Newsletter October 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

Barbara Jimenez
The Director’s Corner
Barbara Jiménez

Parents’ love and support during the most critical years of life, from birth to age 5, helps shape their children’s physical, social and emotional development. But parenthood is also an ongoing learning process that continues to change as children grow.  First 5 San Diego recognizes the essential role that parents and caregivers play in the lives of young children, ages 0 through 5, and offers positive parenting resources to help parents and caregivers learn the best ways to support their children’s healthy development.

First 5 San Diego provides no cost parenting classes and workshops that offer support, advice and materials for families and cover topics such as positive parenting practices.  First 5 San Diego also provides services that ensure children can receive the attention they need to keep their physical, social and emotional development on track. In addition, as a partner in the County’s Live Well, San Diego! 10-year strategy to building better health among all San Diego County residents, First 5 San Diego programs and services encourage parents and caregivers to provide proper nutrition and exercise to help children succeed.

With support and information, parents can develop effective parenting skills to raise happy and healthy children. Here are a few of First 5 San Diego’s top positive parenting tips for parents and caregivers to help children thrive during these critical developmental years:

  • Spend quality time with your child

Share special time bonding with your child by talking, playing and reading with them every day. Children learn about language when their parents talk to them and they learn social skills through play. Reading aloud promotes young children’s early reading skills and comprehension.

  • Follow a routine

Daily routines at home can help children predict and anticipate what to expect. Setting daily routines in the morning, at meal times and at bed time can help children develop stability and comfort.

  • Be a good role model

Young children learn by watching others around them and they copy the behaviors that they see. Be mindful of your actions and words to set a good example of acceptable behavior for your child.

Click here for more parenting tips and resources.

Stay tuned for our Positive Parenting campaign, set to begin in November, celebrating Family Literacy Month and the importance of reading to your child.

Barbara Jiménez

Protecting Your Child  Against the Flu and Pertussis
Protecting Your Child Against the Flu and Pertussis (“Whooping Cough”)

Influenza.  The flu season is here and the influenza or “flu” vaccine is the best protection for you and your child.  Flu is highly contagious and can be extremely dangerous, especially for children.  It can cause fever, headaches, chills, tiredness, coughing and runny noses.  Children are more likely to get flu than adults, and because children are at an increased risk of getting severe illness from the flu, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone  ages 6 months and up get a flu vaccine every year.  If your child (6 months – 8 years) did not get a flu vaccine last year, she or he will need to get two doses this year spaced four weeks apart.

Because infants less than 6-months-old cannot get the flu shot, the best way to protect young infants from getting sick is to make sure that all of the people in contact with  them get vaccinated.  Pregnant women are at higher risk for hospitalization if they get the flu and should get the injectable, preservative-free flu shot.  When pregnant women get the flu shot, their body starts to make antibodies that help protect themselves and their baby against the flu up until 6 months after the baby is born.

To receive the flu vaccine, families may contact their doctor or visit a local retail pharmacy. Flu vaccine is also available at the County’s Public Health Centers for residents without medical insurance.  Remember, the best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu is to get an annual flu vaccine! Click here to find a location near you.  The flu season in San Diego often doesn’t peak until January or February, so it is not too late to get your vaccine.  People can be contagious up to a day before they start feeling symptoms, so the sooner you get the vaccine, the better!

Pertussis (“Whooping Cough”).  There have been an extraordinary number of pertussis or “whooping cough” cases in San Diego during the last two years.  The disease is particularly serious for young infants who cannot get their first dose of Dtap vaccine until 2 months of age. DTaP is a vaccine that lets children younger than 7 develop immunity to pertussis.

To help protect infants and children from getting pertussis, it is important to follow the recommended schedule for children with 5 doses of Dtap. A pertussis booster, called Tdap, is recommended for middle-school students starting at age 11.  All adults, including caregivers, grandparents, and teachers, who are in contact with young children should also get a Tdap vaccine.  These are available at local pharmacies, your regular doctor’s office, and at Public Health Centers.

Practical Tips.  If you or your children become sick with symptoms of flu or pertussis, please remember the following to help prevent others from getting sick:

  • Stay home when you are sick and keep children home from school or childcare if they are sick.
  • Cover your cough with a tissue, throw the tissue away, and then wash your hands.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based rub.

