Salamatak – Children’s Safety

Raising children is no simple task. Children require a lot of attention and care to fulfil their physical, emotional, cognitive, and developmental needs. In this episode, Salamatak will be answering some of the most common questions asked by new parents regarding the safety and wellbeing of their children. 

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 Aside from the great nutritional value that breast milk provides for babies, breastfeeding has various benefits that exceed nutrition. First, breastfeeding allows you to build a strong bond with your baby. It reduces the risk of infections, obesity, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). It also lowers your risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer, obesity, and osteoporosis.

A decision that most expecting mothers have to make is deciding how to feed their babies. There is no doubt that breast milk is superior to any baby formula. However, many mothers are unable to produce sufficient quantities of milk and do need to supplement with formula to feed their babies. 

Breast milk can be difficult to measure unless extracted by a pump and fed to the child by a bottle. However, most mothers find it easy to estimate the amount consumed by the baby by tracking their mood after the feeding session, and the number of diapers they wet per day. A healthy, well-fed baby will have 6-8 heavy wet diapers every 24 hours.

Most babies are ready to begin eating solid foods after reaching the age of 4-6 months. The following signs are key indicators that your baby is ready to consume solids: 

1- Your baby can sit with support. 

2- Your baby can hold his/her head steadily. 

3- Your baby is playing with his/her mouth. 

Choosing a suitable highchair may seem daunting at first. It is important to check to see if the chair has all the necessary safety features that include seat straps that are easily buckled and keep the child secure whilst eating. It is also important to carefully choose the location in which you will be placing the chair. Avoid placing the chair near any hard surfaces such as furniture to ensure the baby does not grab or kick the surface which would cause the chair to tip over. 

Shopping for a crib can be another overwhelming task experienced by new parents.  When shopping for a new crib, look for the following features: 

1- The crib bars are vertical, not horizontal to ensure your baby does not climb the bars and fall. 

2- The bars of the crib are spaced out with no more than 6.5 cm to ensure your baby does not get stuck in between them. 

3- Choose a firm mattress, rather than a soft one to support your baby’s head and weight. 

4- Ensure the depth of the bed reaches a minimum of 50cm to ensure that your baby cannot climb out. 

Before introducing your baby to pacifiers, consider the following: 

Benefits of pacifiers: 

1- Allows your baby to self-soothe. 

2- Lowers the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). 

3- Helps your baby to transition into bottle feeding. 

Potential Harms of pacifiers: 

1- Can cause your baby to become accustomed to artificial nipples, which weans him/her off of breastfeeding early.

2- Increases the chance of developing malocclusion, especially with continued after the age of 2. 

3- Can cause otitis media infections due to the nasopharyngeal secretions moving to the ear. 

When choosing a car seat, consider the baby’s age, height and weight. The following guide can be used to determine the right seat for your child and correct positioning for each car seat: 

1- From Birth to 2 years old: For this age category, it is best to use a rear-facing seat, as long as the child’s weight does not exceed the weight limit for the seat. 

2- From 2 to 4 years old: Children of this age must be seated in a rear-facing child seat, as long as their weight does not exceed 18kg. 

3- From 4 to 8 years old: Once your toddler’s weight exceeds 20kg~ they can be seated in a forward-facing seat.  

4- 9 & Older: Children of this age will not require a car seat but may require a booster seat to wear the seatbelt properly.

Children go through various stages in which their development needs change as they grow older. Children’s development vary across 5 age stages: 

1- Infant (Birth-12 Months):

At this age, infants begin to develop their motor skills as they begin to grab things with their hands and lift their heads. Children at this stage benefit greatly from cognitive and social exercises that help them develop these skills. 

2- Toddler (1-3 years):

Toddlers advance immensely from their infancy stage as they develop their social, physical, linguistic, kinesthetic, and cognitive skills. At this age, children begin showing different emotions which may appear in the form of tantrums. Parents might feel as if their children are difficult to deal with at this age, which happens due to the toddler’s inability to understand their emotions. Parents of toddlers should focus on teaching their toddlers how to communicate their emotions and needs using their words.   

3- Pre-schooler (3-5 years): 

Children at this stage begin developing their independence as they start to do things on their own. You might notice that your preschooler asks to dress and feed himself. Children at this age also begin to make friendships by themselves as their social skills continue to develop. 

4- Grade Schooler (5-12 years): 

At this stage, children begin to depend on themselves to solve some of the problems they face. They may ask their parents for help in certain situations they think is too difficult for them to handle by themselves. Therefore, it is vital for parents to allow their children to develop their critical thinking and problem-solving skills, while knowing when to seek their parents’ help and guidance. 

5- Teenager (12-18 years): 

Due to the various physical and hormonal changes that occur to their bodies, teenagers may be difficult to deal with in the beginning phases of their teenage hood. Children at this age feel the need to seek their individuality and independence in order to discover their true adult selves. 

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Salamatak is an awareness program with an authentic Arab spirit that provides health advice and guidance in line with the standards of international health awareness organizations. It aims to elevate society through health and safety awareness in a spontaneous way, and targets healthy people in particular and society in general.

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