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50+: Live Better, Longer

Ain't Parenting Grand?

Suddenly Parents
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Discovering How Things Have Changed continued...

And while many grandparents did use car seats for their own children, the technology and practice have changed in recent years.

"Grandparents need to know that infants should be in rear-facing car seats, in the back seat, until they are 1 year old and 20 pounds," says McCoy. Moreover, all children should ride "in the back seat until they are 12 years old."

Nutrition recommendations have also changed in recent years.

Many grandparents will recall being urged to "get their babies on solid food" as soon as possible, says McCoy, but that's stressed less these days. Since grandparents don't have the option of breast milk, good infant nutrition means just formula for at least four months, she says. Cereals can be started thereafter, but the infant should be kept on formula until he or she is at least a year old, she says.

"Babies should not drink [cow's] milk until they are at least a year old," says McCoy. When foods are introduced, McCoy says they should be introduced by giving "the same vegetable or fruit for at least three days. This helps us identify the foods that may cause an allergic reaction."

And for the first year babies should not be given water, honey, peanut butter, or chocolate. McCoy says she advises against water because it just "fills up the baby without giving any nutrition."

There have also been some changes in the types of immunizations given to children, McCoy says.

"Babies need 20 immunizations during the first two years of life," she says. Those include older immunizations such as measles, mumps, and rubella as well as newer vaccines like chickenpox, hepatitis B, and Prevnar, which prevents infections that cause pneumonia and meningitis.

If grandparents were raising children more than 20 years ago, they may be unaware of the danger associated with the use of baby aspirin for fever, says McCoy. Giving a baby aspirin to a child with fever may cause a serious illness called Reye's syndrome. "Acetaminophen [Tylenol] is now recommended to treat fever in children," she says.

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