Newsletter July – August 2012

First 5 San Diego

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

Get outside and play

Kim Medeiros
The Director's Corner
Kim Medeiros

Summertime is officially here!  As the weather gets warmer and days get longer, there is no better time to get your child active and healthy.  Engaging your child in physical activity while instilling healthy eating habits early promotes your child’s optimal health and well-being.  It makes your child less likely to be at risk of childhood obesity and more likely to have high self-esteem. These efforts support Live Well, San Diego!, the County’s 10-year plan to build a healthy, safe, and thriving community. 

Here are some tips for taking advantage of these warm summer months to promote your child’s healthy lifestyle:

  • Get outside and play! – Children love to play outside.  Your own backyard (or nearby park) is a convenient, fun and safe place for games and activities that not only get your child moving, but also helps your child master skills and concepts essential to their healthy development. Play a simple game of follow the leader or turn the music on and dance! 
  • Load up on fruits and vegetables – Summer is peak season for fresh fruits and vegetables.  Take advantage of the season’s inexpensive fresh produce, from blueberries and watermelon to tomatoes and broccoli.  Besides being low in calories, fresh fruits and vegetables provide the highest amount of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber critical to your child’s healthy diet.
  • Choose to drink water – During these hot summer days, choose to drink water over sugary drinks like juice or soda.  Sugary drinks are linked to health problems such as Type 2 Diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and cavities.  To add flavor and to make it more appealing for your child, try adding slices of your favorite fruit or vegetable like strawberries, oranges, lemon, or cucumbers. 

Also important to your child’s health during the Summer is to protect their skin from the sun.  July is UV Safety Month, a reminder to use sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher and cover up with lightweight long sleeves and a hat.

Summer is a great time for San Diego families to check out the many fun and educational offerings around the county. Visit to find family-friendly community events.

Wishing you a fun and healthy summer,

Kim Medeiros

USDA Introduces New MyPlate

Preschool Readiness

Come August, the preschool year will begin.  Typically, children enter preschool at 3 or 4-years-old.  However, a child’s age shouldn’t be the only factor in a parent’s decision to enroll their child in preschool.  While each child grows and develops at their own pace, there are certain milestones to be aware of as a parent.  The milestones can be a good guide for determining if your child is ready to enter preschool.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) provides the following developmental milestones to help parents track their child’s development and help them determine their child’s needs:
When your child is around age 2, they should:

  • Scribble on paper with crayons, pencil or pen
  • Use simple phrases and 2 to 4 word sentences
  • Imitate behavior of others

At ages 3-4, your child should:

  • Draw circles and squares
  • Speak using 5 to 6 word sentences
  • Tell stories
  • Start to copy written letters

Around your child’s 5th birthday, they should:

  • Be able to write some letters and copy triangles and other shapes
  • Speak using sentences of more than 5 words
  • Count to 10 or higher
  • Sing and dance
  • Have friends and try to imitate them

To prepare your child for preschool, the local library is a great resource for finding age-appropriate reading materials and activities to help your child’s development.  The San Diego County Library was recently named “Library of the Year” by the Library Journal/Gale and was honored for creative and quality services provided to the community, including services for families with young children.  To find a County library near you, visit

On July 1, 2012, First 5 San Diego launched its new Quality Preschool Initiative (QPI).  The initiative will continue providing high-quality preschool services to 3 and 4-year-olds in 12 communities in San Diego – Borrego Springs, Chula Vista, El Cajon, Escondido, Lemon Grove, Mountain Empire, National City, San Ysidro, South Bay, Valley Center/Pauma, Vista, and Central San Diego.  To enroll your child in a QPI preschool site, or to find more information about QPI or affordable preschool services in San Diego, call our warmline at 1-888-5 FIRST 5 (1-888-534-7785). 

Don't Wait to Vaccinate

Don’t Wait to Vaccinate
A Parent’s Guide to Immunizations

Vaccinations boost a child’s immune system and help protect children from serious infections and diseases. It’s especially important for parents to make sure children under age 5 receive certain childhood vaccinations to help keep them healthy as their bodies grow and immune systems develop.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaccine-preventable diseases are now at or near record lows – thanks to vaccinations.  Before vaccines, many children suffered from diseases, such as whooping cough, measles, and polio. Those same germs exist today, but children are protected by vaccines and so we do not see these diseases as often.

However, in California, the number of parents exempting their children from required immunizations due to personal-belief, religious, or medical reasons is on the rise.  In 2010, the most recent year for which data are available, only 90.7 percent were fully vaccinated compared to 92.9 percent of children entering kindergarten with all required immunizations in 2004, according to the California Department of Public Health.  Thus, before opting for an exemption, it is important that parents consider the many benefits of vaccines as they protect the health of children and the community.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and as children get ready for preschool and Kindergarten, First 5 San Diego provides parents and caregivers answers to the following frequently asked questions about vaccinations:   

When does my child need to be vaccinated?

Pediatricians advise that children receive their first vaccination at birth.  Your local health department or family doctor can provide you with an immunization schedule and help you decide what is best for your child.  Remember, consult with a family doctor for your child’s specific needs. Click here to download a 2012 Immunization Schedule for your young child)

Why should my child be vaccinated?

Childhood vaccines have kept children in the U.S. healthy for more than 50 years and have proven to be effective in preventing many diseases. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with the CDC, American Academy of Pediatrics and American Academy of Family Physicians ensure all vaccines are continually tested and inspected to be sure they are safe for children.

I am pregnant or planning to get pregnant.  Should I get vaccinated?

