Tag Archives: children

Is Acetaminophen Safe to Give to Your Children?

I came across an article on Care2 about a possible link between acetaminophen use and asthma in children.  Considering how commonly used acetaminophen is, and how medications such as aspirin are no longer considered safe for children, do parents have something to worry about there?

It’s hard to say. As the article notes, the evidence isn’t perfectly clear yet.

I consider this a good reminder to think before giving your any over the counter medication. Sometimes it’s too easy to grab for the acetaminophen when your child has an ache, rather than try other, simpler remedies. For some, this leads to overuse. The harm in this case is unclear as of yet, but it’s something to think about.

That said, there’s also a place for medication. It’s a good idea to talk to your child’s pediatrician about when it’s appropriate to use any medication. I don’t mean you have to call in before every use, but talking about what to give when in general can be helpful information.

With my own kids, I prefer to remember that low fevers are usually safe to allow to run their course, and encouraging a sick child to rest is a good thing.

It pays to consider your options with common situations such as teething. It’s especially hard to avoid using medications at night when other remedies aren’t working. Two of my kids did great on teething tablets, while my youngest wasn’t helped at all by them, for example. Neither acetaminophen nor ibuprofen did much for her either, though. If you read up on your options or talk to your pediatrician, you may come up with ways to cope that don’t involve acetaminophen if you’d prefer to avoid it.

One of the problems with figuring this link out, apparently, is that it’s hard to tell if it’s how often a child gets a viral infection that results in the use of acetaminophen, rather than the use of the medication itself.  It’s often difficult to separate correlation and causation, and that’s the challenge here. That said, a study that randomized whether a child got acetaminophen or ibuprofen for fevers seems to indicate a relationship between acetaminophen and asthma.

If you’ve been using acetaminophen for your child, it may be a good idea to discuss alternatives with your child’s pediatrician. It’s not like it’s the only option out there for treating a fever. Sometimes even a tepid bath is enough to help, although you really shouldn’t do a full on cold bath. Letting the fever be and just resting can also be an option, so long as it’s not too high. Know what the safe range is for your child’s age, versus fevers that need to be treated or that require medical attention.

Encourage Your Kids to Be Active

From a young age, most kids are very active. They love to run around the house and play. It’s a lot for many of us to keep up with, especially if we haven’t been particularly active ourselves.

But as they get older, TV and video games slow many down. Sitting around takes the place of active play. As a parent you know you should encourage more activity, but it’s not always easy to decide what to have your kids do.

Have Them Take the Lead

Signing your child up for an activity is an easy way to encourage activity, but it can also be frustrating for kids. Many parents choose activities for their kids based on what they would want to do, not the child’s interests. This can lead to frustration.

Find out what your child would like to try. Don’t limit options to just team sports; there are a lot of alternatives out there. My own children love karate. It’s a good workout, and they progress at their own rates.  There’s no guilt for not being the best player on the team.

Don’t stress if they find they don’t like a particular sport or activity. Just agree to try something different next time. Swimming, karate and dancing are all good activities, and don’t have to be done on a competitive level.

Remember That They’re Children

A big mistake many parents make in signing their kids up for activities is forgetting that they’re children. Parents can expect their child to put in unreal amounts of practice in the hopes that they will excel. Some parents have dreams of their kids going into a professional career in whatever sport they’re playing as an activity.

It doesn’t matter what your dreams are for your child, or even if he or she agrees that they want to do their sport professionally. As a parent, it is your job to make sure that they don’t do more than is good for their bodies. That means no over training. That means leaving time for other things in their lives such as playing with friends and relaxing.

Overdoing is a huge mistake. Children can permanently injure their bodies trying too hard in their sports. Their bodies are still growing and really are not ready for intense training.

Don’t be the screaming parent watching your kids either. You’ve probably heard the reports of parents getting into fights at their children’s games. Your job is to encourage your child. You don’t need to do that by yelling at them, their teammates or their competition. You’ll do better to teach good sportsmanship.

Get Involved

There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be getting active yourself. It’s better for your health to be active, and you’ll probably have fun.

This is a wonderful, non-materiel gift you can give your children. Participating in an activity creates great memories, which will be remembered for many years. It also helps to create healthy habits.

How involved you get depends on the time you have available. You don’t want to overdo it – kids need to learn how to do things on their own too – but you should be there to help them practice sometimes and as needed to get them to their activity. It also might help you to remember how much fun being physically active can be.

How Many Children Can You Have and Still Be Green?

