Newsletter January 2011

First 5 San Diego

First 5 Commission of San Diego
Supervisor Pam Slater-Price, Chair
Carol Skiljan, Vice-Chair
Sandra McBrayer
Wilma J. Wooten, MD, MPH
Nick Macchione, MS, MPH, FACHE

Pam Slater
Supervisor Pam Slater-Price,
New Chair 2011

Dianne Jabob
Supervisor Dianne Jacob,
Outgoing Chair 2009-2010

Barbara Jimenez
The Director’s Corner
Barbara Jiménez

The New Year brings about many exciting changes for First 5 San Diego.  First and foremost, we welcome Supervisor Pam Slater-Price as our new Chair for 2011 and honor outgoing Chair, Supervisor Dianne Jacob.

Under Chairwoman Jacob’s leadership for the past two years, First 5 San Diego achieved several key accomplishments:

  • A new strategic plan was approved; the plan is more focused and there is now a deeper funding emphasis on evidence-based programs with proven results.
  • An emerging critical needs fund was established in response to state and local economic crises.  As a result, Commission funding has enabled vital services to continue for children and families.
  • Funding for key initiatives has continued and expanded including Healthy Development Services, the Oral Health Initiative and Preschool for All. New initiatives are under development including Targeted Home-Visiting and Smoking Cessation for families with children ages 0-5. 
  • Through the efforts of Commission staff and contractors, over $9.5 million additional dollars were leveraged through private and public partnerships.

Supervisor Dianne Jacob was honored for her service and commitment to children and families at the December 13, 2010 Commission meeting.

We are looking forward to a great year ahead with Supervisor Pam Slater-Price as Chair of the Commission.  First 5 San Diego is honored to have the service of such great leaders dedicated to achieving our vision that all children are healthy, are loved and nurtured, and enter school as active learners.

Wishing you all the best in 2011,

Barbara Jiménez

Dr. Gene Nathan
Dr. Gene Nathan

First 5 San Diego Applauds Dr. Gene Nathan

First 5 San Diego would like to congratulate Dr. Gene Nathan on his retirement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in order to return to his clinical practice. Since 2005, he served as AAP’s Medical Director for the First 5 San Diego Healthy Development Services’ (HDS) Countywide Coordination.

Dr. Nathan served as a member of First 5 San Diego’s Technical and Professional Advisory Committee (TPAC) from 2003 through June 2009. He played a key role in integrating HDS with pediatric practices and medical groups throughout the county.

Dangers of Loud Toys
Toy Safety Press Conference, December 20, 2010

Dangers of Loud Toys

Last month, in observance of Toy Safety Month, First 5 San Diego joined the County of San Diego Health and Human Services agency to warn parents about the dangers of loud toys. County Public Health Officer and First 5 Commissioner Dr. Wilma Wooten and Executive Director Barbara Jiménez were on hand to speak about how loud toys can damage a child’s hearing and physical and psychological health.

Because of excessive exposure to noise, an estimated five million American children suffer from noise-induced hearing loss, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The American Academy of Pediatrics uses 85 decibels as the threshold for dangerous levels of noise – the equivalent to the sound of busy city traffic or a hair dryer. Hearing loss can begin to occur after just eight hours of exposure at that level.

“Exposure to loud noise during critical periods of development can have a devastating effect on a child,” said Wooten. “If not treated early, hearing difficulties can affect a child’s speech and language skills. These skills are critical to a child’s ability to learn and succeed in school and will have a lasting effect their whole lives.”

First 5 San Diego’s Healthy Development Services provides free developmental checkups for children through 5 years of age, including screening for hearing problems and referrals to specialized treatment if needed.

“Many times children who are suspected of having learning difficulties or behavior problems have undiagnosed hearing loss,” said Jiménez. “Our goal is to diagnose and refer hearing problems in young children as early as possible so that children enter school ready to learn.”

To get connected to First 5 Healthy Development Services or for more information about other First 5 San Diego programs, call 1-888-5-FIRST-5 or visit

Newborn Baby
New Year, New Baby
Tips on caring for a newborn

Bringing home a newborn is an exciting time for families. But along with joy, parents also experience a lot of hard work and little sleep. Knowing what to expect and how to care for a newborn can help mom and dad deal with changes and gain confidence as they bond with their baby.

