At this time of year, I find myself saying thanks for a lot of things. For example, I want to thank all of you readers who have read and learned from my “First with Kids” weekly tips over the years.

I am certainly thankful my segments have been on the air for over 21 years. But more importantly, I want to thank parents who have set great examples such as these for their children:

  1. Wearing seat belts and bike helmets and insisting their children do likewise.
  2. Not smoking or at least trying not to expose their children to the risks of passive or second-hand tobacco smoke.
  3. Reading to their children every night or having their children read to them.
  4. Keeping their child’s scheduled appointments with doctors and dentists so that immunizations and other health screenings are on schedule.
  5. Safety proofing and re-inspecting their homes for injury and fire prevention on a regular basis.
  6. Putting their babies to sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of sudden unexpected infant death.

I also hope that all children will be thankful at this time of year for what they have. It could be family, friends, teachers, food to eat and even clothes to wear. Maybe children and parents can even collaborate to help others who are not as fortunate at this time of year.

Finally, I hope that parents will remember that improving the health of your children is a Thanksgiving feast unto itself. It is something for which we can all be thankful.

Lewis First, MD, is chief of Pediatrics at The University of Vermont Children’s Hospital and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the Robert Larner, M.D. College of Medicine at the University of Vermont.  You can also catch “First with Kids” weekly on WOKO 98.9FM and MyNBC 5, or visit the “First with Kids” video archives at www.UVMHealth.org/MedCenterFirstWithKids.

Lewis First, MD, is chief of Pediatrics at The University of Vermont Children’s Hospital and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the Robert Larner, M.D. College of Medicine at the University of Vermont.

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