is ‘a more powerful force for academic success than other family background variables, such as social class, family size and level of parental education’
Young babies will spend a lot of time trying to make sense of the world around them. As a result, they will quickly recognise the face of their parents. Slowly, children will begin to display facial expressions themselves. At three months, children may able to lift their own head whilst lying on their front (in the prone position). While their swallowing reflex is still immature, rooting and sucking reflexes are well-developed during these early months. Renowned psychologist Sigmund Freud coined this developmental period as the ‘oral fixation stage’, which describes the explorative method of babies putting objects into their mouths.
Four to eight months
Pregnancy & Early Years
Eight months to one year Eight-month-old infants may still hold some excess baby fat around their thighs and arms. This will reduce as they continue to crawl. Children of this age can often pull themselves upright using furniture to steady themselves. By now, babbling will be frequent and may include the repetition of two or three words strung together. Children will be accustomed to the sight and sound of their parents. Encountering strangers may start to be a slight source of anxiety for them.
Two to three years Hand-eye coordination will have vastly improved by this stage. Your child is likely to be experimenting with different methods of play such as kicking balls, building with blocks and scribbling with crayons. Their cognitive reasoning will also be showing signs of improvement; for example, understanding the cause and effect of certain actions. Children’s vocabulary rapidly expands at the age of two, usually reaching nearly 300 words. Speech tends to be more intelligible too, with children making use of the future and past participles. It is common practice to introduce toilet training at this time.
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One to two years
Between one and two years of age, your child will learn to walk alone. They may even attempt to tackle the stairs and begin jumping with both feet. One-year-olds are desperate to demonstrate their independence. In most cases they will be able to feed themselves with a spoon. During this stage, they will produce more words and have more control over their pitch and intonation. Holophrastic (single word) speech is fairly common at this age; babies will use a single word to convey a wider meaning. They will have grasped a deeper understanding of language; picture books will peak their interest, as will other word-related games.
Three to four years Children frequently demonstrate active play during this time and require an intake of 1,500 to 1,700 calories per day. Climbing, jumping and hopping are all predominant behaviours. Most children will naturally be engaged by age-appropriate stories. Many enjoy chanting rhymes and will talk clearly enough to be understood. Infants of this age will use prepositions and frame multiple questions to their caregivers, mostly using ‘why’ and ‘when’. Now, children tend to be more socially confident and more inclined to participate in group activities. Between the ages of three and four, children will have gained full bladder control, with only the occasional mishap.
Four to five years From the ages of four and five it’s common for children to start using proper cutlery during mealtimes. You may notice a stronger sense of balance and higher energy levels. As a result, children of this age require approximately 1,800 calories per day. Their dominant hand should be well established by now—they should use it to write, point and handle scissors. Additionally, children should have a broader vocabulary, retaining approximately 1,500 words. Speech will be almost entirely grammatically correct and include trickier modulations; for example, past tense inflection with irregular verbs such as ‘caught’ and ‘swam’. hc
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Pregnancy & Early Years
Breast Is Best
Some 73 percent of women start breastfeeding in Britain, yet just 17 percent of babies are exclusively breastfed by three months. While the health benefits are numerous for both mum and baby, the UK still has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world
Benefits for baby The health benefits of breastfeeding your baby are numerous, not least because it provides them with vital immune-boosting antibodies—called secretory immunoglobulin A (IgA). IgA gets to work in their gut to protect them from infections and diseases; it is essential for newborn babies whose immune systems are not fully developed yet and who are not able to produce IgA themselves. 54 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh
Breast milk also provides longterm health benefits to babies well into their adult years by reducing their risk of developing serious conditions such as childhood obesity, Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It also reduces the risk of the very serious phenomenon of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by up to 50 percent.
Benefits for mum While breastfeeding offers babies the vital nutrients they need to thrive early in their life, it is also hugely beneficial for mums, too. Astonishingly, breastfeeding reduces the risks of certain cancers (including breast cancer and ovarian cancer), lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis (weak and brittle bones) and increases feel-good hormones prolactin and oxytocin, promoting bonding between mum and baby during these crucial first months. hc
Feeding in public Breastfeeding in public is often a daunting prospect—especially for first-timers—but it does get easier the more you do it. Know your rights. While some people may feel it necessary to make a comment or complain, breastfeeding in public is perfectly legal as per The Equality Act 2010. Loose clothing. Wear loose tops and a suitable bra that will allow easy access to your breast when needed. Carry a nursing blanket. Use a light blanket to cover anything you feel uncomfortable exposing in public. Pick your spot. Whether in a restaurant or a coffee shop, choose a place where you will feel most comfortable.
reast milk is truly amazing: it is perfectly designed for your infant’s needs, providing them with essential nutrients. Its constitution is even able to adapt and evolve as baby grows to meet their development needs. While the NHS recommends that women exclusively breastfeed their babies for the first six months (26 weeks) of life, any amount of breast milk provides some protective benefits.
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Pregnancy & Early Years
Teething Baby Teething can be a stressful time for your little one; luckily, there are several effective tactics parents can employ to ease their discomfort
eething is the process in which a baby’s first teeth appear and develop. Babies typically begin teething between three and seven months of age. There is no definitive timeframe for how long babies will teethe as each individual is different. Usually, the bottom teeth will appear first, followed by the front teeth, incisors and, finally, the molars.
The effects of teething can vary from child to child; some may experience extreme pain, others may be unphased by the process. Some common symptoms to look out for include: ✎ Dribbling or heavy drooling ✎ Trouble sleeping ✎ O ne flushed cheek—indicating growth of a tooth ✎ Sore or inflamed gums ✎ Difficulty feeding
What can I do to alleviate my child’s discomfort?
There are several tried-and-tested methods to help soothe your child’s teething pains.
Teething gels Teething gel often contains a mild anaesthetic, which works to numb the area it’s applied to. Some brands also contain antiseptic ingredients to prevent the outbreak of infection. Use specially formulated teething formulas rather than generic antiseptic gel—your local pharmacist will be able celebrityangels.co.uk
Brush, brush, brush
As soon as your baby’s milk teeth start to appear, clean them with an age-appropriate toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste
ng your si u a c is g in h et te If ore than baby to dribtlbley wmipe their usual, gen lean cloth in face with a cvoid a rash order to a
to advise you on the best product to suit your child's needs. Teething rings Teething rings present a safe object for chewing, they work to distract your little one from teething aches. Some rings are filled with liquid and can be cooled in the fridge. The cold sensation on the gums can dramatically reduce soreness. Avoid putting teething rings in the freezer; the extreme temperature may actually damage your child’s gums. Cool drinks Providing your child with a cool, sugarfree drink is a great way of providing them with quick relief. When out and about, this speedy fix may calm your child’s nerves. Paracetamol or ibuprofen If your baby is in severe pain, distress or has a mildly raised temperature (less than 38C), provide them with a paracetamol or ibuprofen. Only use sugar-free versions that are designed for children and babies and follow the instructions carefully. If you are unsure, consult with your doctor. Distractions When teething pangs appear, a simple distraction can work wonders. Try a comforting cuddle or a spritely game to take their mind off their discomfort. This may be a short-term solution, but it can prove to be useful in certain situations. hc Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 57
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Pregnancy & Early Years
y the a l s p l e h g n Weaniation for healthy found ating habits e
Weaning Your Baby
Weaning can be challenging yet rewarding—prepare for this magical process of growth and bonding with our tips
e aning is the process of getting a young infant accustomed to food that is not breast milk or formula. Start this process by ascertaining whether your child is ready or not. Health guidelines state that a child should start weaning at around six months old, when a baby’s immune and digestive systems are more developed. Solid food should never be given to children under the age of 17 weeks. While age is a good starting point, don’t feel the need to rush into weaning. Every infant progresses at their own pace—let your baby be your guide.
READ THE SIGNS There are several pointers that indicate your baby is ready to progress to solid food. These include:
When infants successfully use child-optimised cutlery, such as Doddl, to self-feed, their whole experience around food becomes positive. Their confidence with food grows and this can result in them being more willing to try different foods and textures and generally have a positive relationship with food —Rosie Phelps-Goggin, marketing director at Phelps Innovations
✤ Demonstrating good neck control: they can sit up and hold their head steady ✤ Gaining weight well—usually doubling their birth weight ✤ Losing the tongue-thrust reflex; they are able to keep food in their mouth and swallow ✤ Showing interest in your food, they may even try to take food from your plate or mimic you when eating ✤ Picking up objects and putting them in their mouth
CHOOSE A METHOD There are two main methods when it comes to weaning: spoon-fed weaning (SFW) and baby-led weaning (BLW). SFW involves spoon-feeding your baby fruit and vegetable purées to begin with and gradually moving
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Pregnancy & Early Years
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onto mashed foods with soft lumps before eventually progressing to chopped foods and finger foods. This is considered the more traditional method. The latter approach involves bypassing purées and offering your child finger foods straight away. In this case, the baby will feed on its own and stop eating when full. If they can’t manage a particular piece of food, their natural gag reflex should help them to cough it up or spit it out.
Think about flavours Infants are more receptive to sweet tastes; with this in mind, they should be introduced to savoury flavours first. With SFW, primarily cook vegetables and blend them before moving on to fruit blends. It can take between eight and 10 attempts for babies to become accustomed to a new taste so it is imperative to persevere and consistently offer them new ingredients. With BLW, make sure all soft foods are cut into small sticks celebrityangels.co.uk
Introducing liquids Every baby is different, and they will soon let you know what they do and don’t like. However, there are some general principles that can help when choosing bottles and cups as they grow. For milk, a baby bottle with a breast-like teat is best. This helps your baby form a natural latch and makes transition from breast to bottle smoother if you're breastfeeding. Once they are old enough to introduce water (usually at around 6 months) consider a cup with handles and either a spout or straw. By using a cup with a removable valve, your baby can practice free-flow drinking which can be good for their oral development. When they’re around 12 months old, swap teated bottles for cups. Your little one may already know if they prefer a spout or straw, or you could try a sports top so they feel a little more grown up! www.tommeetippee.co.uk
that can fit into your baby’s hand. Avoid adding seasoning to your baby's food as excess sodium may damage their young kidneys.
Milk still matters Even once weaning has commenced, milk will still be the main source of nutrition for your baby. They should still be consuming 500-600 millilitres of breast milk or fortified formula milk until they are one year old—this can be provided as an accompaniment to solid foods.
Matter of time Most experts agree that infants should be relaxed when you first attempt a solid feed. Make sure your baby isn’t overly tired or hungry when you introduce this new process to them. Lunch and dinnertime are usually the preferred time to attempt weaning methods. Some mothers will do half a feed of milk and the rest executing their chosen weaning method. hc Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 61
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What better way to give your baby the best start in life, than with fresh homemade food. Fresh fruit and vegetables offer the best nutrition for little tummies. No colourings, flavourings or additives, just simple goodness in every bite.
Official No.1 Seal – Packaging
- Size of sticker: maximum 55 mm diameter - Placement on front panel only - Do not place over product pictures or other icons and claims. - If possible placement should always be close to Braun logo. Minimum distance sticker to Braun Logo half size of A of Braun logo. - Use of #1 vs. N°1 depends, both are possible – which symbol is more accepted in your country? - Shall be translated in country’s language; content needs to be kept exactly as it is.
MQ523 Baby - £74.99
As a busy parent though, finding the time to cook from scratch can be an issue with all the other things competing for your time. That’s where the Braun Multiquick hand blender can give you a helping hand. It’s never been faster or easier to whip up a nutritious meal for your little one.
Delicious and nutritious Braun believes that babies deserve the very best food from the very first bite. The new MultiQuick 5 Baby hand blender enables you to blend small or large portions of baby food to a fine puree, directly in the pot without splashing. You can freeze any leftovers with the bonus freezer container by Mushy Mushy, perfect for another day. As your baby gets bigger, simply adjust the blending time to leave a more textured and chewy consistency.
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Only the best for your baby With the Braun MQ 5, your baby or toddler will get all the vitamins for the healthy development they need. Blending your choice of ingredients into delicious, fresh meals also helps your baby develop healthy eating habits.
5 Reasons to consider homemade food for your baby: 1) Fresh fruit and vegetables offer the best nutrition 2) Full control over what goes into your baby’s food 3) Saves you money 4) Saves time when you make multiple batches 5) Introduces flavours that are natural and tasty.