It is important to make sure you are up to date on your vaccines before you get pregnant.  Some vaccine-preventable diseases can pose a serious risk to your health and that of your unborn baby.  If you are pregnant, some important vaccines to consider are Rubella, Hepatitis B, Whooping Cough (Pertussis), and the Flu.  Live vaccines, such as the measles, mumps rubella (MMR) vaccine should be given a month or more before pregnancy.  Inactivated vaccines, such as Hepatitis B and some flu vaccines, can be given before or during pregnancy.  Be sure to discuss each vaccine with your health care professional prior to getting vaccinated. 

How much do vaccines cost?

Vaccines are available to all children, regardless of family income. Many health care plans provide children’s vaccines for free or for a small fee. California programs Healthy Families and Medi-Cal also offer free immunizations for eligible children.

How can I prepare my child for a vaccine shot?

Arrive on time for the doctor’s appointment and bring your child’s favorite toy, book, or snack to comfort and keep your child occupied in the waiting room. Make sure to give your child a big hug after the vaccination shot!

First 5 San Diego encourages parents to learn more about vaccinations and ways to help protect young children and keep them healthy.  For more information, visit the CDC Immunization Website for Parents at

World Breastfeeeding Week

World Breastfeeding Week

World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated August 1-7 in over 170 countries around the world. The campaign was launched by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) 20 years ago and continues to remind us each year to promote and support breastfeeding by taking action in your community.

The World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a child’s life. Feeding your baby breast milk can improve immune function, reduce chances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, increase learning capacity and promote a number of other positive health outcomes.

To learn more about breastfeeding and access local breastfeeding resources, visit the San Diego Breastfeeding Coaliton website To help support World Breastfeeding Week, “like” the Facebook page here.

5210 Every Day!: Healthy Habits for Healthy Communities
Dr. Wilma Wooten, First 5 Commissioner and County of San Diego Public Health Officer speaks at the 5210 Every Day! kick-off event on May 21, 2012

5210 Every Day!: Healthy Habits for Healthy Communities
CVESD Superintendent Francisco Escobedo and First 5 San Diego Executive Director Kim Medeiros were among the guests at the campaign kick-off

5210 Every Day!: Healthy Habits for Healthy Communities

On May 21, 2012, the San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative (Initiative) kicked off its new messaging campaign at Harborside Park in the City of Chula Vista. The campaign, called 5210 Every Day!, highlights behaviors that can lead to better overall health in children, adults, families, and communities.  The campaign calls for four daily behaviors to improve health: 

  • 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables
  • 2 hours or less of recreational screen time (Keep TV/Computer out of the bedroom. No screen time under the age of 2.)
  • 1 hour or more of physical activity
  • 0 sugary drinks, instead, more water and low fat milk 

Dr. Wilma Wooten, First 5 Commissioner and County of San Diego Public Health Officer, discussed the health effects that obesity can have on a child, and spoke about the importance of a dedicated community and environmental effort to prevent and reduce childhood obesity.  Other guests in attendance included First 5 San Diego Executive Director Kim Medeiros, City of Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox, County Supervisors Ron Roberts and Greg Cox, and Superintendent Francisco Escobedo of the Chula Vista Elementary School District (CVESD).

The 5210 Every Day! campaign was developed in Maine and is a nationally recognized, evidence-based campaign to encourage healthy eating and active living.   While this messaging campaign can be applied to people of all ages, it is particularly applicable to young children while they are formulating healthy habits that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Childhood obesity rates have more than tripled nationwide in the last 30 years, and children today are more at risk for heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure than ever before.  

The Initiative, funded in part by First 5 San Diego, is a public/private partnership whose mission is to reduce and prevent childhood obesity in San Diego County by creating healthy environments for all children and families through advocacy, education, policy development, and environmental change. 

For more information about the 5210 Every Day! campaign and for free materials to share within your community, please visit

Marine Family Day at Camp Pendleton
Children enjoyed the coloring stations, dental health activity, and more at the First 5 San Diego booth during the Camp Pendleton Family Day event on June 29, 2012

Marine Family Day at Camp Pendleton

On Friday, June 29, 2012, First 5 San Diego participated in Family Day—a yearly celebration of family bonding for marines and their families at Lake O’Neill at Camp Pendleton.  More than 400 families attended the event, which featured live music, air guitar contests, raffle prizes, food, face painting, arts and crafts, and other fun activities.  First 5 San Diego provided parents with information and resources alongside other organizations such as the Camp Pendleton Library, while children enjoyed the new First 5 San Diego activity booth.

Camp Pendleton is home to nearly 70,000 parents and children.  Visit to learn more about family programs and services available to military families.

Summer Movies in the Park
Summer Movies in the Park

Summer Movies in the Park

Summer Movies in the Park, the County program that shows great movies outdoors for free, kicked off its 2012 season in June. The series is held each year in an effort to get residents to enjoy the outdoors and promote community.

The County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation, working with the cities of San Diego, El Cajon, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, National City, Oceanside and Poway, and the USS Midway Museum, put together the largest free movie event in the county.  First 5 San Diego is a sponsor of the program, along with the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, and other local business and organizations. 

This year’s program runs through September and includes more than 50 family-friendly flicks; including the Dr. Seuss fable “The Lorax,” “The Muppets,” “Happy Feet Two;” and classics including “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

All movies are free and open to the public. Movies begin at dusk and are shown in high-quality digital format on a 32-foot inflatable widescreen that was specially designed for large audiences.

Simply bring a blanket, your favorite snacks, and chairs to enjoy the festivities! Family and friends can enjoy a movie in an outdoor theater offering pre-movie activities for children and food available for purchase at various locations.

To find upcoming events, visit


Add Your Event to Our Website

Our 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.