Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh: Summer 2020

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Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh DRUGS AND YOUR BABY Do you know what you MUST avoid?

Danger diseases!

Why it’s more important than ever to get vaccinated


The Singing Dentist busts oral health myths

Coro navir us and k ids Will the

Fab food facts!

How a veggie diet can do your kids good SUMMER 2020


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SUMMER 2020 | £3.99

ISSN 1758-597X

Discussing the essentials for kids’ health with the TV doctor PREGNANCY

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12/05/2020 13:45

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What Does Every Parent, School & University Want for Young People With Anxiety? REAL RECOVERY Linden Tree Education. Since 1997

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Since 1997, we have been the soul provider of remote psychoeducational recovery practice and qualified support. Our recovery outcomes have been proven, by NHS specified tests, to have an average efficacy of ‘total recovery’ and that really does change the game. Why is that so significant? Mostly because it is unique globally and also because our reputation for creating such dramatically different outcomes has enabled us to help over 340,000 people, create the world’s first ever delivery of online, app-based and residential recovery and support services and has also made us the ‘go-to’ for fast and effective solution-focused instruction and support with many organisations, TV and film studios, celebrities, sports-people and more. The mental health sector is flooded with treatments, but what works? What is science-based and why is it that most anxious children have to learn to cope with their perceived frailties, vulnerabilities and disorders when it is blatantly apparent that many seem to recover? It’s all about the science, or in this case, the lack of it. The science of disordered emotional responses lies within the sciences of endocrinology, neurology and physiology; the disorders are not psychological in nature, nor are they crises of confidence or related to depression or real mental illness. Psychoeducation makes direct reference to the correct science, hence the unmatched recovery outcomes.

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We are Linden Tree Education and our programs are all based on The Linden Method. 24 years of practice, testing, research and vital experientially sourced data has led us to the provision of a foolproof solution for all ages. Children love our programmes. They’re compelling in their creation of immediate positive emotional experiences and they work. But our programs are also inexpensive and immediately accessible on media platforms that children know and use. Children are easy to treat. They learn quickly, driven by reward and the greatest reward in this case, is the relief they experience. The instruction repurposes intellectual resources, brings about the balancing of emotions and balances body and mind-wide responses. It creates physical and mental wellness and removes disorder. It returns people to their authentic selves and enables them to maximise their potential in every way. Everyone needs TLM, it provides the ‘rules for life’. What do we do for children, parents and education? We provide, individual, group, school and organisation-wide access to our recovery portal and support. Contact us for information.

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Image courtesy of Talent4Media

nd welcome to the latest issue of Healthy Child, with me, Dr Ranj Singh. It’s great that we live in a world where advances in medicine and science are doing more and more every day to keep our kids healthy and safe. But as parents and carers it’s also our job to be aware of health issues, and to do everything we can to make sure our kids grow up with wellbeing, security and opportunity. At the moment it’s a worrying time for all of us, with the coronavirus pandemic dominating the news and making our everyday lives difficult. We all need to know how it could affect us and our children, and you’ll find plenty of up-to-date information here and on the website at If you are having a first child, you may have concerns about conception, pregnancy and baby care, all of which we’ll learn more about in this issue. And remember that there are still many issues around child health outside coronavirus. For instance I’m constantly concerned about reports of increasing child obesity, particularly as this can lead to diseases in later life including cardiovascular disorders, diabetes and cancer. It makes it all the more important that we understand the importance of proper diet and healthy exercise for our children. Mental health issues are equally important, and another area where we are in danger of letting down our kids. From the importance of good teaching to the benefits of play and hobbies, we’ll look not just at our kids’ physical health, but also at their educational development and emotional well-being. So we hope you learn something from this information-packed issue, use what you learn for the benefit of your kids, and help them to grow up both healthy and happy! hc

Dr Ranj Singh

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CONTENTS Health Check 50 Kids and Coronavirus

As we write, we’re at the peak of the coronavirus crisis. But are our kids particularly at risk, and how should we talk to them about it?

55 All in the Mind?

Child mental health problems are all too real, but what can we do about the crisis in services?

57 Getting Rid of Nasty Nits

Head lice, or nits, are a perennial problem, but how can you wipe them out without too much head-scratching?

58 Healthy – and Meat-free?

We chew over great diet debate of the modern day – should we go vegetarian, and is a meat-free diet safe for our kids?

8 A Salute to the NHS

As we reach the peak of the coronavirus crisis, we give tribute to the brave doctors, nurses and key workers who are risking their lives to protect us

10 Interview

Celebrity Editor Dr Ranj Singh talks to us about the importance of vaccinations, the perils of obesity and the advice he gives to kids about the coronavirus crisis

18 Health Today

All the latest news on issues affecting child health, including an answer to the age-old question of whether it’s best to let babies ‘cry it out’

32 Soft as a Baby’s…

62 Top Teeth Tips

35 Second Chances

66 Taking Care of Young Teeth

Skin care for babies isn’t as simple as slapping on the gunk you use on adult skin. Take a little time to think about milder alternatives for infant dermatology The sometimes neglected problem of secondary infertility causes heartbreak for many couples – but what are the causes and remedies?

36 Vaccination – The Right Start

With the worrying return of measles, we consider why it’s vitally important that you keep up with your child’s vaccinations

40 When Teaching Really Counts

Pregnancy & Early Years 25 Pre-eclampsia – a New Hope?

It’s a threat to all pregnant women, but pre-eclampsia is incompletely understood – now a new study suggests a surprising source of treatment for the symptoms

27 Getting Some Shut-eye

Quality sleep is essential to a smooth pregnancy, so how can you promote a restful night that’s good for you and for your baby?

28 Drugs and Pregnancy

Just because a medicine is available on prescription doesn’t mean it’s necessarily safe to take during pregnancy. We look at the issues

30 Making Nappies Natural

The great nappy debate goes on, but now there’s an alternative material that widens the difficult choice between washables and disposables

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Why is it important that your children get a good grounding in maths, and what is the best way to go about teaching it?

43 The Facts of FASD

Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders are a danger for any mother who drinks alcohol – we learn about the important work to promote awareness

45 Why Breast Really is Best

We’re still some way from total acceptance of public breastfeeding but here are some reasons why society has to recognise that breast is best

46 Best Bet Bottles

If you are bottle-feeding, it’s wise to know the difference between types, and which can ward off the parental bugbear of colic

48 Play Safe

Play is vital, but toys have to be checked for safety and suitability. Here are some of the basic guidelines to make sure your children’s toy aren’t a danger

The Singing Dentist, Dr. Milad Shadrooh, brings songs to the surgery with his phenomenally popular YouTube videos, but has vital tips for protecting our teeth Why it’s vital that we look after our teeth while we’re young, to avoid issues of oral and systemic health in later years

70 Healthy, Happy and Hygienic

Keeping your home clean isn’t just a matter of impressing the neighbours, it’s an essential for family health

75 Taking Temperatures

The old days of the mercury thermometer have gone, so what’s the modern way to take your child’s temperature?

76 Coming Up Short

Short-sightedness, or myopia, seems to be on the rise – why are our kids straining to see, and what can we do to bring things into focus for them?

78 Vapour Trails

E-cigarettes, or vapes, are catching on among kids – but are they the safe alternative to tobacco, or a gateway drug to an unhealthy lifestyle?

80 The Great Outdoors

It’s tough at the moment, but experts agree that there are enormous physical and mental health benefits to playing outdoors. We find out why kids need fresh air fun

82 Tantrums Cured By Magic?

Child behavioural problems can be a worry, but now there’s a seemingly magical solution to tantrums

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100 Cover Your Family Today

Growing Up

From life insurance to income cover, family insurance can be a complicated field to navigate, but with our top tips you’ll have your whole family covered

83 Oh Mg! Magnesium & Diet Essentials

Where can your kids get the magnesium, Omega-3 and other dietary essentials they need to boost their immune system?

103 Ready, Steady… Don’t Cook!

89 Insights Into Incontinence

You don’t have to be a culinary wizard to heat up a ready meal, but must you compromise on quality, or are there good options to feed the family in a flash?

What are the causes of childhood urinary incontinence and how can we address them? Find out how to enjoy drier nights

90 Extra Tuition

If your children need a little extra help with particular school subjects or exam preparedness, extra tuition is an increasingly popular option

105 Marvellous Mushrooms

They’re a wonder of nature, and a dietary delight – so why do we know so little about mushrooms, and how can we teach our kids to fancy fungi?


107 Snack Hacks for Healthy Kids

Crisps, sweets and sugary drinks might be easy, but we have to wean our kids off them and move onto more healthy snacking alternatives

94 Back to School Essentials

From pencils to schoolbooks and bags to blazers, there’s a pile of stuff you have to sort for your schoolkids’ needs – but have you thought about the health issues?

109 Staying Safe in the Sun

From sunburn to eye-strain, the sun might be good for our kids bit also presents its dangers. Here’s how to enjoy the sun without tears

97 Home School Tips

First-time teacher? Don’t panic. Teaching at home can be as easy as 1-2-3 with our tips for making home schooling fun

98 Time to Talk Tech

112 Going Places With the Kids

Are digital devices the answer to every child’s needs or a problem in themselves? It’s more a matter of finding the right balance, as we learn here

From terminal tantrums to resort resentment, going on holiday with your children can be a nightmare. Avoid the pitfalls with our handy holiday hints

117 Malicious Midges and Malign

123 Sweet Smell of Success

Household pongs are unpleasant, but now there’s a safer way to stamp out the stinks

125 Does Your Dog Need a Natural Diet? What goes into packaged dog food, and how is it made? Find out more and you might give some thought to a more natural, healthy way of feeding

127 COVID-19 and Our Pets

Are our pets in danger from coronavirus, and can they be a danger to us? We get the best advice right from the experts at the PDSA


Once the summer comes, the air will be full of flying things seemingly intent on sucking our juices. How can we keep these winged fiends off us and our kids?

129 Protecting Our Fur Babies

Our pets are part of the family, our little fur babies, but do we do enough to look after them? From dental health to insurance, it’s all part of the pet care package

118 The Joys of Music

How learning to play a musical instrument can boost your child’s confidence, teach social skills and bring joy throughout their lives

121 Other Ways to Play

130 Family Fun in Lockdown

If your kids don’t take to conventional music tuition, learn about the teaching techniques that can bring a fun, intuitive aspect to musical education

PUBLISHER & CEO Kevin Harrington EDITOR Chris Jenkins

Healthy Child Celebrity Angels 143 Caledonian Road, London, N1 0SL Tel: 020 7871 1000 For sales enquiries call: 020 7871 1000

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SUB EDITOR Hillary Nguyen-Don

No-one enjoys being shut in the house, but you can make the most of lockdown (or the school holidays) with these fabulous tips for activities the whole family can enjoy

PUBLISHED By Celebrity Angels © 2020 All rights reserved

DESIGN Joanna Harrington Jason Craig

IMAGES All images curtesy of Shutterstock unless otherwise stated on page;


Cover 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.

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Salute to the NHS

Salute to the NHS With NHS workers on the frontline of the battle against coronavirus, what can we all do to give our thanks to the doctors and nurses who work bravely for our wellbeing?


hen South London yoga teacher Annemarie Plas came up with the idea of Clap for Our Carers, she expressed what we must all feel about the brave doctors and nurses of the NHS who are working hard to battle the coronavirus pandemic COVID-19. Inspired after seeing a similar tribute to health workers take place in her homeland of the Netherlands, Annemarie suggested Clap For Our Carers as a much-needed morale boost to the nation, with communities using it as a way to unite at a time of social distancing measures, and show support for the estimated 1.3 million Britons who work for the NHS. Since the epidemic spread across the world, with hotspots such as Italy and Spain suffering particularly high numbers of casualties both among the public and healthcare workers, it’s become clear that our NHS needs our support more than ever. While the authorities tried to tackle shortages in protective equipment and testing facilities, sometimes it was hard to know what the rest of us can do to help – but Clap for Our Carers gave everyone a chance to express how they felt.

Campaigner Annemarie Plas called on the nation to recognise the hard work of these other key workers who "keep our world turning" in addition to our NHS heroes on the frontline. She said: "We will add everyone that is helping to keep our world turning. All who are out so we can stay in." Some of the UK's top landmarks including Tower Bridge, the White Cliffs of Dover, the Angel of the North, the Shard, Wembley Arch, the Principality Stadium, the Royal Albert Hall and Lincoln Cathedral were among the landmarks lit up in blue during the salute, and politicians and celebrities joined in to mark their support.

✤ The Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak led applause from Downing Street, while a video posted on the Instagram account @Kensingtonroyal showed Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis clapping to thank healthcare staff “working tirelessly” to help those affected by COVID-19. ✤ Health Secretary Matt Hancock, in isolation with the illness, said: “It was incredibly moving to see the country come together to thank our NHS heroes. I’m fully behind any effort to make sure they know just how much we value them.”

APPLAUSE When the first national salute was held at 8pm on Thursday March 26th, millions came to their doors to applaud the NHS workers, as well as the key workers including bin men, supermarket workers, and cleaners who were also playing a vital role in keeping the country moving during lockdown. 8 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh

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Salute to the NHS

Volunteer Today! ✤ Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England, said “I know how much these extraordinary scenes meant to my colleagues.” ✤ Britain’s Got Talent’s Amanda Holden said: “The NHS is amazing. They are saving lives daily. It’s important they feel our appreciation regularly.” ✤ Sarah Moppett, deputy chief nurse at Nottingham University Hospital, said “You could hear fireworks, amazing cheers, and clapping from all around. I can’t tell you how many responses I had from colleagues saying how fantastic it was.” ✤ Dr Matthew Boulter, a GP in Penzance, Cornwall, said: “Many of our staff broke down and wept. It has an enormous effect on morale.”

were consultant Dr Alfa Saadu, 68, who refused to retire and continued to treat elderly patients, and became the fifth frontline UK medical worker to die after catching the disease, while 57-year-old healthcare assistant Thomas Harvey died after he was infected at Goodmayes Hospital, East London. We can now see the light at the end of the tunnel, with measures such as social distancing, test-and-track and treatments for respiratory failure helping us to turn the corner. While we must remain alert, soon it's hoped there will be a vaccine available and this dark episode can be put behind us. What will remain will be the feeling of gratitude behind Clap for Our Carers, with plans for an annual salute to the brave people who give so much to keep us safe and well. #clapforourcarers hc

Remember that you can help the NHS directly by becoming an NHS Volunteer Responder. Members of the public can sign up to become NHS Volunteer Responders, and can be called on to do simple but vital tasks such as: ✤ Delivering medicines from pharmacies ✤ Driving patients to appointments ✤ Bringing them home from hospital ✤ Making regular phone calls to check on people isolating at home NHS Volunteer Responders is not intended to replace local groups helping their vulnerable neighbours but is an additional service provided by the NHS. Go to for more information.

✤ The Prince of Wales was seen for the first time since testing positive for the virus taking part in the first national round of applause. He posted a video paying tribute to the ‘selfless devotion’ of those working on the frontline of the fight against coronavirus and urged the nation ‘to look forward to better times to come’. He described his own seven-day period of self-isolation as “strange, frustrating and often distressing.”

FRONTLINE Sadly, it became all too clear that frontline workers in the NHS were themselves in particular danger of infection. Among the early casualties

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Image of Dr Ranj courtesy of Talent4Media


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Save the

Children Dr Ranj Singh, leading paediatrician on ITV's This Morning and CBeebies' Get Well Soon programme, talks to Healthy Child about key health concerns among children, his thoughts on vaccinations and what parents and children should know about the coronavirus crisis.

What are your main concerns today when it comes to children's health? 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

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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 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 dayto-day things that young people have to manage, and we have a responsibility to help and guide them.

What are the key things that wouldbe parents should keep in mind when trying to conceive? 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

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Interview 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. In your view, how important is it that children are administered the recommended vaccinations in their early years? Speaking from the perspective of someone who looks after children

and young people specifically, I can categorically say that one of the most 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.

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? 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

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Images: Shutterstock; Courtesy of Talent4Media

I can categorically say that one of the most effective things you can do to protect the health of your child, and those around them, is to make sure they are immunised

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across the country if we're going to ensure that every child has the best start in life.

Image of Dr Ranj courtesy of Talent4Media

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. 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 gel the healthcare they deserve? 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 they're from certain ethnic backgrounds such as some Asian minority groups. This reflects the big class and 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

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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

In your experience, what are the most common misconceptions parents make when it comes to their baby's health? 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 vaccineacquired 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 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. Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 13

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We have to understand and accept that breastfeeding isn't always easy or possible

What key pieces of advice would you give parents who want to give their children the healthiest start in life? Nourish, nurture and protect. Nourish your child physically and mentally. That means making sure they've got a good diet, that they're active, that they have opportunities to learn, play and acquire 14 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh

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all 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. Finally, as we speak the UK is at the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, and understandably parents are worried both for their own health and that of their children. What is the current state of medical thinking about children and coronavirus, and what is the best health advice you can give? We know you guys have loads of questions about coronavirus and about how we're living right now, and a lot of questions have been asked about the inflammatory disorder in children that I talk about elsewhere in this issue. And as part of the UK version of the BBC’s One World: Together at Home concert, I was asked to answer as many kids' questions as possible, from

If you’ve had coronavirus, the chances of you getting it again are probably very, very low. However, we’re still learning a lot about this as we go along, so from that perspective you are probably best off still practising those social distancing measures.

Image of Dr Ranj courtesy of Talent4Media

There has been much debate concerning breastfeeding versus bottle-feeding. What is your view on this? No-one will disagree that breast feeding 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.

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Interview whether or not we should be wearing masks, to should we be touching our post and our shopping. So on whether we should be wearing masks, we do know that they can be really useful in certain situations, but if you use the wrong kind of mask in the wrong way it could put you at greater risk, if you end up touching your face a lot more, or if you become complacent with other social distancing measures. So for now, we would advise that they are reserved for people that we know they’re going to be effective for, for example health care workers or people who have got symptoms, to protect people around them. But this advice could change as we learn more, so watch this space! On the question of hand washing, hand sanitiser only works if it has at

least 60 percent alcohol in it, and it can be tricky to come by and may be expensive. Simple soap or shower gel and water can be just as effective – and you can use hot or cold water, it doesn’t matter which. If you’ve had coronavirus, the chances of you getting it again are probably very, very low. However, we’re still learning a lot about this as we go along, so from that perspective you are probably best off still practising those social distancing measures. If you have been poorly you may have assumed it’s coronavirus – but it might have been something else, so you may still be at risk. Even if you have had coronavirus and got over it, that doesn’t mean you can’t transmit the virus on your skin, so social distancing and washing your hands are still important.

From what we know, getting coronavirus from shopping or packages or mail is really, really unlikely. There is some research going on to find out how long the virus can survive on different types of surfaces, and hopefully that is going to reassure us, but in the meantime if you‘re worried and you’ve been handling shopping or packages, just put it away, throw the packaging away and just wash your hands. And for the little girl who asked if it’s okay for her to hug her mummy and daddy, we do know that coronavirus can be spread through close contact if you’ve been unwell, but if you’re living with someone and you’re all well, and none of you is shielding because you’re at high risk, then hugging is absolutely fine! hc

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.

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18/06/2020 10:48

Health Today


deaths per 1,000 live births is now the infant mortality rate in Northern Ireland. The figure has dropped since 2017, when it was 4.8 per 1,000, but is still the highest in the UK. Rates have also dropped in Scotland and Wales, but have remained the same in England, rated second highest in the UK at 3.9 deaths per 1,000. The child mortality rate (aged from one to nine) and adolescent mortality rate (from 10 to 19) have also dropped in Northern Ireland, though there has been an increase in the suicide rate aged 15-24. Source: Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH)

What’s New?

Kids' Health 178

newborns and their carers were studied for research into the effect of leaving babies to ‘cry it out’. The debate about whether it’s better to leave babies to cry or to soothe them immediately has gone on forever, some arguing that crying causes stress, others that it leads to better ‘self-soothing’. Despite some headlines claiming the report came down in favour of self-soothing, in fact the researchers didn’t conclude for either side, suggesting that parents should be intuitive and adapt their style as their baby grows. Source: Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry

18 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh

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12/05/2020 16:05

Health Today


studies of a total of over 50,000 young people and vaping were compared to try to establish whether it leads to smoking. Though e-cigarettes are believed to be less harmful than smoking, they are not thought to be riskfree and should be used as an aid to quitting smoking. The studies into the ‘gateway effect’ from vaping to smoking concluded that young non-smokers who tried e-cigarettes were almost three times more likely to go on to smoke tobacco, and should be protected from advertising for e-cigarettes. Source: Public Health England

1 in 5

prescriptions for tick bites may be inappropriate. Most GPs saw infected insect bites in the last year, with 61 percent recommending insect repellents, and 31 percent advising on physical prevention. But according to a recent study, with 96,000 prescriptions for flucloxacillin in the period from 2004-2013, one in five GP antibiotic prescriptions may be inappropriate, and not justified by the relatively low risk of bacterial infection, cellulitis or sepsis after insect or tick bites for people in the UK. Source: Royal College of General Practitioners Overdiagnosis Group

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RMCH (Royal Manchester Children's Hospital) reports promising results from gene therapy trials for the rare Sanfilippo disease type A, which causes a progressive loss of developmental skills, deafness, hyperactivity and behavioural problems. A type of virus known as a lentiviral vector is used to deliver the patient’s missing ‘SGSH’ gene to blood stem cells which are transplanted back into the patient. The trials follow a decade of work by Prof. Brian Bigger, who says: "These results are promising and provide some hope for these children whose condition was previously thought to be incurable." Source/photo credit: University of Manchester

55,000 children in the UK are thought to have a gambling problem, and a report by the Royal Society of Public Health found that over half of young people believe that playing a video game could lead to gambling and that the link between gaming and gambling is a negative one. NHS mental health director Claire Murdoch NHS mental health director Claire Murdoch has called for a ban on gaming companies featuring ‘loot boxes’ – paid-for bonus features - from their products, saying “Frankly no company should be setting kids up for addiction by teaching them to gamble on the content of these loot boxes. No firm should sell to children loot box games with this element of chance, so yes, those sales should end.” Source: Gambling Commission Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 19

14/05/2020 09:58

Health Today


of HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccine is as effective as multiple doses against cervical cancer according to a recent study. In the UK, girls and boys aged 12 to 13 years will be routinely offered two doses of HPV vaccination with the second dose normally offered six to 12 months after the first. But an American study of 133,082 females suggests that if given young enough, one dose is as effective as several doses given later in life, concluding “If one dose of HPV vaccine was sufficient for effective protection, HPV vaccine implementation and scale-up would require less logistics…, available doses could extend further, and the overall cost would be lower.” Source: Journal of the American Cancer Society

1 in 100


Australian women pregnant with their first child took part in a study into babies’ sleep habits, aiming to establish whether babies with persistent and severe sleep problems (waking three or more times a night on most nights) were more likely to show signs of mental health problems in later childhood. They concluded that these children, when aged four and 10, were 10 to 15 percent more likely to have emotional problems such as anxiety about being away from parents, but not more likely to have hyperactivity or developmental disorders.

girls are likely to develop endometriosis, a condition where the cells or tissue normally lining the womb develops outside it, but a Danish study found an increased chance of it developing in taller girls. Using school health records for more than 170,000 girls who had their weight and height measured at ages 7 to 13, researchers found that increased child height was linked with a nine percent increase in the risk of endometriosis. However, there was no causal link established between height and endometriosis, and the study pointed out that the participants' baseline risk in this study was around 1.25 percent, and a 9 percent increase on this only increases it to a 1.37 percent risk, so an individual's risk is likely to remain low, whatever their height. Source: Annals of Human Biology

Source: Archives of Disease in Childhood, Australia

20 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh

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12/05/2020 16:05


from a major road is a dangerous place for kids, according to recent air pollution research. A coalition of 15 health and environment organisations showed that proximity to busy roads can decrease children’s lung development by up to 14 per cent, and increase the risk of lung cancer by up to 10 per cent. Air pollution can also contribute to increased risk of heart disease, stroke, heart failure and bronchitis, so all parties should commit to meeting the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) air quality guidelines by 2030, said the study.