Braun believes that babies deserve the very best food from the very first bite. Therefore, we have created these delicious and nutritious recipes to get you started with homemade baby food.
Stage Carrot potato purée Makes 6 portions Makes approx. 400g Cooking time: approx. 15 mins
Ingredients • 200g carrots, peeled and diced • 200g potatoes, peeled and diced • 1 tsp vegetable oil
from around 5 until 7 months
Preparation 1. Boil the vegetables in water and oil until tender. 2. Purée in the beaker with the MultiQuick 5 Baby hand blender and adjust the texture with boiled cooled water or baby’s usual milk.
Stage Spinach potato purée
from around 7 until 9 months
Makes 8-10 portions Makes approx. 400g Cooking time: 60 mins
1. Place the beef in a pot with a small amount of water and cook for 30 mins until almost tender. 2. Place the oil in the pot and add Ingredients the carrots, potatoes and water, stir and bring to the boil. Then, • 200g beef stewing steak, cubed reduce the heat, cover and • 2 tsp olive oil simmer gently until the beef and • 1 carrot peeled and chopped into vegetables are tender. 2 inch pieces 3. Purée in the pot using your • 2 potatoes, peeled and diced MultiQuick 5 Baby hand blender until you achieve the required • 250ml water texture for your baby.
Special Features: • Powerful 600w motor – for fast and easy preparation. • POWERBell Plus – the extra milling blade lets you blend super smooth baby puree. • SPLASHControl technology – Quick.Easy.Clean. Perfectly designed so that you can use the blender directly in the pot for large quantities of baby food without splashing. • Extra lightweight – this ergonomic hand blender is 30% lighter than other metal shaft hand blenders*.
Stage Chicken pear purée
• Dual Speed control – choose between two speeds to customise food texture according to your baby’s age.
Makes 3-4 portions Makes approx. 700g Cooking time: 30 mins
• EasyClick system – two buttons, one movement for quick and easy changing of all the great EasyClick asscessories.
Extras include: a 350ml chopper, silicon freezer container, 600ml BPA-free beaker, spatula, and detachable blades and shaft. *Test run by independent institute comparing 9 similar competitor models.
• 1 skinless chicken breast, diced • 1 pear, cored and diced • 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced • 120g courgette, finely chopped • 250ml low salt vegetable or chicken stock
from around 9 until 12 months
Preparation 1. Place the stock in a small pot and bring to boil. 2. Add the chicken, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 mins. 3. Add the sweet potato and pear and simmer for another 10 mins. 4. Add the courgette and simmer for 5 more mins, until all ingredients are cooked and tender. 5. Purée in the pot using your MultiQuick 5 Baby hand blender.
So where can you purchase this nifty little gadget? Argos and John Lewis are currently selling instore or you can purchase online at Amazon and Tesco direct. Homemade is always the healthier choice. Find out more at www.braunhousehold.co.uk
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Pregnancy & Early Years
In making your own baby food at home, you can control your child's nutritional intake, save money and practice creative flavour pairing
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Pregnancy & Early Years
etween the ages of four and six months, your baby can finally move onto more solid foods—albeit with soft, blended ingredients. At the beginning, children require only one-ingredient foods like cereal and single-fruit or vegetable purées. Gradually, as they develop, they can move onto more complex flavour blends and chunkier textures. Making baby food from scratch isn’t nearly half as time consuming as you may think. In fact, the only kitchen utensils required are a saucepan and a blender. Plus, making large batches and storing them at home can be very economical. An added bonus of steering away from commercial products is that you can directly track your baby’s nutrition. Even the best brands have been known to include unwanted additives in their products; by making your own food you can avoid these potential hazards entirely.
START SAVOURY Encourage your child to love vegetables by starting them off with savoury flavours. Babies are naturally inclined to sweeter tastes, so we suggest
Remember If you are introducing meat or fish to your child’s menu, it’s important that you cook and prepare it properly. Both fish and meat should be cooked thoroughly with excess fat and skin trimmed off before serving. Check for small bones—especially when serving fish—as these can pose a choking hazard for infants
initially introducing them to vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, peas and spinach. Once they get a taste for these you can add sweeter vegetables to their repertoire such as carrots, corn, peppers and sweet potatoes. Finally, add fruit to their diet with apples, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, pears, peaches and plums. This approach is an effective way to evade fussy eating and shape healthy food habits in later life. Variety is key when drawing up your baby’s menu—try to be imaginative and offer them a range of ingredients. Discovering new tastes and
textures will all add to their enjoyment of mealtimes.
BLEND & SAVE To make your own baby food, simply boil or steam the ingredients of your choice. Once soft and tender, they can be blended in a food processor until they reach a smooth consistency. For older children with developing teeth, quickly pulse the mixture to create a thicker consistency. Stop when you reach your desired texture. Softer fruits such as banana and avocado can bypass the steaming stage and be put straight into the blender.
STORAGE When making large batches, store in sterilised containers in the fridge. Alternatively, spoon your mixture into ice cube trays and place in the freezer for future use. Retrieve your frozen portions as and when they are needed. Frozen baby food can simply be left out to defrost or lightly heated on the hob. The experts at Braun say that parents 'should use or dispose of frozen baby food within two months of freezing it. Always reheat foods until they are piping hot. Allow to cool and test the temperature yourself before serving it to your baby.' hc
Easy on th seasonin e g While som e
herbs and spices may be added for flavou r purposes, young chil dren don’t require an additiona y l seasonin gs in their Be especia d ie t. lly carefu l not to ad extra salt d or sugar to your little one’s meals
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Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 65
Homemade is always the healthier choice.
The new Braun Baby hand blender. The fastest way to a happy baby. Enjoy homemade Baby food fast and easy, thanks to the Braun MQ5 Baby hand blender and its special features. Thanks to SPLASHControl technology, you can quickly blend small or large Official No.1 Seal â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Packaging portions of baby food to a fine puree directly in the pot without splashing. Prepare and freeze small and big portions with the bonus freezer container by Mushy Mushy. Find out more on www.braunhousehold.co.uk Tel: +44 2392 392 392 New Lane, Havant, Hampshire PO9 2NH * Test run by independent institute comparing 9 similar competitor models.
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Pregnancy & Early Years
Sweet potato, plum & raspberry blend
Avocado, pea & potato puree This simple but tasty recipe involves fresh ingredients, which are readily available from almost every grocery store and supermarket. Avocados are extremely nutritious; one avocado contains more potassium than the average banana. Meanwhile, peas are rich in minerals like calcium, iron, copper and zinc—perfect for facilitating healthy growth. Cooking time: 10 minutes Servings: 2 or 3
INGREDIENTS 1 medium-sized potato 120g garden peas 1 ripe avocado 3 tbsp milk
Tingle your toddler’s taste buds with this delicious blend that marries savoury with sweet. The core ingredients can be interchangeable—source any fruits or berries that are fresh and available to you. Sweet potato is a great source of ﬁbre, perfect for tummies that need help with digestion. Additionally, raspberries contain strong antioxidants such as vitamin C to help nurture your child’s bodily defenses.
Cooking time: 12 minutes Servings: 2 or 3
INGREDIENTS 1 medium-sized sweet potato 250g plums 150g raspberries Sprinkle of cinnamon
PREPARATION 1. Peel and chop the sweet potato into small chunks. 2. Boil in a saucepan of water on a medium heat for approximately 7 minutes or until soft. Drain and leave to one side. 3. Meanwhile, de-stone the plums and chop. Place the plums and raspberries in a separate pan and cover with a little water. Simmer on a medium heat for around 8 minutes. Alternatively, you can steam the fruits for 8 minutes. 4. Add the potatoes, stewed fruits and a sprinkle of cinnamon to a food processor. 5. Blend until smooth, add a little water if needed.
1. Peel and cut the potato into cubes and cook in boiling water until soft. Drain and leave to one side. 2. Meanwhile, boil the peas in a saucepan for approximately 3 minutes (or until soft). 3. De-stone the avocado and hollow out the ripe flesh with a spoon. 4. Add all the cooked and uncooked ingredients to a food processor, including the milk. 5. Blend until the mixture reaches a smooth consistency. Add more milk if required.
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Taking care of your home, family and the environment! SODASAN Colour Sensitive Laundry Liquid £9.95
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This zesty cleaner is tough on grease and dirt, an excellent all round cleaner and suitable for smooth, washable surfaces around the house. Made from a vegan, natural and organic concentrated formula that cuts through even the most stubborn dirt so you’ll have the house sparkling in no time. Leaving your home fresh and clean without any chemical nasties – made with orange peel oil - free from enzymes, colourants, preservatives and synthetic surfactants. A little goes a long way too – one bottle can create 1650 litres of cleaning solution – that’s approx. 165 household buckets!
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Make baby’s world more eco-friendly by switching to green cleaning products
ittle hands will touch and grab anything in reach, so it’s vital to keep floors and surfaces clean with the safest products possible. Historically, families cleaned their homes with natural antibacterial ingredients including lemon, bicarbonate of soda or vinegar. Nowadays, we rely on manufactured products that comprise of extensive lists of chemicals—some of which are potentially harmful. For children with allergies or weak immune systems, aggressive cleaning agents can do more harm than good. In fact, industrial cleaners have been known to increase the risk of respiratory problems, skin irritations and chemical burns.
Images: 123rf; Shutterstock
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has named several chemicals as the most hazardous agents to affect our environment, labelling them as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Examples of these compounds include ammonia, nitrogen and phosphorus. Unfortunately, the bleaching and disinfecting capabilities of such compounds mean that they are frequently included in dishwasher tablets, laundry detergents and all-purpose sprays. They are also notoriously tricky to remove from the water supply through waste treatment processes, which often leads to the contamination of integral wildlife. celebrityangels.co.uk
Making the switch Apply simple methods to keep your home clean and safe for your little one. 1. Use ‘green’ cleaners 2. Be wary of plastics 3. De-clutter to minimise dust spores 4. Avoid chemical accumulation 5. Keep cleaning products out of the reach of children
Another group of chemical agents called alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs)—often marketed as ‘surface active agents’— break down into harmful contaminants and are non-biodegradable in soil and water. In the home, excessive use of carpet cleaners and air fresheners can cause a chemical buildup. Chemical accumulation is especially threatening to infants with under-developed immune systems, who can suffer adverse reactions as a result.
ECO-FRIENDLY MARKET SOARS Lately, social awareness on this topic has increased dramatically and the concept of green cleaning has started to spread. Green cleaning refers to using methods and products that harness healthy and environmentally friendly
ingredients. It also seeks to promote safe production procedures and use biodegradable materials wherever possible. Leading by example are several Hollywood stars including Jessica Alba, who decided to set up her own natural cleaning range after her pregnancy in 2008. The non-toxic brand is called Honest and was recently valued at £1.4 billion ($1.7 billion). The first-time mum was inspired to build the company after she suffered with a skin rash when washing her newborn’s onesies. hc
The increase in UK sales of Method—a top-selling natural cleaning range— from 2015 to 2016, rising to £7.4m
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Thinking about Fostering?
Fostering is a monumental decision; we separate fact from fiction on the topic, helping you determine its appropriateness for your home arrangement
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ostering involves opening up your home to a child or young person; it requires a safe environment that facilitates development and support for vulnerable individuals. Even though some may think foster care is not for everyone—as there are challenges that nearly all carers must face—it can bring joy and bountiful rewards, too.
THE APPLICATION PROCESS If you are interested in fostering a child, contact your council in order to kick-start the process. Some local councils use fostering agencies to place children; in such cases, you can contact the agency in your area directly. The council or agency will proceed to collect your information; this may be obtained through a visit to your home by a fostering advisor. You will be required to undergo a full background check known as the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). Experts will assess your suitability by investigating your health, work history, past relationships, home safety and various other personal details. You will also be required to attend a pre-approval course designed to educate you on the foster system and introduce you to current carers. Applications can take between four and six months to complete.
to be independent. There are other specialised forms of foster care such as disability and complex care, mental health, child sexual exploitation, therapeutic care and parent and baby. Each field requires a specialised skillset and experience—some foster agencies provide training for these upon request. Age and marital status govern your application. Just as there is diversity in foster children, foster parents also need to come from a variety of backgrounds. All foster care applicants are required to be at least 21 years of age, but being young shouldn’t hinder your chances of success. Although single individuals will be given the same consideration as couples, they will need to demonstrate a strong network of support around them.
