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KidsDoc Monthly Newsletter from AllForKids
June 2008, Vol-1, Issue-6

By Dr. M.Vijayalakshmi M.D(Peds), M.D(USA), FAAP, DAA


Want to know more about the effect of electronic media on your children? Please take a quiz at

www.allforkidsindia.com/resources/emquiz.aspx to find out.

Effects of environmental tobacco smoke or secondhand tobacco smoke on children

May-31st was ‘World No-Tobacco Day’, on this occasion I thought it may be prudent to try to make parents understand the ill effects of environmental or second hand tobacco smoke on children.

Many people think tobacco-related health problems affect only adults after a lifetime of smoking or tobacco use. Yet, children and teens suffer from tobacco-related health problems as well. The fact is tobacco use can affect every member of the family.

Luckily smoking and the consumption of Tobacco is going down in the young population in India, particularly those among the higher socio-economic strata, but we need to spread more awareness among parents about the dangers of smoking to their children.

How does secondhand smoke harm my child?

Secondhand smoke is the smoke a smoker breathes out and that comes from the tip of burning cigarettes, pipes, and cigars. It contains about 4,000 chemicals. Many of these chemicals are dangerous; more than 50 are known to cause cancer. Anytime children breathe in secondhand smoke they are exposed to these chemicals.

Dangers start during pregnancy

If you smoke or you take in secondhand smoke when you're pregnant (luckily not many woman in India do this), your baby is exposed to harmful chemicals, too. Smoking or being exposed to second hand smoke when you're pregnant may lead to many serious health problems for your baby, including

  • Miscarriage
  • Premature birth
  • Lower birth weight than expected (possibly meaning a less healthy baby)
  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  • Learning problems and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

The health risks go up the longer a pregnant woman smokes and the more she smokes. Quitting anytime during pregnancy helps—of course, the sooner the better.All pregnant women should stay away from secondhand smoke and ask smokers not to smoke around them.

Dangers to young children

Infants have a higher risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)if they are exposed to secondhand smoke. Children, especially those younger than 2 years, have a higher risk of serious health problems, or problems may become worse. Children who breathe secondhand smoke can have more.

  • Ear infections
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Respiratory problems such as bronchitis and pneumonia
  • Tooth decay

Children of smokers cough and wheeze more and have a harder time getting over colds. Secondhand smoke can cause other symptoms including stuffy nose, headache, sore throat, eye irritation, and hoarseness.

Children with asthma are especially sensitive to secondhand smoke. It may cause more asthma attacks and the attacks may be more severe, requiring trips to the hospital.

Dangers to older children

Children who grow up with parents who smoke are themselves more likely to smoke. Children and teens who smoke are affected by the same health problems that affect adults. Secondhand smoke may cause problems for children later in life including

  • Lung cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Cataracts

A critical choice

If you smoke, one of the most important things you can do for your own health and the health of your children is to stop smoking. Quitting is the best way to prevent your children from being exposed to secondhand smoke.

Parents need to make every effort to keep their children away from smokers and secondhand smoke. Parents who smoke should quit for their own health and the health of their children.

The difference between DTP and DTaP/Tdap Vaccines

Tdap/DTaP vaccines which are now available in India is a newer version of DTP vaccine. Tdap/DTaP vaccine which contains acellular pertusis vaccine is safer as it causes lesser adverse reactions than the older DTP vaccine. This means lesser pain at injection site and lesser incidents of fever after vaccination. The vaccine is supplied in India by two major vaccine manufactures: as Infanrix/Boostrix by GSK and as Tripacel by Sanofi Pasteur. The U.S.'s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that children receive DTaP instead of DTP and adolescents receive Tdap vaccine instead of TT Booster at age 10 and 16 years.

Latest from AllForKids:

Customer area on www.allforkidsindia.com: In July-2008, AllForKids will be launching a secure patient area where AllForKids patrons will be able to login and access useful information and communicate with doctors at AllForKids.

Is any of our your friends or relatives expecting a baby? They may find the ‘Newborn instruction booklet’ at

http://www.allforkidsindia.com/allforkids/Resources/Newborn.aspx useful. Please feel free to forward this link.