Source: King’s College London



Health Today

a day is the recommended number of times to clean your teeth for good oral health – and a new study suggests it could also help to ward off diabetes. A South Korean study collected data from a health insurance system on the dental health and frequency of checkups for over 180,000 people, and linked this to records of raised blood sugar or prescriptions for diabetes drugs over an average 10-year followup. Brushing teeth three or more times per day was linked with eight percent decreased risk of Type 2 diabetes. The NHS points out that the connection may not be direct, more to do with other lifestyle factors such as the amount of sugar consumed. Source: Diabetologia Journal


is of benefit to young children because it contains vital calories and vitamins – but can full-fat milk lead to obesity? There’s no evidence it does, says recent research summarising 29 studies of young people aged from two to 18. The research, which also looked at heart disease and diabetes risk, found no studies that linked drinking full-fat milk with higher weight, or that showed swapping to lower-fat (skimmed or semi-skimmed) milk could reduce weight. The picture was more complex for cholesterol, but any overall effect was likely to be small. The NHS does, though, recommend lower-far milks for older children and adults. Source: Edith Cowan University, Australia

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Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 21

12/05/2020 16:06


Health Today

are good for you – they’re full of nutrients – but they also contain cholesterol which was thought to be bad for your heart. So is ‘one a day’ safe for our kids? According to a new report, a 30-year study shows that it is. The study of 215,618 people in the USA, dating back to 1980, found no evidence that people eating an egg a day had a higher risk of heart attack or stroke than people who rarely or never ate eggs, once their overall diet and lifestyle was taken into account. It’s suggested, though, that we should cook eggs without adding salt or fat and avoiding frying, which can increase fat content by around 50 percent. Source: British Medical Journal


GOO-GOO GA-GA ‘baby talk’ may be the earliest stage of communicating with our children, but by the time children are aged around 18 months, most parents start using what educators called ‘parentese’ - an exaggerated speaking style that conveys total engagement with a child. Parents adopt its simple grammar and words, plus its exaggerated sounds, almost without thinking about it. A study at the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, or I-LABS, at the University of Washington suggests that this is an important factor in child development, showing that coached use of parentese resulted in improved language skills in the child months later. "We think parentese works because it's a social hook for the baby brain -- its high pitch and slower tempo are socially engaging and invite the baby to respond" said researcher Patricia Kuhl. Source: University of Washington

22 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh

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cash is being injected into medical research projects in the UK by two charities, Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity and Sparks, the children’s medical research charity. One of the beneficiaries to the tune of £220,191 is a project by Brunel University London’s Dr Victor Hernandez to research treatment for Bardet Biedl Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that leads to blindness, learning disabilities and weight gain. There is currently no cure, but the doctor will investigate whether gene therapy to both the eyes and the brain could correct the genetic mistake that causes the condition.

37% of UK schools don’t have hot water and soap available for pupils to wash their hands, according to a recent survey. While it’s a legal requirement to provide hot water, many schools have old and inefficient systems which don’t deliver hot water fast enough, and soap tends to be cut when money needs to be saved. The survey of over 6,000 teachers in the UK points out that regulations state schools must have just one sink for every 30 pupils, and that there’s little time in the school day for every pupil to wash their hands for the currently suggested 20 seconds. Source: Teacher Tapp

13/05/2020 11:05

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‘’The Active Silver Gel is my ‘go-to’ little pot of first aid magic in my household. With two little ones there is always a need for some soothing gel – whether it a bump, eczema patch or a sore toe it’s brilliant to have one gel that does it all. Plus as it’s kept in the fridge it also has a lovely cooling effect. Highly recommended for any family.’’ Sarah C-W “My 15-year-old son used the Magic Gel and it cleared up his eczema on his back after only a couple of uses. As a mum, it’s really great not to have to use a steroid based cream for skin irritations. We are trying out the active glow and use the spot cream at home and I have the lovely lemony lip balm also. Love it!” Gina C

06/05/2020 18:10

Health Today


(the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health) paints a gloomy picture of the state of child health in its 2020 report, the largest ever compilation of data on the health of babies, children and young people in the UK. It covers 28 measures ranging from specific conditions such as asthma to risk factors for poor health like poverty, low breastfeeding rates and obesity, and concludes that social inequalities have widened since the last report in 2017, rates for emergency admissions to hospital for epilepsy have increased, there’s no improvement in levels of obesity in 4-5 year olds, and vaccination rates are falling short of targets. “We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us if we’re to get a grip on the state of child health” said RCPCH President, Professor Russell Viner. Source: RCPCH


scans were used in a study of teenagers which suggests that new brain networks come 'online' during adolescence, allowing teenagers to develop more complex adult social skills, but potentially putting them at increased risk of mental illness. The study of 298 healthy young people aged from 14 to 25 showed that brain structure develops in two main ways during adolescence; in the regions connected with vision, movement, and other basic faculties, and in those important for more advanced social skills. It’s the second type which researchers think may be linked to the development of depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses. Source: University of Cambridge

FASD or Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder normally shows itself in the form of motor skill deficiencies in babies whose mothers have drunk alcohol while pregnant. Researcher Kazue Hashimoto-Torii, Ph.D. of the Center for Neuroscience Research at the Children's National Research Institute in Washington believes that Tamapin, a drug derived from scorpion venom, could reverse genetic damage if given within 30 days of birth, helping the 119,000 children born worldwide with the syndrome each year. But UK charity NOFAS warns that the research is at its very early stages and that there is no imminent prospect of a cure for FASD. Source: Medical Life Science News

24 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh

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22/05/2020 16:27

Pre-eclampsia - A New Hope?

Pregnancy & Early Years

May 22n d is World Pre -Eclampsi a Day – fin d out more at www.pre eclampsia .org.

Pre-eclampsia is a complex disorder of pregnancy that can be harmful to mother and baby. Now a new and surprising line of treatment research is opening up.


e talk elsewhere in this issue about the nutritional benefits of mushrooms – but is it possible that they could also be helpful in the treatment of pre-eclampsia? This is the amazing prospect being opened up by researchers at the University of Liverpool and University College Cork. Pre-eclampsia is a condition that occurs only in pregnancy, typically after 20 weeks, and affects around two to eight in every hundred women. Symptoms of pre-eclampsia include nausea and vomiting, swelling of the face, hands and feet, headache, blurred vision and pain below the ribs. It’s diagnosed through a combination of hypertension (raised blood pressure) and proteinuria (the presence of protein in the urine). Left unattended, pre-eclampsia can lead to liver problems, blood clotting, and eclampsia, which occurs in one to two percent of pregnancies, can cause fits or convulsions and can be harmful or fatal to mother or baby.

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CAUSES The exact cause of preeclampsia is not known, but it’s thought to be caused by a disorder in the placenta where blood vessels fail to develop normally and toxic proteins are released into the mother’s bloodstream. There is currently is no cure for pre-eclampsia other than delivery of the baby and placenta, which can present a major medical problem if the condition results in an extremely premature birth. But now researchers have found that a substance most commonly found in mushrooms could help alleviate some features of pre-eclampsia. Scientists from the University of Liverpool and University College Cork (UCC) have shown that a natural dietderived substance, L-ergothioneine, can alleviate some of the features of this condition.

THEORY The theory is that toxins releases by the placenta disrupt the functions of cell mitochondria (the energy-converting

structures), causing what’s known as oxidative stress. Ergothioneine is a potent mitochondrial antioxidant, so it might act to relieve this stress and so the symptoms of pre-eclampsia. Professor Douglas Kell from the University of Liverpool says: “Ergothioneine is an important antioxidant nutraceutical, commonly found in mushrooms. Mammals have evolved a special transporter to take it up, implying it has major benefits. “Our research shows that treating rats with pre-eclampsia with the natural antioxidant L-ergothioneine reduced blood pressure, prevented foetal growth restriction and dampened production of the damaging substances released from the placenta during pre-eclampsia.” The research published in the journal Hypertension suggests that the safe, natural diet-derived antioxidant ergothioneine has promising therapeutic potential, but of course there’s a lot of work to be done before human trials can confirm the theory. hc Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 25

14/05/2020 09:43

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Pregnancy & Early Years

Getting Some


Sleep during pregnancy can be difficult, but it’s an essential for your health. We look at why and how you need to nod off.


etting plenty of healthy sleep during pregnancy can be difficult – for a start, your hormones are going wild, and as the pregnancy progresses you have to cope with a bigger and more uncomfortable bump. So how do you guarantee a night of quality sleep? Sleep is an important part of the pregnancy process because it gives your body the chance to balance your hormonal system and immune functions. It’s been demonstrated that poor sleep during pregnancy can contribute to longer labour times and a higher requirement for Caesarean deliveries. Sleep also allows your brain to form memories – 'pregnancy brain', where you feel confused and forgetful while pregnant, is a real thing and is mainly caused by lack of sleep. The first trimester of pregnancy tends to present the most problems, as your raging hormones will disturb your normal sleep patterns. Higher progesterone levels mean that you will have more tendency to nod off during the day, making it harder to get to sleep at night.

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HORMONES In the second trimester you might find that your sleep patterns even out as your hormone levels balance, but by that time you may be having more problems with water retention, and with the size of your burgeoning bump making it difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position. You might find a pregnancy pillow helpful; this will mould around and support your bump, at the same time providing support for your back and legs. It’s recommended that you sleep on your left side as this reduces pressure from the uterus on vital organs and improves blood flow from mother to foetus. Another problem you may face is the requirement for frequent urination caused by pressure from the uterus on your bladder and increased kidney activity. There’s not much you can do about this, other than to make sure that the route to the bathroom is clear of trip hazards! You might also find that you suffer from restless leg syndrome (ask your doctor about possible anaemia or diet

Sleep Fa ct

Body ach es and cra m while pre gnant mig ps ht be helped by a magnesi um or calcium -magnesi um suppleme nt. Ask y our doctor for advice.

problems); stress, vivid dreams which can disturb sleep, and snoring (try nasal strips and a dehumidifier in the bedroom). The best advice, as in most things pregnancy-related, is: ✤ Exercise during the day, but not just before sleep ✤ Eat and drink healthily avoiding stimulants ✤ Avoid stimulating activities before sleep including using devices ✤ Create a comfortable and relaxing sleep environment ✤ Try meditation to relax Remember that it’s not essential to get a certain number of hours of sleep, it’s more about whether you feel rested. If you are chronically tired, talk to your doctor and ask for help getting to the root of your sleep problems, and finding the solution you need for a healthy night’s sleep. hc Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 27

12/05/2020 14:30

Pregnancy & Early Years


and Pregnancy Are you worried about the effect overthe-counter or prescription medicines could have on your growing baby? Read our guide to the dos and don’ts of drugs in pregnancy


hile you should always talk to a health professional about any concerns you have about taking medicines during pregnancy, there are some simple guidelines you should bear in mind to make sure that you don’t expose your baby to any drugs with harmful side-effects. Don’t assume just because a familiar drug is available over the counter that it is necessarily safe to use while pregnant. Take advice from your doctor, midwife, pharmacist, or dentist where relevant. Even some familiar over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen can cause harm to a growing baby, so your first step when you know you are pregnant, and ideally before you get pregnant, is to ask your doctor whether it is safe to stay on any medicines you are using regularly. If you suffer from a condition such as asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, or mental health issues, it is usually safer to stay on the drugs rather than to let the condition go untreated. But your doctor may advise a change in prescription to a different drug which is known to be safe in pregnancy. Let’s look at some of the treatments for common conditions and discuss which are safe during pregnancy. 28 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh

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Treatments such as Isotretinon (Roaccutane) and Co-cyprindiol can cause malformations, and Vitamin A gel or cream should be avoided. But topical gels and creams such as benzoyl peroxide and antibiotic creams are safe.

If you are taking any anti-depressant or anti-psychotic medicine, it’s important that you do not stop taking it without discussing it with your doctor. If it’s necessary to change your treatment during pregnancy, alternatives such as CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) can be discussed.

ANTI-COAGULANTS Oral anticoagulants such as Warfarin taken to thin the blood when treating heart disease or blood clots can cause developmental problems in the foetus if taken during early pregnancy, and taken later on can raise the risk of uncontrolled bleeding.


For more advice co ntact the pregnanc y advice charity Tommys. org, the P regnancy and Baby Guide and Start4Life pages at www.nhs. c o .uk, and the UKTIS (UK Tera tology Informati on Servic website, B e) UMPS (B est Use of Medicine s in medicinesi Pregnancy) at npregnan

CONSTIPATION The best treatment for this condition is to increase your fluid intake to around eight 200ml glasses of water per day. Adding fibre from fruit and vegetables to your diet can also help. The stool softener lactulose is safe, as are the laxatives senna or cascara. You can also try bulk-forming laxatives containing ispaghula, methylcellulose, bran, or sterculia, along with plenty of water intake.

COUGHS AND COLDS Cough and cold remedies often contain a mixture of ingredients, so always check what is included. Paracetamol is safe if taken within the recommended doses. Simple cough linctus or lozenges with honey of glycerol are safe, as are honey and lemon drinks. Steam inhalations for a blocked nose are also safe.

13/05/2020 11:20

Pregnancy & Early Years EPILEPSY


Sodium valproate (Epilim) used to prevent seizures can cause problems with foetal development. If your doctor says you should continue taking sodium valproate, a folic acid supplement may be prescribed.

Pain is common in pregnancy, but a prime cause of headaches can be dehydration, so try drinking more water before taking headache medication. Paracetamol should be taken only within the dose recommended dose on the packet. Codeine and dihydrocodeine can be obtained on prescription when necessary, but they should only be taken for short periods. If overused, particularly towards the end of pregnancy, they can cause withdrawal symptoms or possibly breathing problems in your baby. Aspirin, ibuprofen, and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can interfere with blood clotting, and if used in the last few weeks of pregnancy could cause problems with the baby’s heart and lungs. Ibuprofen may interfere with labour or cause oligohydramnios (reduced amniotic fluid).

ALLERGIES Try sodium cromoglicate nasal spray or eye drops, nasal sprays containing corticosteroids such as beclomethasone (for a short time only), chlorphenamine (for limited use only, particularly in third trimester), or steam inhalations for a blocked, stuffy nose. Avoid anti-allergy products containing antihistamines (brompheniramine, meclozine, diphenhydramine, doxylamine, cetirizine and loratadine), and nasal decongestants with ingredients such as pseudoephedrine, phenylephrine, xylometazoline, and oxymetazoline.

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Anti-migraine drugs, such as ergotamine and methysergide, raise the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth, and triptans may also be unsafe.

HEARTBURN AND INDIGESTION Your first step should be to make dietary changes such as cutting out fizzy drinks and spicy or acidic foods. Otherwise you can try alginates, ranitidine and omeprazole, but avoid medicines containing aspirin (salicylate or acetylsalicylic acid), and sodium bicarbonate. Finally, remember that even some alternative medicines can carry risks – aromatherapy oils, for instance, may be natural, but they are still strong chemicals and some are not recommended for use during pregnancy. Always check with a qualified aromatherapy practitioner and with your doctor before use. hc

Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 29

12/05/2020 14:32

Pregnancy & Early Years


Nappies Natural Could your baby’s nappies be causing nappy rash? We look at the material revolution that brings natural comfort to baby’s bot


here’s a difficult decision to be made when choosing nappies – disposable types are convenient but difficult to recycle, while cottons are more ecologically sound, but take a lot of energy (both yours and your washing machine’s) to manage. But there’s another material which might solve all these problems – bamboo. If the idea of a bamboo nappy gives you visions of a baby rattling around in a cage-like wooden contraption, nothing could be further from the truth. The bamboo used in this case is a chlorine-free wood pulp, woven into soft, breathable material which is naturally antibacterial and temperature regulating. Unlike cotton nappies which can be made using chlorine, alcohol, latex, and PCV, bamboo nappies are comfortable to wear because they don’t trap heat. They are absorbent, so they hold in lots of wee, but have no plastic layer which can encourage build-up of bacteria. 30 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh

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Compos t That Na pp


Companie s in Cana da, the USA, and New Zea land are comp osting na ppies by the m illi the UK, so ons – but in far there’s only a service in Wales.

SuStainable All this goes together to make bamboo nappies less prone to cause nappy rash. The other good news is that they’re recyclable, and of course bamboo is a sustainable, low-impact crop. In fact, it’s one of the few crops on earth which can keep up with the consumer demand for nappies, as its growth rate means that it’s fully mature in two years, without the need for any fertilisers, pesticides, or irrigation – and bamboo’s sustainable harvesting methods improve forest conservation. Bamboo is also an effective carbon sink, making it the ideal crop to lower CO2 levels and reduce climate change. Cotton, on the other hand, is very demanding of polluting insecticides and herbicides, consumes a great deal of water, degrading soil fertility, and uses a great deal of industrial fertiliser which requires industrial processes which release CO2.

Perhaps the best bit about bamboo nappies is that they are usually 100 percent biodegradable and compostable (apart from the elasticated panels, inner film, and side tabs). You can compost them at home, ideally using a hot composting system. Although most UK landfills are not managed to promote biodegradability (which requires natural microbes, oxygen, and light), manufacturers of bamboo nappies are working with environmental groups to encourage industrial composting and nappy recycling services – and bamboo nappies usually use biodegradable packaging as well. Internationally, some cities such as Toronto have a Green Bin system designed to compost nappies, cat litter, and sanitary products, an idea which could catch on as the advantages of bamboo nappies become clear – particularly with the happy babies! hc

13/05/2020 11:08

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13/05/2020 14:25

Pregnancy & Early Years

Soft as a Baby’s… It’s a byword for softness, but a baby’s skin must be cared for properly to retain its natural condition. What products should you look for, and what should be avoided?


aby skin is about 30 percent thinner than adult skin, so it’s particularly sensitive and prone to conditions such as eczema. To make sure your baby’s skin stays in peak natural condition, you should check carefully what ingredients go into the baby skin products you use. Don’t use adult products without checking the ingredients. Because thin baby skin doesn’t retain water as well as adult skin, it’s prone to cracking and letting in irritants. That’s why it’s most important that you don’t use skin products including any ingredients that might be bad for the skin or might irritate the immune system. It’s a good general principle to look out for products which use natural ingredients. Many so-called baby products still include soaps and other detergents which can harm the developing skin barrier. Here’s a guide to the ingredients you should try to avoid and the natural alternatives you should search out. 32 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh

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✘ FRAGRANCES. There are over 2500 chemical ingredients used to manufacture fragrances, many of them known irritants. ✓ Look instead for natural scent ingredients such as lavender, linden blossom and rose flower. ✘ OILS. Mineral oil, sometimes labelled petrolatum or paraffinum, is a petroleum by-product used in many creams, moisturizers, hair products, wipes, lotions and oils. Though a good lubricant, it can block the pores and hamper the skin’s natural breathing process. ✓ Look instead for natural oils including organic aloe vera, argan kernel oil which is rich in Omega 6 and 9, and the healing flower oil Calendula. ✘ PRESERVATIVES. Parabens, often used as preservatives to prevent microbial growth, can be an irritant and may affect the hormonal system. A commonly used alternative to parabens is phenoxyethanol, which may be an irritant. ✓ Look instead for natural, nourishing

and edible ingredients such as shea butter, olive oil or coconut oil, and make sure to use them up before the recommended expiry date. MOISTURISERS. Synthetic moisturisers such as Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) may irritate baby skin. Look instead for natural moisturisers such as castor seed oil, coconut oil, hemp seed oil and jojoba seed oil. DETERGENTS. Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) is a common synthetic used for its foaming and detergent properties, but can be an irritant and allergen. Look instead for a Castile type soap containing organic palm kernel oil, olive oil or organic hemp oil.

The best overall advice for baby skin care is to stick with natural, nourishing, and edible ingredients (they say 'if you wouldn't put it in your mouth, don't put it on your baby'!) Your baby may not end up with that typical talcum-powder smell, but will be healthier in the long run, and that’s what’s most important. hc

12/05/2020 14:43

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oductive Empowering the freedom of repr mpassion co d an y st ne ho , om isd w ith w choice The Agora, Ellen Street, Hove BN3 3LN 01273 229410 Dr. Carole Gilling Smith Medical Director and Secondary Infertility Specialist

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11/02/2020 14:46

Pregnancy & Early Years

Second Chances

If you’ve already had one child, surely you won’t have a problem getting pregnant a second time? It’s not necessarily so, and the problem of secondary infertility is sometimes hard to discuss


or many couples, secondary infertility is a very difficult problem. Not only are they dealing with the hidden anguish that comes along with the situation, but many women find that their peers don’t understand and they struggle to find support as they dismiss the problem with thoughts of ‘well, at least you already have one’. But more recognition of the situation is coming, and there are things you can do to get the help and support you need.

WHAT IS IT? Secondary infertility is defined as the inability to conceive or carry to term a second child. According to recent research, it’s on the rise and accounts for six out of 10 infertility cases. It isn’t always possible to determine the exact cause of cases of secondary infertility, but one certain contributing factor is age. Nowadays, women are having their first child later on in life, which means conceiving a second happens a few years later. Simple tiredness may also play a part. When you already have a young child, it can be hard to spend enough time with your partner to try to conceive, as well as this having a physical effect on your health. However, there are also certain medical conditions that can cause problems with conception. Thyroid problems are a common cause of infertility, as well as premature ovarian failure, which is where a woman’s ovaries stop working before the age of 40.

HC10 Secondary Infertility.indd 35

MISUNDERSTOOD The lack of wide understanding of the causes and the psychological problems surrounding secondary infertility can make the problem worse, as wellintentioned comments such as queries about when your child is going to have a younger sibling can be unintentionally distressing. In some cases, the desire to have a second child, and feeling like you are unable to, can be overwhelming. So, what help can you get? Fortunately, infertility specialists are becoming more aware of the problems of secondary infertility and learning to deal with the stresses it can create. If you’re suffering, or suspect you might be, the first step is to visit your doctor to get an official diagnosis. This should make it easier to find emotional support from your parents, family, and friends. hc

Support Support can be found at charities such as The Fertility Network (, and specialist clinics where you can find out more about IVF, egg and sperm donation, fertility preservation, and other reproductive health and fertility issues.

Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 35

12/05/2020 14:46

Pregnancy & Early Years

Vacc nation:

The Right Start Vaccination is the safest way to protect your child against serious infectious diseases, but there’s still much misunderstanding about its importance. Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at Public Health England gives us the facts


ince scientists came to understand the principle of vaccination in the late 1700s, it has become the most important weapon in the fight against infectious diseases. By stimulating the body’s immune system to produce disease-fighting antibodies, a vaccination (or immunization) will give a child a good start in life. Yet we seem to have started to take the vaccination process for granted, and there are even ‘anti-vax’ movements convinced that there is something harmful about the process. We asked Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at Public Health England (PHE) to explain why childhood vaccinations are so important. “Vaccination is the safest way to protect your child against serious infectious disease and give them a good start in life” said Dr Ramsay. “Vaccines prevent up to 3 million deaths worldwide every year. “Since vaccines were introduced in the UK, diseases like smallpox, polio and tetanus that used to kill or disable millions of people are either gone or are seen very rarely. “Other diseases like measles and diphtheria have been reduced by up to 99.9 percent since their vaccination

36 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh

HC13 Vaccination CJ.indd 36

programmes were introduced. However, if people stop taking up vaccines, infectious diseases can quickly spread again. “Your child will have been offered vaccinations at eight, 12 and 16 weeks old to give them early protection from diseases that can kill or make small babies very poorly. As they get older, they will be offered boosters and additional vaccines to ensure they are ready for nursery and school and to continue to protect them as they become young

people and move into adulthood. “Vaccines teach your children’s immune system how to create antibodies that protect them from diseases. In addition, if enough children and people are vaccinated, it’s harder for the disease to spread to those people who cannot have vaccines, such as children who have a weakened immune system. This means that successful vaccination programmes can benefit the whole community through ‘herd immunity’.

