Questions, Answers, and More: Test Your Knowledge about Kids' Health
- Parents should start cleaning their child’s teeth as soon as the first tooth appears.
True. Start cleaning as soon as the first tooth appears. Wipe teeth every day with a clean, damp cloth. Switch to a small, soft toothbrush as more teeth come in.
- Children younger than 6 years should use enough toothpaste with fluoride to cover the toothbrush.
False. Young children should use only a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride is important for fighting cavities, but if children younger than 6 years swallow too much fluoride, their permanent teeth may have white spots. Using no more than a pea-sized amount of toothpaste with fluoride can help keep this from happening.
- A parent or other family member’s attitude about tobacco influences a teen’s likelihood to try tobacco products.
True. Research suggests that parental attitude is very important. If a parent is indifferent or permissive toward the issue of tobacco use, a teenager’s likelihood of smoking increases. The value a parent places on a tobacco-free lifestyle—regardless of whether a parent uses tobacco—carries significant weight. Nolte and colleagues found that parents’ attitudes may exert more influence than parents’ behavior (1983). If a child believes his or her parents would be upset if he or she smoked, the child is less likely to smoke, even if both parents smoke.
- Less than 25% of all rapes of females occur before age 18.
False. More than half (54%) of all rapes of females occur before age 18; of those, 22% occur before age 12.
- Birth defects are the leading cause of death in children and adolescents.
False. In the United States, injuries are the leading cause of death and disability for people aged 1 to 44 years. Most deaths among children and adolescents aged 5-19 years are from the following injury-related causes: motor vehicle crashes, all other unintentional injuries, homicide, and suicide. Highly associated with these injuries are certain adolescent behaviors, such as physical fights, carrying weapons, and not using seatbelts.
- Vaccines protect children against nine potentially serious diseases.
False. Vaccines protect against 12 potentially serious diseases: measles, mumps, rubella (German measles), diphtheria, tetanus (lockjaw), pertussis (whooping cough), polio, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib disease), hepatitis B, varicella (chickenpox), hepatitis A, and pneumococcal disease. At least one shot is needed for each of these diseases, and for some of them several doses are required for the best protection. This adds up to a lot of shots, and several are usually given at the same time. Some parents worry that it is not safe to give several shots at once, that they may not work as well, or that they will overload the child’s immune system. But studies have shown these fears to be unfounded. Vaccinations are just as safe and effective when given together as they are when given separately. The immune system is exposed to many foreign substances every day and will not be overburdened by vaccines.
- Kids should wash their hands vigorously together for 20 seconds to remove germs.
True. By the way, it’s not just for kids. Everyone should wash their hands for 20 seconds (or about the length of a little tune) to remove germs. It is the soap combined with the scrubbing action that helps dislodge and remove germs. Rinse well and dry your hands. It is estimated that one out of three people do not wash their hands after using the restroom. Wash your hands before, during, and after you prepare food; before you eat, and after you use the bathroom; after handling animals or animal waste; when your hands are dirty; and more frequently when someone in your home is sick.
- For babies under 6 months of age, sunscreen is the best defense against sunburn.
False. Your baby's best defense against sunburn is avoiding the sun or staying in the shade. However, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics sunscreen use on babies less than 6 months old is not harmful on small areas of a baby's skin, such as the face and back of the hands.
- Children should get at least 20 to 30 minutes of physical activity on all or most days of the week.
False. It is recommended that children and adolescents participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity most, preferably all, days of the week.
- By the age of 20, the average woman has acquired most of her skeletal mass.
True. By the age of 20, the average woman has acquired most of her skeletal mass. It is important for young girls to reach their peak bone mass in order to maintain bone health throughout life. A person with high bone mass as a young adult will be more likely to have a higher bone mass later in life. Not getting enough calcium or exercise early on could result in a failure to achieve peak bone mass in adulthood.
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Page last modified: November 7, 2008
Page last reviewed: March 11, 2008