From healthy teeth to relieving fever: expert advice for your tot

Our health visitor gives the low down on health and safety for your little one


Top tips for toddler teeth

  • Keep sugary foods for mealtimes only to reduce the risk of tooth decay. A small piece of cheese after can help reduce the acidity in their mouth.
  • Avoid sweet drinks in teat-topped bottles and feeders, as they cover teeth in sugar for longer.
  • Limit sweets and give rewards such as stickers or crayons instead.
  • Encourage your tot to brush twice a day and set a good example by making it part of your routine together.
  • Register with a dentist and take your tot for checkups, so she gets used to it.

Helping your toddler get over a bug

  • Expect energy levels to be lower for a few days at least. Extra rest will aid a speedy return to health.
  • Keep offering regular fluids. It’s so important to keep them hydrated.
  • Small, energy-rich snacks and meals are a good re-introduction to eating normally again. Try giving small portions of soup, mash or rice pudding.
  • Complete all prescribed medicines, especially antibiotics, even if your child is getting better before the course is finished.
  • Carry on good hygiene. Use disposable tissues for runny noses, a clean one each time, and wash hands before meals.

Top tips for relieving your child’s fever

  • Use straws and flavoured ice cubes to tempt your child to drink as much fluid as possible, even if he’s not thirsty.
  • Lower his temperature with regular paracetemol or ibruprofen, checking the correct dose for his age.
  • Undress your child to his nappy or pants. If he’s cold, use a cotton sheet.
  • Keep the room temperature comfortable (around 18ºC or 65ºF).
  • If his temperature remains above 40-41ºC, consult your GP or call NHS Direct on 0845 4647.

Ways to promote healthy teeth

  • Register your toddler with a dentist as they’re a great source of advice on preventing tooth decay.
  • Be a good role model – take your tot with you to your dental check-ups and keep the experience positive.
  • Stop giving your toddler a bottle once she reaches 1 year as drink from a beaker or cup is less likely to cause decay.
  • Stick to water between meals. Children will drink it when they’re thirsty.
  • Brush teeth twice a day with child’s toothpaste.

Summer safety must-dos

  • Remove all water dangers from the garden, fencing off ponds and pools – even small ones can be a danger.
  • Always clear up tools like hoses and rakes, or anything that could be a trip hazard for a little one.
  • Introduce road safety to your tot by waiting at every crossing for a green light.
  • Make sure the whole family wears cycle helmets if you go out on bikes.
  • Carry a small first-aid kit in your changing bag to deal with any stings, minor scrapes or allergic reactions.

Keeping your toddler safe outside

  • Road role model. Always cross roads safely, explaining how to look and listen for dangers.
  • Strap check. Even on quick, short trips, make sure that car seat or buggy straps are secure.
  • Lost and found. With an older toddler, discuss what to do if she gets lost, such as heading for a till in a shop.
  • Water watch. Fence off any potential danger areas in your garden, and encourage relatives and friends to do the same.
  • Sticker her up. On day trips out to crowded areas, pop a sticker on your little one’s back with your mobile phone number on it, rather than her name.

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