Awareness: October, 2015

Throughout the year, government agencies and private organizations observe an assortment of safety and medical awareness campaigns. We cannot discuss them all at length, but we will focus on one condition or campaign per month and list others as we become aware of them. In addition, you will find references to weekly and daily campaigns on the page below the monthly observances.

Note: The information on this page changes every month and potentially in the weeks and days between. Consequently, we encourage you to come back often and see what is new.

Awareness Campaigns this Month

October is a busy month for health and safety awareness. We are focusing this month on children's health, but other observances may have a direct bearing on this important topic. For example, this month is also Domestic Violence Awareness and National Bullying Prevention Month. Another closely related campaign is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. By arming yourself with the knowledge and experience of others on these issues, you can improve your child's health outlook for life.

Children's Health Month

It may not be a well-publicized event, but October is Children's Health Month. After a little digging, we found some helpful tips for raising healthy children. For example, you can start by taking good care of yourself. If you are planning to have a baby, avoid smoking and consuming alcohol. Make sure you are up to date on your vaccinations, and find out as much as you can about your family health history.

Another way to keep your children healthy is to schedule regular medical checkups. Routine visits to the doctor's office promotes children's health in at least two ways: prevention and intervention. Checkups protect children from preventable diseases with a program of scheduled vaccines that should start during infancy and continue into adulthood. Another way checkups promote children's health is through early detection and intervention. Keeping regularly scheduled appointments with your primary care physician is a good way to discover a variety of medical conditions in the early stages and to intervene while the chances of success are relatively high. For more advice, see Centers for Disease Control (CDC)'s Tips for Raising Safe and Healthy Kids (en Espaņol).

In addition to preventive medical care and early intervention, you can improve the health of your children through lifestyle choices such as good nutrition and physical activity. You usually don not have to tell smaller children to move; they are constantly on the move. Older children are a different story. With the ever-increasing availability of gaming devices, the temptation is to play without moving anything except for one's hands, which can introduce a variety of stress-related health issues.

On its website, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) encourages parents to safety-check their homes. This information is a little dated, but it is still relevant. You will find a story about CPSC Chairman, Hal Stratton, who safety-checked his own home and found a few areas for improvement: smoke detectors, cabinet locks, and arc fault circuit interrupters. We do not think about it often, but our homes may present a risk to the health of our children. In addition to the story, you will find useful suggestions for making your home a healthy environment for your children.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is promoting children's health in October through increased awareness climate change and its potential effects on children. On the EPA website, you can download a calendar in portable document format (PDF) and read a presidential proclamation about Children's Health Day. You can also find planned events by state and several resources for improving the health of children today and tomorrow through greater environmental awareness.

Above all, let your children know you love them and care about their health. Even when they complain about such discussions, they still want to know you care. When they are small, you watch them constantly to prevent needless accidents. When they are older, you watch them from a distance, but remain alert and show compassion for the hard choices they are having to make as adolescents. By following these guidelines, you will help your children to grow into healthy adults.

Other Health Awareness Campaigns this Month

Children's health is not the only observance this month. Other observances include the following health and safety issues:

Awareness Campaigns by Week

October is slipping away fast, but you still have time to focus on a few health awareness campaigns by week. One of the weekly campaigns we'd like to highlight is National School Bus Safety Week, which bears a direct relationship to children's health. Along these lines, it is a good idea to talk to your children about safety issues at bus stops and during transit. For example, your children should know the rules for getting on and off their bus. They should also know what the rules of conduct are while the bus is moving and how they can keep themselves and others safe.

In addition, the issue of bullying around bus stops and on the bus is another area to discuss with your children. It is important to know where your children wait for the bus, and whether or not it is safe. To ensure the safety of your children, you may want to drive them to their bus stops, observe what happens there and note any potential safety concerns may exist. If you find a potential safety concern or observe bullying, report it to your local school board. Table 1 lists the other weekly campaigns are scheduled for the remainder of this month:

Week Observance ir campaign
Table 1: Heath and Safety Awareness Campaigns by Week
18-24 International Infection Prevention Week
National Teen Driver Safety Week
19-23 National School Bus Safety Week (See also Parents Central.)
23-31 Red Ribbon Week
25-31 Respiratory Care Week

Awareness Campaigns by Day

The days of October are quickly coming to a close, but a number of causes still remain. We would like to highlight three special days that relate to children's heath: World Pediatric Bone and Joint Day, International Stuttering Awareness Day, and Lock Your Meds Day. Table 2 lists the daily campaigns that are scheduled for the remainder of this month:

Day Observance
Table 2: Heath and Safety Awareness Campaigns by Day
19 World Pediatric Bone and Joint Day
22 International Stuttering Awareness Day
27 Lock Your Meds Day
28 Lung Health Day
29 World Psoriasis Day
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