13/05/2020 11:09

Pregnancy & Early Years

SAFETY On the subject of the safety of vaccinations, Dr Ramsay had this to say: "All vaccines are thoroughly tested to make sure they are safe before they can be rolled out. "The vast majority of vaccine sideeffects are very mild and resolve in a day or two on their own. The most common side effects include: ✤ The area where the needle goes in looking red, swollen and feeling a bit sore for 2 to 3 days ✤ Feeling a bit unwell or developing a high temperature for 1 or 2 days ✤ Some children might also cry and be upset immediately after the injection. This is normal, and they should feel better after a cuddle.

Vaccination is the safest way to protect your child against serious infectious disease and give them a good start in life

against measles, mumps and rubella. Dr Ramsay explained what is involved: “The MMR Vaccine is one vaccine, in two doses, to protect against three serious diseases. In September 2019 at the start of the school year, data from Public Health England revealed that one in seven five-year-olds across the country, and one in four in London were not up to date with their routine vaccinations, including the MMR vaccine. “MMR is a safe and effective vaccine that protects against three separate illnesses: measles, mumps and rubella (German measles) – in a single injection. “In the UK, the first dose of MMR is given to infants around their first birthday. A second dose is given before children start school, usually at three years and four months of age to ensure best protection. Two doses of MMR in a lifetime are needed for a person to be fully protected. “I’d like to urge parents and their children, no matter how old they are, to check they’ve had two doses of MMR. Measles is easy to catch and can kill. Vaccines are there to stop the spread of disease and save lives. It’s never too late to protect yourself and others. “It’s a real concern that so many young children could be starting school without the full protection that the NHS

“It’s important that vaccines are given on time to offer the best protection, but if you or your child have missed a vaccine, contact your GP to catch up. You can also speak to your GP, practice nurse or health visitor if you have any questions or are unsure if you or your child can or should have a vaccine.

MMR The childhood vaccination programme is organised through schools and incudes the MMR multi-vaccine, which protects

HC13 Vaccination CJ.indd 37

Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 37

12/05/2020 15:10

Pregnancy & Early Years

10,000,000 doses of HPV vaccine have been given to young women in England, meaning that over 80 percent of women aged 15-24 years have received the vaccine. Source: Public Health England

Childhood Immunisation Programme offers for free. “We often think that these diseases have been confined to the past, but in 2018, there was a marked increase in the number of measles cases in England, and the same strain of measles virus was detected for more than 12 months. As a consequence, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed last year that the UK had lost its measles ‘elimination’ status. “Measles remains in many countries around the world and there are currently several large outbreaks in countries across Europe where MMR vaccine uptake has been low. Until measles elimination is achieved globally we will continue to see cases of measles in the UK and in order to limit spread within the UK, it is important to maintain high coverage of two doses of the MMR vaccine in the population. “We know that as parents you want the best protection for your children and you may be unaware that your child is not up-to-date. We’re urging all parents to check their child’s Red Book to make sure there is a record of two MMR doses. If not, parents should contact their GP practice to arrange any further vaccinations that are needed. 38 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh

HC13 Vaccination CJ.indd 38

HPV From September 2019, all 12 and 13-year-olds in school Year 8 are being offered the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine for free to protect them from a number of cancers. This brings England in line with other countries such as Australia, Canada and the US. The HPV vaccine has been offered routinely to girls in England since 2008 with the aim of preventing cervical cancer, which is the commonest cancer in women under the age of 35 years. As the evidence has built up over the years that the HPV vaccine can protect against a range of cancers that affect both boys and girls, a decision was made to expand the programme to also include boys. The first dose of HPV vaccine is now offered to all girls and boys aged 12 to 13 years when they’re in school Year 8. The second dose is offered 6 to 12 months later in school Year 8 or 9. It’s important that your child has both doses to be protected. Those who missed their HPV vaccination in school remain eligible to have it until their 25th birthday, however eligible girls and boys who have their first vaccination after the age of 15 will need to have three doses.

More than 80 million people have been vaccinated against HPV worldwide. Ten million doses of HPV vaccine have been given to young women in England, meaning that over 80 percent of women aged 15-24 years have received the vaccine. In time it is expected that the vaccine will save hundreds of lives every year in the UK. A recent Scottish study has already shown a 71 percent reduction in pre-cancerous cervical disease in young women. Since the start of the vaccination programme in the UK there has also been a big decline in the number of young people with genital warts. The vaccine helps protect against cancers caused by HPV, including: ✤ Cervical cancer ✤ Some mouth and throat (head and neck) cancers ✤ Some cancers of the anal and genital areas ✤ The HPV vaccine also helps protect against genital warts.

INFECTION We asked Dr Ramsay to explain a little more about HPV, its risks and the benefits of vaccination. She told us: “HPV is the name given to a group of very common viruses. There are many types of HPV, some of which are called ‘high risk’ because they’re linked to the development of cancers. Other types can cause conditions like warts. “Nearly all cervical cancers (99.7 percent) are caused by infection with

12/05/2020 15:11

Pregnancy & Early Years a high-risk type of HPV. Types 16 and 18 are the cause of more than 70 percent of cervical cancers in the UK. “HPV infections do not usually cause any symptoms, and most people will not know they’re infected. HPV infections can be spread by any skin-to-skin contact and are usually found on the fingers, hands, mouth and genitals. This means the virus can be spread during any kind of sexual activity even if a condom is used.

PROTECTION “The HPV vaccine works best if girls and boys receive it before they come into contact with HPV (before they become sexually active). HPV vaccination does not protect against other infections spread during sex, such as chlamydia, and it will not stop girls getting pregnant, so it’s important to ensure your children practise safe sex. “Ensuring your children receive the vaccine when recommended will help protect them during their teenage years and beyond. “It’s worth highlighting that most unvaccinated people will be infected

with some type of HPV at some time in their life. In most cases, the virus does not do any harm because their immune system clears the infection. But in some cases, the infection can stay in the body for many years and may cause abnormal tissue growth as well as other changes which can lead to cancer. “Studies have already shown that the vaccine protects against HPV infection for at least 10 years, although experts expect protection to last for much longer. The HPV vaccine does not protect against all types of HPV that can cause cervical cancer so it’s important that all girls who receive the HPV vaccine also have regular cervical screening once they reach the age of 25. “Extensive reviews of HPV vaccine safety have been undertaken by various independent health bodies/authorities worldwide and in the UK and they have all concluded that the HPV vaccine is safe and effective.” More information about HPV vaccination is available from hc

Vaccines protect us throughout our life The NHS Vaccination programme protects babies from

8 weeks onwards

Available childhood vaccines include:

8 weeks

1 year

2-9 years

• The 6-in-1 vaccine • Pneumococcal vaccine • Rotavirus vaccine • Men B vaccine

- Measles, Mumps and Rubella - HiB / Men C vaccine - Pneumococcal vaccine booster - Men B vaccine booster

• Annual flu vaccine (nasal vaccine) • 4-in-1 pre-school booster • MMR vaccine

• HPV vaccine (both females and males)

12 years

• 3-in-1 teenage booster • MenACWY vaccine

14 years

HC13 Vaccination CJ.indd 39

For the full list of required vaccines please visit NHS website

Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 39

12/05/2020 15:11

Pregnancy & Early Years

When Teaching

Really Counts

Learning maths is an essential element of child education, but some parents struggle to help. Here are a few tips from the experts.


aths can be a harder subject for parents than for some children, because there’s a lot more to it these days than just adding and subtracting – indeed some of the questions posed to kids at school might not even look like the sort of maths their parents understand. But we should all be able to help with the basics, and fortunately, there are all kinds of aids to parents (and grandparents!) looking to help with maths teaching at home.

DEVICES For older kids, devices such as smartphones or tablets can be the ideal maths teachers, with educational apps providing a measurable way of teaching. In a recent study, educator Laura Outhwaite found that “Children aged four to five years who used maths apps for 30 minutes a day over 12 weeks, either instead of a small-group, teacher-directed mathematical task or as an additional activity during free play, made two to four months’ greater progress in mathematics compared to their peers.”

✤ NUMBERS FIRST. Basic numeracy is the building block of all mathematical learning. You don’t need any special equipment to start with – a collection of blocks, coins, buttons, or toys is enough to teach the simple 1-10. ✤ VALUES NEXT. The next stage is to show that objects don’t all have to be the same to be counted together – mixing different objects expands the thought processes and introduces the subjects of multiplication, subtraction and division. Combine maths lesson with other subjects such as cooking, where proportions, fractions and shares can be introduced ✤ FLASH CARDS. This basic teaching tool works better for some kids than for others. For some, counting objects on a card helps, while for

others, having separate physical objects works better. Try both to establish which works best. ✤ GAME THEORY. There’s no way around it, maths can be dull if you don’t look for the fun in it. Look for educational games online and in app stores, and make up your own indoor and outdoor games such as problembased treasure hunts. An abacus is a useful maths teaching tool which can also pass as a toy. ✤ DAILY ROUTINE. Incorporate maths teaching into daily life and set goals for your kids. Everywhere you go can be a maths lesson – count cars on the street, boxes on shop shelves, people in queues – set simple problems such as dividing up a bag of sweets. hc

Source: The Use of Interactive Maths Apps to Support Early Mathematical Development in UK and Brazilian Primary School Children, PhD Thesis, University of Nottingham 2018.

40 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh

HC08 Teaching Maths CJ.indd 40

12/05/2020 15:15

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Children will love all of the fun games and motivational features we’ve included, and since our apps are designed to work offline, they can Doodle anywhere at any time. Parents can monitor their child’s usage, track progress and set targets with our Parent Dashboard and DoodleConnect app.

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01/04/2020 17:35

Just one round.

Would you risk it?

RISK a life saving short film

image courtesy of @photolayne

Alcohol-exposed pregnancies risk Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. This ďŹ lm may change your world.



Watch RISK and access resources at:

There is no proven safe amount or type of alcohol in pregnancy. If this affects you, please talk to your midwife or GP.

National Organisation for Foetal Alcohol Syndrome.indd 1

24/04/2020 09:33

Pregnancy & Early Years

The Facts of FASD The facts of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders are an important part of pregnancy education. Now, a new care quality standard is being developed by NICE Sandra Butcher says: ”We’ve launched a three-year project to bring this message to young adults via This generation has shown us they can tackle big issues with positivity. They face facts. The fact is FASD is preventable. We believe this next generation is going to be the one to change things."

STANDARDS NICE’s suggested Quality Standard on FASD, based on a Scottish system called SIGN, is intended to improve diagnosis, health service experience and quality of life and educational attainment of people with FASD, and promotes service standards for local areas, as well as:


ll pregnant women should be aware of FASD (Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders), caused by drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Alcohol can cause more lifelong damage to an unborn baby’s brain and nervous system than any other drug. More than 400 conditions can cooccur including cognitive and sensory issues and learning disabilities. For whatever reason pregnant women drink – they may be unaware of their pregnancy, or not educated on the dangers – a new care quality standard under discussion by NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) emphasises the importance of moving beyond stigma and helping identify alcohol-exposed pregnancies, so mothers can get appropriate support and the child early diagnosis. Sandra Butcher, Chief Executive of

HC6 FASD.indd 43

NOFAS-UK, says “As mum to a teen with FASD and as someone who has the privilege of working with individuals and families affected by FASD from around the UK, it’s energising to see the risk of alcohol in pregnancy finally beginning to get the attention it deserves. "Our lives are not easy but above all we share a message of hope. Supporting alcohol-free pregnancies and recognizing FASD can change lives.” Sandra still feels, though, that there’s a danger people don’t recognize the reality of the risks. Dr Raja Mukherjee, who heads the National FASD Clinic, says: “The science as it stands does not allow us to work out who is and is not at risk from alcohol in pregnancy. To avoid possible lifelong complications, the safest approach is just to avoid alcohol when pregnant.

✤ Clear and consistent advice and follow-ups for pregnant women ✤ Recording of information throughout pregnancy and on the child’s records ✤ FASD training for GPs and other health services ✤ Access to experienced multidisciplinary assessment teams for diagnosis ✤ Neurodevelopmental assessment of children with confirmed prenatal alcohol exposure ✤ Management plans to help coordinate healthcare, education and social services. Despite the current coronavirus lockdown it's hoped that the quality standard will be completed soon, and support organisations such as NOFASUK are encouraging anyone who wants to have their views heard to read the draft at hc Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 43

12/05/2020 17:22

s e th lo c g in d e e tf s a e r b t e Discre ng e its breastfeeding clothi ak m to n io iss m a s ha d ntly. The Ubere Mama bran es, discreetly and confide bi ba r ei th e rs nu to g in ish accessible to all mums w Embrace the colours of the season of Azure Blue, Burnt Orange and Fuschia, in a range of printed dresses, colourful tops, soft cosy fleeces and sweatshirts all designed in collaboration with mums who know what works whilst breastfeeding. Clever functionality of flaps and zippers enables mums to feed their babies, quickly and with minimum fuss. We don’t believe in throw away products either, our discreet zippers have been designed into the garments to provide a seamless look so that the clothing can be continued to look good and be worn well after nursing has finished. Thus, providing a good staple wardrobe garment that has longevity built into its makeup.

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All of our products are designed and made in the UK consequently reducing the carbon footprint vs other clothing brands products imported from the Far East. As a brand helping you look after your baby and his or her future is not an afterthought-but an intrinsic part of who Ubere Mama is. Ubere Trading r1.indd 1


Tel:07887-992173 12/05/2020 11:25

Pregnancy & Early Years

Why Breast Really is Best

We know it has benefits for both you and baby, but have we overcome the social stigma of breastfeeding?

Ubere Mama Your life will change when you become a mum and you want to breastfeed. Breastfeeding is a challenge which can be hard physically and finding suitable clothing that is discreet and fashionable to wear can be difficult. Ubere Mama is first and foremost a passionate advocate of breastfeeding, but is equally passionate about clothing, drawing on over 20 years’ experience in fashion design. Ubere Mama clothing is made to be sustainable, creating a ‘capsule collection’ for longevity. The full range can be worn long after breastfeeding has finished, and customers are often told that people don’t realise they are wearing a breastfeeding top! The name Ubere comes from the Latin word for breastfeeding and seemed the obvious choice for the brand. It also fits in with the belief that there’s nothing more beautiful than seeing a mother breastfeeding her child. So here’s to the uber(e) mama in us all! Tel: 07887 992173


s the fight to normalize breastfeeding continues, led by campaign groups such as, it’s important for us to note all of the major health benefits that come from this natural act.

GOOD FOR YOU BOTH Breast milk is perfectly designed for your baby and has long-term health benefits that can last right into adulthood. As well as being an immediate food source for your baby, breast milk helps protect them from infections, reducing your baby’s risk of diarrhoea and vomiting, childhood leukaemia, sudden infant

HC14 Breastfeeding V4.indd 45

death syndrome (SIDS), obesity, and even cardiovascular disease in adulthood. With so many benefits, it is recommended to provide your baby with breast milk during the first 26 weeks of life if possible. But the upsides aren’t restricted to your baby. The NHS reports that breastfeeding helps lower the risk of the mother developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. In fact, producing breast milk burns roughly between 300 to 500 calories a day! This may be why breastfeeding mothers are reported to have an easier time losing pregnancy weight. Another benefit? It saves you money. Your body is

naturally producing a free meal for your child. Why pay for formula when you don’t have to?

BONDING The act of breastfeeding also builds a strong emotional bond between mother and baby, so why let anyone make you feel ashamed for wanting to feed your baby in public? Lots of foresighted companies create clothing specifically tailored to ensure that you can feed your baby, while still providing coverage in the event that anyone is uncomfortable with the act. And until the day when attitudes to public breastfeeding are normalised, that's a comforting thought. hc Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 45

15/05/2020 09:56

Pregnancy & Early Years

Best Bet

Bottles Could some feeding bottles be a cause of colic? Healthy Child looks at the way better design can cut down on the problem.


t’s not uncommon for new mums to be confused by the causes of frequent crying in babies – sometimes there doesn’t seem to be any obvious reason for it, and the result can be a lot of distress for both mother and baby. Though around half of babies are affected, the phase soon passes with no lasting effects, but it’s possible that thinking about feeding in a new way may overcome the problem altogether. In many cases, it’s likely that the root cause of colic – frequent crying with no apparent cause – could be digestive problems caused by trapped wind. Try the following tips to reduce trapped wind: 1. Feed smaller amounts. A newborn's stomach is about the size of his or her fist, so one or two ounces of feed every hour should be enough to avoid overloading the digestive system.

46 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh

HC15 Bottle Feeding.indd 46

2. Burp the baby more frequently, for several minutes between each five to 10 minutes of feeding. 3. Use the bicycle manoeuvre; with baby on his or her back, hold onto the calves and move them in a cycling motion. These hip movements help gas move along and out as well as being good exercise to avoid constipation. 4. Consider a change of feeding bottles to reduce the amount of air swallowed. If you are bottle-feeding, this last point may be the most effective. In both common types of feeding bottles, unventilated and partially ventilated, high negative pressure is generated in the baby’s mouth and in the bottle when fluid is removed by sucking. This is the exact opposite of the positive pressure which occurs during breast feeding.

Feeding Frets

A 2017 su rvey by th e (Women ’s Institute WI ) and NCT (Na tiona Trust) sho l Childbirth wed that 64 percent o f new mo thers expressed concern baby feed s over ing.

This negative pressure causes a break in the baby's seal with the teat and results in excess air being swallowed along with the feed. Negative pressure can also be transmitted via the Eustachian tube to the ear, causing earache. The solution could be a fully vented bottle, which has an open pathway for air leading from the threads at the bottle neck to an internal reservoir connected to the outside air. With a fully vented bottle, pressure remains positive throughout the feeding process, preventing the unwanted effects of negative pressure. Could the solution to colic be that simple? It’s certainly an option worth investigating when baby is unhappy and is determined to let the whole world know all about it! hc

13/05/2020 11:10




Grip collar


Enhanced vent system


Easy-off cap

Enhanced bottle design clinically proven to reduce windy colic with Dr Brown’sŽ unique 100% vacuum-free vent system Prevention is Better Than Cure!

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30/03/2020 11:33

Pregnancy & Early Years

Play Safe Play is important, but so is safety – are you sure the toys you give your children aren’t a hazard to their health?


e can’t take all the risks out of play, but we should control all the hazards we can, and there are regulations in place which should help us to keep play safe. Nevertheless, in the year 2000, there were 40,000 reported accidents in the UK connected with toys. Look for toys bearing the CE mark - it stands for Conformité Européenne, and shows that the item conforms with health, safety, and environmental protection standards for products sold within the European Economic Area. But be aware that some novelties bearing the CE mark may still not be suitable for children to play with. British toy manufacturers who are members of the BTHA (British Toy and Hobby Association) and who sign a strict code of practice to make toys safely and responsibly may also use the voluntary Lion Mark confirming that the toy meets statutory safety requirements.

48 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh

HC17 Toy Safety.indd 48

Reputation It’s a good idea to buy from reputable suppliers who are members of a trade association, and if you buy second-hand, say online or from a car boot sale, take particular care to check the suitability and safety of the toy. Make sure that unsuitable toys don't get into the hands of children too young for them. Some children, particularly those under three, are more vulnerable, especially to choking, and less able to cope with some toys than older children. It should also be remembered there will be significant differences in the abilities of those in the same age group, and those children with special needs. Avoid toys with loose pile fabric or hair which sheds easily, presenting a choking hazard, with small components or parts which detach, and with sharp points and edges or finger traps. Remember that even safe toys can become unsafe with wear and tear, so check them regularly and have them repaired or throw them away if they can’t be made safe. Be careful with battery-powered toys, making sure batteries are fitted properly and disposed of safely when used, and be particularly careful with button batteries which can be a swallowing hazard. Finally remember that carelessly discarded toys can also be a trip hazard for unwary adults! For more advice contact ROSPA ( and the BTHA ( hc

ROSPA’s Top 10 toy safety tips ✤   Buy toys only from reputable outlets - look for the


✤   Make sure the toy is suitable

for the child – check the age range ✤   Be particularly careful with toys for children under three ✤   Be wary of young children playing with older children's toys ✤   Check for loose hair and small parts, sharp edges, and points ✤   Ensure that garden swings and slides are robust and are not a strangulation hazard ✤   Check toys regularly for wear and repair or dispose of them where necessary ✤   Keep play areas tidy ✤   Follow the instructions and warnings provided with toys ✤   Supervise young children at play

12/05/2020 15:24

Stuck for ideas to keep your kids entertained? The FREE Make Time 2 Play app has hundreds of FREE play ideas to help you out! Download at

@maketime2play British Toy & Hobby Association.indd 1

@maketimetoplay 28/04/2020 13:19

Health Check

Kids and

C r navirus The worldwide effects of the coronavirus pandemic have brought home to all of us the danger of contagious respiratory diseases. But how does COVID-19 affect our kids and how can we protect them?


hen it was reported late in 2019 that a new strain of coronavirus had been identified in Wuhan, China, few suspected that it would lead to a worldwide pandemic and wide-ranging consequences for societies from the developing world right through to the Western economies. Named coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19 – ‘CO’ stands for corona, ‘VI’ for virus, and ‘D’ for disease – the new virus is linked to the same family of viruses as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and some types of common cold. Coronaviruses, named after the ring of spikes of protein which help them to invade cells, cause symptoms similar to that of a cold or ‘flu, so they’re sometimes hard to identify. The problem with COVID-19 is that it seems to be unusually infectious. But is it a particular threat to our children? 50 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh

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PANDEMIC Though COVID-19 is a pandemic, that doesn’t mean that it is particularly deadly, just that it is very widespread. In the early stages it was particularly important to inform your healthcare provider if you had recently travelled to an infected area. Now the virus has established itself in the UK that may seem less relevant, but you should still inform them in advance if you have been abroad recently. Call 111 for advice – you may be directed to a coronavirus testing facility rather than to your GP surgery. The situation is changing rapidly as scientists learn more about the infection, but what are the basics we need to know to keep our familiies safe? CHECK YOUR SOURCES. There’s a great deal of misinformation about COVID-19 being distributed largely through the Internet and social media. Make sure your sources of

information are reliable and follow their advice on staying safe. IN THE UK, the NHS and government websites will give you information about protection, symptoms, and matters such as school closures and travel restrictions. HOW DOES IT SPREAD? The COVID-19 virus spreads through direct contact with liquid carriers of virus from an infected person, such as through coughing or sneezing. It can also persist on surfaces for several hours. HOW CAN IT BE DESTROYED? The virus can be destroyed on surfaces using simple disinfectants. WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS? Typical symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing, and high

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Health Check temperature, and in severe cases pneumonia and breathing difficulties. Symptoms may be similar to cold or ‘flu, so only testing can establish whether COVID-19 is the cause. WHO IS AT RISK? COVID-19 can be particularly dangerous or even fatal in the elderly, those with compromised immune systems, and those with underlying health issues such as respiratory conditions. There is also some evidence that some ethnic groups are prone to being seriously affected. Initially it seemed not to be particularly harmful to children - it's not yet clear why, possibly something to do with their immune systems or condition of their lungs. But this doesn't mean that small numbers of children have not become severely ill or even died.


Teach your children these steps to make sure they are washing their hands properly. Wash your hands often, especially before eating; after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; and going to the bathroom. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water, if hands are visibly dirty.

WHAT ABOUT INFLAMMATORY SYNDROME? At the end of April the NHS sent out an alert to GPs and child health specialists warning of a cluster of cases of a "serious coronavirus-related syndrome" emerging in children in the UK. The alert said that there had been reports of "children of all ages presenting with a multi-system inflammatory state requiring intensive care across London and also in other regions of the UK”. Reports were confimed from other parts of the world. It's too early to say what these reports might imply, but you must seek medical advice if your child shows symptoms of fever or abdominal pain. WHAT SHOULD I DO if my child shows symptoms? Seek medical attention, but remember that it’s still more likely to be a cold or ‘flu than coronavirus HOW CAN I AVOID INFECTION? There are four main courses of action we must all take to avoid infection.

