Feeling anxious or concerned about your child? Our experts have answers to help set your mind at ease.Photo: ClarkandCompany/iStockphoto
Putting your baby to sleep on his back significantly reduces the risk of SIDS. For the first six months, the safest place for your baby to sleep is in a crib on a firm mattress in your room, so you can check on him frequently. Avoid using soft materials, like quilts, bumper pads or pillows.
Bed sharing with an adult can also be dangerous. Exclusive breastfeeding can protect against SIDS, and o ffer a pacifier at one month. (Don’t attach the soother to his clothing with a ribbon or string.)
When to worry: Babies exposed to cigarette smoke (even while in utero) are at the highest risk for SIDS.
Dr. Umberto Cellupica, Pediatrician
A dramatic change in appetite can happen in a 24-hour period and last for weeks. For most kids and adults, an egg, slice of toast and half an apple or pear checks off most boxes of a healthy meal. But a fter four days of limited food, say a banana a day, there could be more than stubborn behaviour going on.
Take a look at what your kid is consuming when you’re not around: lunch, a fter-school and bedtime snacks; milk or sugary drinks could be filling her up. Other factors, such as illness, teething, stress, poor sleep, vitamin A and iron deficiencies, as well as a disrupted routine can result in a major drop in appetite.
When to worry: If you child is losing weight, lethargic, acting out or can’t fight sickness, it’s time to visit your doctor.
Lianne Phillipson-Web, registered nutritionist
Typically, children produce their first word at about 12 months of age, but 16 months (or even later) isn’t unusual. Engaging your child in conversation is one of the simplest and most e ffective things that you can do.
If by 18 months he still hasn’t said his first word, or he’s saying less than 50 words by 24 months, book an appointment with your family doctor, who can recommend a specialist. Don’t be shy about talking to a medical professional early on if you’re concerned about his language development, especially if he seems behind in other areas, like walking or social interaction.
When to worry: If your child is missing other milestones, not responding appropriately to your attempts to engage him socially (such as eye contact, smiling or imitation) or seems to have trouble hearing you, you should speak to your doctor.
Melanie Soderstrom, director of The Baby Language Lab at University of Manitoba
Most commonly, a BMI in the range of 18.5 to 25 kilogram-metre is considered healthy, 25 to 29.9 kg.m is considered overweight, and 30kg.m and above is obese. However, there are challenges with these types of measurements.
All families should be working toward a healthier lifes tyle by increasing their activi ty levels, introducing healthy foods into their diets and gradually eliminating junk food. Screen time should be set at one hour per day (excluding homework time), and activity levels should be increased to 60 to 90 minutes per day.
When to worry: Decreased energy levels and an increased appetite for unhealthy foods could indicate an issue. If you think your child is approaching the higher end of the BMI scale, consult your paediatrician.
Stacy Irvine, fitness specialist
Developing friendship skills are important. Set up playdates as early as possible with other parents and kids so that your child can “practise” socializing. If you notice she’s not being a good friend (not sharing, interrupting), gently have a talk a fterward.
Try to get her involved in activities where she’ll meet other kids who share the same interests. Remember to invest in your own friendships, because modelling healthy relationships is the best way to teach these skills.
When to worry: If your kid doesn’t want to leave the house, is constantly crying or saying, “I have no friends,” seek help from a counsellor.
Karyn Gordon parenting expert and speaker
Resource: Nobody Likes Me, Everybody Hates Me by Dr. Michele Borba
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