All parents of foster children are abusive. Children and young adults enter the care system for a number of reasons. While abuse is an explanation for some cases, it is certainly not the only one. Before a child is put into your custody, a social worker will fully brief you about their previous circumstances. While it can be hard not to feel resentment or pass judgment on neglectful parents, this will not improve the situation. Instead, work to provide a safe place and a positive example for the individual in your care.
There is only one way to foster. There are several forms of fostering; these will vary in suitability depending on your home situation, level of foster experience and personal attitude. Short-term fostering is designed for temporary placements where the individual is awaiting the confirmation of future plans. Long-term fostering is usually pre-planned and involves a child or young person put in the care of a stable family until they are ready
All foster children are badly behaved. Not all children in foster care behave badly. They do, however, require additional understanding and attention. Foster children have usually experienced some degree of hardship; being taken away from their parents and passed between carers can take its toll. This can sometimes amount to displays of destructive behaviour. It is often after a child becomes
more comfortable that their conduct begins to soften. Your social worker will advise you on which children and behaviour types will thrive in your company. Making a real difference to a vulnerable child’s life can be supremely rewarding and beneficial. Moulding young minds and showing them the difference between right and wrong are just some of the ways you can help young individuals in the foster care system. hc
There are several characteristics that a foster parent should embody: ✎ Good communication Keeping the lines of communication open with your social worker is key for managing expectations or disclosing any growing concerns. ✎ Understanding Demonstrating understanding will help you to earn the trust of your foster child. ✎ Patience Most foster children need time to adjust and relax in their new environment, be patient. ✎ Perseverance Fostering can be challenging; juggling the expectations of your family and foster child requires perseverance.
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Types of meningitis
Meningitis Children and young people are the most susceptible to meningitis—it’s important to spot the signs and symptoms early, and to know what to do if you think your child might have the infection
eningitis—an infection of the protective membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord—can affect anyone. But the condition is most common in babies, young children, teenagers and young adults. If not treated swiftly, the infection can become very serious and develop into septicaemia, which can cause permanent damage to the brain and nervous system. To avoid it developing into something severe, the key for parents is to identify the problem early. Read on for practical advice on how to spot the symptoms of meningitis and what action to take if you come across them. 74 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS? The symptoms of meningitis develop suddenly and can include: ✎ A high temperature of 38C or above ✎ Bouts of vomiting ✎ Headache ✎ A blotchy rash that doesn't fade when a glass is rolled over it (this won't always develop) ✎ A stiff neck ✎ A dislike of bright lights ✎ Drowsiness or unresponsiveness ✎ Seizures These symptoms can appear in any order and some may not appear at all.
WHEN TO SEEK HELP If you are concerned your child may have meningitis, you should seek urgent medical advice. Remember: prompt treatment will prevent the condition developing into something more serious. If you think your child may be seriously ill, present to A&E or phone 999 for an ambulance. If you are unsure about the severity of your child’s illness, call 111 for advice.
VACCINATION OPTIONS The most effective form of protection against meningitis for you and your children is vaccination. There are immunisations available that protect against some of the most common causes of meningitis and septicaemia. These vaccines have successfully reduced the global rate of meningitis and are routinely administered to babies from the age of two months onwards. To find out more about which vaccines are available in the UK free of charge, head to the NHS website. hc
Protect Your Child Against
There are two types of meningitis: viral and bacterial. Viral meningitis is more common and usually more benign than bacterial. However, all meningitis cases should be treated as bacterial, until proven otherwise. Meningococcal disease is the leading infectious cause of death in early childhood. It presents as bacterial meningitis (15% of cases), septicaemia (25% of cases) or as a combination of the two (60% of cases). Every year around 3,200 cases of bacterial meningitis occur in the UK. 3,000 cases of viral meningitis were reported between 2009-2010 but the actual incidence is likely to be far higher.
Are you #VsMeningitis? Are you ready to Tackle Meningitis? Meningitis is a rare but serious disease that can have devastating consequences. It can be caused by lots of different bacteria and viruses, but it’s bacterial meningitis that kills more UK children under 5 than any other infectious disease. And it’s not just young children at risk – babies, toddlers, teenagers and young adults are at higher risk than other ages. It’s also not that easy to spot. To have the best fighting chance, follow the ABC of meningitis prevention:
ct fast: Trust your instincts and act fast when you see the early signs. Early signs include cold hands and feet, vomiting, fever, headache and muscle ache. In really young children, unusual crying, drowsiness or floppiness, refusing feeding and a tense or bulging fontanelle (soft spot) may also be signs. A rash that doesn’t disappear when a glass is rolled over it may sometimes be present - but not always, so acting quickly is crucial. At this point, it could be really serious.
e vaccinated: Check if your child is up to date with their vaccinations and consider additional vaccinations that may be available. There’s no single vaccine that protects against all types of meningitis. Some vaccines are offered by the NHS but eligibility will be age determined. If you’re not sure what your child is protected against, speak to your doctor. leanliness: Washing hands carefully before eating, after handling animals, spending time in crowded places, covering your mouth when coughing and sneezing and avoiding sharing of drinks, food, straws, lip balms and toothbrushes can reduce your risk of getting meningitis.
Get more information and be #VsMeningitis at www.tacklemeningitis.org This advertorial has been developed and funded by GSK UK/COM/0020/18 May 2018
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Can I Give My Little One? As some medicines can be harsh on children’s organs, it’s important to know which ones are safe and suitable for our little ones
Pain medication The most common OTC pain relief medications, ibuprofen and paracetamol, are generally safe for treating mild pain, discomfort and fever in young children. Both are available to purchase in pill or liquid form. According to the NHS, paracetamol should only be given to children aged three months or over. Ibuprofen, on the other hand, can only be given to children who are aged three months or older and weigh more than five kilograms. As a general rule, children under 16 should never be given aspirin, 76 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh
unless under specialist advice. This is because a link has been found between aspirin use in feverish children and a potentially fatal condition called Reyes Syndrome—which causes damage to the liver and brain.
Cough & cold Generally, medicines marketed towards treating colds and coughs should not be given to children aged three or under. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains the use of these medicines for children aged four and five is safe, but paediatricians recommend such medicine is only given under strict medical advice. However, this type of medication—which includes antihistamines, decongestants, cough suppressants and expectorants—is considered safe for children aged six and over.
ing, If you’re breastfectoedr, ask your do h midwife or heabltefore visitor for advice as it taking aspirin your could damage h child’s healt
Anti-nausea Nausea and vomiting are fairly common in babies and young children. According to the NHS, these bouts of illness rarely last more than one or two days and are not normally signs of anything serious. It is generally unwise to give your little one an OTC anti-nausea medication unless prescribed by a doctor. This is
here are countless types of over-the-counter (OTC) medication on the market; the temptation to cure even the most minor illness with a pill or two is getting increasingly hard to ignore. While medicines aren’t always needed to treat ill health—specifically when talking about young children—if your little one does require treatments, it’s crucial to be aware of which ones are safe and the right way to administer them. As children are more sensitive to medication than adults are, this knowledge will reduce the risk of dangerous reactions or the condition worsening.
Parenting because these spells of illness tend to resolve on their own and anti-nausea medication carries risks that may lead to complications. Always check with your doctor before considering any type of OTC medicine.
ANTIBIOTICS Antibiotics are only effective in treating illness caused by bacteria. Young children don’t often need these treatments as, most times, the infections they present with are caused by viruses. However, antibiotics are generally safe for children to take. If your little one is prescribed antibiotics, it’s important they finish the whole course. These types of medicines work best when administered at regular intervals and at the same times each day/night. Set an alarm clock to make sure you adhere to this schedule.
Check the expiry date. If you’ve got any medicines that are out of date, take them to your local pharmacy for safe disposal.
Out of sight, out of mind.
Keep all medicines out of reach of your children.
Take what you’re given.
Never give your child medicines that have been bought or prescribed for someone else. Finish the prescribed course.
Knowledge is key.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor about the appropriate way to store medicines. Some should be kept in the fridge while others need to be stored in dry, dark places.
Does the medication in question need to be taken on a full or empty stomach?
Remember Always finish a course of antibiotics as prescribed by your doctor or paediatrician. Failing to do so may make the infection more likely to come back as well as increase the risk of the bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics
Check whether a medication may react with any other treatment your little one is undergoing.
Chewable tablets—or any other kind of medicine that comes in a tablet form—can be choking hazards. Take care when administering these.
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PROBIOTICS These live microorganisms—live yeast or bacteria—can be greatly beneficial to our digestive system. They exist as supplements and can also be found in foods such as yoghurt. Although they are not medicines—and research on the subject is still ongoing—many studies have found that probiotics may help treat and prevent diarrhoea, reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), improve a child’s tolerance of lactose and help prevent some forms of respiratory infections. Researchers are also looking into the link between probiotics and a reduced incidence of eczema, tooth decay and allergies. If you’re considering using probiotics for your little one, consult a doctor for specialist advice.
GIVING MEDICINE TO YOUR CHILD Establishing a routine is the best way to ensure each dose of your child’s medicine is administered at the right time—this will also make it less likely to skip doses. Stick to the recommended amounts and measure your medicines accurately; most children’s medicines celebrityangels.co.uk
will come with a special measuring device called an oral syringe. It’s important to use this object to calculate the right dose of liquid medicine for your child. Do not be tempted to use a kitchen teaspoon as these come in different sizes. Before using any type of medication, read the information leaflet carefully to find out what the main side effects could look like. If you fear your little one is reacting badly to a medicine, speak to your doctor, health visitor or pharmacist. Alternatively, call NHS 111 to get prompt assistance— you may also wish to report any such episode through the NHS Yellow Card Scheme. In order to keep the incident from happening again, make a note of the offending medicine in your child’s personal red book. Some medication may be bitter to the taste or challenging for a young child to swallow. To counteract this, try: mixing the medicine with a small amount of liquid or food; squeezing a small amount of the medicine from the oral syringe on the inside of your child’s cheeks, where there are no taste buds; crushing tablets and mixing them with soft foods;
Baby's medicine cabinet
It’s important to have all the appropriate medicine your child may need on hand at home; this will allow for a quick response to sudden bouts of fever and minor illness. A fully-stocked medicine cabinet should contain pain relievers, fever reducers, insect bite relief, treatments for cuts and scrapes, band aids, nail care utensils, sunscreen, emollients, insect repellents, saline nasal sprays, a bulb syringe, diaper rash treatments, colic remedies and instruments for the care of tiny teeth and gums
purchasing ‘flavoured’ medicine; or chilling the liquid medicine (if safe). Check with your pharmacist before doing any of the above. hc Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 79
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A Boost in Immunity rovides p k l i m t s a Bre by with vital ba e-boosting immuintamins v Runny noses, hacking coughs and tummy bugs all seem to be part-and-parcel of raising children—but there are ways to help boost your child’s immune system to ward off illness
he immune system is a complex network of cells, tissues and organs that work together to form the body’s defence against infection and disease. Babies and young children have weak immune systems, which means that they are more susceptible to illness. So, how can parents support and help develop and strengthen their children’s immunity?
IgA. While babies aren’t able to absorb IgA into their bloodstream, it gets to work in their gastrointestinal tract to provide crucial protection against infections during the first months of life. These special proteins also penetrate and protect baby’s mucous membranes in the mouth and throat to protect against harmful bacteria, viruses and illnesses. The NHS recommends that mothers breastfeed their babies for the first six months of their lives.
According to the NHS, more than 73 percent of mothers start breastfeeding. Breastfeeding provides numerous health benefits to baby, including a boost to their immune system. Babies can acquire passive immunity—immunity acquired by the mother—via breast milk. Breast milk contains vital antibodies called secretory immunoglobulin—a medical term that is often abbreviated to
While babies are born with immune systems that can fight most germs in their first months of life, there are some dangerous and fatal diseases that they aren’t able to ward off. This is why the NHS recommends that babies receive regular vaccinations for various diseases in their first years of life to strengthen
their immune systems. Vaccines protect children from potentially fatal illnesses including meningitis, whooping cough, polio and rotavirus by exposing the body to very small amounts of dead or weak antigens (foreign substances like bacteria or viruses that enter the body). Vaccines aren’t able to cause infections but introduce enough of the antigen to initiate the body’s immune response by causing immune cells, called lymphocytes, to secrete protective antibodies.
