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Save the Dates!
National Women's Health Week
May 8-14, 2005

National Men's Health Week
June 13-19, 2005

National Health Observances 2004

Promote a health issue around one of these special days, weeks, or months.

US Department of Health and Human Services

The ABCs of Raising Healthy Kids: Steps to Staying Safe and Healthy


Click on a letter below to find out steps you can take to keep your kids safe and healthy.

A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z


Alcohol-Free Pregnancy

Alcohol consumed during pregnancy can lead to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). There is no safe amount of alcohol a woman can drink while pregnant. Therefore, it is recommended that women abstain from drinking alcohol at any time during pregnancy.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

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Back to Sleep

Always place your baby on his or her Back to Sleep, even for naps. This is the safest sleep position for a healthy baby to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Babies placed on their stomachs to sleep are much more likely to die of SIDS than babies placed on their backs to sleep.

SIDS: "Back to Sleep" Campaign
http://www.nichd.nih.gov/sids/sids.cfm (Non-CDC site)

Bicycle Helmets

Unfortunately, only about one-quarter of children ages 5 to 14 wear helmets when riding bicycles. The percentage of teen cyclists who wear helmets is close to zero. If every bicycle rider wore a helmet, that action alone would prevent an estimated 150 deaths and another 100,000 nonfatal head injuries each year. Bicycle helmets reduce the risk of serious head injury by as much as 85% and the risk of brain injury by as much as 88%. Helmets have also been shown to reduce the risk of injury to the upper and mid-face by 65%.

Bicycle-Related Injuries


Breastfeeding is the ideal method of feeding and nurturing infants. Breast milk is the most complete form of nutrition for infants. Breastfeeding protects an infant from a wide array of infectious and noninfectious diseases. Breastfeeding improves maternal health by reducing postpartum bleeding and may lower the risk of premenopausal breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

Breastfeeding – Best for Baby. Best for Mom
http://www.4women.gov/breastfeeding (Non-CDC site)

Blueprint for Action

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Compliment Your Kids

Compliment your kids when they do something good. This may encourage good behavior and keep the communication lines open.

Got a Minute? Give It to Your Kid

Cover 'em Up

Covering/protecting the skin in the spring and summer can reduce the risk for sunburn which may lead to skin cancer. It can also help prevent mosquito bites. Fighting mosquito bites reduces your risk of getting West Nile virus (WNV). Most often, WNV is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes are WNV carriers that become infected when they feed on infected birds. Infected mosquitoes can then spread WNV to humans and other animals when they bite.

To protect your kids from too much sun exposure, be sure to wear a hat, shades, and sunscreen; seek shade, and cover up. A few serious sunburns can increase your child’s risk of skin cancer later in life. Kids don't have to be at the pool, beach, or on vacation to get too much sun. Their skin needs protection from the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays whenever they're outdoors.

Avoid Mosquito Bites to Avoid Infection (West Nile)

Play it Safe in the Sun: A Guide for Parents

What Can I Do to Reduce My Risk of Becoming Infected With West Nile Virus?

Cover up unused electrical outlets to prevent kids from getting a shock (or worse) if they stick their finger or object in the outlet. Safety plugs should be inserted in unused outlets when toddlers are in the home. Make sure all outlets in the home have face plates.

Electrical Safety in the Home

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Picture of girl visiting the dentistDental Health

Dental decay is one of the most common chronic infectious diseases among U.S. children. This preventable health problem begins early: 17% of children aged 2-4 years have already had decay. By the age of 8, approximately 52% of children have experienced decay, and by the age of 17, dental decay affects 78% of children. Children and adults who are at low risk of dental decay can stay cavity-free through frequent exposure to small amounts of fluoride. This is best gained by drinking fluoridated water and using a fluoride toothpaste twice daily. Children and adults at high risk of dental decay may benefit from using additional fluoride products, including dietary supplements (for children who do not have adequate levels of fluoride in their drinking water), mouth rinses, and professionally applied gels and varnishes.

Using Fluoride to Prevent and Control Dental Caries in the United States

Children’s Oral Health

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Exercise (physical activity) helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints; control weight; build lean muscle; reduce fat; prevent or delay the development of high blood pressure; and reduce blood pressure in some adolescents with hypertension.

Picture of girl playing with hula hoopElementary school-aged children should accumulate at least 30 to 60 minutes of age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate physical activity from a variety of activities on all, or most, days of the week. An accumulation of more than 60 minutes, and up to several hours per day, of age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate activity is encouraged. Adolescents should engage in three or more sessions per week of activities that last 20 minutes or more at a time and that require moderate to vigorous levels of exertion.

Fact Sheet: Adolescents and Young Adults - Physical Activity and Health

Are There Special [Physical Activity] Recommendations for Young People?

National Bone Health Campaign: Bone Health

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Folic Acid

Insufficient folic acid (a B vitamin) in pregnant women can lead to spina bifida (spine defects) and anencephaly (brain defects) in infants. All women who could possibly become pregnant should take a vitamin with folic acid every day. Take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily both before pregnancy and during the first few months of pregnancy to reduce the risk of birth defects of the brain and spine.