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Health Check 1) Wash hands frequently using soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitiser. Wash carefully making sure to clean between the fingers. Don’t touch your face as this could transfer infection from surfaces. 2) Cough or sneeze into a tissue and throw it in a bin. 3) Avoid contact with anyone who has symptoms – ideally you should stay 2m away from anyone not a member of your family. 4) Seek medical care early if you or your child has a fever, cough or difficulty breathing Continue to follow good hand and respiratory hygiene practices like regular handwashing and keep your child up to date with vaccinations so they are protected against other viruses and bacteria causing diseases. Seek care early if you or your child are having symptoms.

LOCKDOWN As we write, a government-mandated lockdown means that many businesses are temporarily closed and local and international travel is limited. We are all being advised to stay at home as much as possible, going out only for essential shopping such as food and medical and cleaning supplies, exercise, as close to home as posible, and work only if you are a key worker or cannot work from home. The situation will change in time, but meanwhile we should try to avoid going to public places or using public transport to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

PROTECTION There's a great deal of discussion on the value of wearing facemasks as protection. In fact, standard medical masks will not protect you from viruses, though they may be helpful against some bacteria and against air pollution.

High quality surgical masks may be more effective if used properly, but experts worry that if not used properly, masks may encourage complacency about other health measures. If you know you are infected and want to reduce your coughs and sneezes infecting others, you may choose to wear a mask – but in that case you are better advised to self-isolate. If you do wear masks, use and dispose of them properly.

SCHOOL’S OUT As most schools are closed during the pandemic, if your child shows symptoms and is confined to the home, seek medical care, and follow the instructions from the health care provider. Otherwise, as with other respiratory infections like the ‘flu, keep your child well rested at home while symptomatic, and avoid going to public places, to prevent spreading the infection to others.

Covid-19 symptoms People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus Main Symptoms:





Less Common Symptoms:

✎ Chills ✎ Muscle pain ✎ Repeated shaking with chills

✎ Headache ✎ Sore throat ✎ New loss of taste or

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The symptoms of coronavirus are a high temperature, or a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot, for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours. You should call 111 If your child has these symptoms. Children and babies will still get other illnesses that can make them very unwell quickly. Call 111 or your GP surgery if your child is under three months old and has a temperature of 38C or higher, or you think they have a fever; or has other signs of illness, such as a rash, loss of appetite, or dehydration, for example nappies are not very wet, sunken eyes, and no tears when they're crying.

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Health Check

NHS Alert As the coronavirus pandemic peaked at the end of April, reports emerged of an NHS alert around a crop of cases of an inflammatory disorder in children in North London. By May 3rd, nearly 100 cases had been reported from the US, France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland, with 19 cases in the UK. NHS Emergency Paediatrician and Healthy Child Celebrity Editor Dr Ranj Singh was widely interviewed on the subject, including speaking to BBC London Tonight to put the situation into perspective. Interviewer Riz Lateef started by explaining that there had been reports on social media about doctors in North London being alerted to an inflammatory syndrome in children which might be linked to coronavirus. In some cases, children had been admitted to intensive care, and she asked whether parents should be concerned. Dr Ranj said in response that the advice might seem quite alarming on the surface, but that it needed to be put into perspective, as "A medical alert that has been put out to health care professionals".

Image of Dr Ranj courtesy Talent4Media

He explained that the pattern of illneses seen in the previous two to three weeks was in some cases associated with COVID-19, but not in others. The question was raised whether some postings on social media might have been unnecesarily alarmist, and Dr Ranj explained that the alert was intended to warn medical professionls to be "extra vigilant just in case we are seeing something new emerging here that may or may not be related to Coronavirus." Dr Ranj pointed out that the inflammatory syndrome, which could have symptoms throughout the body, had some similarlties to Kawasaki Disease, though it was uncertain whether the observed syndrome was related. Kawasaki disease, also known as mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome, mainly affects children under the age of five. Characteristic symptoms are a high

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temperature that lasts for five days or more, with a rash and swollen glands in the neck. Kawasaki disease occurs in approximately 1 in 10,000 children under five each year. The condition is ten to 20 times more common in East Asia, including Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. Dr Ranj commented that whatever the cause of the inflammatory syndrome, advice to parents remains the same - that while the chances of a child becoming ill from coronavirus are low, they should speak to a health care professional if a child shows symptoms such as a fever that lasts for five days or longer without showing signs of improvement. As to the queston of why children seemed to be at low risk of coronavirus, Dr Ranj explained that there were several theories about why this was the case, and a good deal of research going on, but no conclusions had been reached yet. The best theory was that children's immune systems functioned slightly differently to adults', so they don't develop the hyperinflammatary 'cytokine storm' which is typical of the immune response of older people. While research goes on, Dr Ranj emphasised that advice remains the same - stay at home if we can, wash your hands, take extra care if you show any symptoms at all, and take children to a GP or even to A&E if you're really worried. As he reminded us, "Remember, the NHS is open 24/7 for anyone who needs it."

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Health Check Follow the advice of your local authority, ensure appropriate supervision for children who are out of school, to allow for continued education and also for their protection – from COVID-19, but also other potential threats they may face when left unsupervised. If your child is staying at home because of school closures, UNICEF advises continuing to teach him or her good hand and respiratory hygiene practices, like frequent handwashing, covering coughs or sneezes with a flexed elbow or tissue, then throwing away the tissue into a closed bin, not touching their eyes, mouths or noses if they haven’t properly washed their hands, and avoiding close contact with anyone with cold/flu-like symptoms.


PREGNANT CARE At the moment it has not been established whether pregnant women can pass coronavirus to unborn children, though a study by Oxford University is looking into the issue. Pregnant women should take appropriate precautions to protect themselves from exposure to the virus, and seek medical care early, if experiencing symptoms such as fever, coughing or difficulty

breathing. Considering the benefits of breastfeeding and the insignificant role of breastmilk in the transmission of other respiratory viruses, UNICEF suggests that mothers can continue breastfeeding, while applying all the necessary precautions. If a mother is ill, she should be encouraged to express milk and give it to the child via a clean cup and/or spoon – all while following the same infection prevention methods.

THE LONG TERM There’s no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic will have a long-term effect on society, and it’s important that our children understand what it means and how they should react to it. When talking to our children about coronavirus, UNICEF gives the following advice: Stay informed, check your facts and don’t repeat unconfirmed rumours It’s important to avoid bullying, discriminatory or stigmatising terms or language referring to any population or ethnicity Refer to “people who have COVID-19”, or “people who are being treated for COVID-19”, not “COVID-19 cases” or “victims” Talk about people “acquiring” or “contracting” COVID-19, not “transmitting COVID-19” or “spreading the virus” as it implies intentional transmission and assigns blame Be positive and emphasise the importance of effective prevention measures Most of all, be kind and supportive hc

Images: Shutterstock

Travel overseas is currently severely limited, with many holiday bookings cancelled. If you must travel, check the Foreign Office travel advisory for your destination country to avoid being quarantined or denied re-entry into your home country. Check the latest COVID-19 update on the International Air Transport Association websites.

While traveling, all parents should follow standard hygiene measures for themselves and their children, as well as carrying a hand sanitizer, pack of disposable tissues, and disinfecting wipes. If travelling by rail or air you should clean your seat, armrest, touchscreen, etc. with a disinfecting wipe, and in hotels, disinfect surfaces, doorknobs, remote controls, and so on.

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All in the

Health Check

Mind? Childhood mental health problems are making headlines, unfortunately mainly due to the lack of adequate services. What can we do to help?


t’s stressful enough being a child in ordinary times, when school anxieties, peer pressure and teenage troubles can result in a range of mental health disorders, manifesting themselves in anything from depression to eating disorders and self-harm. Now, with some children feeling the pressure of the coronavirus crisis as acutely as their parents, it’s more important than ever to think about child mental health issues. Childhood charity Barnardo’s estimates that one in ten children have a diagnosable mental health condition – that’s roughly three in every classroom – and 75 percent of psychiatric conditions in adults originate during childhood and adolescence.

SUPPORT Many children may not be diagnosed as having mental health disorders, but lack confidence and feel unhappy much of the time. It can be a difficult situation for parents who can lack guidance in how and where to find advice and help. The NHS’s CAHMS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) work with children and young people

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(aged up to 16 or sometimes 18) who have difficulties with their emotional or behavioural wellbeing. Local areas have different support services, varying from the statutory, voluntary or schoolbased sectors, such as an NHS trust, local authority, school or charitable organisation. The first port of call is usually your GP who will refer you to the most appropriate services

POSITIVE Specialist CAHMS services can call on psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses, support workers, occupational therapists and child and family psychotherapists among others – but everyone agrees that these services, valuable as they are, are under enormous pressure. Some GPs (almost a third in a recent survey of nearly 1,000 by a mental health charity) said that they would refer patients to NHS-approved selftreatment apps because the waiting list for CAMHS is so long, while others (43 percent in the survey) said they would recommend private treatment. So what can we do to help? While health professionals campaign for more funding for child mental health services,

a report by the Children’s Commissioner in January 2020 concluded: “Children who fear that there aren’t people there to help them, are often not wrong, because mental health services for children still bear little resemblance to what is needed. Responsive parenting, a safe and secure home life, and a positive learning environment are essential for building resilience and coping mechanisms in children and adolescents. A whole-system approach across the life course is crucial to improve mental health.” hc

Linden Tree Education Since 1997 we have provided dayone-access recovery instruction and support addressing GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder), panic attacks, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), phobias, compulsions, eating disorders and more. Our unique recovery efficacy is a result of solution focused psychoeducation and support by qualified recovery practitioners.

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Health Check

Getting Rid of

Nasty Nits

All the info you need to know to rid your kids' lives of head lice.


oes your child have a nasty case of the nits? Head lice (or, as their eggs are known, ‘nits’) are unwelcome visitors infiltrating homes through head-to-head contact. Although the National Health Service states that there isn’t a concrete preventative method to avoid these nasties, there are several steps you can take to treat them.

IS IT LICE? Before you go out and buy special creams and shampoos, check to see if the cause of discomfort is actually lice. According to Healthline, itchy scalps can also come from fungal infections, eczema, and even stress or anxiety. Before you jump to the conclusion it’s lice, comb through your child’s scalp with a fine-toothed comb.

Lice are tiny wingless insects, up to three millimetres in length, and live entirely in human hair on a diet of blood.

GET RID There are a few different methods you can take to eliminate head lice: ✤ GET A HAIRCUT. Although it won’t eliminate all of them, getting a haircut can help reduce the number of lice and nits on one’s head. It also makes it a bit easier to treat lice since there is less hair to work through. ✤ WET COMBING. First, wash the hair with shampoo. Then, apply a generous amount of conditioner. Next, using a fine-toothed comb, comb the hair from roots to ends. This process can help catch the lice and nits. Perform this process regularly for a couple of weeks to catch any newly hatched lice.

✤ LOTIONS AND SPRAYS. Visit a pharmacist for medicated head lice treatments. These over-the-counter lotions and sprays can help kill the hatched lice on your head. If one type of product doesn’t work, you may need to try another. Although lice cannot be prevented, regularly combing your hair is a way to catch them early - because once they’re on your child’s head, there’s a chance that they can spread to yours. hc

LICE FACTS ✤ They need a host. Lice cannot survive more than 24 hours off a human scalp ✤ They cannot jump. They can only crawl. This is why lice spread through direct contact like sharing brushes or hats. ✤ Lice can affect everyone. Although some people may believe that only dirty people get lice, these guys don’t discriminate. Once there’s been direct contact with a liceridden object, anyone's scalp is up for grabs.

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Health Check


and Meat-free? It’s the food topic everyone’s talking about - can a child be raised healthily on a meat-free diet?


ith society becoming more educated on the realities of the meat and dairy industry, many people are realising that the impact on the environment and taking an ethical approach to diet are just two reasons for considering plant-based nutrition. But how does a meat-free diet affect a growing child’s health? According to the NHS, vegetarian and vegan babies can still get most of the nutrients required to grow up and lead a healthy lifestyle as their omnivorous counterparts. However, there are a few things that need to be considered.

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Since babies and young children have high energy needs and a small stomach, a strict vegetarian diet is not recommended for them. Though still possible, these diets are prone to vitamin and protein deficiencies so additional supplements and careful dietary monitoring must be taken in order to meet nutritional needs. Although fibre is recommended, be careful of feeding your child a diet that is too fibre-rich. Fibre is filling, so it may prevent your child from eating other high-energy foods. Additionally, too much fibre can lead to poor absorption of other nutrients like iron, zinc, and calcium. In addition to the higher fibre wholegrain and wholemeal versions, your child should have some lower fibre foods, such as white bread and rice, until they are around five years old. Bring in high calorie foods like nut butters or vegetable oils to ensure that they are getting enough energy. If you are adamant about having your child adopt a vegetarian diet, you should consult a health professional to seek advice regarding obtaining the necessary supplements.

Vitamin B12 is found in animal products, and is essential for nerve and blood development. Fatigue is just one of the symptom of B12 deficiency. Though vegetarians will be able to find it in dairy products, strict vegans are out of luck. Vitamin B12 is not found in plant-based foods, so vegans will need to find B12 supplements to consume for themselves and for their children. This is especially crucial for mothers that are breastfeeding, as a lack of vitamin B12 can cause both anaemia in the mother and brain damage in the baby. Getting enough vitamin D and calcium is also crucial for growing children. This will help them prevent bone disease. Other minerals and nutrients that may be hard to obtain in a vegetarian diet include iodine, omega 3, iron, and calcium, so again it’s important to look for supplements. hc

PROTEINS One of the main concerns of eating a vegetarian or vegan diet is whether or not it includes enough protein. Fortunately, there are still a lot of nonmeat protein options available. Beans, lentils, and nuts are good sources of protein, and for lacto-ovo vegetarians (those who don’t exclude dairy products or eggs), they are also good sources of protein. Since beans and lentils are a couple of the main protein options available for vegetarians, it is important to note that these foods need to be cooked thoroughly in order to destroy toxins and to aid with digestion. If not, undercooked beans and lentils may lead to vomiting and diarrhoea.

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VEGETARIAN FACTS ✎ The first Vegetarian Society was

formed in England in 1847. Its goal was to teach people that it is possible to be healthy without eating meat. ✎ According to the Vegan Society, in 2018, the UK launched more vegan products than any nation, and the best area to be a vegan is Brighton ✎ The British Takeaway Campaign says that orders of vegan meals grew by 388 percent between 2016 and 2018 and they are now the UK’s fastest growing takeaway choice. ✎ Celebrity vegetarians include Pamela Anderson, Alicia Silverstone, Paul McCartney, Miley Cyrus, Lewis Hamilton, Will.I.Am and Benedict Cumberbatch

Tired of feeding your kids carrot sticks and hummus? Try these fun meat-free options: ✤ Veggie chips. Although potato chips are already vegetarian, try other types of veggie chips like kale, quinoa, or okra chips. ✤ Trail mix. A great highenergy snack filled with nuts, chocolate, pretzels, and dried fruit. ✤ Nachos. Nachos don’t have to be topped with chicken, beef or pork – try layering your tortilla chips with vegetarian cheese, pinto beans, red peppers, jalapenos, green onion, cilantro, radishes, and of course salsa.

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Health Check MACARONI AND ROASTED CAULIFLOWER BOWL This simple one-bowl meal takes 30 minutes to make and will keep the whole family fed at any time of year. Ingredients For the lemon dressing: ◆ 5 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice ◆ 4 tablespoons of olive oil ◆ 2 tablespoons of agave syrup ◆ 1 tablespoon of finely chopped or grated fresh ginger ◆ 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped ◆ 1 tablespoon of ground cumin ◆ 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon ◆ ½ a teaspoon of salt ◆ ½ teaspoon of freshly ground pepper.

For the cauliflower: ◆ 2 lb (1 kg) of cauliflower florets ◆ 1 b 2oz (500 g) of macaroni pasta ◆ A cup (220 g) of slivered dried apricots ◆ ½ a cup (75 g) of sliced green olives ◆ A cup (240 g) of crumbled vegan feta cheese ◆ ¼ a cup (30 g) of chopped mint.

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Method 1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F/200 degrees C/Gas Mark 6. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminium foil. 2. To make the lemon dressing, combine the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well combined. 3. To make the cauliflower, put it into a large bowl and add three tablespoons of the dressing; toss to combine. Reserve the remaining dressing. 4. Arrange the cauliflower in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes or until golden brown, tossing halfway through. 5. Meanwhile, cook the macaroni pasta according to the instructions on the packet. Drain the pasta, reserving ½ cup (120 ml/4 fl. oz.) of the cooking water. Return the pasta to the pan, add the roasted cauliflower, apricots, olives, feta, mint, the reserved pasta water, and the remaining dressing. Toss to combine, and serve.

Try this tasty vegetarian recipe from Vegan: The Cookbook, by Jean-Christian Jury. With nearly 500 vegetable-driven recipes, Vegan: The Cookbook, inspired by cuisines around the world, brings vegan home cooking to new levels of deliciousness. Vegan Magazine called it "The definitive and most comprehensive cookbook of traditional and authentic home cooking vegan dishes from 150 countries around the world." Vegan: The Cookbook is available now at £35 from and all good bookshops.

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Health Check

Top Teeth Tips with Dr Milad the Singing Dentist


e has a huge social media presence, with 157k subscribers on YouTube, 653k followers on Facebook, 298k followers on Instagram, 155k on TikTok and 11k followers on Twitter, but Dr Milad Shadrooh isn’t a pop star – he’s a dentist. The Principal Dentist and Owner at Chequers Dental in Basingstoke, Dr Milad, as he’s known to his patients, started on his unconventional root – sorry, route – to fame when he had time to spare waiting for a root canal patient to arrive. “One day in 2015 a song came on the radio and I started freestyling to it, but talking about dentistry, because I had a root canal patient that never turned up and about 45 minutes to spare!” he says. “I parodied Drake’s Hotline Bling and sent it to my friend who is also 62 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh

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a dentist. He was like "Dude, this is hilarious, you’ve got to put it online", but I didn’t want to as I thought it was a bit jokey and that dentists have a certain reputation to uphold. “My friend put it up without me knowing and the reception was crazy, other dentists soon started sharing it and saying how funny it was – particularly my mad eyebrows which started doing their own thing!

MAD MEDIA Now Dr Milad’s a hit with his patients as well as with the thousands of subscribers to his social media channels. “My social media content is all about fun and making people smile!”, he says, “it’s just me and my personality. I show almost none of my dentistry; I don’t use it to promote my clinic. Yet I’ve

got people coming from all over now just because they just want to see me! It’s crazy!” But enteraining as Dr Milad’s videos are, there’s a serious side to his work. His latest online performances include Coronavirus Baby, a rap about COVID-19 based on Vanilla Ice’s Ice Ice Baby, Gappy, a send-up of Happy by Pharrell Williams, and Sweet Eater, a parody of Cheerleader by Omi, warning about the dangers of sugar – “Ooh, I think that I’ve found myself a sweet eater – there’s always a new hole when I see her”. Then there’s our favourite – Return of the Plaque, a parody of Return of the Mack by Mark Morrison. So we asked Dr Milad to give us some good oral health advice and to bust a few persistent myths. Here’s what the Singing Dentist told us:

Image of Dr Shadrooh courtesy of The Can Group

Dr Milad Shadrooh is the Principal Dentist and Owner at Chequers Dental in Basingstoke – but you probably know him better as The Singing Dentist!

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Health Check MYTH 1: THERE IS NEVER A BAD TIME TO BRUSH YOUR TEETH FALSE! The human mouth has a one-two punch to defend itself. One is tooth enamel, the hardest substance in the human body. The second line of defence is saliva. Give your body's natural ability to break down foods a chance to work after you eat. The acidic environment in your mouth temporarily softens the enamel on teeth while it breaks down food particles and washes them away. Brush too soon after meals and you'll end up scrubbing away tooth enamel in the process. It's not a bad idea to wait at least 30 to 60 minutes before grabbing that toothbrush.

MYTH 2: EATING CHEESE AFTER A MEAL IS GOOD FOR YOUR TEETH TRUE! It might sound unlikely, but one of the best and easiest ways to combat acid erosion in your teeth is to eat a piece of cheese after every meal. Cheese is alkaline, which neutralises the acid left by the food you've consumed; fizzy drinks and sweet foods such as cakes

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and biscuits are particularly acidic, so eating cheese after these will be effective. Be mindful, however, of the fat and salt content!

MYTH 3: HAVING BAD BREATH INDICATES A PROBLEM WITH YOUR TEETH FALSE! Although tooth decay and gum disease are a common cause of halitosis, there are many other reasons too. Bacteria and food debris can collect on the tongue, which can cause the odour, so cleaning the tongue can help. Some medication can cause bad breath and some medical conditions can also contribute, for example, stomach problems and reflux, diabetes, bronchitis, tonsillitis and sinusitis. Also, dry mouth is a major cause of bad breath as the composition and flow of saliva is affected, for example when you are hungry, dehydrated or the dreaded morning breath. Lastly, tonsil stones are also a big cause of bad breath. They look like small grains of rice and they are found in the crypts of the tonsils. Speak to your dentist if you suffer with bad breath to try and find the root cause!

MYTH 4: YOU SHOULD RINSE YOUR TEETH AFTER BRUSHING FALSE! Spit, Don't Rinse is the mantra here! Rinsing after brushing can wash off all the goodness from the toothpaste, for example, the fluoride in toothpaste will continue to protect the teeth for 30 minutes after brushing. It also pays to take a careful look at kids’ toothpaste: some children's products don't contain enough fluoride. For children under three, go for one with 1,000 parts per million. After three, it is the same as adult toothpaste, which is 1,450 parts per million. hc

Check out

Dr Milad’s content on Singin g Dentist on YouTube, @dentistsi nging on Facebo ok, TikTok and Twitter, @ singingden tist on Instagram and the w ebsite at www.s ingingden

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Health Check

Taking Care of

Young Teeth

Recent reports show shocking statistics about the state of our children’s teeth. So how can we prevent decay and maintain good oral hygiene in our kids?


recent NHS report showed that the number of children having teeth removed in hospital has risen almost a fifth in the last six years. The figures show that there were more than 45,000 hospital operations

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to remove teeth from teenagers and children in 2017/18 – a rise of 18 per cent since 2012/2013. This shows the severity of tooth decay in children today. It can sometimes mean that the treatment has to be

undertaken in a hospital under general anaesthetic rather than at the dentist. In 75 cases, children had to have every single tooth removed – a 40 per cent rise over the period.

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Health Check CAUSE So, what’s causing this shocking rise in severe tooth decay in children? Dentists believe it is down to two main causes: a diet high in sugar and insufficient brushing. The Local Government Association (LGA) urged ministers to introduce measures to cut sugar consumption, including labelling on food packaging. Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the LGA’s community wellbeing board, said: “These figures, which have risen sharply, highlight the damage that excessive sugar intake is doing to young people’s teeth.” “The fact that, due to the severity of the decay, 180 operations a day to remove multiple teeth in children and teenagers have to be done in a hospital is concerning and also adds to current pressures on the NHS. This trend shows there is a vital need to introduce measures to curb our sugar addiction which is causing children’s teeth to rot.” “There must be a reinvestment in innovative oral health education so that parents and children understand the impact of sugar on teeth and the importance of a good oral hygiene regime. Untreated dental care remains one of the most prevalent diseases affecting children and young people’s ability to speak, eat, play, and socialise.”