The following is basic advice about some of the most common questions and concerns that come up during the first months of life.

Calming a Newborn
Crying is a useful way for babies to tell you when they are hungry or uncomfortable. If your baby’s diaper is dry, she’s warm and well fed, but she’s still crying, try these soothing tips:

  • Gently stroke her head or pat her back, and try burping her to relieve any gas bubbles.
  • Rock your baby, go for a car ride or walk her in a stroller around the neighborhood.
  • Turn on a fan or say “shush” into your baby’s ear repeatedly. Babies hear many noises in the womb so soothing “white noise” may be calming.

Promote Healthy Habits from the Start
Babies develop very quickly during the first year, and they need sleep and proper nutrition to grow up healthy.

  • Give breastfeeding a chance! Breast milk provides the best source of nutrition for babies to help strengthen their immune system, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Breastfeeding also provides special bonding time for mother and child.
  • Newborns need a lot of sleep – learn your baby’s signs that he’s tired and try to put him down to sleep right away. Notice when he rubs his eyes, pulls his ear or gets faint dark circles under his eyes.
  • Keep your child healthy by visiting the doctor for check-ups and when you have concerns your baby may be sick or running a fever. Also, ask your doctor about immunizations and when to schedule them. The California Department of Public Health offers a helpful guide at

Take Care of Yourself
The early weeks of parenting are very rewarding, but also exhausting. In the midst of all the excitement of bringing home a new baby, it’s important that parents take care of themselves, too!

  • Get as much rest as possible even though it can be difficult. Also remember that exercising and eating healthy are very important to keep your energy up.
  • Do what you can and leave the rest for later or for others to do. Reach out to family, friends, parent groups or a counselor for help. Check with your local First 5, YMCAs, community centers and places of worship to learn about support in your area.

For additional resources, First 5 San Diego offers the Kit for New Parents, a parents’ guide packed with information and resources to guide new parents through the first five years of a child’s life. Free kits in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean and Vietnamese are available by calling 1-800-5-FIRST-5.

For more parenting information and support, contact First 5 San Diego at 1-888-5-FIRST-5 or visit

Positive Parenting
Positive Parenting in a Changing World

First 5 San Diego is pleased to join the Commission on Children, Youth and Families (CCYF) in their annual Parenting Conference on Saturday February 5, 2011 at the San Diego Convention Center. Parents of children of all ages are invited to attend.

With a focus on positive parenting, the conference seeks to empower parents to learn specific techniques and skills to assist them in their efforts to support and raise healthy and happy children in today’s often uncertain and ever changing world.

Parents may register for one of two sessions or both. The morning session addresses issues of parenting a young child (under age 6) and the afternoon session addresses issues of parenting skills for meeting the challenges of raising a teenager.

The cost is $25 per person and $10 each additional person. Scholarships are available. For more information, click here.

Give Kids a Smile

Parents and caregivers are invited to bring their children (18 years and under) to receive free dental sealant and fluoride varnish on Saturday, February 12, 2011 at the Southwestern College Dental Hygiene Program Clinic from 9am to 1pm.

Sealant and varnish help protect your child from getting cavities. Dental sealant is a special coating painted on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. Fluoride varnish is a special fluoride coating painted on all teeth.

The event is presented by the San Diego County Dental Society in collaboration with the Southwestern College Dental Hygiene Program, Dental Health Initiative – Share the Care, and First 5 San Diego.

The clinic is located at 880 National City Blvd, National City, CA 91950. Children must not already have dental resources and must be accompanied by a parent and/or guardian. To make an appointment, call 619-692-8858. For more information, click here.

Add Your Event to Our Website

Our new website features an enhanced community calendar. Do you have a community event that you would like to add to the First 5 San Diego calendar? If your event focuses on children ages 0-5, parents, caregivers and/or expectant parents, offered at no or low cost, and sponsored by a non-profit organization, we want to share your event. Fill out our Community Event Listing Request Form.

For more information about First 5 San Diego services call 1-888-5 First 5. For updates from First 5 San Diego, please join us on Facebook.