5 Tips for Child Health with Hattiesburg Clinic Pediatrician Dr. Yakeyla Naylor

No matter how busy life gets, keeping your child healthy is of the utmost importance. Today, we are fortunate to have Dr. Yakeyla Naylor, a pediatrician with Hattiesburg Clinic, share her top five tips when it comes to keeping our children healthy. Read them below!

1. Stay up-to-date with immunizations.

Vaccinating your child is probably the easiest and most effective means to keeping your child healthy. Vaccines help prevent against certain viruses and bacteria that can be fatal. In addition, establishing and maintaining the relationship with your child’s pediatrician will help ensure your child remains up-to-date with immunizations. Last, get the flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine. Both of these vaccines are available for everyone 6 months and older. 

2. Good nutrition is key.

Healthy nutrition is vital for healthy growth and development in kids.  As a pediatrician, we view nutritional decisions as health decisions. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than 70% of Americans are overweight or have obesity, including 40% of children and adolescents and 74% of adults. The rate increases throughout childhood and teen years, and, unfortunately, it has become more common over the last two decades. Practicing healthy nutritional choices and behaviors will help minimize the risk for ongoing medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension in kids.

3. Go to sleep.

Adequate sleep is also very important to the growth, development and health of children.  School-aged children need between 9-11 hours of quality sleep nightly. A consistent bedtime routine helps promote healthy sleep. A good – or not so good – night’s sleep can directly impact a child’s behavior, eating habits and the ability to fight off infections. Lack of sleep results in mood swings, temper tantrums and increased risk of infections.

4. Keep our kids safe.

We have to be diligent about keeping our children safe. This includes always buckling little ones into their car seats, booster seats, and/or seat belts depending upon the age of the child. Also, be sure the seats are properly installed. Home safety is another topic we as pediatricians spend lots of time on educating parents. It is important to safeguard children from chemicals, electrical outlets, and firearms. Choking hazards should be out of reach. 

5. Reduce screen time.

We all know technology is more widespread than ever in our day-to-day lives. We are all glued to our phones, tablets, and other electronic devices – including our children who are spending lots of time on these devices. If screen time is not associated with homework or learning, limit it to two hours or less a day. This includes phones, tablets, video games, and computers. Equally important, remove electronic devices prior to bedtime. Light emitted from screens can reduce melatonin levels, making it more difficult to fall asleep and affect the sleeping rhythm. Parents often voice concerns of their child having trouble falling asleep. Upon further questioning, I hear the child has a tablet, phone or television in hand or bed with them. This is also an important part of healthy sleep. 

Thank you Dr. Naylor for sharing your expertise with us! To make an appointment for your child with Hattiesburg Clinic, visit their website here or call (601)264-6000.