Reduce Your Children’s Medical Expenses
In the rough-and-tumble world of childhood, scrapes, bruises, and sniffles are unavoidable. But caring parents can do a lot to help limit those visits to the doctor or emergency room—and trim their out-of-pocket health costs.
Get all the recommended preventive care. Well-child visits, immunizations, and dental checkups are an investment in your child’s future, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says. They’re worth far more than any college savings account, because they can help prevent illness and keep small health problems from becoming big, life-changing ones.
Don’t demand antibiotics
They will not work for colds, flu, or even a child’s ear infection. But, if your health care provider assures you antibiotics are likely to be effective, use them as advised.
Set children up for safety
Injuries account for more than half of all emergency room visits by children ages 5 to 14 and are a leading cause of death among those ages 1 and older, the CDC says.
Supervise young children indoors and out.
Have your child wear a bicycle helmet. Helmets lower the risk for serious head injury by as much as 85 percent.
Use child safety seats. These save lives and reduce the risk for nonfatal injuries in infants and toddlers.
Promote exercise and healthy eating
Childhood obesity is common in the United States, and it’s been linked to diabetes, asthma, and other costly diseases, the CDC says. To help keep off the extra pounds, encourage children to play sports. Get them away from the TV and computer and out on neighborhood walks with you. Limit fast foods. Stock your kitchen with fruit and vegetable snacks. Keep high-fat, high-sugar foods and drinks out of the house.
Teach hand washing
Germs can be picked up from other people, surfaces, and animals or animal waste. Washing hands is one of the best ways to prevent transmission.
The more you learn about your children’s friends and interests, the more teachable moments there will be. Explain how to surf the Internet safely and avoid alcohol, drugs, and tobacco.
Always remember—you are your children’s most important role model, and any wisdom you can offer now will serve for a lifetime.