Diet According to Harvard Health, there are no ‘scientifically proven direct links between lifestyle and enhanced immune function’, but ongoing studies on the effects of lifestyle on immune system responses prove to be intriguing. Ensuring your children eat a healthy,
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In the home
Sleep A regular sleep routine is vital to our health, and this is especially true for growing children. Research has shown that sleep deprivation is linked to a weakened immune system, making
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our bodies less protected when exposed to illness. The UCLA Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology research team found that even a short amount of sleep loss can trigger negative immune system responses that increase inflammation and cause tissue damage. These findings support ongoing research surrounding the relationship between lack of sleep and the increased risk of diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Babies and toddlers need a significant amount of sleep to support their rapid growth and development. According to the Sleep Foundation, newborn babies need as much as 14 to 17 hours sleep every day up to three months old, 12 to 15 hours of sleep for babies aged four to 11 months old, 11 to 14 hours for toddlers aged one to two years and 10 to 13 hours for children aged between three and five years to be fully rested. Ensure that your child’s sleep environment is a calm and soothing space and maintain a wind-down routine—with no television, use of tablets or phones— just before bed time to help facilitate healthy sleep. hc
nutrient-rich diet is the first line of defence you can offer to support the healthy functioning of their immunity. Key vitamins such as A, C and D and minerals like zinc play a vital part in the functioning of the immune system and can prevent infections such as the common cold. Incorporate foods including leafy greens, root vegetables and citrus fruits into your child’s diet each day. Probiotics—live, good bacteria that are found in fermented foods such as yoghurts—also work to support the immune system by maintaining healthy gut flora for better protection against diseases and infections. Supermarket shelves are stocked full of probiotic yoghurt options that are specifically catered to children. Be cautious, however, as some may contain high levels of sugar and preservatives.
Children can never be completely protected from exposure to germs, microbes, chemicals and airborne particles—and nor should they be. Research shows that exposure to these components may actually shape and develop a child’s immune response, helping prevent the development of serious immune disorders like allergies or coeliac disease. However, it is still important to maintain a healthy environment for your children to live in: Stop smoking. According to the CDC, second-hand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals—hundreds of which are toxic—that can cause serious harm to babies including increased risk of respiratory infections, ear infections and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Clean surfaces. Remove harmful bacteria and germs from worktop surfaces—and objects that children might play with like phones and remote controls—by cleaning with an antibacterial cleaning spray. Wipe down with a disposable paper towel instead of a sponge to avoid harbouring bacteria. Wash hands. Little hands touch all kinds of surfaces—and children then put those hands in their mouths, increasing the risk of infection. Wash your child’s hands thoroughly and frequently for at least 30 seconds each time with warm water and plenty of soap.
The Oakley Partnership, Private GP Medical Practice • Alternative baby vaccination schedule to the NHS • Single Measles, Measles & Rubella vaccination TB vaccination from birth • Chicken pox vaccination Cervical cancer HPV vaccinations for male and female patients
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Cutting-edge paediatric allergy services in a leading UK hospital, led by world-leaders in peanut immunotherapy
Cambridge Peanut Allergy Clinic aims to bring hope to parents of the 1 in 50 children at risk of life-threatening reactions. We are a national hub for children’s allergy services, set in a private children’s clinic run by Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, a leading University hospital. The clinic is directed by Dr Andrew Clark and Dr Pamela Ewan - world renowned specialists in allergy and oral immunotherapy, committed to delivering excellence in care and the highest quality patient experience in a safe and child-friendly environment. The clinic is warm and welcoming, with games consoles, refreshments, and space for children to relax and play.
Oral immunotherapy (ages 7-16y) Immunotherapy involves taking precise, small amounts of characterised peanut allergens once daily and increasing them over time. Most doses are taken at home, but there are seven, fortnightly ‘up-dosing’ appointments at the Cambridge Peanut Allergy Clinic under medical supervision (3 hours each), followed by daily maintenance doses. Consultation for peanut allergy (all ages) We take a full description of your child’s allergies, including other food allergies, eczema, asthma and hay fever, and perform specialised allergy tests. We identify which nut types your child is allergic to and provide a risk assessment based on the likely severity of reactions. • Individualised avoidance advice and emergency medication • Hands-on training in emergency treatment of reactions
“Yippee! I don’t have to be afraid of peanuts anymore.” “I really didn’t think we were strong enough to go through this, but with the help of other parents and the brilliant team, we’ve come a long way already. Thank you for developing it, not a cure, but a miracle for families like us. “My daughter seems to be taking the changes in her stride; I think I’ll be in shock for a while longer! I had tears in my eyes when I first told people just how fantastic the changes to her life were.” “The doctors and nurses were fabulous, and we felt very safe”
Clinic 2, Box 40, Cambridge University Hospitals, Hills Road, Cambridge,CB2 0QQ Telephone: 01223 256 290 | Fax: 01223 216 953 | Email:email@example.com www.peanut.cuh.org.uk
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Although they can manifest in a num ber of ways, com mon ailm ents caused by allergic reactions include ha yfever, asthma, n asal cong estion and ear in fections
Allergies More than one in four people are affected by allergies in the UK. Early diagnosis in childhood can dramatically improve quality of life
n upset stomach, difficulty breathing, skin rashes, sneezing, coughing and itchy eyes. All of these may be symptoms of allergy in children. Allergies occur when the body’s immune system reacts to a substance it thinks is harmful to the body. Although there isn’t yet a clear explanation for why this happens, it is generally accepted that people with a family history of allergies or related conditions such as eczema are more likely to suffer. The key to managing allergies lies in identifying triggers. For the most part, an allergy test conducted by a healthcare professional will be the best way to determine the cause of these reactions, but common triggers can include pollen, insect bites, pet fur, dust mites, mould, cigarette smoke and food products such as eggs, peanuts, gluten and dairy. If you suspect your child may have an allergy, keep track of flare up episodes, possible triggers and make an appointment to see an allergist for expert advice. celebrityangels.co.uk
Peanut allergy A peanut allergy can be a big concern for children and their parents, often because of the lack of good information out there about the likelihood of severe reactions in the future. At the Cambridge Peanut Allergy Clinic, our clinicians have over 25 years of experience at the cutting edge of clinical practice and research into peanut allergy, having led major successful trials in peanut immunotherapy. We recognise that many families live in fear of a life-threatening reaction to peanuts, so we assess each child’s allergy, building a real-life assessment of future risk and giving families access to the most up-to-date treatments available.
Allergies & school Your child’s school should be informed of any allergies— especially asthma and severe allergy to peanuts. Discuss your little one’s access to medication in case of an emergency
MANAGING ALLERGIES The most effective way to manage allergies is to detect the trigger and avoid it as best as is possible. However, some triggers—like pollen—may be harder to steer clear from. There are several medicines on the market that may go some way in alleviating the symptoms of allergies; these include antihistamines, which can also be taken as preventatives; decongestants, to fight blocked noses; emollients to minimise skin redness and itchiness; and steroid medication to reduce swelling. Consult your doctor before giving your child any type of medication. hc Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 85
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National Children’s Eye Healt Week—ru h nning fro m 24 to 3 Septembe 0 r 2018—re minds pare of the imp nts ortance of regular eye check -ups. For more informati on, visit visionmatt ers.org.uk
I Spy with My
Did you know that an estimated 20 percent of school-age children have an undiagnosed vision problem?
ood eye health is crucial for ensuring that children develop the skills they need to thrive both socially and physically. Children’s eyes are still developing throughout their childhood, so catching vision issues early can make a lasting difference to their quality of life.
COMMON EYE CONDITIONS
Squint According to specsavers.co.uk, around one in 20 children have a squint. The condition involves the eyes pointing in different directions. If left untreated, squinting can lead to blurred vision or a lazy eye in later life. Astigmatism Astigmatism occurs when the cornea or lens don’t form a perfect curve, resembling the shape of a rugby ball. The condition can cause blurred and distorted sight in the affected eye. celebrityangels.co.uk
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Things to look out for
Book an eye test if you notice your child displaying one or more of the following symptoms: ✎ Frequent eye rubbing ✎ Straining their eyes or tilting their head to see better ✎ Sensitivity to light ✎ Excessive tearing ✎ Complaining of headaches and tired eyes ✎ Closing one eye to read or watch TV ✎ Avoiding activities that involve near vision like reading or homework ✎ Avoiding activities that involve distance vision like ball sports ✎ Reporting that computer and tablet screens hurt their eyes ✎ Misdirection or a ‘turn’ in the eyes
Short-sightedness Short-sighted children are able to view objects that are near but struggle to view objects that are further away. The condition can be corrected with glasses. If left untreated, it may cause headaches and eyestrain. Long-sightedness Children who are long-sighted can focus more easily on objects in the distance compared with those that are closer. Many children exhibit mild signs of long-sightedness; the condition usually only requires correction if it’s causing a problem. Amblyopia Also known as ‘lazy eye’, amblyopia is a condition in which the vision of one eye is reduced because nerve pathways between the eye and the brain don't work properly. Treatments include eye patches or glasses. hc Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 87
Hydration for Kids
Hydration is particularly important for children as they have higher water requirements in relation to their body weight than adults. Kids don’t always recognise the early stages of thirst. This can make them particularly vulnerable to becoming dehydrated, especially during times that can drive up their body fluid losses like when they are playing sport or during warm weather. Dehydration, even if only mild, can cause tiredness, headaches, lack of concentration, reduced mental performance and dry skin.
How much should kids be drinking?
The amount a child needs to drink can vary greatly, due to factors including age, gender, the weather and how much physical activity they do. Experts advise that kids aged 4-13 aim to drink approximately 6 to 8 glasses of fluid a day in addition to the water included in the food in their diet. Younger kids need relatively small drinks (e.g. 150 ml serving).
Top tips for keeping kids healthily hydrated Children should aim to hydrate with plain, natural drinks that are unsweetened and free from additives.
Starting in the morning with their breakfast, kids should
aim to have 6 to 8 drinks per day which should ideally be water, milk, fruit/vegetable juices.
Children taking part in sports or who are exposed to
warm weather need to replenish the lost fluids by drinking more water.
Research suggests adequately hydrated children may perform better in school.
Repeated tastings of water may help kids to develop a taste for water.
To make it more fun you could add ice or a slice of lemon.
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of 8-15 ye ar-olds wo uld like to eat more fruit s and vegeta bles to ma k e their diet healthier Source: Th e State of the Na tion t by Child Food Trust ren’s
Make Room for Veg With 50.4 percent of all household foods in the UK classed as ‘ultra-processed’, it’s no wonder the nation’s children are being swept up in the current obesity epidemic. Swap the junk for veg in a bid to raise healthier, happier children
t’s true; glaring evidence suggests that our generation of children are suffering from the highest rates of obesity-related illnesses—like cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes—than ever before. According to the NHS report Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet, one in five pupils in year six are classified as obese and just a tiny 16 percent of children in the UK consume the recommended five or more portions of fruit and veg each day. With ‘ultra-processed’ foods (that’s everything from sugar-laden cereals to long shelf-life products with ingredients usually unknown to the domestic
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kitchen) dominating the average household shopping basket, it’s clear that there are more factors contributing to this epidemic than we might think.
CUT THE FIZZ The World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported a strong link between sugary drinks and obesity in children and stated that children should be drinking more water as part of a balanced, healthy diet. Dehydration can cause fatigue, headaches and lack of concentration. Experts advise that children drink around six to eight glasses of fluid—preferably water—each day.
THE ROLE OF ADVERTISING As modern life gets busier, convenience food is becoming a more attractive option for time-poor families. This has a knock-on effect on advertising, which now heavily influences contemporary food culture. ‘Kids and parents are exposed to a huge amount of junk food advertising making it difficult for them to navigate their way through the food environment,’ says Jo Ralling, head of communications at the Food Foundation. ‘Cartoon characters are often used on cereal packets and unhealthy products being sold at checkouts make it very hard for parents
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introduce a 9pm watershed on junk food advertising in his #AdEnough campaign.
