Letnick: Giving our kids the healthiest start possible

Maybe some of the best child-rearing practices of yesteryear are no longer considered so today.

Finally! Our first of three children was born 30 years ago, and God willing I will be a grandparent this August. I’ve got a big smile on my face just thinking about the great joy we will have playing with Luna (yes, that’s going to be her name) and then leaving all the more challenging parts of parenting to her mom and dad.

But wait! It’s been a long time since we raised a child, and maybe some of the best practices of yesteryear are no longer considered so today. So if you are a new parent or ‘grandparent-to-be’ like me, here are some thoughts to consider.

First aid is one of the most basic skills we all should know. From eye injuries to burns and wound care, we need to know how to respond in an emergency and not worsen an already challenging medical situtation. It’s also important to learn the principles of Cardiac Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Automated External Defibrillation (AED).

Local organizations like St. John Ambulance in Kelowna provide informative workshops on a number of these topics, which can include specialized information on treating children or infants. I encourage you to visit their website at www.sja.ca to learn more, or pop in to their location at 1941 Kent Road in Kelowna.

Child-proofing the home and garden is another concern for those of us caring for curious little ones who seemingly get into everything. It’s common for the child’s parents to take these precautions in their own homes, but less common for grandparents and other caregivers to concern themselves with this in their residences.

There are many good online resources on child-proofing as well as retailers selling gates, electric outlet covers, and other safety devices that you can seek out. Locally, Sea to Ski Insurance in Kelowna has a great blog exploring a number of safety topics including child-proofing and best practices for car seats and booster seats. Visit their website at www.kelownainsuranceservice.com.

An even more proactive approach is to attend my next health forum on the topic of ‘Kids Health for Parents and Grandparents.’ We’ll hear from Betty Cleland, an Early Childhood Education Instructor at Okanagan College, who will focus on some of the typical challenges that parents and grandparents may face raising a child and some ways to address and prevent them. We’ll also hear from Lise Olsen, assistant professor with the School of Nursing at UBC Okanagan. She’ll bring us tips on how to make our homes more ‘kid-friendly,’ and address other safety concerns you may bring to the discussion.

The forum takes place on Saturday, May 23, from 1 – 3 p.m., in Lecture Theatre EME 0500 in the Management and Engineering Building at the UBC Okanagan campus. For more details and to register for this free event, please visit my website http://normletnickmla.bc.ca/community/upcoming-events.