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Family health tips

Every day, you have a chance to make good choices about your health. There are many ways you can incorporate healthy activity into your day. Sometimes it's just knowing a little more about your health or sometimes it's finding out new information that makes a difference. Here are some basic health tips that you can start practicing today.

Current family health tip.

Find out how to choose safe and age-appropriate toys for your young children.

Safety first

Each year, thousands of children are injured by toys. Check the following websites to learn about what to look for in toys and how to buy safe toys.

Age-appropriate toys

Most toys are labeled to show the right age and stage of development for children who will use the toy. Check the following website to learn about how to make the right choice for your child.

Remember to supervise your child to make sure your child is playing with a toy safely as intended.

Have your child’s development screened to see if your child is on track or if there are concerns

Stay healthy this fall to enjoy being an active family.

Time spent being active as a family is worth every second. Your family will build bonds and memories that last a lifetime.

Family activities to enjoy:
  • Outside activities can include raking leaves, visiting parks, biking, apple orchards, fall festivals, corn mazes, local sporting events, nature centers, pumpkin patches and zoos.
  • Inside activities can include libraries, bookstores, museums, community centers, community/school plays, indoor swimming and indoor skating.
  • Check your local community and news sources for a variety of fall family fun.
Keep your family healthy:
  • Get your annual Flu Shot. Get flu shot information here.
  • Wash hands frequently.
  • Avoid close contact with those who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean surfaces often that are frequently touched, including phones, keyboards, doorknobs and sink faucets.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Eat a nutritious diet and drink plenty of fluids.

Know the things you can do to help children do their best in school each day.

  • Establish a bedtime that gives children 9-12 hours of sleep per night depending on their age. Learn more.
Screen time
  • Limit electronic screen time, especially prior to bedtime. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends making the limit no more than one or two hours per day for children 2 years of age and older, and that should be high-quality content. The Academy recommends that children under 2 should not use the screen devices. Read more here.
  • Remove televisions from bedrooms.
  • Provide a healthy, well-balanced breakfast, for example milk, whole grain cereal or bread, fruit or juice and egg or meat. Read more about the importance of breakfast.
  • Offer milk, 100% fruit juices and/or water to drink. Stay away from drinks with caffeine, including soda and energy drinks.
  • Provide healthy snacks, for example fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grain breads and crackers, cheese sticks and yogurt
  • Keep regular health care appointments.
  • Consult healthcare providers when your child is ill, injured or you have other health concerns.
  • Keep school health personnel informed about your child’s individual health concerns and medication your child is taking.
  • Be sure your children are up to date with their immunizations. Check what immunizations your child needs here.
  • Be aware of how your child’s school communicates with families/guardians.
  • Follow your child’s school guidelines for when to keep your child home.

Follow bicycle safety tips to enjoy biking as a family.

Biking is an activity that can be enjoyed by the entire family. Follow these safety tips to have a safe and enjoyable ride:
  • All riders and passengers need to wear properly fitted bike helmets. Only a bicycle helmet is made specifically to protect the head from any fall that may occur while biking (
  • Make sure the bicycle and attached trailers are an appropriate size for the age and ability of the rider. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Perform regular inspections and maintenance of your bicycle and attached trailers to assure a safe ride.
  • Wear bright clothing for others to see you.
  • If you must ride at night, make sure you and your bike have lights and reflectors.
  • Never allow your child to ride at dusk or after dark. Most children do not have skills nor equipment to ride safely at night.
  • Follow the rules of the road: ride on the right side of the street; use hand signals and obey traffic laws.
  • Most importantly: stay alert; pay attention and be aware of your surroundings.
For more information, click on the following links:

Did you know Minnesota was the 2nd most bicycle-friendly state in 2014 and 2015 according to the League of American Bicyclists?

Practice sun, heat and water safety to enjoy family outdoor summer activities

Sun safety:
Heat safety:
  • Keep hydrated by offering water breaks every 20 minutes during outdoor activities.
  • Wear light-colored and lightweight clothing, and change when clothing becomes saturated with sweat.
  • Reduce intense activities on days when heat and/or humidity levels are high.
Water safety:

Take action to minimize the risk of tick- and mosquito-borne diseases

Ticks and mosquitos can cause several diseases.