IT STARTS AT HOME While systemic changes in the food industry are slow-arriving, parents can make small changes at home to fight against the threat of childhood obesity. 'A huge amount of the confusion can be avoided if parents try and cook from scratch,' says Ralling. By buying raw vegetables and cooking with ingredients at home, parents can be in control of the content going into their child’s meals. Introducing babies as young as six months old to vegetables is also important. Instilling these early eating habits help to develop children’s palates for the range of interesting textures and flavours vegetables provide. Ralling adds that 'eating with your children and always leading by example is proven to have a great impact on kid’s habits as well.' While recent guidelines have recommended that we should be eating up to 10 portions of fruit and veg a day, experts maintain that five portions are a good starting point for children. BBC Good Food suggests that the amount of fruit or veg that can sit in the palm of their hand is adequate. hc
RED. Find vitamins A, B and C in red-coloured foods like red peppers and strawberries. Tomatoes contain a vital antioxidant called lycopene, which has been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer. ORANGE. Packed with nutrients, orange foods like (you guessed it) oranges and carrots are filled with beta-carotene which the body converts into vitamin A— essential for healthy skin, a strong immune system and good eye health. YELLOW. Bananas, sweetcorn and butternut squash contain disease-busting vitamins and minerals including alpha and beta-carotene, potassium, lutein and zeaxanthin. GREEN. The powerhouse colour of the food rainbow, greens like spinach, kale and broccoli are rich in calcium, magnesium and potassium and are a great source of vitamins B, C, E and K.
to avoid these products. More worrying is that only 1.2 percent of the food and drink advertising budget gets spent promoting healthy ingredients like veg,' she adds. With such a large percentage of annual advertising budgets spent on junk food promotion it’s easy to see how many preventable health problems begin life on a billboard, so to speak, and levels of childhood obesity have soared. Ralling advises that 'avoiding shopping with the kids when they are hungry or tired can help as it often leads to frayed tempers and when parents are most likely to succumb to kids "pestering" for treats'. A recent study by The Nutrition Society also found that these ultraprocessed convenience foods are linked to some forms of cancer which may, if not tackled imminently, cause a spike in cancer cases decades from now. The Food Foundation and several campaigning celebrities say that children are left increasingly vulnerable to excessive junk food advertising on television. Vital steps are being taken by some key organisations including the Food Foundation, whose Veg Power Fund campaign is working to build advertising funds to market vegetables to children. Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has even called on the government to
There’s a solid reason nutritionists advise we ‘eat the rainbow’: colourful fruits and vegetables provide the key nutrients and vitamins we need to thrive and are especially important for developing babies and children.
Green Vegetable Crumble Servings: 8
INGREDIENTS 350g frozen broccoli florets (or 1 head fresh) 250g frozen chopped spinach or frozen whole baby leaf spinach 225g frozen peas 1 large courgette, grated For the white sauce: 3 tbsp unsalted butter 3 tbsp plain flour 400ml milk 400ml stock (or more milk) 1/2 tsp mustard powder (or 1 tsp mustard) Small pinch nutmeg or allspice (about 1/4 tsp) Salt & pepper, to taste Large handful of grated cheese (about 50g) For the crumble topping: 100g wholemeal flour 200g oats Pinch sea salt (about 1/4 tsp) 110g unsalted butter, room temperature and cubed Handful of chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts or almonds all work well) Handful of seeds (sunflower and pumpkin or a seed mix work
Recipe courtesy of Claire Wright | raisingsugarfreekids.com
really well) A little more grated cheese to top, optional
preparation 1. Preheat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Steam the frozen vegetables in a steamer or microwave according to packet instructions. Drain the vegetables and squeeze any excess water out of the spinach. Pour the cooked vegetables and grated courgette into a large roasting or casserole dish and set aside. 2. Next, make the white sauce. Melt the butter in a large saucepan, whisk in the flour and allow to cook for a minute, then slowly drizzle in the milk, little by little, whisking constantly. Whisk in the stock, mustard, nutmeg or allspice and salt & pepper. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for a few minutes, whisking constantly, until thick.
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Take off the heat and stir through the grated cheese, then pour the sauce into the dish with the green vegetables and mix well. 3. Finally, make the crumble. Pour the flour, oats and salt into a food processor and pulse for 30 seconds or so. Add in the cubed butter and pulse for another 30 seconds until combined with the flour but still leaving little chunks. Top the creamy veg mixture with the crumble, then scatter over some chopped nuts and seeds, and a little extra grated cheese, if using. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the crumble topping is golden and the cheesy filling is bubbling up around it. Serve on its own or with a green salad or fresh chopped tomatoes drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt. Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 91
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Spinach, sweet potato and pea purée
Banana and blueberry smoothie
Making your own baby food doesn’t have to take hours – especially if you batch cook for another day. Cook all your ingredients and then whizz them together, with a little help from your CleverMixx, to make a veggie purée your little one will love – simply blend to the right consistency for your baby.
As parents, it’s hard to find time to look after ourselves. For this simple recipe, just throw together all your ingredients and get blending! In a matter of minutes you can blend up this fruit-filled smoothie that’s full of antioxidants.
Ingredients • • • • • • • • •
2 tbsp sunflower oil 1 tbsp butter 50g leeks, finely chopped 1 small garlic clove, crushed 150g sweet potato, peeled and chopped 200ml boiling water 40g fresh spinach 40g frozen peas 40g mature cheddar cheese, grated
Method 1. Heat the oil and butter in a saucepan and sauté the leeks for about 4 minutes, until softened. 2. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. 3. Add the sweet potato and pour over the boiling water. 4. Cover and cook for 9 minutes. 5. Add the spinach and peas and cook for a further 3 minutes. 6. Remove from the heat and stir in the grated cheese until melted. 7. Pop the mixture in a bowl, leave it to cool slightly and then purée using your CleverMixx. 8. Thin the purée with a little bit of your baby’s usual milk if needed.
Ingredients • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk • 1/2 frozen banana • 1/3 cup frozen blueberries • 1 tbsp rolled oats • 5 ice cubes
Method 1. Put the unsweetened almond milk, frozen banana, frozen blueberries, rolled oats and ice cubes into a beaker or bowl. 2. Blend using your CleverMixx and enjoy! TIP: Using frozen fruit gives a thicker consistency, however raw is fine too.
TIP: Freeze your leftover purée in ice cube trays, defrosting a portion as and when you need it. Do not keep for longer than 3 months and ensure food is properly heated before serving.
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Vitamins for Children
The Department of Health recommends that children aged between six months to five years take supplements containing vitamins A, C and D every day
ne question that often crosses many parents’ minds is whether their children really need to take daily supplements or whether the marketing of such products is simply a money-making ruse. While—largely speaking—healthy adults are able to get their recommended daily vitamins and nutrients through a healthy, balanced diet, this is more difficult for young children. In fact, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health says that vitamin D deficiency alone is ‘highly prevalent in young children (infants, young children and adolescents) in the UK’. For this reason, the Department of Health’s (DoH) most up-to-date guidelines suggest children aged six months to five years take daily supplements containing vitamins A, C and D to plug the gap that foods can’t reach.
VITAMIN A & C Unless infants are being fed with
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Types of supplements Supplements for children come in many forms including liquid drops for infants to fruitflavoured gummies for young children. If you qualify for the NHS’s Healthy Start programme, then you are entitled to free vitamin drops for your baby
nutrient-fortified formula, the DoH advises parents give them a daily supplement containing vitamins A and C which can be administered via droppers until children are eating solids. These essential vitamins, vital for a healthy immune system, can be found in fruits and vegetables such as oranges, strawberries, cabbage and broccoli, and dairy products like milk and yoghurt.
VITAMIN D Vitamin D is vital for healthy bones and teeth and in supporting the immune system and cardiovascular health. Yet food as a source of this vitamin is fairly limited. Only certain types of fish, eggs and foods that have been especially fortified with it—like some butters and spreads—contain this vitamin. Besides food, the sun is the only other source of vitamin D for the body. Because vitamin D is not always easy to obtain (particularly for young children) the DoH recommends that breastfed infants receive a daily vitamin D supplement, even if the mother is taking a vitamin D supplement herself. If infants are fed around a pint of formula each day, however, experts advise that they do not consume a daily vitamin D supplement, because formula milk is already fortified with the essential vitamin. hc
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Keep It Moving B
eing physically active every day can dramatically improve both the overall health and cognitive development of a child. The NHS states that the amount of exercise needed by children is largely dependent on their age. However, as a general rule of thumb, kids aged five to 16 need to be active for at least one hour each day and kids under five need to be active for over three hours a day. Such activity should comprise of a healthy balance between light and moderate movement. Read on for a more detailed breakdown of a child’s requirements as well as fun ideas to get them moving.
Babies Encouraging babies to be active throughout the day is imperative. Before they begin crawling, motivate them to move around, grasp objects and pull and push their body with their hands. Do this during supervised floor play and tummy time. Once they start crawling, keep enforcing this in a safe and supervised play environment.
Toddlers Young children who can walk unaided should be active for over three hours a day—this can be spread throughout the day. A combination of indoor and outdoor play is encouraged, weather permitting. These three hours can include a variety of light and more energetic activities. 96 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh
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Children under five At this age, children should never be inactive for prolonged periods of time, except for when they’re asleep. Try to limit the amount of time they spend watching TV, travelling by car or being strapped in a buggy. At this age, the best way to get children moving is team sports and group games and activities. Ensure they get the three hours of recommended physical activity by the health service.
Children over five & early teens As children get older, they will be able to take part in taught lessons and group activities. Sign your child up for swimming, dance or gymnastics sessions to keep them moving. As they grow up, they will undoubtedly spend more hours sitting down in a school classroom. Counteract this by taking up walking as a hobby or setting some time aside for after school sports. Children over five should get at least an hour of physical activity per day.
Great ways to keep children active Water games. Nothing will get children excited like the prospect of playing with water. Pick up cheap water guns and shooters—or make use of the garden hose in your backyard—and head outdoors.
Treasure hunt. Instruct your little one to search for fake gold coins, stickers or badges around the house. Spread your chosen ‘treasure’ high and low to encourage problemsolving as well. Dancing. When the weather makes outdoor activities more challenging, turn on some music and simply dance around in your own home. Buy hoolahoops or balloons for an added bit of excitement or play ‘Freeze Dance’ for some fun competition. Cooking. Get your child involved in the household’s daily food preparation routine by setting up your own ‘restaurant’ and asking your little one for help fetching ingredients and utensils. Purchase ‘activity toys’. Toys such as balls, tunnels, jump ropes, bean bags, miniature basketball hoops and small indoor trampolines may come at an added cost but are sure ways to get your little one moving. Organise obstacle courses in their play room or engage in active games like charades and Twister. Indoor fun. While cold and rainy weather may impede certain physical activities, there are plenty of things to do indoors to keep moving. Head to the mall for some healthy walking, go bowling, visit an indoor pool or climbing facility, or go ice skating for more practical alternatives. hc
Children require various hours of physical activity per day during their early years. Keeping active will aid their development, health, concentration and mood
Why is physical activity so important ? It manages weight. Children who are more physically active are less likely to be overweight or obese. Maintaining a healthy weight will reduce the risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions such as diabetes. It strengthens muscles and bones. The first years of life determine and define the body’s health going forward. Children who are more active develop stronger muscles and bones, making them less susceptible to osteoporosis and other associated conditions. It promotes mindfulness. Keeping children active from a young age will establish a good exercise routine that will, hopefully, be kept up in adult life. In addition to this, children engaging in physical activity will be more sociable—deeply affecting their mental health for the better in return.
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Not all vid eogames a re bad! Some mor e interactiv e consoles offer educa tional gam es that encourage children to move around an d be fit. C ertain games wil l allow you bowl, play to tennis and practice basketball from the co mfort of your livin g room
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27/03/2017 16:32 15:13 05/07/2018
All Aboard: Holiday Safety
Holidays are an exciting prospect for the entire family, but parents with young babies and children should take extra precautions before jetting off
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olidays abroad are something to be cherished; they’re a time for the whole family to relax and reconnect. For parents travelling with young children, there are additional risks and responsibilities to be aware of. Follow our handy travel tips to ensure that your trip goes off without a hitch.
waterproof sunscreen that contains SPF 30 or over—be sure to consistently reapply. Children should also wear sunglasses that meet the British Standard (BSEN 1836:2005) and carry the CE mark. Supply your infant with a wide-brimmed hat and baggy cotton clothing for extra protection.
CAREFULLY PICK ACCOMMODATION
Your child should never be left unattended, especially in a foreign country. Be sure to supervise them while on the beach and in the pool. Depending on their age, consider investing in a harness or wrist strap for sightseeing.