Folic Acid

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Growth Charts

Pediatric growth charts have been used by pediatricians, nurses, and parents to track the growth of infants, children, and adolescents in the United States since 1977. The 1977 growth charts were developed as a tool for health professionals to determine if the growth of a child is adequate. Measurements include height, weight, and head size (2 years of age and younger usually). Growth charts are tools that contribute to forming an overall clinical impression for the child being measured.

Individual Growth Charts

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The most important thing that you and your kids can do to keep from getting sick is to wash hands, especially after coughing and sneezing, before preparing foods or eating, and after using the restroom. By frequently washing your hands you wash away germs that you have picked up from other people, from contaminated surfaces, or from animals and animal waste. Everyone should wash their hands for 10-15 seconds (or about the length of a little tune) to remove germs. It is the soap combined with the scrubbing action that helps dislodge and remove germs. Rinse well and dry your hands. It is estimated that one out of three people do not wash their hands after using the restroom.

An Ounce of Prevention: Keeps the Germs Away – Wash Your Hands Often

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Install and Maintain Smoke Alarms

Install smoke alarms on every floor of your home, including the basement. Be sure to place smoke alarms near rooms where people sleep. Test all of your smoke alarms every month to ensure that they work properly.

Fire Deaths and Injuries

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Job Safety

Make sure young workers are trained properly to perform tasks, and supervise them appropriately. Injuries, sometimes fatal, can result at home, on the job, on the farm, and elsewhere.

Young Worker Safety and Health

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Know Your Child’s Risks and Family History

Know if you or your child is at risk for certain conditions or diseases because of family history, medical history, environmental concerns, or other issues. Collect and record your family history and talk to your health care provider if there are conditions or diseases that may place you or your child at risk. In consultation with your health care provider, take steps to reduce risk where appropriate.

Your Family History
http://www.ashg.org/genetics/ashg/educ/007.shtml (Non-CDC site)

Remove triggers that may cause asthma or other health problems. Triggers include smoke, dust mites, cockroaches, pets, and mold.

Basic Facts About Asthma

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Picture of young girl and her father playing on the swingLearn More About Your Child’s Life

Get to know their friends, interests, and hobbies. Learn if any of them are placing your child at increased risk for injury, disability, or bad habits. Get involved with your kid’s life and talk to them about making positive, healthy choices. Spend time together having fun and doing healthy things.

Healthy Kids. Healthy Families. PDF


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Motor Vehicle Safety

Nearly half of children under 5 who were killed in motor vehicle crashes were riding unrestrained. Child safety seats reduce the risk of death by about 70% for infants and by about 55% for toddlers ages 1 to 4. If restraint use among motor vehicle occupants ages five years and older increased to 100%, an additional 9,000 lives would be saved and 160,000 nonfatal injuries would be prevented each year.

U.S. Motor Vehicle Injury Facts PDF

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Nutritious Food

Diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. Fruits and vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and other substances that are important for good health. Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories and are filling. Leave the high-fat, high-sugar snack foods at the store. Serve child-sized portions.

Healthy Children, Healthy Choices: Parents Are In Charge

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Picture of young boy being hugged by his grandparentsOther Caregivers

Ensure that others caring for your child (including family, friends, neighbors, day care, and schools) have your contact information, know what to do in case of an emergency, and in the case of schools and day care, have appropriate policies in place to handle problems. Determine if caregivers are screened and provided training.

Adolescent and School Health

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Pedestrian Safety

Set limits on when and where your children walk and cross streets. Take the time to teach your kids about street safety, including crossing at corners, what traffic light colors mean, obeying traffic signals, and watching for cars. Adult supervision is important.

Kids Walk-to-School Encourages Pedestrian Safety

Pedestrian: Protecting Your Family
http://www.safekids.org/tier3_cd.cfm?content_item_id=330&folder_id=175 (Non-CDC site)


Pets provide many benefits to humans. They comfort us and they give us companionship. However, some animals can also pass diseases to people. Infants and children less than 5 years old are more likely than most people to get diseases from animals. This is because young children often touch surfaces that may be contaminated with animal feces (stool), and young children like to put their hands in their mouths. Young children are less likely than others to wash their hands well. Children should wash their hands thoroughly with running water and soap after contact with animals. Adults should supervise children while they are washing their hands.

Animal Safety Tips

Plan Ahead for Emergencies

Post the poison control number 1-800-222-1222 on or near every home telephone. Keep poisons and other hazardous substances away from children and pets.

Poisoning Prevention: Safety Tips for You and Your Family

Have a plan when weather emergencies strike. Knowing what to do can help protect you and your family.

Extreme Weather

Picture of girl with pregnant mother and doctorPrenatal Care

Through prenatal care, health problems can be prevented, identified early and treated, or closely monitored. Persons with certain conditions or diseases can receive specialized care, which may
reduce the risk in the fetus or newborn of developing similar or other problems.

Having a Healthy Pregnancy (ABC’s…Pregnancy Tips)

Protective Eyewear

Although eye protectors cannot eliminate the risk of injury, appropriate eye protectors have been found to reduce the risk of significant eye injury by at least 90% when fitted properly.