Minimize the risk of tick-borne diseases

  • Wear clothing that will reduce tick exposure.
    • Wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants.
    • Tuck your pants into the top of your socks.
    • Wear light-colored clothes to spot the ticks more easily.
  • Use tick repellents according to manufacturer’s directions.
    • Permethrin and DEET based products are two options for effective tick repellents.
    • CHILDREN: Concentrations up to 30% DEET are safe according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
    • INFANTS: Do not use DEET for infants under 2 months of age.
    • ADULTS:Do not use a DEET product greater than 30%.
    • Apply repellents containing Permethrin to your clothing or gear. Do not use Permethrin on your skin.
    • Wash off repellents when you return indoors.
  • Check yourself, children and pets frequently for ticks, and remove immediately.
  • Keep your lawn mowed short.
  • Talk to your veterinarian about tick-prevention for pets
  • More information about tick removal and prevention:

Minimize the risk of mosquito-borne diseases

  • Wear clothing that will reduce mosquito bites.
    • Wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants.
    • Wear clothing that is loose fitting and light in color.
  • Use mosquito repellents according to manufacturer’s directions.
    • Permethrin and DEET based products are two options of effective mosquito repellents.
    • CHILDREN: Concentrations up to 30% DEET are safe according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
    • INFANTS: Do not use DEET for infants under 2 months of age.
    • ADULTS: Do not use a DEET product greater than 30%.
    • Apply repellents containing Permethrin to your clothing or gear. Do not use Permethrin on your skin.
    • Wash off repellents when you return indoors.
  • Protect your environment from the breading of mosquitoes.
    • Remove small pools of standing water around your home:
      • Empty, scrub, and change the water in pet bowls, bird baths, fountains and pools at least once a week.
      • Check gutters frequently and clean out leaves to assure no standing water exists.
      • Tightly cover water storage containers, e.g. rain barrels.
      • Fill water holding tree holders with dirt or sand.
    • Prevent mosquitos from entering your home:
      • Inspect screen and repair as needed.
      • Install screens on windows and doors.
    • Before you travel, be aware of any mosquito-borne diseases that may be occurring in the travel area.
      • Discuss your travel plans with your health care provider.
      • Contact one of the International Travel Health Clinics for MN Residents.
      • Check for any travel advisories that might affect your travel.
  • More information about mosquito prevention:

Build healthy snack habits for your child

  • Give your children healthy snacks that help them grow and maintain a healthy weight. See resources below.
  • Bring your children grocery shopping to teach them about healthy eating.
  • Let your children help you prepare snacks.
  • Offer three meals and one or two snacks each day, depending on your child’s activity level.
  • Teach children to eat when they are hungry, not bored.
  • Give water, low-fat milk or fat-free milk to drink. Do not give sugary drinks, such as soda, juice, lemonade, fruit punch and Kool-Aid.
  • Be a positive role model when choosing the foods you snack on.

More information about healthy snacks

Reduce likely asthma triggers in your home by following these recommendations.

  • Keep your home free of all smoke and strong odors, including fragrance plug-ins, diffusers, candles, and strong cleaning products.
  • Prevent indoor mold: Keep the home dry. Vent bathroom well after showers.
  • Prevent colds and flu by washing your hands often, avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth, and getting a flu shot every year.
  • Wash sheets and blankets weekly in hot water or dry on high heat.
  • Use a damp cloth to dust.
  • Vacuum carpet weekly with a HEPA vacuum cleaner (bagged with a filter), not a bagless one.
  • Keep pets out of the bedroom or any sleeping area.
  • Keep all food and garbage covered to prevent infestations of insects and rodents.
More information:

Try to maintain balance with busy schedules and family life to make the most of time you have together.

Try these suggestions:
  • Set reasonable limits on extracurricular activities to prevent over scheduling.
  • Be aware of the expectations and demands of each activity.
  • Communicate with children about what activities they want to participate in.
  • Keep a calendar in a common place - be sure it is up to date with activities and appointments.
  • Establish a process to communicate with each other, such as text, phone call and notes.
  • Establish sleep routines for children and parents.
  • Ensure healthy meals and snacks.
    • Prepare meals ahead of time.
    • Have fresh fruit and vegetables clean and ready to eat.
  • Carpool with other families.
  • Create a place for children to complete homework.
  • Schedule family time.
    • Turn off technology.
    • Enjoy meals together.
    • Have a game night.
  • Allow children to have down time.
  • Be aware of signs and symptoms of an over scheduled child.
    • Headaches
    • Falling behind in school
    • Tired
    • Stomachaches
Get more information from the following websites:

Play outdoors, play indoors and visit local places to stay active in winter.

Play outdoors:
  • Play in the snow
  • Build a snowman
  • Go sledding, ice skating or skiing
  • Visit a nature center
  • Shovel the snow together
Play indoors:
  • Hide and Seek
  • Build a fort
  • Dancing & singing to music
  • Follow the leader
  • Set up stations for exercises or activities
  • Interactive games
  • Use your imagination to create games involving household items
Visit local places:
  • Community centers
  • Museums
  • Libraries
  • Zoos
  • Bowling alley
  • Indoor activity centers
  • Indoor malls

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