The Knox County Health Department (KCHD), TennCare Kids and a host of community partners are once again planning activities to observe Child Health Week, Oct. 1-7, 2017. In honor of Child Health Day, first proclaimed by President Calvin Coolidge in 1928, the State of Tennessee designates a week in October every year to focus on the health of its children.
Child Health Week activities are designed to raise awareness of the many ways the community can help children have healthy, productive futures. Some of the public events include:
- In-school flu vaccination clinics -- To reduce the burden of influenza in our community, the KCHD will once again offer in-school flu vaccinations at some Knox County public schools, private schools and child care centers beginning Monday, Oct. 2, 2017. More information, including clinic dates and participating schools, can be found here.
- Healthy story time – A fun way to help children learn about healthy habits. The Knox County Public Library will incorporate health-related books into regular story times during Child Health Week, one of the library’s initiatives to help children develop literacy skills. For more information, contact Erin Nyugen at 865-215-8761 or click on the Kid Zone section of the library’s website: www.knoxlib.org.
- Community Food Drive – In Tennessee, 1 in 7 adults and 1 in four children are at risk of hunger every day. To help bring awareness to the issue of child hunger, Child Health Week agencies have partnered with Second Harvest Food Bank to hose a virtual food drive. Donations can be made online at https://virtualfooddrive.secondharvestetn.org/drives/260. For every dollar donated, Second Harvest will provide three meals to hungry children. When you purchase food for the food drive, the goods will be distributed through the Back Pack Program.
In addition to various Child Health Week activities, starting Oct. 2 a specific health topic will be the theme of the day. On Monday, nutrition and child hunger will be the focus. Tuesday will promote dental health. Wednesday will talk about physical activity and safety. On Thursday, tobacco, alcohol and other drugs will be the topic. Friday the focus is on emotional and behavioral health, and health topics conclude on Saturday with safe sleep/strong baby messages.
How can you keep your child healthy?
A child’s health begins at home. Parents should make their own heath a priority. After all, a parent is a child’s best role model. Other ways parents can help keep their child healthy include:
- Make sure your child, youth and teen gets regular checkups from his primary care provider
- Protect your family from vaccine-preventable diseases by making sure everyone gets the shots they need (click here for more information on vaccinations)
- Encourage your child to talk to you or an adult that they trust if they are sad, nervous or scared
- Keep your health records in one place so that you can find them easily
- Help your child get a good night’s sleep every night
- Encourage your child to wash their hands often
- Teach your children to cover their mouth with their elbow when they cough or sneeze
- Keep kids safe by making sure everyone is wearing their seat belt or is in a proper car seat
- Let your kids get out and play for at least 60 minutes every day
- Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day
- Eat meals together as a family
- Practicing good dental hygiene is an important part in being healthy
- Talk to your child and their school about bullying
- Talk with your teen about being distracted while driving (no texting, talking on phone, etc.)
- Keep your teen safe while they are online (practice good digital parenting)
More resources that promote the nourishment of children:
- www.strongbabyknox.org The Strong Baby Project is an effort to promote healthier families and infants. Improving the well-being of mothers, infants and children is an important community health goal for the KCHD. Their well-being determines the health of the next generation and can help predict future public health challenges for families, communities and the health care system.
- www.kidcentraltn.com This website and app offers a convenient source of reliable information about child health, education and development. Families may enter their zip code to find nearby state services.
- http://healthiertn.com/small_starts Sponsored by the Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness, this website and app help families create healthy habits one at a time.
- https://www.choosemyplate.gov/ A website that offers ideas and tips to help you create a healthier eating style that meets your individual and family needs and improves your health.
- https://www.tn.gov/health/goldsneaker.html The Gold Sneaker Initiative was developed to enhance policy related health and wellness within child care facilities across Tennessee.
- https://tn.gov/health/article/breastfeeding-welcomedHere The Tennessee Department of Health recognizes businesses that support breastfeeding families through the “Breastfeeding Welcomed Here” campaign. Do you frequent a business that hasn’t signed the pledge? Encourage that business to do so!
- https://www.dhs.gov.publication/stopthinkconnect-parent-and-educator-resources Parents and educators can obtain information here on how to protect children when they are online using the internet and social media outlets
- https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving A website that explains just how devastating distracted driving can be and ways to help stop it
- http://teendriving.aaa.com/TN/ From supervised driving, to going solo, this website helps prepare your teen for driving. It also offers keep points for parents to help ensure their teen is developing safe driving habits.
- http://www.ada.org/en/public-programs/mouthhealthy A website from the American Dental Association that has information about taking better care of your mouth today, so it will take care of you for life.
Tennessee’s TennCare Kids is committed to promoting good health in children from birth until age 21. The program provides checkups and health services for children who have TennCare – ensuring that babies, children, teens and young adults receive the care they need. You can learn more about TennCare Kids here.
Child Health Week is Knox County is made possible by partnerships with TennCare Kids, Knox County Schools, Knox County Health Department, AmeriGroup, Boys and Girls Club of Greater Tennessee Valley, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, Knox County Public Library, Second Harvest East Tennessee and the University of Tennessee Medical Center.