While some operators use the term ‘family-friendly’ to describe certain hotels and resorts, this doesn’t necessarily mean they have undergone the proper checks. Age-appropriate activities, pool safety barriers and childminding facilities are all essential features to look out for. Visit sites such as Tots to Travel and I-escape.com, as both of these family-oriented companies provide detailed accounts of the facilities on offer at each lodging.
BE SUN SAFE
Warmer climates and seaside destinations inherently mean higher exposure to UV rays. Young, sensitive skin should be protected with a
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A first aid kit is an essential piece of holiday equipment. Preempting accidents and illness, it should include bandages, antiseptic, calpol, electrolyte solution and diarrhoea and constipation medication.
WARD OFF MOSQUITOS
Mosquitos are commonplace in most foreign countries. Protect your child by spraying them with a body repellent. Environmental factors should be
Toy story Long flights and car journeys can be a source of anxiety for young children. Keep them entertained with a new toy or pastime; colouring books work well, as do interactive games. Not only will this method quash their boredom but it will also act as a behavioural sweetener
considered when selecting a deet— the active ingredient in most insect repellents—level; for example, jungle areas usually require a more potent formula. Also, make use of bed nets and spatial repellents.
BE MINDFUL OF ALLERGIES
Parents whose children have allergies should be particularly careful abroad. Check the local cuisine and consider buying your child a medical ID wristband for clarity.
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Child-friendly DESTINATIONS FOR 2018
The Sunshine State isn’t just a holiday destination, it’s a dream come true—especially for children. Home to Orlando—where soaring theme parks and childhood Disney characters come to life—it presents a thrilling whirlwind ride for the whole family. Tickets for Disneyland and Universal Studios don’t come cheap, but the cost of living is surprisingly low in Florida. The sublime weather and endless amount of activities are sure to keep every member of the family content.
This delightful island off the coast of Turkey is blessed with warm Mediterranean winds, stunning beaches and a wealth of history. Resting southwest of Cyprus, it is the known birthplace of the mythological goddess, Aphrodite. Wandering the historic ruins of Roman villas and royal frescoes will keep the whole family engaged, with intricate sites dotted across the area. Food and wine are ranked highly in Paphos—ideal for parents in need of winding down.
Koh Chang, Thailand
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Lake Maggiore, Italy If you are in search of a family-friendly destination, Lake Maggiore certainly fits the bill. The variety of interesting museums, exciting adventure parks, extensive shopping opportunities and luscious garden spaces mean there is something to satisfy all tastes. Traverse the Hundred Valleys by train; scour the picturesque mountainsides or picnic in one of the numerous green spots that reside by the lakeside. Plus, the cuisine that originates from this part of Italy is light yet supremely satisfying. hc
When most people think of Thailand, they imagine the hectic buzz of Bangkok’s night markets and lively drinking scene. But Thailand has a well of natural beauty to offer families who are looking for a peaceful vacation— enter, Koh Chang. Much of this pristine island consists of national parks, making it the ideal location for family expeditions through the jungle. Groups can also kayak through the mangroves of Koh Chang’s stunning bay for an unforgettable experience. The delectable Thai cuisine is another major draw for holidaymakers, as it’s bursting with fresh seafood and delicate spices. It presents the perfect opportunity for young palates to explore new flavours.
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Play Mate For years, psychologists have studied the impactful relationship between playtime and learning in both the social and academic sense. Leading psychologist Dr Elizabeth Kilbey from Channel 4’s The Secret Life of… sheds crucial insights into how play facilitates learning at its best
he benefits of playtime— especially unstructured play or ‘free play’—for young children are numerous, in both an educational and social sense. Play promotes the development of language, brain function, emotional intelligence and physical health. As children use playtime to practice making decisions and take active leadership, this time helps their feelings of confidence and resilience grow exponentially. An experimental study carried out by psychologists Pellegrini and Holmes in 2006 found that children tend to focus more on academic subjects following playtime between classes, emphasising
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that play is crucial in all aspects of learning. Recent research led by toy giant Lego, however, has shown that parents are prioritising academic learning for their children and reducing time spent in free play in order to do so. It seems that unstructured playtime during school is becoming considerably less important when compared with formal education, with parents and educational institutions feeling the pressure to achieve high quality and quantifiable exam results instead. Dr Elizabeth Kilbey, leading NHS psychologist on Channel 4’s popular show The Secret Life of… says that because of ‘the culture of schools,
league table-driven schools and parental anxiety around formal achievement and formal education, parents, misguidedly sometimes, lean towards more formal teaching which actually isn’t developmentally the best way for children to learn.’
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT Alongside free play, time in the classroom (particularly in those crucial infant years) is key to developing the social skills that children will carry throughout their lifetime. ‘A lot of it is about selfregulation, about managing yourself and about getting along with other people and about learning, what we call, “good learning behaviour”;
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Play & Learn with
LEGO® DUPLO® at Smyths Toys Superstore LEGO® DUPLO® products provide children aged 1, 1/2 to 5 with fun, creative, high-quality play experiences that support your child’s learning and development. While playing is all fun and games for kids, as it should be, the different types of LEGO® DUPLO® play – constructive, exploratory, and role play – entertain but at the same time lay the foundation for essential developmental milestones.
These include: MOTOR SKILLS:
Toddlers’ bodies are constantly in motion, accomplishing new motor skills and physical feats on a daily basis. Developing hand-eye coordination by stacking My First DUPLO bricks or perfecting finger dexterity while opening a door in a DUPLO Town set, for example, continues to fine-tune their physical abilities and constantly improves their motor skills.
Welcome to the wonderful world of “what” and “why”! Children are incredibly curious creatures, especially between the ages of 1 to 5, because they are working hard to make sense of the world around them. Engaging in imaginative pretend play supports their verbal development and enhances creativity, especially when they use newfound language skills to identify a ‘yellow’ brick or while having fun creating role-play stories with their favourite heroes.
Cognition occurs through observation, interaction, and play, reinforcing important skills such as cause and effect, problem solving, and decision making. When kids stack DUPLO® bricks to form a tower (the tallest one ever!) or make a decision on which building the DUPLO® Town bulldozer should knock down first, their cognition and understanding is enhanced with every decision made.
Social interaction starts from the moment a child is born and develops rapidly every day. Those precious stare sessions set the important stage for bonding, and from there, social skills are further enhanced with play. From two pre-schoolers sharing My First DUPLO bricks, to kindergartners collaborating on countless adventures on the LEGO DUPLO Farm, lifelong social skills such as collaboration, taking turns, empathy, and self-awareness are further developed.
Toddlers can go from tears to smiles in a matter of seconds, and this describes the emotional development of toddlers. Exploring the world can be confusing and scary, but celebrating successes and encouraging ideas in a safe environment through play provides consistency and comfort. Allowing children to explore favourite colours with My First DUPLO or conquering a tricky building challenge with DUPLO Town gives them a greater sense of confidence.
Drop into your local Smyths Toys Superstore or explore the full LEGO® DUPLO® range at www.SmythsToys.com LEGO, the LEGO logo and DUPLO are trademarks of the LEGO Group ©2018 The LEGO Group.
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have d l u o h s n e r Child ast 60 minutes at le tructured free of uns y each day pla
Children are built to play, that’s what they’re designed to do. The reason they’re designed to do that is because that’s how their brains learn and that’s how they develop —Dr Elizabeth Kilbey
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how to sit still, how to listen, how to focus on a task,’ says Dr Kilbey. Time spent in the classroom is much broader than simply learning literacy and mathematics, ‘It’s about the development of the learn er . Their personality, their ability to manage in that setting,’ she explains. When it comes to time away from a formal classroom environment, though, how vital is playtime in facilitating strong social development? ‘Completely vital,’ says Dr Kilbey. ‘Children are built to play, that’s what they’re designed to do. The reason they’re designed to do that is because that’s how their brains learn and that’s how they develop; that’s their default setting.’ Dr Kilbey explains that children often utilise this time to re-enact scenarios they witness in their day-to-day lives like family relationships or shopping—otherwise referred to as role play. ‘Play is the vehicle through which they [children]
understand and make sense of their world,’ says Dr Kilbey. ‘Children play out what they see around them and what they understand of the world, so they’ll play out school things, they’ll play out mummies and daddies (that’s a really common one, because they understand the parenting dynamic), they play out families. ‘Their play is a mirror of their internal world, of how they see everything that’s going on around them. So, anything they encounter, they will show us in their play.’ Interestingly, strong links have also been made between the effect that role play has on the development of language. A 1999 study by psychologist Edward Fisher found that sociodramatic play (characterised as role play where children pretend together) ‘results in improved performances in both cognitive linguistic and social affective domains’. Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 107
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The role of play in resolving conflict Dr Kilbey describes the playground as a ‘kind of social training ground’— and for good reason. For many young children, school, and indeed the playground, will be the first encounter they have with lots of peers their own age, and with that comes the inevitability of conflict arising. ‘Conflict is an inevitable part of being a child, because when you’re young, you are very—what we call—"egocentric". You see the world from your point of view and you want things your way and the minute you encounter someone else who wants things their way, then you have conflict,’ she says. But while on the surface conflict may feel problematic to your little one, it’s an essential component in the development of a child’s social and empathetic skills. celebrityangels.co.uk
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Let's dance! Dancing promotes patience, listening skills and confidence, all key skills required in the classroom— try ballet or tap dancing classes for young children for an enjoyable pastime
Dr Kilbey explains that managing conflict at this age ‘is formative in terms of how you’re going to grow up managing your adult life, because conflict is an inevitable part of the human experience. This is their first experience of “cutting their teeth”, if you like, in the playground of learning how to get along with other people.’
Playtime—and in particular, elements of free play where children are left to their imaginations in a group setting—contributes greatly to the overall development of a child’s emotional maturity. The egocentric nature of children, particularly of those around the age of four or five, means that their sense of empathy is still in its infancy. ‘At four and five, they're much more egocentric, much more self-referencing, they haven’t really mastered theory of mind which is taking into account the perspective of others or understanding that others have a mind that is separate from yours and therefore have different ideas or beliefs,’ says Dr Kilbey. ‘By the time they get towards five, six and seven, they really are developing theory of mind. They’re beginning to understand their own Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 109
Parenting emotions better and be able to recognise them in others and then respond to them in other people.’ It is this sense of learning empathy that occurs, in part, as a result of playground socialisation. According to Dr Kilbey, children’s emotional response to their peers develops rapidly as they reach the age of six. During the school years three to six, children are ‘much more able to understand each other’s emotions. By the end of primary school, they’re quite sophisticated and not only understanding, but also influencing other people’s emotions and they’re gearing up for pre-adolescence, which is a big emotional maelstrom.’
Toys for Play
Perhaps one of the most prominent factors surrounding the benefits of playing, is its role in facilitating learning in the classroom and enhancing later academic achievement. All of the skills that children learn whilst on the playground including roleplay, developing a sense of patience, rulemaking and problem-solving are all vital within a classroom setting. The language skills that develop as a combination of these practices provide young children the know-how they need to begin to learn to read. Introducing books to children from an early age—particularly textured books with mirrors and things to touch that stimulate their senses— makes it more likely for children to learn to read by the time they reach infant school, says kidshealth.org.
MAKING THE MOST OF PLAYTIME Mum and dad can play a key role in their child’s development by allowing them the space to be imaginative and create in an unstructured way. It is important that children have
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Reading from a young age not only aids academic learning but helps develop your little one’s imagination, too!
plenty of time to play; in fact, leading children’s organisation Healthy Children suggests that children have at least 30 minutes adult-led play and 60 minutes of unstructured free play each day. Unstructured play on their own teaches children to selfoccupy, perseverance and patience— crucial skills needed at school and beyond. Dr Kilbey recommends that children are able to ‘explore their own interests, that they can play with lots of different things like in outdoor play, indoor play, physical coordination, climbing, creative, imaginative [and] role play. It’s about giving the child the opportunity to explore a whole range of different things.’ hc
Did you know that encouraging children to fly like a bird or build a den is an important part of early development and scientifically proven to boost learning? Playtime is a powerful early development tool and toys can teach tots to problem-solve, build friendships and develop essential cognitive skills. It’s tough for parents to escape the stresses of everyday life, but reading together sparks imagination while building family bonds. A great book inspires children to be inquisitive about their surroundings and explore new worlds. Imaginative play offers a safe environment to express emotions and opens young eyes to unlimited possibilities. Nurturing these skills helps pave the way for the next generation of scientists, artists, freethinkers and world leaders. Toy Box Tots believes Einstein summed it up perfectly: ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.’
