Keeping An Eye on Kids’ Health

May 18, 2009

Children can be exposed to any number of health risks at school and in the home, and some may require a little extra detective work. By being watchful and proactive, parents and caregivers can help safeguard their kids against illness– and maybe even raise awareness in their communities.

According to the L.A. County Department of Public Health, a grandmother (Mrs. L.) was caring for her two young grandchildren when the kids began to experience abdominal pain and distress. When she brought them to the hospital, they were diagnosed with an exposure to Salmonella.

Curious by nature, and a children’s advocate when it came to her three young grandchildren, Mrs. L started researching Salmonella on the Internet. By chance, she came across a link that described the relationship between small turtles and Salmonella infections. 

Just that week, the kids had visited a neighbor to help her with a brood of baby turtles she was raising.  Mrs. L. had no doubt the kids were handling and maybe even kissing the turtles, exposing them to Salmonella. Armed with her newfound knowledge of this health risk, Mrs. L shared the research with friends and neighbors and those at her grandchildren's school, potentially keeping other children from experiencing the same illness.

While this is a small example of one caregiver's efforts to improve her family's health, research shows that parent involvement (at home and at school) is key to children's health and wellness. Recently HSC completed a project to reduce asthma and obesity rates in schools, a project that revolutionized some parents' abilities to create positive change in schools. They observed, they acted, and they shared their findings.  Learn more about those parents and their successes in improving kids' health.