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Hoping To Make Kids’ Health As Easy As ABC

2009 October 30

Even though Children’s Health Month is nearing its end, I have plenty of reasons to stay invested in the well-being of kids. Aside from working in the children’s environmental health field, I am a parent to a toddler and pregnant!

This viewpoint has its pros and cons. On the one hand, I have access to the latest science and advice about how to protect my children from environmental health threats. On the other hand, all this information can make me a bit paranoid!

For instance, pregnant women can no longer worry only about eating sushi or soft cheese.  Moms also have to watch for toxins in our water bottles, personal care products, household items, food and the baby’s toys and plastic bottles.  It is overwhelming and confusing—even to a person who works on these problems.

During my first pregnancy, I was the model pregnant woman—I ate organic, didn’t use plastics and bought the “right” products. However, when my first daughter was born extremely premature – she was born 3 ½ months early and weighed 1 ½ lbs.—I realized just how little control I really had over her health and exposures.  She had plastic tubes all over her and inside her keeping her alive and was pumped full of antibiotics and medications that saved her life. All of these early exposures have risks associated with them, however.

Millions of parents can tell a similar story. Try as we may, we can’t control many of the factors that affect the health of our children.  What we can do is be educated and proactive. It is part of my job to help elevate the discussion among researchers, environmental health professionals, and healthcare providers about children’s health. More importantly, I want to bring the discussion down to the street level where I and millions of other parents and parents-to-be are looking for guidance.

Moms and dads should not have to be toxicologists to protect their children. My hope is that we can advance science in these areas and make good use of the knowledge between doctors, scientists, policymakers and parents to better protect the health of our kids.

About the author: Margo Young is the Children’s Health Coordinator for EPA Region 10. She works in EPA’s Seattle office.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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8 Responses leave one →
  1. Jackenson Durand permalink
    October 30, 2009

    Children health has been play a preponderant role for my intention because earlier children receive better care; the best adults’ images repertories and behavioral attitude we will observe in different factors in tomorrow society.

  2. Johnny R. permalink
    October 31, 2009

    The only effective way to insure children’s health is to return planet Earth to its naturally healthy condition. But EPA bureaucrats will not even admit corporate responsibility for the ecocidal disaster that today threatens us all, especially the children. Instead, they focus blame against the citizens themselves who are the victims of the pollution, as though they could stop it by cleaning their homes and back yards. EPA treats the symptoms, but never the cause.

  3. Michael E. Bailey permalink
    November 1, 2009

    It is of critical importance to have the doctors and researchers on the same page. And, then, it is just as important to get information down to the parents level in formats they can easily understand and make since from. Probably the best way to get the information out is to distribute it through the pediatricians offices at about the 4th grade reading level to make sure every parent gettinga copy gets the maximum benefit from reading it. At least things are getting better than they used to be. I was born in 1956 and my mother kept the information the doctor gave her when she was pregnant. It said it was fine for you to have one drink of alcohol a day while pregnant and to smoke one to two cigarettes a day while pregnant, and diets that today we might consider unhealthy were seen as fine back then. So we have come along way but still have a ways yet left to go. Best wishes, Michael E. Bailey.

  4. Janice Baker permalink
    November 2, 2009

    I found a website that is perfect to compliment this article. It’s about the baby feeding bottle and has some pretty awesome information.

    I think it is definitely worth starting young with their health. Humanity itself depends on it.

  5. rita driscoll permalink
    November 2, 2009

    Dear Margo,
    When my son was not feeling that great a friend dropped her son off to visit so she could do some chores.She phoned me that night to tell me,oh by the way my son was contagious for 5th disease.My son got so sick Drs didnot know what was wrong .Please test him for parvo,no children hardlly get sick.Do it my neice is 7 months pregnant and we are having a reunion.That Friday positive parvo once in awhile a child will get very sick,but my neice who was pregnant could not be around my family.That was okay I would rather be safe then sorry.As you must know 5th disease can hurt the fetus.Please take a survey or just ask Moms and Dads should know please get the word out.

  6. Keith McCain permalink
    April 5, 2010

    In any situation Simple is Best…and so should our foods, and lives be. Things only became complicated when the food industry started spraying the crops and genetically altering them. It’s no wonder people are having a hard time finding the right foods to eat for health, and conceiving.

    Personally we do have control over what is going on in our lives and what goes on in and around our house. You are in control of what you eat, how you eat, your stress levels, etc.

    If you decide to buy your child toys, than you should be on the look out to know where the toy was made and from what materials. The same is true of what you feed your child. We need to become more aware of the right choices. We should also simplify our lives with less choice. Stick to the basics.

    As for eating healthy before you decide to have a child…I think that eating healthy plays a HUGE role on the outcome of your child. If you were the type where you were eating poor food choices for most of your life it’s not going to take half a year for your body to become extremely healthy and ready to conceive. The body needs more work to cleanse and restore itself. It may need years! A lot of people should re consider when it comes to having children and first be able to take care of themselves before they take care of someone else, such as a child. The child can’t make decisions for itself at a young age and therefor you are 100% responsible for your child and its health. So please consider your health first before you dive into having a family.

    My wife and I were preparing for years to have a child. She used female fertility supplement, and I used one very similar to that formula. I believe that it helped us conceive along with eating healthy and planning. There is a review on the supplement she took

  7. Amy Cameron permalink
    April 15, 2010

    We parents, when something happens to our children, would often blame ourselves for it. We have done precautions and have religiously read labels over and over just to give them the best of everything. True, that we can’t control other factors that affect our child’s health. We shouldn’t be too harsh on ourselves and instead focus on how to prevent it from happening again.

    Amy Cameron

  8. aharon permalink
    April 18, 2010

    Baby health is affected by greatly by their environment. That being said, we should consider what exactly is the environment of a baby. Other than the air, and water quality and such we should also consider the quality of care and love that the baby experience. One of the first things to consider is methods for putting a baby to sleep. I am looking forward for a cleaner and healthier tomorrow for all of our children.

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