Useful Links

Is any of our your friends or relatives expecting a baby? They may find the ‘Newborn instruction booklet’ at www.allforkidsindia.com/allforkids/resources/newborn.aspx useful. Please feel free to forward this link.

Interested in accessing previous issues of our Newsletter? Please visit the following link. http://www.allforkidsindia.com/Newsletter/newsletter.asp

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Healthy Snacks for School

By Dr. M.Vijayalakshmi M.D(Peds), M.D(USA), FAAP, DAA

Here are some practical suggestions for home made healthy snacks that can be taken to school by children:

  • Bread sandwich with Cilantro (Coriander)/Mint chutney and some ketchup. Can be cut into fancy shapes to make it interesting for children.
  • Vegetable patties – made with ground vegetables, flour, and pan fried mildly in vegetable oil, mildly spiced and salted. Can be served with a small amount of ketchup if your child prefers it.
  • Cut fruits – use a mix of available fruits Pineapple, Mango, Guava, Pappaya etc.. To make it more interesting to kids a small amount of cream can be mixed with it. Additional sugar should be avoided.
  • Vegetable and cheese (Paneer) pakoras – fried very mild in fresh vegetable oil, mildly spiced and salted.. Variety of vegetables can be used. Larger quantity should be vegetable pakoras with a small mix of cheese pakoras.
  • Carrots and cucumber with vegetable dip : Cleaned carrots and cucumber cut as long pieces. Dip can be made at home using fresh and not-sour yoghurt.
  • Bread sandwich with egg and vegetable omelets – Not more than two eggs should be used. A variety of green and other vegetables should be used.
  • Dried fruits like raisins, dates, cherry etc. mixed with corn flakes or cheerios

Why are we forgetting Sports?

In western countries parents take equal interest in making sure that their children take part in both sports and arts activities. The trend in Kerala seems to be quiet different. Academics is the most important followed by Arts. Sports take a definite back seat. The result: Children have very little if any physical activity which is very critical to their overall development. Each child should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity of moderate intensity every day.

Tips for developing positive TV viewing habits for children

By Dr. M.Vijayalakshmi M.D(Peds), M.D(USA), FAAP, DAA

The following are some ways you can help your children develop positive viewing habits recommended by American Academy of Pediatrics and adapted for local realities:

  • Set limits. Limit your children's use of TV, movies, and video and computer games to no more than 1 or 2 hours per day. Do not let your children watch TV while doing homework. Do not allow TV in your children's bedrooms.
  • Plan what to watch. There are a multitude of channels available and the number is increasing every day. Instead of channel surfing, use a program guide to help you and your children choose which shows to watch. Turn the TV on to watch the program and turn it off when it is over.
  • Watch TV with your children. Whenever possible, watch TV with your children when they are watching their programs and talk about what they see. If your children are very young, they may not be able to tell the difference between a show, a commercial, a cartoon, or real life. Be especially careful of "reality-based" programs.
  • Do not watch your programs with children. Do not allow the children to watch the programs that you watch unless they are appropriate for children too. Also doing this will increase the total time the children are exposed to the TV every day which is not good.
  • Find the right message. Some TV programs show people as stereotypes. If you see this, talk with your children about the real-life roles of women, the elderly, and people of other races, religion, castes or socioeconomic status.
  • Help your children resist commercials. When your children ask for things they see on TV, explain that the purpose of commercials is to make people want things they may not need.
  • Look for quality children's videos and DVDs. There are many quality videos and DVDs available for children. Check reviews before buying or renting programs or movies.
  • Give other options. Watching TV can become a habit for your children. Help them find other things to do like playing; reading; learning a hobby, a sport, an instrument, or an art; or spending time with family, friends, or neighbors. Read with your children regularly and exercise with them regularly.
  • Set a good example. As a role model, limiting your own TV viewing and choosing programs carefully will help your children do the same.
  • Express your views. When you like or do not like something you see on TV, make yourself heard. Stations, networks, and sponsors pay attention to letters from the public. If you think a commercial is misleading or inappropriately targeting children, write down the product name, channel, and time you saw the commercial and describe your concerns.

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Pediatric and Adolescent Clinic
North Fort Gate , Next to Adampilly Kavu Temple , Tripunithura-682301

Phone: 0484-645 2772,Website: www.allforkidsindia.com ,

e-mail: info@allforkidsindia.com