Millions of grandparents are providing daytime (or all-the-time) care for their grandchildren. Grandparents are caring for one in four children under the age of 5. In addition, 14 percent of grandparents are their grandchildren’s legal guardians.
Why do grandparents care for grandchildren?
A majority of grandparents (58 percent) provide care because they enjoy it, and 53 percent provide care so the child’s parents can work. Other reasons grandparents provide care include:
Updated advice for grandparents who are helping to raise grandchildren
Since parenting recommendations may have changed since their first parenting go-round, grandparents may not understand the latest advice when it comes to safe parenting practices. While seeking the advice of a pediatrician is always best, here are answers to five questions grandparents commonly ask:
When can my grandchild safely start eating peanuts?
Guidance surrounding when to introduce peanuts has changed considerably in the past 10 to 20 years. Previously it was thought that children should avoid peanuts for the first five years of life.
Based on the 2015 Learning Early About Peanut Allergy (LEAP) trial, pediatricians now recommend the early introduction of peanuts. The study showed that risk for peanut allergies was reduce by 81 percent if infants were fed peanuts early and often. The new guidelines recommend:
What should liquid nutrition look like for my grandchild?
Fluid nutrition is an integral part of development. Pediatricians recommend these fluid guidelines:
What foods should I avoid giving to my grandchildren?
Avoid giving your grandchild honey for the first 12 months because it can cause a serious poisoning known as botulism. Avoid honey-containing products as well, including honey-sweetened yogurts, crackers and cereals.
Children under the age of 5 are at the highest risk for choking, so avoid these foods:
Can my infant grandchild sleep on their belly?
In 2016 the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) revised its sleep recommendations to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), which is sleep-related death. Infants up to 12 months of age are at risk for SIDS. The AAP guidelines recommend:
(SIDS), which is sleep-related death. Infants up to 12 months of age are at risk for SIDS. The AAP guidelines recommend:
How can I keep my grandchild safe in the car?
Car seats keep infants and toddlers safe in moving vehicles if you follow these guidelines:
For more in-depth information, including common safety hazards in the home and how to care for an ill child, watch the UCLA Health webinar, Parenting for the Second Time: Updated Advice for Grandparent Caregivers. To find a general pediatrician call 310-825-0867.
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