Top tips from bestselling That’s not my... author Fiona Watt: • • • • •
Start sharing books as soon as possible, even newborn babies will benefit from you reading to them Don’t just read the words, point things out and talk to your little one about what you can see on the page Choose books with touchy-feely patches, flaps to lift and sound buttons Be prepared to read the same books over and over again! Incorporate books into your bedtime routine One That’s not my… book sold every minute in the UK
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Importance of Play in Child Development
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in their lives, but it is also essential in contributing to their development. Using their imagination and creativity can raise a child’s self-esteem and help them process emotions and provides them with a non-threatening place where they have complete control over what they do. So, a good piece of play advice is: if a child ever says they’re bored, don’t amuse them. Let them use their imagination to devise their own play ideas to fill their time, either with or without toys!
MAKE TIME 2 PLAY Due to the ever-increasing busy lives of both parents and children, it’s sometimes difficult to find the time to play. Set up by the British Toy & Hobby Association, the Make Time 2 Play campaign aims to alleviate any stress of making time to play, by providing parents and carers with hundreds of free play ideas. Whether it's activities for indoors, outdoors or whilst travelling, the Make Time 2 Play website, Facebook, Twitter and free app offer a great range of ideas for all ages, as well as highlighting the many different benefits of play each activity can aid in child development.
From the first moment that you meet your baby, play will form a huge part of your interactions with each other. Appropriate toys, repetitive rhymes and games and stimulating environments all perform a huge role in helping your child’s physical, intellectual, emotional and social development. Parents should be aware that all children develop at different rates so shouldn’t worry unduly if a child is developing differently to a friend or sibling. The right toy at the correct age can enhance the play and development experience. Parents should never worry if a child’s favourite toy is one marketed at a younger age range. However, age warnings on toys (i.e. ‘not suitable for 0-3’) are safety warnings that should be adhered to in order to keep very young children from swallowing small parts. From birth to six months, a baby’s
field of vision is short, so mobiles and pram toys in primary colours are a great favourite. As strength and mobility increase, you can introduce rattles, cloth books and soft toys. Those with a mix of colour, shape and texture are great for all round sensory development. Between six and 12 months, your baby will gain strength and consequently have a much greater control of their head, back and limbs. Brightly coloured balls, squeaky animals and toys with lots of noise and colour— particularly if they are just out of reach—provide an incentive that will get your baby rolling over, crawling and cruising along the furniture. During the pre-school years aged three to five, children develop their fine motor skills, become more curious and understand more about sharing and turn-taking. Engaging in role play and playing with play dough, sand and ride-on toys are all suitable activities for this age group as children begin to make their own friends and explore their feelings as well as more of the world around them. As children reach the later stage of their childhood, they become more strategic thinkers, have better coordination and become more fluent with verbal and written vocabulary. More complex games and puzzles, as well as trading cards, models and accessories are all great examples of toys that can aid the development of key skills. One of the great things about being a child is the use of imagination. Not only can it provide great entertainment
www.maketime2play.co.uk @maketime2play www.facebook.com/maketime2play
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Jumping Safely Some 13,000 children visit A&E each year due to injuries associated with jumping on a domestic trampoline, says ROSPA, and almost half of all injuries even occur under adult supervision
Do not jump onith a trampoline rw the children undeohol, as inﬂuence of alca major this may pose sk injury ri parents should consider buying a model with a safety net incorporated into the design for extra safety.
rampolines are a huge source of fun and play for kids, and an excellent way to get outdoors and keep fit, too, making this piece of equipment a summer staple in thousands of gardens across the UK. But while this fun pastime has been around for decades, expert advice surrounding the activity is often conflicted. For example, in 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advised that ‘pediatricians need to actively discourage recreational trampoline use.’ But is it really necessary to avoid this activity completely? While we can’t always prevent the falls and bumps that are almost inevitable with trampolining,
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there are some safety precautions that can help to reduce the risks. The most common injuries that occur as a result of trampoline jumping include bruising and injury to the neck, arms, legs, face and head. Children may also suffer with sprains or fractures to the wrists and ankles, which are largely caused by landing in awkward positions. In more serious cases, children may suffer with broken bones or spine and head injuries. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA), an organisation dedicated to reducing accidents among the young population, advises that trampolining is only suitable for children over the age of six, and that
USING A TRAMPOLINE There are many precautions parents can take to reduce the risk of trampoline-associated injuries. Firstly, place the trampoline on energy-absorbing ground, such as a springy lawn, bark wood chips or other cushioning materials—and never on concrete. Secure the trampoline firmly to the ground using hooks as instructed and cover all springs with safety padding. Many experts advise that just one individual bounce on the trampoline at any one time; around 60 percent of injuries occur because there is more than one person on the trampoline, says ROSPA. Children should only bounce in the middle of the trampoline and avoid performing complicated tricks such as backflips. Children should always step off the trampoline slowly when exiting—never jumping off. hc
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Terrible Twos A period characterised by unruly behaviour, the ‘terrible twos’ can be a tricky time, especially for first-time parents. Keep the tantrums at bay—or avoid them altogether—with our tips on how to cope
twos’ is a r e l b i r r e ‘t The term . Unruly behaviou misnomeras early as a child’s can start hday and as late as first birt their third Did you know?
Once chil dren and expre learn to talk ss clearly, th themselves ey will b e less likely to have tan trums. By the age o f 4, they should be far less common So Choices
Images: Shutterstock; 123rf
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rom the age of about 18 months onward, toddlers will begin trying to express themselves, their feelings and their desires. Tantrums ensue when they feel like they are misunderstood; they are a byproduct of their frustration. A period defined by unruly behaviour, this phase is dreaded by all parents, but it’s important to remember that tantrums are part-and-parcel of a child’s development. Many experts even refer to them as a ‘positive sign’ that a child is testing boundaries, learning how to communicate and developing into an independent human being. Although there isn’t a definitive list of signs that can warn a parent about the onset of the terrible twos, the following common clues can all be significant. Frustration when their wishes aren’t fulfilled. Toddlers get frustrated when they feel like their desires aren’t being met and their caregivers can’t foresee their needs. For example, a toddler may get frustrated and lash out when receiving water in a green cup instead of a red cup, even though they didn’t ask for a red cup. Kicking, screaming and biting. A child may act out physically as a way to cope with the fact that they can’t accurately express themselves in their own words. Although it may seem challenging and draining at times, don’t wait too long to deal with issues and behaviours which are unacceptable. Enforce the rule of no hitting, biting or scratching. Crying and wailing. Tantrums characterised by crying and wailing are a hallmark of the terrible twos phase. Saying ‘no’ when it doesn’t make sense in the situation—like when you’re offering a toy or treat. The overuse of ‘no’ is a clever way for toddlers to test out rules and boundaries.
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Territorial fighting. As toddlers learn the concept of ‘mine’, they may pick fights with people—or pets—who take what they believe is their property. Experts have long maintained that the duration of this tricky period will largely depend on how parents handle their child’s behaviour. Some disciplinary measures include giving your child a firm ‘no’—and upholding that decision—putting them in a timeout and taking away privileges. However, make sure there is consistency with whatever approach is taken. Carers, grandparents, babysitters, friends and parents need to be on the same page in order to reinforce positive behaviour. The terrible twos will ease up once your toddler is better able to grasp rules and communicate desires.
SURVIVING A TANTRUM Although the right strategy to deal with the terrible twos may differ from child to child, there are tips and tricks that experts recommend. Read on to plan your approach. Discover the reason Finding out the cause of difficult behaviour is key—if your child is tired or hungry, the solution is simple. They may need affection, feel lonely, be jealous of a sibling or have lost a favourite toy. Find a distraction When you spot the starting signs of a tantrum, find something to distract your toddler with. This could be a bird you spot outside of your window, or a brightly coloured object in your own home. Sound as surprised and interested as you can. Control your temper Shouting back or losing your cool—even momentarily—won’t end the tantrum. Although it may be harder in certain circumstances (when you’re out in public, for example), remain calm, ignore whatever else is going on around
Preventing a tantrum
In some cases, it is possible to nip tantrums in the bud. Try this by giving your child choices without overwhelming them, narrating what they should expect before it happens and anticipating their emotional state. In addition to this, it may be helpful to plan your daily activities around them. This can mean avoiding trips to the store when it’s too close to their nap time and ensuring you have a snack with you if you’re away from home close to eating hours
If you’re seriously worried about your child’s behaviour, speak with your health visitor or doctor
you and focus on your little one. The less emotionally invested you get, the quicker the storm will pass. Be firm If the tantrum was sparked by a ‘no’, don’t change your mind and give in in an attempt to restore the peace—it won’t help in the long term. For the same reason, don’t bribe them with sweets or fun activities. Try going into another room while you wait for them to calm down on their own, but make sure they can’t hurt themselves first. hc
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Childhood Obesity: A Growing Problem
besity has become a glaring health concern in the UK; last year, the NHS reported spending more than £6.1 billion on treatments for related problems. Now, it seems, the nation's bad eating habits are trickling down to younger generations. The annual National Child Measurement Programme— which calculates pupils’ Body Mass Index—warned of the ‘severe’ obesity levels now demonstrated among young people. Their figures indicate that 22,000 children leave primary school obese each year. The irrefutable decline in
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Get moving In a world where everything is automated, try to encourage your child to be as active as possible. Arrange family trips that see you all playing actively together
children’s health has spurred an influential group of MPs to demand a ban on junk food advertising on television before nine o’clock in the evening. Other measures have been put in place such as the recent sugar tax, which administers a charge to food and drink brands that exceed a specific sugar threshold. But, while government legislation may help to combat childhood obesity, a conscious effort must also come from parents.
Educate The first step in changing unhealthy eating habits is to educate children
Images: Shutterstock; 123rf
One in five children are obese by the age of 11 in the UK; educate your child on best healthy eating practices for a long and happy life
The percentage of children that consumed 5 or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day in 2016 Source: Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet—England, 2018
on the topic. Children should be supplied with a thorough knowledge of nutritious foods (like fruits and vegetables) and those that are not, like sugary snacks. Parents can work to help children grasp the link between unhealthy food and poor health.
GUIDE Be a source of knowledge and guidance for your child. Try to set a good example by opting for nutritious snacks like carrot sticks or apple slices instead of crisps and other salty foods.
PREP Children should be given the opportunity to cook as much as possible. Having more involvement in food preparation will provide them with vital cooking skills they will use in later life. Understanding the origins of ingredients can help them to build a clearer picture of what constitutes a ‘balanced diet’.
ENJOY Make food learning enjoyable with games and puzzles; discovering new vegetables and flavours should be fun. Introducing healthy food in this manner should help to avoid resistance from fussy eaters and stubborn children. hc
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1 in 5
children in Year 6 were classified as obese in 2016/2017 Source: Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet—England, 2018
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A message from Carol Vorderman Since 2010, The Maths Factor has helped nearly 80,000 children achieve confidence in maths – very often a subject they originally hated, and now love! There’s no secret to how we do it, The Maths Factor is based on practice, practice, practice – with a healthy dose of fun (games) too. There are over 900 daily sessions in The Maths Factor that progress in micro-steps to build your child’s confidence. Each session only lasts 10-15 minutes and is based on the same simple formula:
Learn + Play + Practise Each session starts with a teaching video from me, followed by a fun warm-up before a more formal practice. As sessions are completed, your child will receive rewards and marbles – and more fun games will unlock!
Encourage your child to do just one session a day! Here’s why it’s worthwhile: we looked at records and found that children who completed an average of five sessions or more a week for a whole year on The Maths Factor made an outstanding 25 months progress! See what this parent of a former member of The Maths Factor told us recently: “My daughter was struggling with maths at KS2, lower group in class. We followed “The Maths Factor” and I am proud to announce that she has passed her GCSE at grade 7 = A AND has passed at grade A further maths. She is now taking A level maths. The Maths Factor was a very worthwhile commitment.” E.C. Feb 2018 I hope that you and your family can have the same transformative experience that they did! See you online
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Learning at Home Research shows active participation in children’s learning at home can have a positive impact on their overall performance in school
very parent wants the best for their child and hopes that they reach their full potential. Unfortunately, there is a resounding rhetoric amongst parents that it’s the school’s duty to educate their children. But, learning doesn’t end in the classroom. Educational bodies such as Ofsted are resolute that children perform significantly better at school when their parents play an active role in their education. Parents are able to promote positive classroom behaviour, teach time management, assist with homework, enforce disciplinary measures and provide emotional validation.