Like it or not, family size greatly impacts your environmental footprint. You can hand down clothes and toys, buy used, eat organic food and so forth, but there’s still an impact when you have more children.

Is that something to feel bad about when you’re trying to be environmentally friendly?

It’s easy to feel a bit of green guilt when you have more than one or two children. I say this as a mother of three. I don’t regret any of my kids, but I’m well aware of the fact that they’re an additional impact on the environment. I can limit the impact now, but it’s going to increase as they get older no matter what I do.

I’m not about to tell anyone how big their family should be. That’s a personal decision. But I do strongly recommend being as environmentally friendly with them as they grow up, and hope that they continue the practices as adults. Not all do, you know.

This is a tangled issue. On the one hand, a growing population overall is hard on the environment. We only have so many resources.

On the other hand, a shrinking population is brutal on the economy. Just how do you support an aging population without a lot of younger people?

In many developed countries, the population is shrinking anyhow. Parents on average are having fewer children than the population replacement rate. Is it then a problem to have more children when the population overall is shrinking, or is it a social good?

I have all these questions. But there aren’t easy answers.

But there are some answers for when your children are growing up and living in your home. You can consume fewer resources as a family. Delight in thrift stores and hand me downs. Enjoy regular vegetarian meals, and if you eat meat, serve smaller portions of it.

Take steps to be more environmentally friendly in your family’s lifestyle. How many televisions does your home really need? How many computers? Do you really need to upgrade before a complete breakdown? Is repair practical?

Start a family garden. Go hiking. Clean up trash. Volunteer for a good cause.

These are things you can do no matter your family size that can make a positive difference in the world. Talk to your children about why you do the things you do. Teach them to make good lifestyle decisions in all aspects of their lives. Teach them that happiness does not depend on having “things.”

The average consumption of resources in the United States is such that it would take 5 Earths to support humanity if everyone lived as the average American does. Think about that as you raise your family and teach them to consume fewer resources as best you can.

But no matter how many children you have, or how many you think are the limit for an eco friendly family, don’t judge those who have more children or fewer. There’s a lot more to the question than just “is it green?” sometimes.

My Daughter’s Save the Earth Poster

This poster was my daughter’s idea, from start to finish. She gets in these creative moods and gets going. And she loves using materials she finds around the house sometimes, not just fresh paper.

save the earth

For those who can’t read it, it reads “Save the Earth. Save water.”

She’s pretty much obsessed with saving water. That we’ve moved from an area with strict water restrictions to one with none at all drives her nuts.

It’s drawn on some padding from our move. It was put between plates to protect them. We’re saving it for the most part as we anticipate within the next year or two moving back to the San Diego area, depending on when my husband gets transferred, so it would be a waste to throw it out.

Nice thing is, this piece could still be used that way if my daughter gets bored with it.

Some’s also going to my mom, who needs it to pad out a car seat that’s not well enough padded. Yes mom, we remember!

It’s good to remember that trash to you can be art supplies to children. They don’t need much to be creative.

Planning for a Green Summer Break

This is it. The last Monday of the school year in my area. Oh my.

We have most a of week left of school, as this Thursday is the last day of school. But it’s definitely time to be sure that I’m ready to have the kids home all day, every day.

An important step is to be sure that we always have a good supply of safe sunscreen on hand. They tan about as easily as I burn, but I want to have their skin protected. It’s a good habit for life, although I do let them play outside without sunscreen on. There’s that little matter of vitamin D production to be considered, although that doesn’t take long on really sunny days.

I try to avoid a lot of the running around to various activities that a lot of people find to be so necessary. There’s swimming lessons, but that’s a safety issue.

Most of what we do is right in our area. Playing with the kids next door or other friends within walking distance. Taking family walks in the nearby fields or to the playground in the evenings when it has cooled off enough for everyone to really enjoy it.

We have hopes of managing at least a short, local camping trip. My husband dreams of going to Yosemite again one of these days, but the time for it just isn’t there right now, not to mention it’s extra hard to do with a baby.

And of course there’s gardening. My kids are already picking cherry tomatoes for quick snacks.

We have a serious water shortage, which means running through the sprinklers is limited to late evenings on the days we are to be allowed to water. But then it’s dual purpose, letting the kids have fun and keeping our lawn from dying all the way off.

Really, there’s not much to planning a green summer break. It can be almost completely unplanned. Just figure out what you can do in your area without driving, without buying more junk, without electricity, etc. and you have a great start.

What are you planning for your summer break?