PREVENTION It sounds obvious, but brushing teeth from an early age is vital. Teach your child how to do it early on and implement it into their routine, so they know that it has to be done every day in the morning and in the evening. Teeth brushing will probably require supervision until the age of about seven. Start off with a children’s toothbrush to make it more fun for the child, such as one with a character on it and bright colours. Use a small smear of fluoride toothpaste. You might find it easier to stand or sit behind your child, with one hand cradling their chin, so you can

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reach both their top and bottom teeth. Once all the teeth are present, or their adult teeth start to show, an adult toothbrush with a small head and soft bristles is recommended. Brush in small, circular motions, concentrating on one section at a time. Don’t forget to brush gently behind the teeth, and onto the gums. Spit after brushing – do not swallow fluoridated toothpaste – but do not rinse, so that the fluoride in the toothpaste stays on the teeth longer. Tooth brushing should be made part of your child’s daily routine, before bed and at least one other time during the day. Some electronic toothbrushes have a time function which will help your child keep up a good standard of brushing.

TOOTHPASTE It’s recommended that children up to three years old should use toothpaste with a fluoride level of at least 1000ppm (parts per million). After three years old, they should use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste that contains 1350ppm to 1500ppm. You can check the level of fluoride on the packing of the toothpaste.

ANXIETY As well as making sure they are brushing their teeth well enough to prevent decay, it's important to go on regular visits to the dentist when your child is small. As important as dentist visits are, parents often let it slip because their child has dental anxiety. It’s vital that you tackle this problem as soon as possible.

✤ Start visiting the dentist with your children in early life to get them used to the sights and smells of the surgery ✤ Explain the importance of oral health from an early age to help them understand why the dentist is necessary ✤ Tell them in advance when they have a visit scheduled so it doesn’t come as a surprise to them ✤ Answer questions with straightforward responses. Let them know they can also ask the dentist questions if they like ✤ Bring a favourite toy as this can provide them with a calming distraction ✤ Stay calm, even if your child throws a tantrum, and follow the dentist’s instructions hc Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 67

12/05/2020 17:48

FLASH CLEANS UP THE IMPOSSIBLE When little ones are the focus of your attention, keeping a home clean and free from harmful germs can seem like a pipe dream. Yet, as little ones start to crawl and explore the home, keeping floors and surfaces dirt free couldn’t be more important. It’s best to store all your cleaning liquids out of reach of young hands – in a child-proof high cupboard if possible. Making sure the cupboard is filled with fast-working, highly effective products like the Flash Ultra Power range which will save you time and ensure the best possible clean. Say hello to your new best friends – Flash Ultra Power Anti-bac Spray teamed up with Flash Extra Thick Microfibre Cloths. Whether you’re blending dinners or in the potty training

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process, the anti-bacterial spray blasts through 100% of dirt, grease and grime whilst our extra thick microfibre cloths even pick up fine dust! In a hurry? The Flash Microfibre Cleaning Pads are perfect for cleaning surfaces and household items – you can use them wet or dry! We know the environment is a concern for you and your children, simply pop these microfibre cloths in the wash to reuse. For when their little legs are on the move, you can rest assured of a deep cleaned floor with the Flash Duo Mop. A mix of microfibre and cotton creates an effective balance of absorbency and dirt pickup, picking up the smallest, microscopic dirt particles and scrubbing off stuck-on

dirt. Pair with the Flash 16L Mop Bucket with easy to use internal measurement marks and simply dose in 2 capfuls of Flash Floor Cleaner. Inspired by traditional cleaning ingredients, new Flash with Bicarbonate of Soda Floor Cleaner leaves shiny floors and an all-new fresh, clean scent. Cherish these fast-paced moments, they’ll be teenagers in a flash! You can use Flash products with confidence, as all are safe for use as intended. For details of all the ingredients in Flash cleaning liquids and other P&G products, you can visit To learn more about Flash cleaning tools and cloths visit

24/01/2020 14:26

Safe for use in homes with children & pets Removes up to 100% of dirt, grease and grime


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24/01/2020 14:27

Health Check

Healthy, Happy and


You may have heard the adage, “A clean home is a happy home”, but a clean home is also a healthy home


ost of us spend at least half of our time inside our homes, without necessarily realising there is a connection between our housing and our health. Keeping your home clean offers a whole host of benefits, from staying fitter to breathing easier. Mundane as they are, letting household chores and checks slip away from you can actually cause harm. Some homes may have health hazards, such as pollution, pests, second-hand smoke, mould and even lead-based paint in older homes. Read on for tips on keeping your home happy, healthy, and hygienic.

JUMP ON GERMS Although most people think of bathrooms as the most germ-ridden spots in the house, in fact the kitchen is the biggest area of concern. “The kitchen is a prime area for germs because of the many crevices that can hold water or splatters of food,” said Dr Stephen Sokalski, an infectious disease specialist. He advises picking an impervious material that can be cleaned with bleach for your countertops, and to sanitise sponges and clothes after 70 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh

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each use. Storing items that tend to clutter countertops in plastic or glass containers is another tactic that helps with cleanliness, as having a clear surface makes it easier to wipe down quickly. While its recommended that you use disinfectant, if you’d prefer a natural alternative, consider using white vinegar or baking soda. Once you’re done with the kitchen, start in on the bathrooms, where the tap, toilet flush, and toilet seats should be regularly cleaned and disinfected to avoid germ build-up.

A simple first step to keeping a clean hom e is to use ma ts a doorways, t all your which wil l reduce th e amount of dirt, bacte ria, chem icals and pestic ides track ed into the h ome.

KEEP PESTS AWAY Bugs and rodents can easily multiply and hide in messy homes. They are attracted to all number of normal household situations, including liquid spills, food debris and dirty pet bowls. As you can imagine, it’s easy to let things slip for even just a short period and end up with pests. But their presence is trouble, as they spread disease-causing bacteria and promote allergies. Regular cleaning, including putting all food away in air-tight containers after each meal, and daily rubbish removal will help to keep pests away and make them visible them before they become an issue.

Healthy home tips ✤ Install smoke alarms on every floor and near all bedrooms

✤ Install carbon monoxide alarms near bedrooms

✤ Do not allow smoking in the home

✤ Have your home tested for lead paint if it was built before 1992

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Health Check snacks—one kitchen was clean, and the other was messy and disorganised. The study found that those in the chaotic kitchen consumed nearly twice as many calories as those in the tidy one. So, whether being fit or being clean came first, they do appear to be related, and it may help your health and heart to put things away after you take them out.


ALLERGIES AND ASTHMA For anyone with allergies and asthma, keeping a tidy home becomes not just a chore, but a necessity. Dust mites, pet dander and mould lurk in carpeting, upholstery and bedding, and can trigger allergic reactions and decrease air quality. Don’t think you’re in the clear if you don’t have allergies or asthma. Living in a home where dust and mould are allowed to flourish increases the chance of contracting it, especially for babies and children. Perhaps consider this an excuse to clear out some of those old belongings you swore to bin years ago but never did. “The more stuff you have in your home, the harder it is to clean,” said Dr Uma Gavan, an allergy and asthma specialist. “Messy areas increase the potential for dust, pet dander and mould to accumulate in closets, on surfaces and in crevices.”

a Sunday morning carrying loads of washing up and down the stairs, scrubbing down the bath, and vacuuming the house can burn enough calories to substitute for a moderate gym session. Keeping tidy also seems to influence healthy eating. Researchers at Cornell University did a study where participants spent time in one of two test kitchens that had both healthy and unhealthy

If nothing else, consider keeping your home clean because it lowers stress. “When you live in a messy home, you are subconsciously reminded of work that need to be finished and, visually, your eyes do not have a place to rest,” says psychiatrist Dr Rian Rowles. “Too much clutter can cause tremendous stress and fatigue. When things take longer to find, or can’t be found, stress levels rise.” Instead of putting your feet up at the end of the day, try get into the mind-set of feeling you’ll be more relaxed once everything is in its place. hc

SCRUB FILTH, STAY FIT? A study done at Indiana University found a correlation between a clean home and physical fitness. This may be a chickenand-egg situation—do fit people have more energy to clean their homes, or are they simply applying discipline to both fitness and cleanliness? Some experts point to the light cardiovascular exercise that comes from regular household work: spending

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Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 71

12/05/2020 16:15


No time to clean? You’re not alone! As parents, it’s often very hard to find the time (and the inclination!) to get the cleaning done while trying to juggle the needs of our children and our own lives & wellbeing at the same time. Yet we know how important a clean home is for the health of our growing children and our own piece of mind. It’s reassuring to know that in a recent survey, 72% of people said that they no longer do big ‘spring cleans’ and are more likely to do ‘little and often’ when they can fit it in. Seems we are all in the same boat: with fewer big chunks of time to dedicate to cleaning. But how do we realistically build this into our busy family lives?


Manage your expectations! Set aside 15 minutes to tackle a specific area. You’ll actually be surprised what you can get through in a focused 15 minutes! AND you’ll feel more productive by taking more bite-sized approaches to the task. 15 minutes a day over a week can actually cover most of your core household cleaning. Engage the little troops! Most children actually love to help with the cleaning. Give them a duster, or a washing up bowl of their toys to clean and they will be well entertained while giving you space to get on with your jobs!

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Cleaning playlist! Music can truly make the time fly and make the task feel more enjoyable. Turn on your favourite tune and get into the rhythm – your little ones will probably enjoy it too! Gather inspiration. Social media brings us many benefits as busy parents and cleaning influencers really help inspire us day to day. 40% of us find Mrs Hinch inspirational and there are many others to follow such as Lynsey Queen of Clean and Aggie MacKenzie. Choose products wisely. Choose cleaning products which will truly save you time. 67% of us feel that cleaning products are getting better and making our lives easier. Innovations in vacuums and other products help save us valuable time so we can spend more time with our families, which is a win-win!

dust pouches hold a whopping 1.6 litres of dirt which means much less time spent emptying and no time spent cleaning any filters! It also locks the dirt safely & hygienically away; so no nasty dust cloud circulating back into your home. Having the power of a corded means that finally a light, easy, quick to use cordless will truly do the thorough job you need it to do…first time! To find out more, visit now for their latest bundle deal offers. And right now, if you use the code ‘HC25’ you can save 10% off your Capsule vacuum cleaner!

There are new cleaning innovations that really help save you time. Halo, a British family-run business, have just released a brand new cordless vacuum to help save time. The Halo Capsule is the first cordless vacuum cleaner to have all the power and capacity of a full size corded vacuum. Their unique compostable

06/04/2020 12:05

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Why use Tempa•DOT™?

It is specifically designed for high accuracy and for the prevention of crosscontamination that can expose patients to infections such as C. difficile, MRSA, Norovirus, and Rotavirus. These infections are easily spread through casual person-to-person and object-to-person contact. Tempa•DOT™ thermometers circumvent this risk by providing a clean, sterile instrument that is used with a single patient and then discarded.

Benefits of using Tempa•DOT

 Reduce the risk of transferring infectious diseases from a thermometer to the child, by virtually eliminating the possibility of pathogen transfer via the thermometer  Doesn’t require batteries, cords, or other accessories  Eliminate time and labour spent on cleaning  No need to recalibrate  Are unbreakable  Create 66% less waste than a probe cover, and significantly less than other thermometers

The accuracy of Tempa•DOT

With the highest level of accuracy available in a clinical thermometer, Tempa•DOT measures to within 0.1 Celsius and permanently locks the temperature in. Medical Indicators r2.indd 1

23/04/2020 16:51

Health Check


Temperatures Unsure what's a safe temperature for your baby or child? We’ve got expert advice on that, plus tips on how to use a thermometer accurately


abies and children are a magnet for all the bugs doing the rounds at the nursery or school - at times, it can feel like as soon as one nose stops running, another one starts! So, it’s vital to be able to spot when your child is running a fever, to monitor it accurately and to recognise if it’s gone too high.


The most popular type of at-home thermometer is an oral one. If you use this type, make sure not to take temperature within 30 minutes of eating or drinking hot or cold food. If you use an ear thermometer, “Wait 15 minutes before measuring ear temperature if your baby has been outside on a cold SPOT THE SIGNS day,” said Dr Donald Macgregor, a Typical signs of fever include a consult paediatrician, senior hotter-than-normal forehead, lecturer in child health, A normal back, or stomach; skin and and spokesperson for temperatu re in bab head feeling sweaty; and the Royal College ies and child ren is abo flushed cheeks. of Paediatrics and ut 36.4˚C, bu t this can More serious signs of Child Health. vary slig htly. A fe illness such as sepsis, Infrared v er is usually c onsidered that might accompany a tympanic to be a tempera ture of 38 temperature include pale thermometers ˚C or above. skin, lips, or tongue; not (ear thermometers) responding to social cues; and digital oral decreased activity; walking only thermometers are fine, with prolonged stimulation; breathing but Dr Mcgregor warns against difficulty; dry mouth or no tears; poor infrared no-touch thermometers which feeding in infants; and producing less you use on a person’s forehead– “Strip urine. If you recognise any of these thermometers, which you stick directly signs, take your child’s temperature on to a child’s forehead, are not accurate immediately and consult a GP. and should be avoided,” he says.

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Never use an old-fashio ned glass type thermom eter containin g mercury.

He also adds that when taking temperatures, “Placing a digital thermometer under the armpit is not a very good place to measure temperature accurately, as you need to leave it there for several minutes. This could be tricky with a wriggly baby, although it is still used in hospital for newborns.”

FOUND A FEVER You can usually look after your baby or child at home when they have a simple fever. Make sure you give them plenty of drinks to avoid dehydration. If you're breastfeeding, make sure to offer your baby plenty of feeds. Contact your GP if your child has other signs of illness or if their temperature is above 38°C if they’re under three months and above 39°C if they’re three to six months. hc Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 75

12/05/2020 16:16

Health Check

Coming Up Short Are your kids short-sighted? If so they’re not alone – but why is there a sudden rise in myopia, and what can we do about it?


t was in 2018 that a study by ophthalmologists in King’s College London concluded that myopia – short-sightedness – was becoming more common among children. The causes were surprisingly diverse, as were the reasons why some children are less likely to be short-sighted. It will be no surprise to many of us to hear that use of smartphones and other digital devices contributes to shortsightedness. But would you also have thought that being born in the Summer made it more likely your kids will suffer from myopia?

EDUCATION Short-sightedness, or myopia, is caused by the lens in the eye being unable to focus on the distance. People with myopia have relatively long eyes, so light is focused in front of the retina (the lightsensitive layer on the back of the eye) instead of directly onto it. A child diagnosed with myopia will continue to get more short-sighted as the eye continues to grow throughout childhood.

THE IVF PUZZLE One factor researchers found likely to decrease the chance of shortsightnedness, by as much as 35 percent, was being born by IVF. The researchers’ theory is that children born through fertility treatment tended to be smaller, leading to slower development of the eyes. Source: King’s College London, Ophthalmology Journal

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The exact causes of myopia are unclear – genetic and environmental factors are both likely to be involved but one factor appears to be ‘insulin signalling’, a function of the digestive metabolism which also appears to influence the normal growth of the eye. Myopia is more prevalent in countries with a Western diet and lifestyle, and many genes that increase the risk of myopia are also involved in fat metabolism. One theory is that that the Western diet of energy-dense foods causes increases in blood glucose and insulin levels, sending increased growth signals to the eyes, which causes the distortion typical of myopia. The King’s study also study found a link between the amount of time spent in school and shortsightedness – in fact the number of diagnoses of myopia rises with every year spent in school. This, the researchers concluded, is to do with the increasing use of digital devices. The

more time spend focusing on nearby objects without giving the eyes a rest, the more difficult it becomes to focus on distant objects.

TWINS The study followed almost 2,000 twins with an average age of 17, who were born between 1994 and 1996, and also referenced a project by scientists from Australia and Singapore which warns that ‘the burden of digital myopia’ is going to soar among the current generation of schoolchildren raised on smartphones and tablets. “Increased digital screen time resulting from gaming, social media, and digital entertainment has led to a rise in sedentary behaviour, poor diet and a lack of outdoor activity,” said Dr Mohamed Dirani and colleagues at the Singapore National Eye Centre. “The use and misuse of smart devices, particularly in our paediatric populations,

12/05/2020 16:20

Health Check

A DEGREE OF MYOPIA Being born in the summer months almost doubles the chances of shortsightedness, and children whose mothers have a degree are also more at risk. Researchers think that both genetics and study habits may be partly responsible. Source: Tel Aviv University, Journal of Ophthalmology

NEW LENSES FOR OLD A three-year study of 256 children in the US called CYPRESS (Control of Myopia Using Peripheral Diffusion Lenses: Efficacy and Safety Study) aims to develop glasses with special lenses to reduce myopia. A year in, the trial shows a reduction in myopia progression of up to 74 percent. Source: Review of Myopia Management.

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must be closely monitored to address the emerging phenomenon of digital myopia.” In the King’s study, overall 26 percent of the participants were myopic, with the average age at which children started to wear glasses being 11. Astonishingly, being born in the summer nearly doubled the risk of being short-sighted. The researchers suggest that children born in the summer in the UK start school earlier, so start close working at a younger age. This could speed up eye growth which is thought to be responsible for short-sightedness. Spending longer playing computer games was thought to contribute to an increase of about three percent in shortsightedness. The findings came as experts predicted that short-sightedness cold affect 4.8 billion people by 2050, up from 2 billion in 2010.

CULTURES Ironically, this is mainly down to the worldwide improvements in education; myopia is seen to increase with every

year in education, and as many more children are spending their childhoods in classrooms rather than playing outside, they tend to suffer more. The problem is at its worst in East Asian countries which have particularly demanding academic cultures. In some Chinese provinces, 67 per cent of children are short-sighted by age 13. Professor Chris Hammond, Frost Chair of Ophthalmology and Head of Academic Ophthalmology at King’s, said: “This is an observational study, so although we can say with confidence that there are correlations between the likelihood of developing myopia and several environmental factors, we cannot say yet that one causes the other. In truth, it is likely that both genetic and non-genetic factors play a role. Bigger studies are needed to better explain how the two interact.” Until more is known, the best policy regarding myopia seems to be less screen time, more outdoor time, a better diet – and try not to give birth in the Summer! hc Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 77

13/05/2020 11:14

Health Check

Vapour Trails Vaping may be safer than smoking, but could it be a gateway to tobacco use for kids?


ealth researchers agree that vaping – using electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes – is safer than smoking tobacco. But they also agree that a lot more research is needed before we understand the possible long-term health implications of vaping. After all, e-cigarettes are an invention of the 2000s, while tobacco smoking has been researched since the 1920s. The supposed advantage of e-cigarettes over smoking tobacco is that they deliver ‘pure’ nicotine directly to the lungs by heating and vapourising a liquid, without the associated carbon monoxide and 7,000 or so other chemicals produced by burning tobacco, at least 69 of which are known to be toxic.

GATEWAY DRUG The e-cigarette industry, which is estimated to be worth $30b by 2022, argues that e-cigarettes are a good way for smokers to wean themselves off tobacco, delivering the chemical 78 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh

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satisfaction and the ritual of smoking without the health consequences; but even though they agree that vaping is less dangerous than smoking, health activists argue that for the young, vaping can act as a ‘gateway drug’ into smoking tobacco. So is there any truth to this, whether by fostering nicotine addiction or merely by imitating the rituals of smoking? Or on the other hand, does the ‘common causes’ effect argue that teenagers who are more inclined to take risks will be equally attracted to both vaping and smoking anyway, so there isn’t a causal connection? In an attempt to answer these questions, researchers from the University of Bristol, funded by the British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK among others, compared 17 studies of vaping and smoking in under-30s from the US, UK, Canada, Mexico, Germany and the Netherlands, taking into account factors that might have influenced the results, such as whether the participants' friends

If I Vape, Can It Harm My Kids? There is no evidence so far that vaping causes harm to other people around you. This is in contrast to smoking, where exposure to second-hand smoke is known to be very harmful to health. Unlike cigarettes, e-cigarettes release no side-stream vapour into the atmosphere, just the exhaled aerosol – and unlike tobacco smoke, e-cigarette vapour dissipates quickly in the atmosphere. Public Health England’s 2018 independent evidence review found that to date, there have been no identified health risks of passive vaping to bystanders, but concluded that a great deal more research needs to be done. Source: NHS

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Health Check smoked, and the use of alcohol and other drugs. Of the 57,514 people in the 17 studies, 4,787 had used e-cigarettes and 52,727 had not. Of those who went on to smoke tobacco, 30 percent were vapers and 8 percent were non-vapers. Non-smokers who had tried e-cigarettes were 2.9 times more likely to go on to smoke tobacco.

STRONGER LINKS While all the study results pointed in the same direction, some showed stronger links between vaping and smoking than others. The researchers found that the links were strongest when they included studies looking at people under 18. The link also seemed stronger in studies done in the UK than the US. While the researchers concluded that there is strong evidence that young people who vape are more likely to go on to smoke, they couldn’t prove a causal connection; in other words, it could just be a matter of ‘common cause’, that more risk-inclined youngsters are more likely to take up both vaping and smoking. An NHS analysis of the report concluded that there are some are questions about the reliability of some

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of the studies. Most relied on teenagers and young people to report whether or not they smoked, which may not have given accurate results, and not all studies tried to account for other factors that could have influenced the results, like attitude to risk-taking behaviour.

NHS RESPONSE So, like previous studies, this summary of this research does not really answer the question of why young people who vape go on to smoke. It could be that young people who would have smoked anyway try vaping first, or it could be that young people who would never have smoked are more likely do so after they try vaping. But the NHS’s response to this report is an interesting one - it concludes that because we do not know the answer to the questions, it’s important that young people are protected from advertising about e-cigarettes and are not encouraged to vape. The NHS says “E-cigarettes should be used only by people who smoke and are trying to stop.” You can read the study in the journal Tobacco Control at hc

What Are the Laws on E-Cigarettes in the UK? The UK has one of the most comprehensive systems of regulation for e-cigarette products in the world. This includes: ✤ Minimum standards of safety and quality ✤ Detailed notification of ingredients ✤ Packaging and labelling requirements ✤ A ban on advertising in print, broadcast, online and other electronic media ✤ A ban on the sale of e-cigarette products to under-18s, and on purchase by adults on behalf of under-18s

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13/05/2020 11:45

Health Check

The Great Outdoors Outdoor play is an essential for kids, and it’s important that we don’t forget the health reasons for getting out of the house


hile we’re all under the coronavirus lockdown, it can be easy to forget the importance of outdoor play

for children. Some of us are lucky enough to have gardens for our kids to play in – if not, it can be difficult to use a local park, and certainly to travel further afield into the countryside. But the current situation won’t last forever, and let’s not get out of the habit of encouraging the kids to get out into the fresh air – if they get used to being shut in, they’ll lose all sorts of health benefits. So if you do have a garden, and if not, once it’s clear to go out of the house, why must we all make the effort to get 80 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh

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our kids active in the outdoors? Here are just a few reasons why our kids need to get out into the fresh air, and why it wouldn’t do us any harm to join them.

MENTAL HEALTH A report by the National Trust in 2012 talked about a phenomenon it called ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’. Quoting the many hours a day children spend watching TV and using the internet, it lamented the decline in the number of children walking to school, running errands to shops or playing in wild places. True, the report noted parents’ concerns about health and safety, traffic

danger, and what it called the ‘obsession with trying to achieve a zero-risk world’, but it concluded that “perhaps uniquely amongst today’s political and social concerns, there is a great deal of consensus around this subject. Parents, teachers, doctors, journalists, social workers, conservationists – and the children themselves – are all united in their belief that children would benefit from greater freedom to explore outdoors.” One of the major benefits, the report concluded, is to mental well-being. As it argued: “Physical and mental health problems are the most obvious consequences of a lack of engagement with nature, but there are others

13/05/2020 12:19

Health Check


In his book Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, writer Richard Louv tells of interviewing a child who said that he liked playing indoors more than outdoors “’’cos that’s where all the electrical outlets are.”

which are less tangible, though equally important. “Principal among these are declining emotional resilience and the declining ability to assess risk, both vital life-skills in the development of which outdoor experience is vital, as child psychologist Professor Tanya Byron has noted: The less children play outdoors, the less they learn to cope with the risks and challenges they will go on to face as adults… Nothing can replace what children gain from the freedom and independence of thought they have when trying new things out in the open.”

