The kids are back to school and that means all kinds of changes in their daily reality. One is that being in groups in school means that they are exposed to many more germs. But, serious disease is preventable and it’s our job to protect our kids by immunizing them.
Immunization Saves Lives
Ask any parent today if they have ever kept their child away from a park or beach because they were worried that she would get polio and they’ll look at you as if you are crazy. But talk to your grandparents and they will remember not just polio scares, but children catching and all too often dying from whooping cough, diphtheria or tetanus.
The introduction of regular vaccines has made those diseases preventable and is saving the lives of our children. Smallpox has been eradicated globally and polio no longer exists in Canada. We no longer see massive outbreaks of measles, mumps or whooping cough.
Vaccines save lives and are eradicating diseases that can kill children.
We need to know what vaccinations our children need. It’s our job to do our best to keep our children healthy and safe. To that end, it’s key for parents to inform themselves with credible and accurate data and have honest conversations with their doctor or nurse about ways to protect their children.
“As kids head back to school, it is a perfect time for parents to think about ensuring their children are fully protected against vaccine-preventable diseases,” said B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake. “Here in B.C., we have a comprehensive publicly-funded immunization program for children and adults that protects against 16 diseases.”
While serious childhood diseases such as polio and diphtheria are becoming more rare due to routine childhood vaccination programs, according to Vancouver Coastal Health Medical Health Officer Dr. Meena Dawar, there’s still cause for concern.
“As we saw with the recent measles outbreaks in the Fraser Valley, and on the North Shore and Bowen Island, these diseases are highly infectious and can spread quickly among those who aren’t vaccinated.”
This is the situation in my neck of the woods in British Columbia, but it’s up to parents everywhere to check with their physicians or community health centres to ensure that all kids are protected from these potentially fatal and preventable diseases.
Medical Health Officers advise that all children starting at age four get their booster shots to protect against polio, tetanus, diphtheria, chicken pox and whooping cough before kindergarten starts in September.
Dawar emphasizes that vaccines, including combined doses, are safe and can pose minor, if any, side effects. “It’s much safer to get the vaccine than to get the disease,” she says. “If parents have any concerns, they should always speak with their doctor or a public health nurse.”
It’s not just a question of keeping our children free from preventable diseases; we are also protecting the community. When all the kids are immunized, all children are free from the risk of these potentially serious diseases.
A New E-Booklet
Why is it that Jeremy and Olivia who are siblings are so different? Every child is unique and usually shows their particular temperament right from birth. What’s a parent to do?
Watch for a new e-booklet due out in July called Vive la Difference; Raising Children with Different Temperaments.
You’ll find out in this newsletter the minute it is available.
Bringing Parenting Today to your event.
Parenting Today is keen to speak as part of your professional development event, parenting workshop or workplace wellness support program. I offer keynotes and workshops, have written books and have ongoing newspaper columns, books, blogs and newsletters. And, no matter what the actual topic, they all share a basic value that I call:
P — is a parenting plan
U — is unconditional love
R — is respect for your child as he is right now
E — is encouragement
These make up the framework of any resources that will come from Parenting Today. These four pillars are the essential ingredients for raising healthy children who will develop into capable young men and women.