When's the Right Time for My Kid To...
Kids mature at different ages, so there's no one-size-fits-all solution, but Dr. Manny offers his perspective to questions many parents want answered.
Q. When is the best time to get my daughter's ears pierced?
A. Dr. Manny believes it is best to wait at least until the child has had all her vaccinations, and is old enough that she won't be apt to pulling out an earring. "Somewhere between the ages of 2 and 11," says Dr. Manny. "After 11, they could develop keloids so you want to try and make sure to do it before then."
Q. Do kids need vitamins? If so, at what age do you start giving it to them and what kinds of vitamins will they be lacking?
A. "Wait until at least 3 or 4 years of age, as that is the time children are completely on solid foods and you'll have a better idea of what they like and don't like and what may be lacking," Dr. Manny says. "Kids of that age tend to be slightly deficient in vitamin B because they go through that 'no eating vegetables stage.' Kids today don't drink enough milk, so they may also be lacking calcium, which you can buy a supplement for."
Q. When is it O.K. for kids to drink coffee?
A. Dr. Manny realizes that kids in different cultures are given coffee at really young ages, but wants parents to be aware of one thing. "Little kids need their sleep for their intelligence, and caffeine keeps kids awake. Try waiting until the child is 6, 7 or 8 and introduce them to coffee through coffee ice cream and see if they like it. Besides, they already get more than enough caffeine through soda if they're drinking that."
Q. What age is appropriate for kids to start using iPods and MP3 players?
A. "When it comes to the volume and the ear buds," says Dr. Manny, "kids don't know how to control it when they are little. And if the volume is up too high and blasting in their ears, we're finding lots of young kids are losing their hearing." Keep in mind Dr. Manny's rule of 60: "Let a child of 6 or 7 that knows how to control volume listen to music for no more than 60 minutes at 60 percent of the volume. Another thing to do is get headphones that sit outside of the ear and control the decibel of sound."
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