First 5 San Diego provides a Kit for New Parents which includes a What to Do If Your Child Gets Sick book.  To order your free Kit, please call our warmline 1-888-5 FIRST 5 (1-888-534-7785).

For more information about the flu, visit the CDC Flu Information Website at

Kids Care Fest
A family visits First 5 San Diego at the Kids Care Fest, La Mesa, Calif. on September 24, 2011.

Kids Care Fest
Children enjoyed a bean bag tossing game at the First 5 San Diego booth at the Kids Care Fest.

Kids Care Fest

First 5 San Diego was on hand at the 10th annual Kids Care Fest at Briercrest Park in La Mesa, Calif. on Saturday, September 24, 2011.  The event, presented by the Grossmont Healthcare District and the City of La Mesa, featured free health care screenings for more than 1,000 children, arts and crafts exhibits, face painting, bungee and astro jumps, and pony rides.

First 5 San Diego shared information about its programs and services and resources available in the community.  Giveaways included pocket development guides, to help parents understand their child’s developmental milestones, and bookmarks, to promote the importance of early literacy.  Children also enjoyed a fun bean bag tossing game.

Other participants included the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) East Region and Aging and Independent Services (AIS), Communities Against Substance Abuse, Molina Healthcare, Home Start, San Diego Youth Services, Mountain Health and Community Services, Grossmont Hospital, AKA Head Start, Boys and Girls Club, Kids on the Block of San Diego, Vista Hill Parent Care, La Mesa Community Services, PRO Kids Golf Academy, La Mesa Arts Alliance, and Ralphs Grocery Company.

San Diego Family Expo
San Diego Family Expo

The 2nd annual San Diego Family Expo (SDFE) will take place on Saturday October 22, 2011 at the San Diego Concourse, 202 C St., San Diego, CA from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The one-day, free event will showcase products, activities, and services that promote family and various ways families can do things together.  Families will have an opportunity to see local businesses and organizations that support and/or promote family friendly events, activities, services or products. The goal of the event is to promote family rapport and improve the way of life in all San Diego County communities.  For more information about the event, visit

Free Dental Health Clinic
Free Dental Health Clinic

Neighborhood Healthcare will be providing free dental screenings, sealants and varnish for children on Saturday, October 22, 2011 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m at the Ray M. Dickinson Wellness Center, 425 N. Date St., Escondido, CA. 92025.  Children  and their families are encouraged to attend in their Halloween costumes, and trick or treat early (for healthy treats of course).  The event will also feature a bouncy house, scavenger hunt, arts and crafts, games and prizes, and community resources.  Approximately 300 children are expected to attend.

Neighborhood Healthcare is a community partner in First 5 San Diego’s Oral Health Initiative (OHI).  Other sponsors of the event include North County Dental Task Force and the San Diego County Dental Society.

To make an appointment, call 619-692-8858.  Walk-ins are also welcome. For more information about the event, click here.

Candy Buy Back
Candy Buy Back

Dentists throughout San Diego County will be buying back Halloween candy from neighborhood trick-or-treaters in the days following Halloween/Harvest  Celebrations.  The candy will then be sent overseas to U.S. troops through Operation Gratitude.  Participating dental offices will give children $1 for each pound of candy.

The Candy Buy Back Program is a collaborative effort among local health agencies and other community members in San Diego County to address the issue of childhood obesity and dental health among our local children.

For more information about the San Diego County Candy Buy Back Program and for a list of participating dental offices, click hereClick here to visit Operation Gratitude.

Life Loss Conference
Life Loss Conference

Registration is now open for “Coping with Change:  Exploring Losses in a Variety of Situations”, a life loss conference presented by the Stephan Center, to be held on Friday, November 18, 2011 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.   First 5 San Diego is a sponsor of the conference, designed for professionals who support children and families experiencing life loss. Workshops will focus on exploring life loss processes and behavior experienced by children and adults in relation to education, special needs, illness, incarceration, foster placement, military deployment, and death.  The conference will be held at the San Diego County Office of Education, 6401 Linda Vista Road, Rooms 401/402, San Diego, CA 92111. For more information and to register online, 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.