PHYSICAL BENEFITS But perhaps the more obvious benefits of outdoor play are physical. While we all know there’s an epidemic of obesity among children, perhaps not enough of

us realise that playing outdoors is one of the best ways to combat it. Tower Hamlets children’s playworker Penny Wilson was quoted in The Guardian as saying : “If you watch a child playing outside they’re just doing so many physical tasks – they run for hours, dig, climb. If you told them to do it they wouldn’t, but they want to because they’re playing. You won’t get that level of physical activity with anything else.” Playing outdoors in a natural environment is also thought to help relieve stress by reducing levels of cortisol, a “stress hormone”, in the brain. It’s the ideal antidote to the



Importantl y, outdoor play allow children’s s bodies to p roduce Vitamin D from its b est natura source, sun l light. Vita min D hel children p ps roduce hea lthy level of seroton s in, essenti al for goo mental hea d lth and co gnitive developm ent

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stressful environments children are often exposed to in busy, noisy urban areas and pressured classrooms, which can lead to anxiety and depression.

BETTER SLEEP Child psychologists agree that with improved physical and mental wellbeing comes increased self-confidence. From having freedom, time and space to learn, grow and develop independence, from discovering nature and how the world works for themselves, from playing with their peers and learning how to interact with others, they’ll learn to overcome obstacles, recover from setbacks and learn from their own mistakes. Regular exercise in the fresh air is also linked to better sleep patterns. Bursts of outdoor play throughout the day mean they will be readier to settle down when it’s time to sleep, and will wake up refreshed, alert and ready to face the new day. As the National Trust report concluded: “We are not trying to put back the clock to some nostalgic, rose-tinted image from the past, like something out of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books. This is all about looking forward, and creating a new world: where the sight of children playing outdoors, without parental supervision, is the norm rather than the exception.” hc Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 81

13/05/2020 12:19

Health Check


Cured by Magic? It might sound a bit Harry Potter, but a management programme called 1-2-3 Magic holds the promise of helping with persistent child behaviour disorders


ll children have times when their behaviour is a problem, but when this becomes persistent, it might be time to consider a psychoeducational parenting programme to help improve the parentchild relationship. One such evidencebased programme is 1-2-3 Magic, which is now being used in the NHS.

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As you might guess from the catchy name, 1-2-3 Magic originated in America, but reporting in the British Journal of Family Medicine, Charlotte Coombes, Parent Support Adviser at North Yorkshire County Council, says that 1-2-3 Magic is supported by the NHS and by the ADHD Information Service. For a child, behavioural disorders (persistent disruptive, deceptive and aggressive behaviours) can highlight a risk for greater problems in adult life, and evidence shows there can be a significant impact on a child’s social and educational development and a greater risk of social, physical and mental health problems in adult life.

BEST SELLER The 1-2-3 Magic programme was developed by American psychologist Thomas Phelan, using clinical experience working with children with clinically diagnosed behavioural problems. His books on the technique have sold more than 1.5 million copies in 22 languages.

2. Encouraging good behaviours (eating properly, completing tasks, homework, fulfilling promises, respecting others) 3. Strengthening the parent-child relationship (active listening, shared fun, praise and reward).


Coaching of parents should be delivered by 1-2-3 Magic trained practitioners and it is recommended that it is delivered as three, two-hour workshops, each held a week apart. This scheduling is important to embed the learnings in manageable sections, while providing the opportunity for new techniques to be put into practice and personal experiences to be discussed in the following session.

Charlotte Coombes says that the advantage of the programme’s techniques is that they can be learned and applied by parents, so it’s a low-cost intervention which is easy to deliver in the community through group sessions, as well as in the home setting. So how does it work? 1-2-3 Magic is a ‘parent-incharge’ intervention that aims to eliminate arguing, shouting and physical punishment. The principles are based on establishing the role of parenting consisting of three tasks: 1. Controlling unacceptable behaviour (arguing, aggression, whinging and tantrums)

Essentially, the technique encourages parents to stay calm and divide behaviours into ‘stop’ behaviours (for example back chat, aggression) and ‘start’ behaviours (for example, politeness and attentiveness). The 1,2,3 of the programme name comes from a simple counting regimen that ‘warns’ the child, and provides stages for correction, before they face a ‘time out’. ‘Start’ behaviour techniques involve positive reinforcements. Find out more about your local availability of the 1-2-3 Magic programme at hc


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Growing up

Oh Mg! - Why Kids

Need Magnesium You can boost your child’s immune system by supplementing their diet — here’s what they need, from magnesium to Omega 3


hether it’s winter sniffles or summer allergies, if your kids have a constant low level of illness, maybe the problem is with their immune systems. Because seasonal infections can mutate from year to year, it’s important to keep your kids’ immune system in peak condition all year around. So what can we do to boost the immune system? Diet is the main key, from essential minerals such as magnesium to complex compounds like Omega-3 fatty acids. All these help the body’s defence mechanisms against infectious organisms, the causes of minor gastro-intestinal and respiratory infections.

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MagnesiuM The common element magnesium (chemical symbol Mg) plays a huge role in many processes including the enzymatic system, essential for digestion and immunity. A proper magnesium level is essential for sleep, mood, concentration, energy levels, bone and teeth health, blood sugar levels, bowel regulation, and absorption of other essential nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D. Magnesium deficiency due to poor diet or stress can cause muscle weakness and cramps, poor sleep, tiredness, depression, memory problems and poor concentration.

Magnesium is normally provided by our diets, but many people, including children, struggle to get the recommended amount and may need to add a magnesium supplement to their daily routine. Magnesium supplements are entirely safe to take in the correct quantities; recommended daily dose is ✤ 80 mg/day for 1-3 years ✤ 130mg/day for 4-8 ✤ 240mg/day for 9-13. ✤ For 14-18 years, females should aim for 360mg/day, males 410mg/day. But why are we in the situation where many kids have a magnesiumdeficient diet? The answer is that

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“I can actually tell the difference when my son does not take his magnesium. I highly recommend this product.”







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Growing up modern diets are often high in processed, packaged and sugary foods and low in fruit and vegetables, and many foods once considered high in magnesium are no longer mineralrich as modern farming methods have depleted the soil. If we can’t rely on these foods to provide us with as much magnesium as they used to, we may need to supplement them with other forms of magnesium. It's often worth considering a supplement which includes other minerals such as zinc. An ideal diet for the immune system and gut health would include: ✤ Fresh fruit and vegetables, containing iron ✤ Poultry, meat and fish ✤ Whole grains and legumes (lentils, peas, chickpeas, beans, soybeans, peanuts) ✤ Eggs ✤ Nuts, seeds and berries ✤ Water Try to cut down on packaged and processed foods such as: ✤ Crisps ✤ Chocolate and sweets ✤ Cakes and biscuits ✤ Fruit juices and cordials

All of these should be given only occasionally as treats. Fruit juices should be limited because they are high in sugars and can cause inflammation and conditions such as dysbiosis, an imbalance in the gut bacteria.

OMEGA 3 Other essential elements of a healthy diet include Omega-3 fatty acids such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). They can be found in fish, flaxseeds, walnuts, soybeans, tofu, canola oil, and soybean oils. Again, fish oil supplements can be a help if there is not enough omega-3 in the diet.

The Omega 3 Message Omega 3 DHA is needed to ensure that your child’s brain is functioning normally1, but is your child getting enough from their diet?

REST AND PLAY In addition to a good diet and dietary supplements, children should have time to rest to protect their immune system. Follow a set pattern of relaxation and sleep for the best results. From the age of one to two, aim for 11-14 hours sleep, from three to five, 11-13 hours of sleep per night, and for schoolchildren between the ages of six and 13, aim for nine to 11 hours of sleep per night. That way they should build a strong immune system, be able to ward off the seasonal sniffles and develop a healthy basis for growth and development. hc

We all know that the best way for children to get the nutrients they need is by eating a balanced and healthy diet. But with so many health messages out there the Omega 3 message can be forgotten. In the last decade, oily fish intake has barely changed and remains consistently below dietary guidelines. This situation is worse for children, with research suggesting that only 4.5 per cent of 2-to-18-year-olds ate the recommended amount each week2. The NHS and scientific community all agree that consuming oily fish, a rich source of the omega 3 fat DHA2, helps to maintain normal brain function. This is of particular importance for parents’ keen to ensure that their child’s brain has all the Omega 3 it needs. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supports normal brain function and normal vision, the beneficial effect is obtained with a daily intake of 250mg of DHA


2 uploads/2019/06/HSIS-Dietary-Trendsreport-2019.pdf

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26/03/2020 09:50

Growing up

Insights Into Incontinence FACT Girls often develop bladder c ontrol before bo ys.

As a parent, you’re probably looking forward to leaving nappies behind. But what’s normal and what’s not when it comes to children’s little accidents?


uccessfully potty training your little one is such a milestone for toddler, mum, and dad that the inevitable bedwetting that comes after a night without nappies can feel like a let-down. But don’t let pulling the pull-ups back out discourage you and your child. While many children gain control of their bladders around age three, urinary incontinence, the involuntary passing of urine, is not uncommon up to age seven.

What’s normal? Though it varies from child to child, physicians generally advise that between the ages of two and four, children start being able to control their bladders to some extent. However, as accidents are common at that young age, doctors do not formally diagnose incontinence until age five to six for diurnal, or daytime, incontinence and age seven for nocturnal, or night-time, incontinence. In fact, research shows that around 10 percent of seven-year-olds and five percent of 10-year-olds still wet the bed. If you’re worried about enuresis— the medical term for involuntary urination—then consult your GP. But if you think you may be dealing with normal incontinence, try these tips first.

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Pre-bed routines If your child has bed-wetting issues, a good pre-bed-time routine can help. Make sure to establish a healthy and regular eating and drinking habit throughout the day, and ensure your child uses the bathroom before they get in bed. If you’re facing regular night-time accidents, a bed-wetting alarm could be worth exploring. The alarm, which has a sensor attached that goes off when wet, should over time help your child learn when they need to wake up and use the toilet. Although not available on the NHS, you may be able to borrow one from your local enuresis or continence clinic.

sWimming lessons Every child is dutifully instructed not to pee in the swimming pool. Apart from the obvious hygiene implications, the nitrogen compounds in urine can react with the chlorine put in swimming pools as a decontaminant to create chloramines, which can irritate the eyes, skin, nose and breathing passages. In some cases, it can even trigger asthma attacks. Urine isn’t the only possible contaminant in pools – there’s also

faecal bacteria, sweat, skin cells, deodorant, and makeup to consider – but particularly where young children are involved, urine is the main offender. There’s no truth in the tale that pools contain chemicals which will turn red or blue to expose an offender, but it’s a handy myth to promote! Fortunately, there’s now a good selection of swimming nappies and incontinence swimwear on the market, so when accidents in the pool are unavoidable, you can still cater for all ages.

accidents haPPen It’s important to be patient with your little one and yourself. Small things that make handling these incidents easier, like investing in a mattress protector or keeping spare bedding handy, can go a long way when it comes to being faced with another clean-up. Often times, incontinence is triggered by anxiety, which can be set off by worrying about wetting the bed. Reassuring your child, using kind language and avoiding blame will all go a long way in breaking this cycle. hc Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 89

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Growing up

Extra Tuition

– Is It Right For Your Kids?

Over a qu year-olds arter of 11-16 say they in the UK private tu have received it 41 percen ion, rising to t in Lond on. Sourc

e: Nat Education ional Foundation fo al Resea r the Sutton rch survey for Trust, 2019

There are many good reasons for wanting to invest time and money in extra tuition for your kids. Here are some of the most important.


ith academic success being regarded as increasingly important, and examination pressure becoming a worry even for the most able children, is it worth you thinking about investing some time and money in extra tuition for your kids? Storm McGrath, CEO at Kip McGrath Education Centres, explains the effect on students long-term. “If a student skips some of the building blocks in the learning process, they struggle to get the solid foundations they need for high school, tertiary education, and beyond. Early intervention is key.” Whether it’s at home, online, or in an outside facility, it seem there are plenty of reasons to think extra tuition could be helpful for your children’s development and future happiness. Here are some of the crucial factors. ✤   Teaching raTios One of the problems with the conventional school environment is that teacher-to-pupil ratios can be disadvantageous. With private tuition, operating on a one-to-one basis or in small groups, you’re guaranteed that your child will get individual attention and close review of their work. ✤  T   eacher choice We’ve all heard stories of children who wouldn’t learn because

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they didn’t get on with their teacher. With private tuition you get to choose a teacher matched to your children’s learning style. ✤   homework Sometimes kids need help with homework that their parents can’t provide. With private tuition, homework can be individually tailored to be manageable and enjoyable ✤   exam preparaTion Taking exams is a skill in itself, and private tuition gives pupils the chance to learn exam skills as well as being prepared for specific tests ✤   confidence boosTing Part of the task of a private tutor is to promote a pupil’s potential and boost confidence in their own abilities, opportunities often missed in a large class. Pupils are more likely to come forward and ask questions in a smaller group rather than in a large class.

✤   promoTes success Because private tuition is successfocussed, pupils’ drive to perform is enhanced, and they are encouraged to perform to the peak of their potential. ✤  innovaTion Conventional teaching can become formulaic and hide-bound, while experimental methods in pruvate teaching may suit your child better. Start looking into extra education at independent sites such as www. hc

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YOUR CHILD MAY NEED TUTORING In a busy classroom, full of distractions, children can sometimes miss important information. As the class progresses, children can get left behind, afraid to ask for help. These gaps in learning can have long-lasting effects, especially in English and maths. Storm McGrath, CEO at Kip McGrath Education Centres, explains the effect on students long-term. “If a student skips some of the building blocks in the learning process, they struggle to get the solid foundations they need for high school, tertiary education, and beyond. Early intervention is key”.

Children silently struggling in class can begin to show signs of unease at home, which may be difficult for parents to pinpoint. Parents might see changes in mood, self-esteem, or academic results. Parents noticing the signs are then faced with three options: hope that the child improves on their own, attempt to teach the child at home, or seek support from a professional tutor. Unlike ‘homework help’, professional tutoring is highly focused teaching that can identify gaps in learning. Qualified tutors have the time and skills to teach a student the concepts they have missed before helping them catch up and keep up in class. McGrath explains, “through this process, students become more confident, not only in class but within themselves. They begin to enjoy learning again.”

Signs your child may be struggling with schoolwork might include:


Reluctance to Discuss Schoolwork

If your child becomes fidgety, frustrated, or changes the subject when asked direct questions about a class subject, this may be cause for concern. While a child who enjoys learning is happy to discuss school, a child struggling in class may find it uncomfortable to talk about. By asking softer questions, actively listening, and making your child feel comfortable enough to open up, you will gain more insight into the challenges they might be facing.

Professional Tutoring

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Taking Excessive Amounts of Time to Complete Homework

Most parents will experience push-back from their child about homework at some point. If it is persistent, it can be a problem. If your child has been prescribed 15 minutes of homework each night by his or her teacher but they need 60 minutes to complete the tasks, this should be a signal to you that they are struggling with the work. Speak to your teacher to confirm your instincts that something may be amiss or contact a professional tutoring service like Kip McGrath Education Centres for a free learning assessment.

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Changes in Behaviour or Mood

While your child is still learning how to manage emotions and develop self-control, it is important to observe when flare ups occur. Regular, inexplicable changes in mood around school related activities are a red flag. If your child was previously an independent learner then suddenly becomes increasingly needy or frustrated about homework, it may be a sign he or she is overwhelmed.

Disruptive in Class

Students struggling with learning gaps might respond to being overwhelmed by being disruptive in class. Children and teens often find it difficult to admit they are uncomfortable with the workload in front of them, especially when they see their classmates coping when they feel overloaded. They may react with frustration, anger, or emotional outbursts. If your child is usually well-behaved and has been recently acting out, it is important to discuss their learning and behaviour with a trusted teacher.


Low Grades or Teacher Concern

While it may seem obvious, some parents avoid confirming the evidence provided to them that their child is in fact, falling behind. If a student has missed key concepts and is falling behind in class, it can have a compounding effect; the longer it takes for a parent to take action, the harder it becomes for the child to catch up with his or her peers.

Kip McGrath Education Centres offer free assessments for school students. The assessment can be done live online, or face to face in a Kip McGrath Centre. Parents will receive a snapshot of the student’s current abilities as well as identifying any learning gaps. A learning programme is then developed for each child specific to their needs to help them catch up and keep up in class. To book a free assessment, either online or at one of Kip McGrath’s 260+ locations, visit

English and Maths • Primary - Secondary • Qualified Teachers • Personalised Learning Programmes

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Back-to-School Essentials

Overwhelmed with the prospect of back-to-school shopping? Here’s a handy breakdown of just the essentials.


ccording to a consumer website, parents in the UK spend roughly £191 on back-to-school shopping per child. This includes items like clothes, shoes, stationery supplies, and more. If you have multiple children, these costs can add up. This also doesn’t include additional costs like field trips, student fees, or replacement items. Sometimes it feels like you may be buying items that may only be used a few times. Instead, consider cutting down that shopping list by only purchasing the key essential items. We’ve scoured the Internet to narrow it down to what we think are the necessities.

CLOTHES Obviously, your child can’t go to school without some clothes on! With private schools (and some public schools) in the UK offering uniforms for direct sale, it’s an easy straightforward purchase (if not necessarily the cheapest). However, if the direct sale option is not available, it’s your responsibility to make sure that whatever you buy is practical, economical, and meets uniform guidelines. There’s some space to express personality, but make sure you don’t waste money on anything that isn’t going to be acceptable to the school authorities. After checking the school’s requirements for trousers, skirts, jackets, blazers, caps and so on, here are a few additional items that may need to buy:

Losing School Supplies The best way to save money on back-to-school essentials? Don’t lose them in the first place. Use these tips to avoid replacing lost supplies. PERSONALISE THEM. Since many parents opt for the bargain option, there’s a good chance that other school children will have similar supplies. To avoid confusion, get a label maker or customize these supplies yourself. Add a little extra touch to differentiate these supplies from the others. BE CONSISTENT. When your children get home from school, try to get them to keep their things in a designated area. For example, workbooks on the kitchen table when they’re working, but in their backpack when it’s not in use. BUY LESS. The fewer items your child has, the less they have to keep track of. Don’t bother purchasing the ‘deluxe’ boxes of pencils if you just need the basics.

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✤   Socks and undergarments. For obvious reasons. ✤   Trainers. For everyday use and for physical education. ✤   Everyday outdoor clothing. This includes items like trousers, shirts, jumpers, and coats. Make sure anything you buy is suitable for the seasonal weather conditions.

Quality When it comes to clothing, remember, quality over quantity. Although a £2 sale item at a chain store may sound enticing, the quality of the material may not hold up for the entire school year. Think of your purchases as an investment. If you are willing to pay a bit more for a more durable material, that item will hold up for several years which will save you money in the long run. This rule especially applies to you if your children are a bit older since they’ve finished growing (or they’re close to finished). They can continue to wear these clothes into their teenage years and maybe even adulthood!

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Style over FaShion As Yves Saint Laurent said, “Fashion fades, style is eternal.” Though social pressures from peers may have your children begging you to get them the trendiest clothes, giving in and purchasing the latest fashions will break the bank. Following fashion trends limits your outfit choices, since these individual pieces may not work well with other pieces in your child’s wardrobe. Instead, focus on buying the staples first. Plain clothing like white t-shirts or a plain pair of jeans are items that will never go out of style. Plus, standard apparel allow your bolder pieces to shine. Once you have a solid set of basic items, tailor any additional purchases to your children’s styles. Careful choice of colours, patterns, and accessories are enough to completely change a child’s look.

Did you know? ✦  C   rayola produces nearly 3

billion crayons each year. Excluding weekends, that’s an average of roughly twelve million produced per day! The most popular colour? Blue. ✦  B   efore erasers were invented, people used white bread as an alternative. The bread was decrusted, moistened, and balled up before being used to erase pencil marks. ✦  T   he Derwent Pencil Factory, the last pencil factory in the UK, makes 14 million pencils every year!

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Don’t splash out in advance on flashy items which may only be required for a short time like a backpack, writing utensils, and workbooks are must-buy supplies, but when it comes to things like geometry sets, coloured markers, or white-out, these items aren’t so necessary. Don’t splash out in advance on flashy items which may only be required for a short time. For instance a geometry set might be useful for a term, but it might then be put aside completely. It’s the kind of thing you could delay buying until it’s necessary, and could possibly find second-hand.

ACCESSORIES Outside of clothing and school supplies, the main item to think about is bags and containers. One of the necessities (depending on your child’s lunch

arrangements) may be a lunch box. You can always throw a juice box, sandwich, and carrot sticks in a plastic bag, but for a more ecologically conscious solution, buy small food storage containers. These are more environmentally friendly and better at sealing in liquids and preventing sandwiches from getting squished. A reusable water bottle is the matching solution for drinks, and don’t forget that a water bottle is equally good for milk or low-sugar fruit drinks. By making smart purchases early on, you will be able to save money and prevent yourself from spending on unnecessary items. Then when you need to budget for school trips or other expenses, you’ll have something left in the kitty. hc

CHOOSING A SCHOOL BAG Physiotherapist Aoibhin McGreal suggests these tips for choosing a comfortable school bag. DOUBLE UP. A bag with two wide, padded, adjustable shoulder straps (and preferably a waist strap too) distributes weight better than one with a single strap and prevents scoliosis (curvature of the spine). FIT TO CARRY. Check that your child’s posture is correct when carrying the bag – if they are leaning forward, it’s too heavy or not properly adjusted. Make sure it sits in the middle of the back, not too high or too low. PACK FOR ACTION. Pack heavier items closer to the back and lighter items to reduce strain on back muscles.

Images: Shutterstock

LIGHTEN THE LOAD. Don’t pack books that aren’t needed for that day. Remove any unnecessary items. Don’t carry more water than is necessary. WEIGH IT OUT. The weight of the packed school bag should not be more than 10-15 percent of the weight of the child.

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Home School Tips

for the First-time Teacher Although teaching may be new territory for most adults, here are a few tips and tricks to make learning at home a bit easier.


ith schools being closed during the coronavirus quarantine, many parents had to take a home school approach to learning for the first time. You never know when these skills might be useful again, so here are our top tips for home tutoring.

CREATE YOUR SPACE Living room, or kitchen table? Will you be needing a whiteboard to explain your teachings? Or can you make do with using the refrigerator? Determine where you want to set up the learning space and stick to it. Make sure you choose a space that is separate from your child’s bedroom to differentiate an environment for learning and an environment for fun and relaxation. If you don’t already have the bare necessities like pencils, paper, and journals, stock up on them. Acting as the teacher, it may be helpful to get supplementary items like storage bins for your child’s textbooks and work. Having a computer or tablet nearby may also be useful if you ever need Internet access.


difficult time. Be forgiving of yourself and your children. This is new territory for most people. Understand that everyone learns differently. Adapt your lessons to cater to your child’s learning style. If lecturing about maths isn’t working, try a handson approach using objects. Does your child work better with other people? Set up a Zoom call with some of his or her classmates to see if they would be available to take part in some online group activities.

