primary care health tips

Mighty Blog

Quick everyday health tips to remember

Children’s Minnesota is your primary source for wellness and preventive care for children and young adults. Here are some health tips to use every day.

  • handwashing health tipsRegular hand washing helps prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria and is especially important during cold and flu season. Always wash your hands before eating and after using the bathroom or playing outside.
  • Kids and teens should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Sports and play help keep us healthy and happy and can relieve stress.
  • A good night’s sleep is important for kids and teens to prepare for a day of school or activities. School-aged children should get at least 10 hours of sleep each night, and teens should get nine to 10 hours. A consistent schedule can help kids fall asleep easier and stay asleep, too.
  • Proper use of car seats and seat belts helps keep kids safe in the car. Always have young kids in an appropriate car seat for their age and size, and ensure older kids and teens wear a seat belt. Ask your pediatrician if you have questions on car seat positioning for your child’s car safety.
  • It’s important to protect your head while riding bikes, skateboards, scooters or skates. Make it a rule to wear a helmet every time you ride, whether you’re a kid or an adult. Wear additional protective gear to protect knees, elbows and wrists, and always wear reflective gear when you’re out at night.
  • screen time health tipsKids and teens should limit screen time to no more than two hours daily. Find fun activities for your family, away from electronics, and designate “screen-free” times, such as when getting ready for school or bed, or during meal times.
  • To help your child fall and stay asleep, make sure all electronics are off at least one hour before bedtime and remove electronics from the bedroom. The light from these devices can stimulate kids’ brain and keep them awake. Instead, relax and unwind by reading a book or telling a story at bedtime.
  • Parents can be a great role model for healthy eating habits. Set a positive example by eating five fruit and vegetables every day, and stay away from sugary snacks and drinks. Exposing your kids to a variety of foods early can help expand their tastes and make eating healthy and fun.
  • We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A good breakfast can help your child’s performance in school and other activities. So provide your family with healthy breakfast options, such as whole grains and fresh fruit or yogurt. Don’t forget to make time for breakfast every day.
  • One in 13 children has a food allergy. If your child has a food allergy, make sure he or she has safe and healthy options during meal times by working with school nurses and teachers, daycare providers, and babysitters to create a plan, including any needed rescue treatments.
  • 911 health tipsTeaching your children how to use 911 in an emergency is a simple but important lesson. Talk to your kids about what types of things should prompt a 911 call. Help them understand what facts to give 911 operators during an emergency, such as location, the emergency concern and who is involved, and to speak slowly and clearly.
  • It’s never too late to get your kids vaccinated against the flu. Vaccination is your best defense against this serious respiratory illness, which can cause high fevers, runny nose, severe cough, muscle aches and more. To get vaccinated against influenza, visit your primary care clinic today.
  • Kids should drink at least six to eight cups of water each day and avoid sugary drinks. Remember that hydration is important year-round during sports and physical activity, not just during summer months.
  • Scrapes, cuts and bruises can happen to kids anywhere; on the playground, playing sports, around the house. Carry a first-aid kit in your car, purse or backpack while on the go so that you’re prepared to treat your child’s minor cuts and scrapes anytime and anywhere.
  • This year, make a commitment to swap out sugary drinks at meal time for water or milk. Substituting fresh fruit for desserts can be a sweet treat for your family. These changes can help keep your family hydrated and promote a healthy weight.
  • sunscreen health tipsSunscreen isn’t something just for summer months. Any time kids’ skin is exposed to sun, they should have sunscreen protection. In the winter, this can mean applying to faces before sledding, skiing or snowboarding.
  • We encourage families to get outside year-round. Help ensure your kids are dressed appropriately for the weather. In winter, wear warm layers and cover exposed skin, including a hat on your child’s head. In summer, wear light and breathable clothes. Remember that sunscreen is needed year-round for sun-exposed areas.
  • Swimming is a great way to stay active, whether inside at a pool or on a lake during the summer. Kids should be wearing life jacket and be under the supervision of a lifeguard or adult when on a boat, swimming, or near water. And remember, swimming lessons are a critical step to staying safe in the water for life.
  • Spending meal time together as a family can help improve kids’ communication skills and gives you a chance to learn about their days. Give everyone an age-appropriate task to help prepare the meal, and gather your family every day for a well-balanced dinner, away from electronics and distractions, to talk.
  • Help inspire your child’s love of reading by setting aside time every day to read together. Reading at home will help develop children’s vocabulary and set them up for success in the classroom.
  • In today’s world of 24/7 social media and the Internet, it’s important to talk to your child or teen about what information or photos are appropriate to share online. Creating family guidelines and keeping their access in open areas of your home can help kids stay safe and make great choices.
  • Parents should teach their kids about street safety. Help your child learn how to use crosswalks, understand walk and don’t walk signs, recognize street signs and avoid playing in the street. This helps keeps pedestrians and drivers safe.
  • Childhood falls are one of the most common reasons families visit emergency rooms. Many falls can be prevented with proper supervision and attention. Make sure an adult always is present during playtime and child-proof your home around stairways to prevent falls.
  • ticks health tipsTicks are common in Minnesota, so check your kids for ticks every time they’ve been in or around wooded areas. If you find a deer tick, remove it as soon as possible and call your doctor, who may prescribe an antibiotic or recommend other treatment.
  • Teach your kids about smoke alarms, kitchen safety, and make a family emergency plan in case of a fire. You can visit your local fire department as an opportunity to learn about fire safety and what to do in an emergency.
  • Did you know that as your child grows, his or her schedule for primary care visits doesn’t? Children and teenagers still need yearly checkups. Work with your pediatrician to ensure your child’s immunizations and exams are on schedule.
  • Allergy symptoms are most prevalent in the spring, summer and fall, but allergies to indoor allergens, like dust or pets, can happen year-round. If your child is suffering from allergies, talk to your doctor about testing and potential treatment options.
  • Head injuries and concussions in children are a serious concern. If your child suffers a head injury and has symptoms, such as a headache, memory loss, confusion or dizziness, call your doctor immediately. Detecting a concussion and establishing a treatment plan after the injury is critical.
  • For many children, cuts and scrapes are common injuries. These typically can be treated at home by cleaning and covering them until the healing process begins. But if your child has a fever, increasing pain, redness, swelling or drainage from the wound, call your child’s clinic for further treatment.
  • vaccines health tipsVaccines are critical in protecting your child against highly infectious illnesses. Ask your child’s pediatrician about vaccines and how to get caught up.
  • It’s never too early to teach your kids about the importance of giving back. This looks different for every family. Donating financially to your charity of choice by encouraging kids to use a portion of their childhood allowances, donating time as a family through volunteering at a local organization, or donating food with your kids to local food shelves, inspires them to learn to give for a lifetime.
  • Extremity fractures are common in childhood. Signs of broken bones can include an unusual sound during injury, swelling around the injured area and pain when moving, rotating or trying to stand. Seek medical care immediately if you suspect your child has a broken bone for help with controlling pain and to ensure it heals appropriately, allowing for continued growth at growth plates.
  • Installing carbon monoxide and smoke detectors is an important step in making sure a home is safe for kids and adults. Check and replace batteries regularly to ensure they’re working properly, and teach your family what to do if alarms sound.
  • We all know head lice in kids give adults a headache, so think prevention instead. Don’t let your kids share combs, hairbrushes or hair accessories. Avoid head-to-head contact with other kids and call your clinic for treatment if you suspect your child has lice.
  • Along with regular visits to a pediatrician, dentists want to see kids for the first time around age 1. Remember to make regular dental checkups for your child along with those pediatrician visits to help keep their whole bodies healthy.


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Madeline Riggs