BARRIERS TO THE HOMESCHOOL PARTNERSHIP Parentkind’s Home School Partnerships report investigated some of the key barriers to developing an celebrityangels.co.uk
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effective home-school relationship; these include: According to parents Lack of time (parents and teachers) Low self-esteem Negative experience of school Low aspirations Health issues Lack of guidance Unsure of the curriculum
✎ ✎ ✎ ✎ ✎ ✎ ✎
According to teachers ✎ Lack of skills or knowledge to contribute ✎ Lack of interest in a child’s learning ✎ Belief that education is purely the school’s job ✎ Lack of training in parent engagement ✎ Reluctance of parents to come into school ✎ Challenging behaviour
There are many kinds of at-home educational aids available: from more traditional workbooks to apps, the selection is vast. The huge variety of at-home educational aids means there is something to suit all children's learning styles —Pearson UK
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Taking the stress out of mathematics homework It’s important that parents show an interest in their children’s schoolwork. Encourage your youngster to do their homework independently rather than bribing them with treats to do it. Instead of feeding them the answers to difficult questions, suggest a source they might use to obtain them or take a different approach to explaining. Check over their work and discuss their mistakes in a supportive manner.
Stay up to date Refresh your memory on the latest methods of learning—techniques for long division, for instance, may have changed since your school years. Keep on top of the school’s events and notices via their homepage and social media feeds. Try out the latest educational programmes and apps with your child so that they feel engaged.
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of parents said they wished to be consulted about their child’s education in a 2016 Parentkind survey aware of the school’s expectations. Curriculum workshops can help parents grasp the topics being taught in the classroom. Try to schedule regular meetings to discuss future goals, areas for improvement and specialties your child succeeds in.
Make learning fun Show your child that there are different forms of learning. Schedule regular family trips to museums, libraries and galleries to build upon their current knowledge. Encourage your child to read as much as possible; fictional narratives, daily news updates and scientific journals are all invaluable resources. You may even want to offer your child a daily puzzle or riddle to test them on a new skill. hc
Practicing mathematics at home helps students to consolidate learning, develop fluency and increase confidence. Yet for many parents, helping their children with mathematics can be a challenge. With over 20 years of teaching experience Kim Hawgood, Lead Education Specialist at 3P Learning, knows how hard it can be to help children learn at home: ‘I’ve worked with many parents who feel uncertain about how to help their children with mathematics. Homework is often a source of unnecessary strain and stress, and many parents are weary from the battle.’ 3P Learning partners with parents to provide a motivating mathematics resource called Mathletics that engages students and guides practice of key topics aligned to the school curriculum. With its personalised online delivery, supported activities and appealing games—such as the new multiplication fact game, Multiverse—Mathletics takes the stress out of mathematics homework.
Images: Shutterstock; 123RF
Learn. Play. Succeed!
Your kids will love Mathletics and Spellodrome
Making maths feel like play!
Spelling has never been so fun!
As seen in the article on the previous page! Try both programs free at:
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Easy as Do dummies affect speech?
anguage and speech development begins early on, way before baby even speaks their first words. Parents will notice that their little one will start babbling, making sounds and trying to have a ‘conversation’ by around three months old. When they reach nine months old, infants can even begin to understand basic words like ‘bye bye’ or ‘no’. According to leading organisation Talking Point, children typically utter their first words (this may be variation of mummum or dadda) at about the age of one. Speech dramatically increases from then on; by 18 months, children are able to use around 20 words and by two years of age this increases to 50 words. By this point, children will also be able to string simple two-word sentences like ‘carry me’ together. By five years, a child’s
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vocabulary expands rapidly and reaches around 2,500 words. Communication skills are vital for children who will rely on speech and language to describe what they see, hear and feel throughout their lifetimes. It also facilitates learning at school and good behaviour in social situations from an early age. While language milestones exist to give parents a general idea as to where their children should be in terms of speech development, it is important to note that not all children develop at the same rate.
ENCOURAGING COMMUNICATION There are many ways parents can encourage their little ones to speak from an early age—even when they are not yet ready to. Consistently talk and chat
with your baby at key times like nappy changing, feeding or bathing and talk to them throughout your regular daily routine. This will encourage them to make associations between what you are saying and certain objects around them. When your child becomes familiar with using two-word sentences, build on them and respond using three or four-word sentences. For example, if your child says ‘a dog’, you can respond with ‘yes, a fluffy dog’. Another simple technique to get your child to strengthen associations between words and objects is to present them with choices, such as ‘would you like a banana or an apple?’ If you are worried about the development of your child’s speech, speak to your health visitor to see whether it is developing at a normal rate. If it isn’t, they may be referred to a speech and language therapist. hc
Parents are often anxious to hear baby utter their first words and understandably so— communication skills are vital for early years right through to adulthood
Dummies are often used to settle babies and provide a source of comfort, but various sources indicate that dummy use may negatively impact speech development. Babies and young children may be less likely to copy sounds or experiment with babbling if using a pacifier, both of which are crucial in speech and language development
The Social Network In Action for Children’s survey of over 2,200 British parents, 33 percent said their main worry was about their child making friends. Boost your child’s confidence with our guide
earning to socialise is one of the most crucial building blocks in a child’s development. Parents have an instinctive desire for their children to ‘fit in’ and form solid friendships. However, some children are naturally more adept at picking up on social cues than others. Support them to interact confidently and make friends with our helpful tips.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Encourage empathy early on Promote empathetic behaviours in your child from an early age. Read storybooks together and question your child on the characters involved: what are they thinking or feeling? Praise your child when they exhibit caring behaviour; reinforce that this is a positive way to treat others. Develop an emotional vocabulary Prompt your child to identify and name their feelings—this is crucial for developing self-awareness and mindfulness of others. Compare concepts like sad, annoyed, disappointed celebrityangels.co.uk
and offended. Try the ‘alphabet game’: for each letter of the alphabet your child must name a different emotion. At the end, discuss the ones that were mentioned. Practice opening lines For many children, the initial meeting of a new person is the most daunting. Provide your child with a few casual greetings and useful openers. Sometimes, even a small compliment can instigate a rapport: ‘Nice shot’—when playing a game—or ‘I like your necklace’. Consider a coaching class Gradually, new classes and approaches are being developed to help children who have difficulty understanding the complex rules of friendship. Author and parental coach Noel Janis-Norton was the first to teach ‘social learning’ in the UK at the Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting Centre in north London. Demystify body language Build your child’s confidence in identifying body language and social cues.
Reading the signs Albert Mehrabian, a pioneer of body language research in the 50s, found that the total impact of a message is about 7% verbal (words only), 38% vocal (tone of voice and inflection) and 55% nonverbal (body language)
Janis-Norton believes that ‘teaching children to turn their body and shoulders towards the group and smile can often be enough to let the other children know that they want to be part of it.’ Expand their social network While school is a great place for children to make friends, try to expand their social network. Seek out playgroups, courses and extracurricular classes that allow your youngster to meet new people. Choose a hobby that your child genuinely enjoys so that they are introduced to other likeminded kids. hc Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 127
Staying Safe Online The internet contains both a world of possibilities and potential threats—teach your child the vital skills they need to surf the web safely
oday's generation of iPadliterate kids tend to acquire dexterity for tech devices faster than the average adult. According to research by Virgin Media in 2017, around 65 percent of parents admitted to asking their children for tech-related help. Unfortunately, young children are left vulnerable to a number of concerning dangers. Ensure your child is internet-secure with our tips.
Start the discussion early
The percentage of parents who say their children's safety online is a big concern Source: Children's Online Safety Opinion Leader Report, 2016
necessary precautions While a conversation with your youngster is a positive step, it’s also wise to take some precautionary measures of your own. Parents can install a range of
As soon as your child starts indicating an awareness of technological devices— especially those with internet-browsing
capabilities—begin discussing their potential dangers. For very young children, this conversation needn’t be frightening. Instead, aim to provide your child with a very basic awareness of what the internet involves. As they mature, your conversations on this topic can become more detailed. Prompt them to come to you if they ever feel uncertain about something they have encountered online.
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locks that stop users from visiting inappropriate websites. These tend to be sealed with a password or code. Consider investing in trustworthy antivirus and spyware software that covers all of your personal devices. A simple wrong turn can lead to a data hack but this can be easily avoided with the help of protective software packages. Parents can even personalise their broadband settings by establishing a rotating wifi password or scheduling regular usage reports.
BE A PILLAR OF SUPPORT Emphasise to your child that you are a source of information and advice when it comes to using the internet. If they admit to viewing something they shouldn’t have, it is important to keep a cool head. Appreciate their honesty and steer them in the right direction for the future. Being a pillar of support in this area may even improve your relationship with your child as a whole. celebrityangels.co.uk
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TRUST WORKS BOTH WAYS As a parent, it can be hard to let your guard down and trust your children to make the right choices. Most parents are overcome with an intense impulse to protect them from all sorts of dangers. Children will eventually need the space to practice core life skills (like using the internet safely) on their own, though. After teaching them about the internet’s potential risks, trust your child to put this new knowledge into action. Being too restrictive about their personal privacy may actually push them to be more secretive. As long as you take the necessary precautions and emphasise your position as an advisor, there should be no need to monitor their every move.
EXPLORE TOGETHER For extra peace of mind, try exploring the internet together. Spend some time pointing out websites that could violate privacy, involve contact with strangers or promote bullying. This
Integrate online & offline Set down the same rules for online as you would for offline: ✤ Avoid contact with strangers ✤ Treat others as you would wish to be treated ✤ Do not give out personal information such as passwords, phone numbers or email addresses ✤ Check with an adult before downloading any new software or programmes ✤ Check with an adult before posting images anywhere on the internet ✤ Notify parents if any of these situations arise
is also an opportunity to demonstrate any hazardous situations that they are likely to encounter. Surfing the internet together is a great bonding exercise, plus it will give your child a chance to ask you any questions they may have. hc Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 129
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for Nursing Mums Nursing mothers can quench their thirst with these tasty beverages—healthy for both mum and baby
SAMPLE THESE Why not try a few of the following drinks to stay healthy when breastfeeding? Infused waters. Infuse water with herbs and fruit for extra flavour and vitamins. Ready-made versions are also available with added electrolytes. Superfood smoothies. Blend together various combinations of fruits, nuts, vegetables and seeds for a refreshing boost. Almond and hazelnut milk. Some babies can react negatively to dairy if mum consumes a lot of it. Nut-based milks offer a tasty alternative. Fresh juices. Vegetable and fruit juices are a great way of getting your five 130 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh
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a day; try out variants like pear and spinach, carrot and pineapple or mango and lychee. Herbal teas. With less caffeine than regular tea, herbal varieties are a soothing option for nursing mums.
THE ALCOHOL DEBATE Alcohol can be consumed while mothers are nursing, however, over-imbibing has been known to disrupt milk production. Levels of alcohol that appear within breast milk tend to reflect those present in the mother’s bloodstream. Breastfeeding consultant and former maternity nurse, Geraldine Miskin, suggests that nursing mothers who desire an alcoholic drink should consume it with a meal, shortly after a feed. This leaves enough time for the alcohol to be processed before the baby needs to feed again. Why not try an alcohol-free alternative? Numerous alcohol-free products exist to provide a similar taste experience to common boozy beverages; these include Botonique, Seedlip and Teetotal G‘n’T.
THE DEAL WITH CAFFEINE Caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee are acceptable to drink in moderation when breastfeeding. However, mothers should be aware that caffeine can pass through breast milk and interfere with infants’ sleep, causing irritability. The NHS states that breastfeeding mothers should restrict their intake to no more than 200 milligrams per day. For this reason, it may be safer to stick to decaffeinated options. hc
Avoid the sugar Under no circumstances is it advisable to consume excessive amounts of sugar. In the case of breastfeeding mothers, diet can have a huge effect on milk flow and quality. Nursing mums should avoid guzzling carbonated drinks; instead, seek out lighter alternatives. This can support weight loss and improve the wellbeing of breastfed babies
evere dehydration is a common side effect of breastfeeding, which is why it’s important for nursing mothers to stay topped up with fluids. Lactating mums should aim to drink an extra 700 millilitres of water (or other hydrating liquid) above the daily recommended two litres per day in order to rebalance their system.
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