Protective Eyewear for Young Athletes

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Quit Smoking

Half of all adult smokers have quit, and you can too. There are millions of people alive today who have learned to face life without a cigarette. For staying healthy, quitting smoking is the best step you can take.

Quit Tips

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Recreation and Sports Safety (i.e. sports, sun, swimming, fireworks, travel, pets, water)

Fireworks are exciting, but leave fireworks displays to trained professionals.

Fireworks-Related Injuries

Swimming can be fun. But certain precautions should be taken to protect your child and other swimmers from getting sick through swallowing contaminated water. Don’t let your kids swim if they have diarrhea. Don’t swallow the pool water. Wash your hands.

Questions and Answers for Swimmers

Supervise your children on playgrounds. Check safety of playground equipment.

Playground Injuries

Girls who play sports have higher levels of self-esteem, lower levels of depression, more positive body image, and higher states of psychological well being than girls and women who do not play sports.

How Parents Can Encourage Girls to Play Sports http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/sport_initiatives/daugthertips.htm

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Safety Checks

Store all medicines, household products, personal care products, and other dangerous substances in locked cabinets that are out of reach of small children.

Poisoning Prevention: Safety Tips for You and Your Family

Picture of little girl with hand to mouthPerform a home safety check and remove things that pose a tripping hazard. Secure banisters and handrails at all stairwells. Use safety gates at the bottom and top of stairs when young children are around.

Traumatic Brain Injury Prevention Tips: Safety Tips for You and Your Family

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Take A Break

Take a break from a situation if you feel yourself losing control. Ask a friend or relative to watch your children for a little while. Offer to help other parents so they can take a break.

Child Maltreatment: Prevention Strategies


Talk to your kids about being healthy and staying safe. This includes discussions on tobacco, drugs, alcohol, sexual abuse, and other subjects. Today’s young people are bombarded with persuasive messages about tobacco and alcohol – messages that make smoking look normal, and drinking look cool. Learning to understand and analyze these messages from every kind of media outlet is more important than ever.

The 3R’s: Reading, Writing and Real Life – MediaSharp

Ten Tactics

Parents: The Anti-Drug
http://www.theantidrug.com/ (Non-CDC site)


When traveling with kids outside the United States, know vaccination recommendations, breastfeeding recommendations, and food and water precautions.

Traveling With Children

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Use Antibiotics Wisely

Use antibiotics only when your health care provider has determined that they are likely to be effective. Children are of particular concern because they have the highest rates of antibiotic use. They also have the highest rate of infections caused by antibiotic-resistant pathogens.

Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in a way that reduces or eliminates the effectiveness of antibiotics. These resistant bacteria survive and multiply - causing more harm, such as a longer illness, more doctor visits, and a need for more expensive antibiotics. Resistant bacteria may even cause death.

Parent pressure makes a difference. For pediatric care, a recent study showed that doctors prescribe antibiotics 65% of the time if they perceive parents expect them; and 12% of the time if they feel parents do not expect them. Parents should not demand antibiotics when a health care provider has determined they are not needed. Parents should talk with their health care provider about antibiotic resistance.

General Information About Antibiotic Resistance

20 Tips to Help Prevent Medical Errors in Children
http://www.ahrq.gov/consumer/20tipkid.htm (Non-CDC site)

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In the U.S., vaccines have reduced or eliminated many infectious diseases that once routinely killed or harmed many infants, children, and adults. However, the viruses and bacteria that cause vaccine-preventable disease and death still exist and can be passed on to people who are not protected by vaccines. Vaccine-preventable diseases have many social and economic costs: sick children miss school and can cause parents to lose time from work. These diseases also result in doctor's visits, hospitalizations, and even premature deaths.

2004 Childhood & Adolescent Immunization Schedule

What Would Happen If We Stopped Vaccinations?

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Picture of young girl playing with toddler brotherWatch Your Kids

It doesn’t take but a second for small kids to get into something they shouldn’t be into. To prevent injury or exposure to hazardous substances, be aware of common causes of injury in the home, at school, and while on the move.

Children and Parents

Injuries Among Children and Adolescents


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eXplain the Facts of Life

Knowing about the birds and bees is important. Also tell your kids about some of the issues we don’t often want to talk about, such as violence, abuse, what’s inappropriate, and what to do if something happens.

Child Maltreatment: Fact Sheet

Stop It Now! The Campaign to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse
http://www.stopitnow.com/index.html (Non-CDC site)

National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information
http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov/ (Non-CDC site)

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Yearly Exams and Screenings

When they are less than a year old, babies should usually be seen by a health care professional every few months for routine exams, vaccinations, and screenings. Around one year of age, children may be seen every six months to yearly. Some children may need to be seen more often and others less often. Ask your health care provider how often your child should be seen.

Childhood and Adolescent Immunization Schedule

The Pocket Guide to Good Health for Children
http://www.ahrq.gov/ppip/childguide/ (Non-CDC site)

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ZZZZs mean get your rest. If you are rested, then you are in better shape to deal with the joys and challenges of raising healthy kids!

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This page last reviewed October 8, 2004
URL: http://www.cdc.gov/od/spotlight/nwhw/abc.htm

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