According to government legislation, “You must make sure your child receives a full-time education from the age of five, but you do not have to follow the national curriculum.” When learning from home, keep a routine but allow some flexibility. A strict schedule may create a negative learning environment during an already

Learning doesn’t have to be boring. Make the best of the situation by using it to create good memories together. Gamify your lessons. Host a trivia gameshow when studying up on geography. Create a scavenger hunt using riddles based on history. Create word scramble

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worksheets for languages. These are merely some home school suggestions. Do what works best for you and your child during this quarantine. But one tip we do strongly recommend: Don’t forget to wash your hands before lunchtime! hc


EHE or Elective Home Education is the term sometimes used to describe a choice by parents to provide education for their children at home or in some other way they desire, instead of sending them to school full-time. This can include private tutors or online tuition, or other locations, or even an element of school education (’flexi-schooling’). For more guidance see the documents on EHE at

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Time to Talk Tech Electronic devices can be great for entertainment and education, but do we know enough about how using them affects our kids?


echnology advances at what some of might think an alarming rate – while the younger generation seem to take to smartphones, tablets and laptops like ducks to water, parents might sometimes feel locked out of a fast-moving digital world. As for the older generations, there are serious fears that lack of access to technology might leave them disenfranchised on a world that increasingly demands access to digital technology and online information. But it’s important that parents keep up, because a lack of knowledge of how children use and sometimes abuse technology can leave them in a dangerous state of ignorance while generations of children are practically being raised by electronic devices. 98 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh

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Most parents see the value in technology - the Internet allows us to find whatever we are looking for at the click of a mouse, headphones connected to a tablet can keep your toddler preoccupied for hours without giving you a headache, and the neverending number of online apps can increase productivity while giving us endless hours of entertainment. But does all this technology come with associated dangers? Can excessive ‘screen time’ actually delay child development? It’s certainly a possibility according to a recent report.

DEVICES A recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Calgary and University of Waterloo in Canada followed over two thousand

screen time Recommendations The NHS reports various screen time recommendations for babies and toddlers: ✦ Children under the age of one should be physically active several times a day in a variety of ways, for at least 30 minutes, particularly through "interactive floor-based play." ✦ Children under the age of two should not spend any time passively watching screens. ✦ Children between the ages of two and five should not watch more than one hour of sedentary screen time in the span of 24 hours.

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STRATEGIES If you or your kids find phones and tablets too addictive, here are some strategies to cut down on screen time. SOCIALISE—IN REAL LIFE. Rather than passively socialise with your friends through social media, meet up with them and have a face-to-face conversation. SET A TIMER. Adjust your settings in your devices to limit how much time per day on it. SET PARENTAL CONTROLS. For Android, use the Family Link app to manage apps and set screen time limits. For iOS, go to Settings > General > Restrictions to limit apps and features. GET A HOBBY. Scrolling through Instagram is an easy way to kill lots of time, but it doesn’t teach you much. Look for educational apps, or even better, put the phone down and do something in real life!

children from birth up to the age of five, with screen time assessments performed from age to years onwards. The data collected from the ongoing cohort study of mothers and children in the country was used to see whether reported screen time was associated with child developmental delay. “Screen time” was defined as any time a child watched or interacted with a device containing a screen such as television sets, tablets, and smartphones. After recruiting over three thousand pregnant women between 2008 and 2010, the team would follow up with the mother and their child at ages 4, 12, 24, 26, and 60 months. During the assessments, mothers would provide the team with the amount of hours their child spent in front of screens.

RESULTS The conclusion of the report was that one in four children in the study showed signs of developmental delay, such as communication problems, when they start school. However, based on the study, the team was unable to prove that higher screen time definitely impairs

development. Additionally, the study acknowledged the fact that the population sample was specifically from one region in the country containing mostly white ethnicity and from higher income households. Based on these variables, this conclusion may not be the same for other sample groups.

MODERATION Other online studies have found that excessive screen time can harm children’s health in other ways, like promoting obesity and disrupting sleep. But before you start gathering up all your gadgets and putting them in the recycling bin, bear this in mind; these negative side effects were found in participants who reported more than two hours of screen time per day. In another study done by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, college students who cut their screen time to under thirty minutes per day “were less lonely and depressed, even after just three weeks.” Instead of fearing the worst and banning technology altogether, consider adapting your control of your children’s use of devices to ensure that your child grows up happy and healthy. hc

Ear This

Other form s of techno logy can be ha rmful to ch ildren if n used prop ot erly. Soun d levels on headphon adult es peak at about 115 equivalen decibels, t to a loud train, and cause hea can ring loss a fter just 15 of listenin minutes g at that level ever For kids, lo y day. ok for spec ial headp limited to hones 85 or 90 d ecibels (dB and limit ), use to two hours a day.

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Cover Your Family Today Family insurance can cover all sorts of emergencies, from loss of income to unexpected death. What do you need to know to protect your family's financial future?


ccording to ABI, the Association of British Insurers, the number of UK households covered by life and income protection policies actually decreased in 2019. This could mean that many families would have immediate difficulty if they lost income through illness or death. Fortunately, family insurance can cover these eventualities.

HARDSHIP In the sad case of the death of a family member, the situation is only made worse if the result is financial hardship. Family insurance not only covers the costs of day-to-day living expenses, it can also help with one-off expenses such as a funeral. Like all insurance policies, family insurance is a security blanket, in this case one that allows you and your family to take a moment to breathe while handling a loss. The payout from a life insurance 100 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh

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policy could also be put towards funding monumental moments in your children’s lives, such as higher education, a wedding, or even their first home. These expenses could all be covered by family insurance if you and/ or your partner die unexpectedly.

BUSINESS In addition to protecting you and your family, insurance can help protect your company. If you are a vital member of a business or team, a life insurance policy can help keep the business afloat following your passing. This also acts as a cushion to protect your colleagues, leaving a legacy of support. Some employers provide their employees with a certain level of life insurance, but it’s worth checking whether it will be enough to cover your family’s needs, and whether it would be worthwhile purchasing an additional life insurance policy for the protection of you and your family. hc

What Insurance Do I Need? When it comes to protecting your family, there are many types of insurance available, including: ✤ Life. The standard one that everyone should have. This sum is intended to act as a financial cushion for your family. ✤ Health/Critical Illness. As one’s health depreciates over time, more and more health-related issues can show up as with age. ✤ Income Protection. Being unemployed can be a financially stressful experience. Income protection is an insurance policy that can help you get by during a time when you’re unable to work. ✤ Homeowners. Protecting your property and assets against loss, damage and liability – you can even cover your pets.

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Ready, Steady,

Don’t Cook

Does a ready meal have to be unhealthy? If your day is hectic and you want to produce a healthy family meal, there are quick options that don’t compromise on taste or nutrition


ready meal is a popular way to save food preparation time – all you have to do is heat and eat. But traditionally, these supermarket specials are packed full of additives, processed ingredients, sugar and salt, delivering an instant taste hit but not a health win. So, is it possible to find healthy and nutritious ready meals for you and your kids? Not all ready meals are as bad as we are lead to believe. The trick is spotting the right ones. Home cooking might be best, but a healthy ready meal should live up to the same high standards of ingredients and preparation. Finding the right ones is a matter of checking the ingredients and the producer’s standards.

Know THE SoURCE One of your main concerns could be the source of foods, particularly of meat. It may be important to you to know that the

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ingredients are locally sourced, to reduce its carbon footprint – and you might also have concerns about the conditions in which livestock is kept. Find out as much as you can from the packaging and website of the suppliers and look for information about their ethical practices. The ingredients list is obviously a major source of information. Apart from the basic meats or vegetables, what has been added? Packaging should tell you if genetically modified material or hydrogenated vegetable oils have been added, and of course you should look out for information on added salt, sugar, and fats found commonly in processed foods.

SidES and VEgETablES It sounds obvious, but your child needs vegetables to be healthy. Many ready meals don’t come with side vegetables, which means you’ll either have to cook them yourself (which defeats the

purpose of a ready meal) or not give your child vegetables at all. For best value, choose products that contain everything you need to make a balanced meal. The best ready meals usually contain at least one of your five-a-day. It’s better to take your time making sure the meal has vegetables included so that your little one doesn’t miss out on important nutrients.

FRozEn oR CHillEd? Many people believe that fresh ready meals are better than frozen. But in fact, they can be equally nutritious, as long as the ready meal was made with fresh ingredients to start with. Chilled food actually often contains higher level of salt or preservatives to lengthen its shelf life, so if you aren’t sure, frozen is a perfectly good way to go. To save time, choose ready meals that can be cooked from frozen to save time on de-frosting. hc Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 103

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GROW YOUR OWN MUSHROOMS Packed full of nutrients and minerals nothing beats the flavour of freshly picked mushrooms. Or the satisfaction that comes with growing your own mushrooms and the fun of watching them grow. Merryhill Mushrooms is a small family run business nestled at the foot of the South Downs in West Sussex, spanning 4 generations and over 100 years of mushroom growing experience. “Mushrooms are definitely in the genes!” Using Grandad’s expertise we have perfected a range of easy Indoor Grow at Home Mushroom Kits including Chestnut (brown), White and Shiitake.

“Fascinating to see the root network grow through the little window in the box”

“Have never tasted mushrooms so good, Will carry growing our own from now on.”

“So exciting to see the mushrooms rise from the soil!”

The kits are both educational and fascinating and come with easy to follow instructions. Children can start the kits, spray them daily and watch progress until the tiny mushrooms appear, they then double in size each day. Once picked, more will follow and each kit will produce several weeks worth of cropping. Perfect while we are all spending more time at home.

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Health Check

Marvellous Mushrooms Mushrooms are fun to grow and healthy to eat – and kids love finding out about them.


f you’re looking for something to do in lockdown that will keep the kids fascinated, teach them something and contribute to the family budget, think about mushrooms – not something most of us do enough. Mushrooms are fascinating because finding out about them teaches us something about the worlds of nature and nutrition, while growing them yourself (much easier than hunting for them in the wild, which can be dangerous!) gives us an interesting little project the whole family can take part in. So what are mushrooms? Well, strictly speaking, as part of the kingdom of fungi, they’re not plants – they’re what’s known as saprophytes. Rather than using chlorophyll to turn light energy and ground minerals into nutrients, saprophytes live directly off dead organic matter. Mushrooms, for instance, usually live on the products of dead trees and plants. The living body of a mushroom is a web-like mycelium which can spread over many miles. The part we’re used to seeing is the nutrient-filled ‘fruit’

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which spreads the reproductive spores. Mushroom ’fruit’ takes many forms including cups, balls, truffles, brackets, ‘birds nests,’ ‘corals’ and many other types, many of which are delicious to eat – but others are poisonous and must be avoided.

NUTRITIOUS Edible mushrooms are very nutritious, a good source of Vitamin B, particularly niacin and riboflavin, high in protein and polysaccharides and low in fat and calories. Among the most delicious types are Shiitake mushrooms, which are said to have health benefits and are certainly also very nutritious. The fun part about growing your own mushrooms – and it’s very easy to do, you can buy grow packs containing ‘baby’ mushrooms and nutrients – is that they grow so quickly. This is because the ‘fruit’ grows by cell expansion, filling up with water, rather than by conventional plant cell reproduction. So whether you choose a familiar ‘chestnut’ type, exotic ‘oyster’ or gourmet Shiitake, you‘ll have a crop blooming in days rather than weeks. hc

MUSHROOM FACTS ✤ Mushrooms have no skin, so

they lose water very easily – grow them in a humid atmosphere ✤ Mushrooms like to be warm, like we do! – a good experiment is to measure growth rate at different temperatures ✤ Mushroom spores grow on the ‘gills’ on the underside and are usually dispersed by the wind ✤ Shiitake mushrooms have a unique flavour and are widely used in Japanese and Chinese recipes, fresh or dried, sliced and sautéed with butter and parsley, or in Miso soup .

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*use discount code Healthychild for a 10% discount at check out valid 15th Mar 20 to 15th Sept 20.

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Snack Hacks Step away from the biscuits and make yourself a smoothie, or you and your child may face the health consequences.


ccording to the NHS, children maintaining a healthy weight tend to become more selfconfident and gain a better ability to learn. By adopting a healthy lifestyle early, your child can establish good habits as they continue to grow into adulthood.

HEALTHY EATING In addition to gaining self-confidence and sharper mental focus, a healthy diet has numerous positive effects to the human body. The World Health Organization states that healthy nutrition contributes to decreasing the risk of health problems such as obesity, cardiovascular diseases, cancers, and eating disorders. As the adult, it’s important that you help guide kids to develop healthy eating habits. Here are a few suggestions for success. ✤ PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH. Since children learn by example, be conscious of your actions and don’t demonstrate bad eating habits yourself.

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✤ MAINTAIN PORTION CONTROL. Although you may be a fully grown adult, your child is not. Keep this in mind when plating up dinner by serving child-size portions to the kids. ✤ REDUCE THE SUGAR. Not only does sugar increase the risk of tooth decay, sugary foods also tend be in higher in calories and low in nutrients. ✤ FIND HEALTHIER ALTERNATIVES. Banning bad foods tends to lead to overindulging when a junk food presents itself. Instead, seek healthier options. For example, veggie crisps instead of potato, sorbet instead of ice cream, or grilled chicken instead of fried.

OBESITY By keeping these tips in mind, your child should be better equipped to avoid health issues later down the road. However, if your child is already dealing with weight problems, it is crucial that you address the issue. Children that are overweight or obese are at a greater risk of developing long-term health problems in adulthood. hc

PICKY EATERS Kids can be the harshest food critics. If you’re tired of fussy toddlers, here are some tried and trusted options that are both tasty and nutritious. POPCORN. This is a healthy whole grain–so long as you don’t drown it in unhealthy toppings. Use caution for younger children as this snack can be a choking hazard. SMOOTHIES. A more nutritious alternative to fruit juice, this drink can hide the taste of veggies while still gaining all the health benefits. FRUIT LOLLIES. These are the perfect healthy sweet treats for the summer.

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Staying Safe


in the Sun

Although vitamin D is essential to the body, too much sun exposure can cause some severe damage — especially for the young ones. How should we protect against it?


day out at the beach can quickly go pear-shaped if safety precautions aren’t taken into consideration. Unprotected exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can lead to blistering skin, irritated eyes, and even skin cancer in later years. According to the British Skin Foundation, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the UK — and incidences continue to rise. With at least 100,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the country, it is vital to take the necessary steps to protect you and your children.

SUN SAFETY TIPS When it comes to sun protection, the National Health Service advises that people cover up, seek shade, and slather on the sunscreen. If not, you may have to face the repercussions in the form of cancer, cataracts, or immune system suppression. Before you book your next trip to the Bahamas (or even, perish the thought, a sunny spot in the UK), consider using these tricks to ensure a safe and sunburn-free time.

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✹ SEEK SHADE. Instead of soaking in the rays during the midday, when the rays are at their strongest, consider an alternative activity indoors for the kids. But if that’s not an option, make sure you stay by a tree or by an outdoor umbrella as a quick way to get some shade during the hottest hours. ✹ COVER UP. Wearing clothing that covers up the skin is another option to protect your loved ones from harmful UV rays. Long-sleeved shirts can protect the arms. Hats are a stylish way to protect the face, scalp, ears, and neck. While sunglasses act as the best accessory for eye protection, find a pair that protects you from both UVA and UVB rays. ✹ SLATHER ON THE SUNSCREEN. When applying sunscreen, it’s best to apply half an hour before heading outdoors. And don’t forget to reapply every couple of hours for the optimal protection. Now that you have the basics covered, get out, enjoy the sun, and get your daily dose of vitamin D in safety. hc

How to Treat Sunburn

Sometimes, sunburn just happens. Use these steps to make the treatment a little less painful. 1. Apply cool water to ease pain 2. Apply aloe vera gel to the sunburned area 3. Give your child an antiinflammatory medicine like ibuprofen (not aspirin) to help with the itchiness. 4. Apply moisturizer 5. Stay out of the sun until the affected area is healed.

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Take a visit to the elegant five-star resort of Daios Cove on the beautiful island of Crete. Located in its own private bay with stunning views overlooking the Aegean Sea, there is no other place for families and couples alike to spend their vacation. The resort’s exclusive location, along with its impressive architecture seamlessly blending in with the rugged surroundings create a natural hub of beauty and serenity for esteemed travellers to explore.

Attention to every detAil Attention to detail and impeccable aesthetics play an integral part in the Daios Cove philosophy. This is reflected from the very beginning of your journey, starting in the lobby area of the resort. As a guest you can delight in hand-picked placed works of art along with contemporary furnishings. Amenities available to you here include the GOCO SPA and fitness centre, a heated sea water infinity pool, a water sports centre, two tennis courts, electrical club car mobility around the resort and opportunities for recreation and excursions to Crete’s must-see hotspots, historical sites and archaeological treasures. Last but by no means least – the 6 restaurants and bars here are at the ready to take you on a gastronomical trip to remember! It’s the perfect recipe to make your stay on Crete memorable.

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SumptuouS SuiteS

Check into one of the resort’s elegant and generously sized suites or villas for instant wow factor. With wall-to-ceiling windows and private balconies or terraces, they all have dazzling blue sea views. Many have private pools too and guests can take advantage of a complimentary upgrade to the Residents Club. This year, Daios Cove Luxury Resort and Villas has two new suite categories: the deluxe junior suite and deluxe junior suite with individual pool, smaller suites that are designed for couples who wish to enjoy the many benefits that the Residents Club have to offer.

FoodieS paradiSe

2020 sees a full revamp of the notorious Ocean Restaurant and pool bar area. The relaxed ambience of the new Ocean Bar invites guests to live the ultimate Greek summer without ever leaving the invigorating feel of the water. The sublime cocktail list and beverages are created by award-winning mixologists The Clumsies, voted 6th in The World’s 50 Best Bars 2019. Daios Cove have partnered with Alain Du Casse Conseil. The Ocean menu is meticulously curated by the exceptional team of award-winning Ducasse Conseil drawing inspiration from the Greek sea and land. The Ocean displays its artistic flair and passion for seasonal, sustainable ingredients and combines familiar flavours with a characterful twist. The extensive wine list as curated by Daios Cove’s in-house sommelier to complement the menu thus rounding off a sophisticated, vibrant dining experience.

BliSSFul relaxation

There are plenty of ways you can while away your sun-soaked stay. The heated infinity seawater pool, which stretches along the bay, is a wonderful place for laps or to wallow as you gaze at the Med before lounging poolside. If you’re staying with kids, they’ll find lots of fun and new friends at the Explorers Kids Club, leaving you time to head to the spa or crash out on the beach with a book. Alternatively, there are exciting activities all day long to enjoy. Work off some energy on the tennis courts or keep the thrills coming at the watersports Centre. You could explore Crete’s hidden bays by kayak or set sail on a private yacht trip for the day to see more of the coastline.

reSidentS CluB

The only club to be part of, Suite and villas guests automatically become members of The Residents’ Club. As well as having access to a dedicated concierge, it means they can dine at any of the resort’s six bars and restaurants as part of their stay. They can also enjoy 24-hour room service and a complimentary mini bar, perfect for when the mood for a poolside tipple strikes. Signature cocktails, a generous selection of wines and premium branded drinks are also on the house – while the kids can treat themselves to unlimited ice creams and juices.

DAIOS COVE CRETE Vathi, 72100, Crete, Agios Nikolaos, Greece T +44 20 3807 1418

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Going Places With the Kids Travelling with kids can be daunting, but if you plan for success, a family holiday can be the perfect break


hether you are going abroad, or staying in your home country, a family holiday can be the time to create amazing memories – but how do you make sure they’re all good ones? Taking kids away from their routines can be challenging and promises some difficult scenarios when you are away from home. But with a bit of planning and preparation, the family holiday should go swimmingly. Here are our top tips to ensure your family has a perfect time away.

LEAVE PLENTY OF TIME With kids, everything will take a little longer when you’re travelling. Be sure to get to the airport early to leave room for error and in case things go wrong. Taking it slow is important when you’re travelling with kids, so make sure so there’s no need to rush, making the trip less stressful for all those involved. 112 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh

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BRING SNACKS This goes for when you are actually travelling to and from your destination, and for days out on your holiday. To make sure your kids enjoy themselves and allow you to do the same, make sure you always have some snacks on hand so you don’t have to deal with a hungry (and this usually means cranky) child.

PRE-BOOK When travelling with kids, it’ll make things a lot easier if you pre-book as much as possible. When you arrive at your destination, you want to make sure you know exactly where you are staying as the kids probably won’t feel like wandering around after a long journey. Pre-booking activities and days out is also a sure way of knowing that the family will always be entertained and amused, making for a more enjoyable holiday.

Planning a holiday for a family requires a lot more thought and is much different than planning a holiday alone or with a friend. EXPECT THINGS TO GO WRONG It’s important to accept that when you’re travelling with kids, things will certainly go wrong, whether that be your child needing the toilet just before you need to catch a bus, or if they leave their toy on the backseat of a taxi. If you are ready for things like this to happen, it will be less stressful for you and your family when it happens and you are ready to problem-solve and move past it as quickly as possible.

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Parenting TRAVEL WITH MEDICINES It’s easy for a family holiday to go wrong if a family member isn’t feeling well, particularly if they are a child. Be prepared, and make sure you pack basic medicines such as paracetamol, allergy medicines, settlers for bad stomachs and some medicines to help with motion sickness. All of these can be accessed over the counter and are very effective in managing symptoms.

ASK FOR CHILD DISCOUNTS You’d be surprised at how much money you can save by simply asking for a child discount. Asking for discounts of transportation, private guides, tours, attraction entrance fees, and restaurants is always worthwhile.

KEEP TRACK OF YOUR CHILD While this is obvious, it’s important enough to mention. Children are

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constantly wandering off, and when their curiosity gets the better of them, it may cause them to stray a little further from you than you realise. Always know where your children are and make this a priority. If you’re travelling with another parent or adult, it can be helpful to share duties, such as one of you watching the kids while the other buys tickets.

WHAT ARE THE BEST DESTINATIONS FOR A FAMILY HOLIDAY? Planning a holiday for a family requires a lot more thought and is much different than planning a holiday alone or with a friend. You have other people’s needs to consider, in particular, the kids. You’ll want a destination that caters to everyone; something fun for the kids with food that they will like, and something relaxing and interesting for the adults. Here's a choice of destinations many families find perfect:

MAJORCA In the spring and summer, Majorca ticks all the boxes for a great family holiday. With short flights, family hotels and attractions, amazing beaches and culture packed towns, you’re never far from something all th family will enjoy. ITALY The food in Italy will no doubt please your kids and make even the fussiest of eaters happy. The culture will certainly please the adults of the family, with 50 UNESCO heritage sites in the country and beautiful natural landscapes and beaches. GREECE From its relaxed island experiences to the fascinating historical centres, Greece is the destination families return to over and over. Exciting cities, beautiful beaches, island-hopping adventures, kid-friendly food and wonderful weather combine to make Greece a place for magical family memories. hc

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Les Villages NatureÂŽ Paris

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Live the good life

Introducing Les Villages Nature® Paris. Just minutes from Disneyland ® Paris, at Les Villages Nature® Paris you’ll discover the art of living in harmony with nature. You’ll also be close enough to experience all the Disney magic on offer, and the vibrant streets of Paris itself. Les Villages Nature® Paris really is the perfect place to get away from it all. With so much to discover, you don’t need to leave the vicinity to relax with the family and friends- whether you want to soak up incredible entertainment, take part in exhilarating sports, or find inspiration in nature, It’s all right here on your doorstep. Five incredible worlds wait to be explored. A huge Aqualagon heated with geothermal technology. A quaint picture perfect working farm. An incredible adventure park, plus two hectares of gardens inspired by the four elements of nature. And a bustling promenade filled with restaurants, shopping and activities all day long, whether it’s a couples retreat, a short -stay with friends, or some quality time with the family, you’ll find something for every type of holiday at Les Villages Nature® Paris.


Call 0800 169 0737 or visit For further information visit

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Malicious Midges and Malign Mosquitoes

These pesky little bugs may only be a few millimetres in length, but their annoying presence is enough to ruin your holiday. How can we keep them off ourselves and our kids?


lying insects are the bane of many a summer holiday – and while we may not be holidaying now, you will want to be prepared for when life is back to normal and we all want to be out in the sun again. So, what preventative measures can be taken to avoid getting bitten by the most common culprits – midges and mosquitoes?

MIDGES The most commonly encountered type of midge in the UK is the Highland midge, common in Scotland, and usually found around wetlands such as bogs, swamps, and marshes. Typically active in summertime, they gather in large swarms, and seem to love biting humans, leaving them covered in annoying itchy bumps. You can’t really avoid them as they swarm in trillions, but here are a few tips for avoiding bites. ✔ Stay out of shade - Midges gather in the shade and don’t like bright sunlight ✔ Cover up – Wear dark long-sleeved clothing, hats with netting, and long socks. ✔ Avoid midge rush hour - Midges like early morning and late afternoon ✔ Spray away – Look for anti-midge sprays containing the synthetic pepper compound picaridin

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MOSQUITOES Even more annoying and potentially harmful is the mosquito, about 3,500 species of fly of the order Diptera. Thousands of mosquito species feed on the blood of mammals, and while the loss of blood is unimportant, the mosquito's saliva is transferred to the host during the bite, can cause an itchy rash, and can spread malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, Zika and other viruses. Here are our top tips for avoiding mosquito bites: ✔ Move the air – Mosquitoes can’t fly in fast-moving air, so go out on breezy days or use a fan ✔ Avoid standing water – Mosquitoes look for still water to lay their eggs ✔ Wear neutral, light colours – Mosquitoes are attracted to darker colours, particularly at dusk, but don’t wear bright colours as these attract wasps ✔ Cover up – long sleeves and leg covers are effective ✔ Use repellents – There are many types of insect repellent available which can be applied to the skin before going out for the day ✔ Avoid mosquito rush hour – Mosquitoes tend to be more active at dawn and dusk ✔ Use nets – Check your travel accommodation has bed nets and insect screens

Follow our tips and hopefully you and the kids will have a bite-free, healthy holiday! hc

FLY FACTS ✦ The midge’s Scots Gaelic name is meanbhchuileag (“tiny fly”)

✦ Only female midges can bite,

✦ ✦ ✦

while males feed off pollen and plants Midges are attracted to CO2 emitted in human breath Don’t believe that eating garlic repels mosquitoes - it’s a myth! Mosquitoes date back to the Triassic period, but live only two months According to scientists, malaria from mosquito bites killed half the humans who ever lived

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The Joys of


Even if they’re not going to be the next Mozart, there’s a world of benefit to be had from your child learning to play an instrument and to appreciate music. Tune in to these tips.


report by the charity ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music) states that almost seven in every 10 children (69 percent) in the UK say that they currently play a musical instrument, and of these, just over half are currently taking instrumental lessons. Now, the phrase ‘play a musical instrument’ may mean different things to different children, so this statistic will cover everything from children playing simple percussion at a basic level to those learning and working towards their Grade 8 exam. But an encouraging 85 percent of children have played a musical instrument compared with 74 percent of adults, and more children have had instrumental lessons too (62 percent) compared with fewer than half of adults. The proportion of adults who have not played an instrument steadily increases with age, rising from eight percent at 18 to 20 years old to 38 percent at 65 years and over, suggesting that much progress has been made in recent decades in giving people access to instrumental learning opportunities. More remarkable still, says the ABRSM report, is the number of young 118 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh

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Musicians tend to be more creative, focused, and generally well rounded people who self-identify as playing an instrument but state that they have never had lessons; some 21 percent of children who play are therefore learning through informal routes such as peer-to-peer networks, by accessing digital tools, or by being self-taught in other ways.

DISHARMONY All this is despite the fact that music education in the UK is in a perilous state, with Department for Education data showing a fall of over 20 percent in GCSE music entries since 2014/2015. Secondary school music teacher numbers have fallen by over 1,000 in the same period.

Music For All The Music For All Charity believes that everyone should have the opportunity to learn to play music, and helps to change lives through providing access to musical instruments and ways to learn and discover.

✎ Free of charge ‘Learn to Play’ experiences for people of all ages and backgrounds.

✎ Grants available to address the musical needs of community music groups and educational organisations.

✎ Donates instruments and

music tuition to individuals who need help.

Music For All is funded by public donations and support from music industry bodies such as the MIA in the UK and the NAMM Foundation in the US. Find out more at

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BOOM BOOM! Now That's What We Call Music Jokes Q: What's the difference between a banjo and an onion? A: No-one cries when you chop up a banjo. Q: What do you call someone who hangs around with musicians? A: A drummer. Q: How many singers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? A: Just one. They hold the lightbulb and the world revolves around them. Q: What’s the definition of a gentleman? A: Someone who can play the bagpipes, but doesn’t. Q: How many folk singers does it take to change a light bulb? A: Five. One to change the lightbulb, and four to write songs about how much better the old lightbulb used to be.

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An All-Party parliamentary Group for Music Education report concluded that the decline in GCSE music is a warning to be heeded, and that “the Government should ensure that all schools should teach music on a regular and sustained basis across the whole of Key Stages 1-3”, and that “There are serious questions to be addressed regarding the music education workforce that is demoralised from the marginalisation of music in our schools, as well as facing both skills and funding shortages.” But the benefits of music education, and particularly of the teaching of the skills necessary to play a musical instrument, are widely recognised. A study by scientists at the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) shows that a series of play sessions accompanied by music improved nine-month-old babies’ brain processing of music and new speech sounds. According to lead author Christina Zhao, a postdoctoral researcher at

I-LABS, the study is “the first in young babies to suggest that experiencing a rhythmic pattern in music can also improve the ability to detect and make predictions about rhythmic patterns in speech.” If merely listening to music can reap benefits for babies, then you will not be surprised to hear that learning a musical instrument also offers significant mental and social benefits for a young child as well.

Creativity A study conducted by the University of Vermont College of Medicine in the US examined 232 children between the ages of six and 18. Some of the children had undergone musical training while the others did not. After examination, the study concluded: “Playing a musical instrument was associated with more rapid cortical thickness maturation within areas implicated in motor planning and coordination, visuospatial ability, and emotion and impulse regulation.”

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Parenting To put it plainly, musicians tend to be more creative, focused, and generally well rounded. Additionally, other studies online have indicated that students who study music achieve higher scores on standardised tests and they are also likely to achieve better grades in secondary school. Since most instruments are meant to be played in a band, learning how to play with other band mates also allows your child to develop better social skills. Although each child is playing their instrument individually, they are working as a team to create one harmonious piece of music.

IMPROVISATION "Children who take part in music develop higher levels of social cohesion and understanding of themselves and others," says Dr. Alexandra Lamont, Lecturer in the Psychology of Music at the University of Keele.

Whether you want your child to be more intelligent or more sociable, consider that playing an instrument can also just be a fun creative outlet. Although there are a ton of social and mental benefits to playing an instrument, one thing that might convince your child to learn the guitar or piano is letting them know how fun it is to jam.

Whipping out the acoustic guitar at a party or banging out Bohemian Rhapsody on a street piano is guaranteed to brighten someone’s day. Whatever the motive behind it, when it comes to learning how to play an instrument, the only thing you can gain is knowledge, social skills, and good times. hc

Bring the Noise The BBC’s Bring the Noise online teaching programme came up with these fun pros and cons for different instruments: PIANO ✔ You can play practically any tune on a piano ✘ You can’t carry one around with you (strictly true – but you can now buy portable electronic keyboards with piano-like weighted keys) VIOLIN ✔ Portable and affordable ✘ Difficult to master and not a bit cool TROMBONE ✔ Easier to play than other brass instruments – start on an inexpensive plastic ‘p-bone’. ✘ Needs good breath control and powerful lungs – but it is good exercise!

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DRUMS ✔ Good exercise and builds dexterity ✘ Expensive to buy a full kit, difficult to transport, and hard to practice in peace UKULELE ✘ Cheap and easy to play and transport ✘ You’ll never win Young Musician of the Year GUITAR ✔ Good for song-writing and for playing rock and pop ✘ Helps if you can also sing VOCALS ✔ Couldn’t be cheaper, no equipment needed!… ✘ … but everyone’s a critic

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Other Ways to Play If your kids don't take to conventional music education, you can try different learning techniques designed to be more intuitive


ome kids just don’t take to conventional music education methods, but there are several alternative techniques designed to make the process more intuitive and fun. First introduced in Hungary, based on the work of Zoltan Kodály in the 1930s, the Kodály Method is a way of developing musical skills and teaching musical concepts beginning in very young children, using songs, hand signs, pictures, rhythm symbols, and syllables. The Kodály method emphasises use of the singing voice, along with tonal instruments such as xylophones and recorders, and the method progresses to include playing, composition, improvisation and both reading and writing music. Find out more about the Kodály music teaching method at

THE ORFF APROACH Developed by Carl Orff, the composer of Carmina Burana, the Orff approach

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has a lot in common with the Kodály technique, also incorporating elements of play, singing, dancing, and acting, and starts off using percussion instruments such as xylophones, metallophones, and glockenspiels. Orff teachers design their own lessons, adapting them to suit the size of the class and age of the students. A teacher may for instance choose a story to read in class, then ask students to choose instruments to represent a character or a word in the story or poem, adding sound effects as it is read. Learn more about the Orff approach at

THE SUZUKI METHOD Japanese violinist Shinichi Suzuki modelled his system on a child's innate ability to learn their native language. The Suzuki method uses listening, repetition, memorization, and building vocabulary. Parental involvement is common - parents often learn the instrument along with the child, acting

Music F act Zolt

an Kodály ’s music teaching hand gest ures were used to commu nicate with the aliens in the 1977 Steven Sp ielberg m ovie Close Enc ounters o f the Third Kin d

as musical role models, and maintaining a positive learning atmosphere. The Suzuki method was originally developed for violin, but is now also applied to piano, flute, and guitar. Find out more at

THE DALCROZE METHOD The Dalcroze method, also known as Dalcroze Eurhythmics, was developed by Swiss teacher Emile Jaques-Dalcroze, and starts with ear training, or solfege, to develop the inner musical ear. The Dalcroze method emphasises multi-sensory learning techniques, so music is taught through the use of tactile, kinaesthetic, aural, and visual senses. Find out more at hc Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 121

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Sweet Smell of Success Bathroom smells are unpleasant, but are they unhealthy? And what can you do about them?


athroom odour control can be a touchy subject – the typical solution, a fragranced air freshener, really only masks the problem, and can lead to allergic side-effects. But there’s hope in the form of supramolecular chemistry, a branch of chemical research dealing with substances which can actually capture and eliminate bad odours, without substituting its own fragrance.

HOW DOES IT WORK? The patented supramolecular chemistry consists of cucurbiturils – barrel-shaped molecules that powerfully attract and capture materials such as VOCS (Volatile organic compounds), chemicals which easily become vapours or gases. It’s widely recognised that VOCs include a variety of chemicals that can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation, shortness of breath, headaches, fatigue, nausea, dizziness and skin problems. Higher concentrations may cause irritation of the lungs, as well as damage to the liver, kidney, or central nervous system. Interestingly, a study in Germany in 2015 measured VOC emissions from a cinema audience (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, since you ask), and concluded that apart from carbon dioxide (CO2), the audience also emitted acetone, acetaldehyde, ethanol, monoterpenes (hydrocarbon oils) and decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (thankfully more familiarly known

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Smelly V OCs (Vola tile organic co mpounds) are released fr om burnin g fuels such as pet rol, wood, coal, or natural gas, from many consumer products su ch as cigarettes and solven ts, and it must be said, from human bei ngs.

as D5), a silicon compound used in shampoos. The German study showed wide variations in the magnitude and type of emissions according to age of the subjects and time of day and is now commonly used in indoor air chemistry studies.

FRIENDLY But back to the bathroom pongs. The cucurbiturils attract and capture VOCs, working instantly to remove their odour. As the active cucurbiturils can be suspended in water and distributed using a pump pack, no propellant is needed, so the new-style air fresheners are environmentally friendly. They also require no fragrance (though a mild one is sometimes added for choice), so they’re approved by allergy charities, are long-lasting and environmentally friendly. The pong-removing technology also has applications in healthcare for gene delivery and stabilising medical emulsions, and the technology should have lots of other applications in personal care, household care, industrial filters, agriculture, healthcare, and many others - but so far as we’re concerned, if it can put paid to bathroom odours – job done! hc Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 123

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We love them like family, so why not feed them like family? Naked Dog is packed full of fresh, human-grade ingredients that provide your furry friend with the love and care they need to thrive.

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Dog Fac t

Dog saliva does not co ntain amy the starch lase, digesting enzyme fo in human u nd saliva, so dogs are m less prone uch to tooth d ecay – un feed them less we sweet trea ts. Dog teet and jaws h are design ed to tear than to ch rather ew, and th e stomach the job of does breaking down food humans d that o by chew ing.

Does Your Dog

Need a More Natural Diet? We’re getting used to looking at ingredient labels for our own food, but do you do the same for your dog? Perhaps it’s time for a ‘real fresh food’ approach for pets too


hile we’re getting used to reading the ingredient labels on our food packaging, and avoiding the worst of the high-sugar, high-salt, high-carb products, do we do the same for our pets? The stars of Channel 5's The Yorkshire Vet, Peter Wright and Julian Norton, say: “Dogs and cats are predominantly carnivores so it is important that the food - whether wet or dry - has a reasonable proportion of added animal protein combined with a balanced

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energy level in the form of fats and carbohydrates.” But while processed dog food is made in safe conditions and complies with high standards of bacteria and microbiome control, pet nutrition experts say that high temperature cooking can create carcinogenic compounds called AGEs and HCAs. Cooking at temperatures over 105°C destroys a good deal of the nutritional value of the food. Then bulk grains, colourings, flavourings and preservatives are added before packaging.

Natural Part of the problem is that the claims made on some pet food products are pretty meaningless – almost anything can be called ‘natural’, but processed foods are often high in un-natural fats and grain. Grain-based processed foods, and those higher in fats, are particularly taxing on the dog’s digestive system, liver function and enzyme balance, and can lead to gut dysbiosis (imbalance in the digestive bacteria), and enzymal imbalance leading to tooth decay. Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 125

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Parenting ‘Grain-free’ dog food, while desirable, is sometimes bulked out with starchy vegetables and legumes. Fresh food retains a higher volume of enzymes which are an essential part of the digestive process, liver and thyroid function, and vitamins which are essential for bone development, cell repair and immune functions. Many dog health problems can be improved by feeding an unprocessed diet. Now there’s a movement towards real, fresh food, served lightly cooked or raw, which makes sense once you understand how a dog’s digestion works.

CARNIVORES All carnivorous animals are naturally in a more acidic state than herbivores, simply due to eating more meat, but this can cause digestive problems. The stomach and pancreas function better in a slightly alkaline state, and bones, skin, fur and nails can also benefit from the better pH balance achieved by feeding fresh food. One of the benefits of a raw or lightly cooked meat diet is that it keeps the dog’s blood, lymph and tissue functioning in a more alkaline state. When switching to a ‘real food’ diet, look out for:

 Game meats rather than farm meats - rabbit, pheasant, deer, chicken, turkey, lamb, beef, goat, duck, elk, even kangaroo  Meats both on and off the bone including whole carcasses  Organ meats (offal) such as heart, lung, and liver, initially in small amounts  Green tripe which contains valuable enzymes, beneficial bacteria and amino acids.  Fish, including the bones, raw or lightly cooked, particularly sardines or mackerel as sources of omega fatty acids  Vegetables, either liquidised, finely grated or lightly steam cooked, particularly kale, spinach or broccoli  Fruits in smaller quantities, particularly those good for gut health such as blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and bananas. Avoid grapes and apple pips  Live sheep’ or goat’s yoghurt  Possibly during illness or the conversion process to fresh food, immune boosting probiotic supplement or a supplement of essential fatty acids

Balanced, complete ranges of fresh dog food can now be found in the fridges or freezers of pet food stores – remember, if it’s not in the fridge or freezer, it’s processed. As for the cost, feeding a raw diet will be more expensive than ‘cheap and cheerful’ pre-made dog food sacks, but shouldn’t be any more expensive than a mid-range quality pre-made dog food - and in fact could be cheaper than the expensive brands often marketed at dogs with gut system or digestive issues. And anyway, aren’t they worth it? hc

The Importance of Bones

Dogs love chewing bones and it’s good for their teeth, so try to include meaty bones in their real food diet. In addition to being behaviourally important, meaty bones include useful dietary elements such as : Calcium * Iron * Magnesium * Manganese * Boron * Phosphorus * Vitamins A, D, E and K2 * Glucosamine * Fatty Acids * Antioxidants * Vitamins * Amino acids* Enzymes

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and Our Pets

For more pet health informati on visit the P DSA website a www.pdsa t

Are our pets at risk from the coronavirus pandemic? We asked the experts at the PDSA for the latest thinking.


hile the coronavirus pandemic is at its peak, we’re facing up to the health implications, but what about our pets? Here are some words of advice from the experts.

CAN PETS CATCH CORONAVIRUS? So far according to the World Health Organisation and the British Veterinary Association there’s no evidence that pets can catch coronavirus. There are very few reports of animals testing positive for the virus, and then mainly under laboratory conditions. The virus is spread by people coughing and sneezing and can live on surfaces for some time, depending on the material, temperature and other factors, so if you are ill, avoid contact with your pet. But might pets carry the virus on their fur? The British Veterinary Association is advising that freeroaming cats should be kept indoors where possible, in case they come into contact with someone who was ill. Take sensible precautions such as washing your hands thoroughly after stroking, feeding or cleaning up after your pet, avoiding close contact or letting them lick your face or share your food.

IS IT OKAY TO TAKE MY DOG FOR A WALK? Yes, Government advice is that we can take a walk once a day, and it’s fine to take a dog with you so long as you maintain social distancing from other people and

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animals. Keep dogs on leads and wash your hands before and after the walk.

CAN I MAKE MY PET WEAR A MASK? No, this will be distressing for your pet and is unlikely to have any useful effect.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF MY PET STARTS TO COUGH OR SNEEZE? There’s no good evidence that pets can be affected by coronavirus, but of course they could still be affected by other diseases and you should call your vet if your pet shows any signs of illness. Normal practice may not be in operation so it’s wise to call for instructions before taking your pet to the vet.

ARE HAND SANITISERS HARMFUL TO PETS? Alcohol-based hand sanitisers are harmless in small quantities, and evaporate quickly. You must still be careful not to expose your pets to chemicals such as ethylene glycol (antifreeze) which can be extremely harmful. Advice from the PDSA (People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals) is: “There is no need to give up or quarantine pets and we would urge owners not to panic. Pets can be a great source of comfort, and a daily dog walk (following the guidelines above) will be a good thing for everyone’s physical and mental health.” hc Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh | 127

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PDSA Pet Insurance is selected by our vets to give you and your pet the cover needed to leave you both free to enjoy life to the full. Why choose Petsurance from PDSA?

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** Defaqto 5 Star Rating applies to Ultimate and Ultimate Plus policies only. Defaqto’s Star Ratings provide an independent assessment of the quality of financial products. †10% discount not available on Accident Only policy and applies on first year only. Minimum Premiums apply £68.75 for cats and £94.93 for dogs. Excludes Accident Only Policies.PDSA Trading Limited is an introducer appointed representative of Insurance Factory Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (No. 306164). Registered in England and Wales Number 02982445. Registered Office: Markerstudy House, 45 Westerham Road, Bessels Green, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 2QB.

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Our Fur Babies It’s not just human babies that need parenting, our family pets also require attention in order to live a long and healthy life.


an’s best friend, although they may not be human, dogs and cats (and other species) are the fluffiest and friendliest additions to the family. According to the findings of a PDSA survey, 50 per cent of households in the United Kingdom own a pet. They bring joy to our lives, which is why it’s important to take preventative measures to ensure they stick around as long as possible.

CHEAT SHEET If you have to leave your pet at home, before you leave for your trip, draft up a document of any sort of food specifications or special procedures for your pet sitter. How should your sitter react when Fluffy is vomiting? Is there a specific brand of pet food that gives your pet digestive issues? Have you left a contact number for the local vet? This cheat

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sheet provides the caretaker with information they need to make an educated decision when you’re not available. Create your own master document, or check out templates online.

GET TRAINED Yes, pet First Aid training exists. Sometimes accidents happen, and when they do, how you react can either resolve the situation or make it worse. Gaining pet First Aid knowledge can help minimize the amount of damage inflicted on your animal, if or when they ever find themselves in a dangerous situation. It is also important to have a First Aid kit handy. Pick up a few products tailored to your pet to cover your bases.

DENTAL HEALTH According to the Pet Health Network, dental health is one of the most common areas that are often overlooked by pet owners. Tooth decay and bad breath are obvious signs of poor dental hygiene. If it becomes extreme, bacterialaced tooth infections can even cause heart, liver, and kidney problems. Get educated on products and processes when it comes to maintaining good oral hygiene.

WINTER WORRIES They may have their own fur coats, but pets do need extra layers of protection in the winter. They are just as susceptible as we are to frost bite and hypothermia. There may be salt scattered on pavements in icy weather, so wash this irritant off dogs’ paws after a walk. hc



Pet insura nce can be a financia life-saver l in cases of injury or comple x health co nditions. Remember you can u sually choose sin gle or mu lti-pet poli with a sele cies, ction of op tions such as acciden t only, thir d-party liability, a nd lifetim e or timelimited po licies.

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Family Fun in Lockdown

Stuck in the house with bored kids? There are plenty of ways to keep them occupied in lockdown (PS – works for school holidays too!) GET FIT Although working out alone can be efficient, working out with a partner may be a bit more fun. According to the NHS, around 1 in every 4 adults and around 1 in every 5 children aged 10 to 11 are obese. Try out an at-home workout from YouTube, or just go and run around in your garden. Getting active is the ultimate activity in getting that heartbeat raised after a lazy afternoon.



ith the coronavirus lockdown keeping us cooped up in our homes, the young ones in your life may be getting bored from the lack of social events. If you’re looking for new ideas to keep them on their toes, tear them away from their digital devices and try these fun lockdown activities for all the family

START A NEW HOBBY With all of this free time available, why not try something new? Get involved in some arts and crafts projects. Knit a scarf. Learn a new language online 130 | Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh

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together. Teach your child (or yourself) how to play a musical instrument. This is a great opportunity to expand you and your child’s skill sets, while also spending quality time together.

MAKE A MEAL Lockdown cooking is the new family fun hobby. Bring your tots into the kitchen and work together to make a mouthwatering meal for you and your family. Whether you give them the task of mixing the batter or just cracking a few eggs, this bonding experience will result in a delicious reward. Just remember cooker safety and hygiene routines.

If you want to use this time to be productive, why not spruce up your home? Make a game out of it to make it less dreadful for the kids. Play dress up while organising the closet. Race to see who can sweep the fastest. See who can create the tallest (and neatest) stack of folded laundry.

START JOURNALING The COVID-19 pandemic is a wild new experience that may be overwhelming for the family. Take up journaling and write down all of your feelings in this trying time. In 20 years, it will be interesting to see everyone’s perspectives on an experience that the whole world is currently facing. Remember to follow government health advice, wash your hands and stay at home. But just because you’re at home, doesn’t mean you and the kids have to be bored! hc

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Download our app

Welcome to The Children’s e-Hospital the doctor in your home.


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Did your child develop tics and obsessive compulsive behaviours suddenly? This might be a new and emerging disease called PANDAS which occurs after a simple streptococcal infection. Find out more at

The Children’s e-Hospital founder, Dr Tim Ubhi, is a consultant paediatrician & fellow of the Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health. He has over 27 years experience in Paediatrics & Child Health. Enjoy his blog“The Diaries of a Children’s Doctor” at Terms and conditions apply. Please refer to our website for details.

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Introducing our HOTPOD® and children’s First Aid Kit. The HOTPOD® allows you to measure six different vital signs in children at home: heart rate, oxygen levels, temperature, breathing rate and pattern, mental state and perfusion with links to an online assessment tool. The HOTPOD® is endorsed by The UK Sepsis Trust.

A First Aid Kit designed with children in mind. The kit has over 50 individual pieces together with quick reference flash cards for CPR (resuscitation), sepsis and choking. Our kit is designed to be used with the First Aid resources on The Children’s e-Hospital website childrens_ehospital



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