Newsletter September – October 2013

First 5 San Diego
Like Us On Facebook

First 5 Commission of San Diego

Supervisor Ron Roberts, Chair
Carol Skiljan, Vice Chair
Sandra McBrayer
Wilma J. Wooten, MD, MPH
Nick Macchione, MS, MPH, FACHE

Kim Medeiros
The Director’s Corner
Kim Medeiros

A new school year is beginning. Whether or not your child is just starting preschool, going back for another year, or entering Kindergarten, healthy habits are essential to a child’s academic success and lifelong wellbeing. Children who eat healthy foods and get plenty of exercise have more energy and concentrate better in school.

You may recall that we kicked off our Healthy Start Campaign last Spring, aiming to get families to adopt healthy habits at home. Hopefully, the Summer was a good time to practice the key habits we’ve been telling you about, messages of the San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative’s 5210 Every Day! campaign – 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables; 2 hours or less of recreational screen time; 1 hour or more of physical activity; and 0 sugary drinks, more water and low fat milk.

Yet, I know that with the start of a new school year, also come busier schedules and it may be harder to ensure your child gets five servings of fruits and vegetables each day or gets out for that one hour of physical activity. To help parents and caregivers, here are some easy tips to ensure your child maintains a healthy lifestyle during the school year:

  • Power them up on breakfast – Breakfast provides important nutrients that give children a great start to the day and gets them ready to learn.
  • Pack healthy snacks and lunches – For ideas, visit our Healthy Start website
  • Limit screen time (recreational and educational) to weekends.
  • If within a close distance, walk with your child to school or from school. Also, ask your child’s school about their physical activity curriculum and repeat them at home.

Have a healthy, great school year!


Kim Medeiros

Pediatrician’s Corner
Dr. Dean E. Sidelinger, MD, MSEd is the Child Health Medical Officer for the County of San Diego, Health and Human Services Agency.

Pediatrician’s Corner

With one in three children in the United States being overweight or obese, it is important for parents to realize their role in providing healthy eating and physical activity opportunities for their children.

Let’s look at nutrition first. There is some truth to the old saying – you are what you eat. Eating healthy foods is one part of being a healthy child, and growing up to be a healthy adult. This starts with babies’ first food. Babies get almost all of their nutrition from the milk that they drink – and breast milk is best for babies. Beginning around six months old, parents can start giving solid foods to their babies like iron-fortified infant cereal, strained fruits and vegetables, and pureed meats. For most children under two years old, parents don’t need to restrict fat in children’s diets. A healthy amount of fat at this age is important for children’s brain development.

Toddlers and preschoolers can present challenges when it comes to eating. One rule to remember is that parents are responsible for what their children eat – and children decide when and how much. It is important that parents offer their children a healthy and varied diet. Encourage kids to eat new fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans to get fiber. Also, pay attention to the calcium that children get in their diets – from milk or foods with added calcium in them. What doesn’t need to be a part of children’s diets? Sugary drinks. Children should drink water and low fat milk instead.

Children need to be physically active – for at least one hour per day. Limit children’s screen time – television, computers, and video games – to two hours or less per day. There should be no screen time for children under two years of age and no televisions or computers in children’s bedrooms. Provide a safe environment for children to play. Provide active toys – like balls and jump ropes – for your children. Consider activities that the whole family can do together – you are a role model. When your children see you enjoying sports and being physically active, they are more likely to participate themselves.

Together with your children, make a promise to eat healthier foods. Together, go outside and be active. Also remember to cut down on the time spent in front of a screen. With these tips in mind everyone in the family will feel better – and be healthier.

First 5 San Diego-Vons Healthy Eating Initiative Now Underway
Left to right: Andy Barker – Vons Vice President of Retail Operations, Soren Betancourt, Kimberly Medeiros – First 5 San Diego Executive Director, Diego Ontiveros, and Supervisor Ron Roberts – Fourth District San Diego County Board of Supervisors.

First 5 San Diego-Vons Healthy Eating Initiative Now Underway
Vons Vice President of Retail Operations Andy Barker hands Heather Ward, holding Thomas Ward, a First 5 San Diego Healthy Eating flier with Supervisor Ron Roberts and First 5 San Diego Executive Director Kimberly Medeiros looking on in the background.

First 5 San Diego-Vons Healthy Eating Initiative Now Underway
Soren Betancourt (front) samples a banana and strawberry during the First 5 San Diego-Vons Healthy Eating Partnership launch event while Supervisor Ron Roberts (left), First 5 Executive Director Kimberly Medeiros (center), and Vons Vice President of Retail Operations Andy Barker (right) discuss the importance of healthy eating for children ages 0 through 5.

First 5 San Diego-Vons Healthy Eating Initiative Now Underway

First 5 San Diego successfully launched its new healthy eating initiative in partnership with Vons on July 10, 2013.

Representatives from First 5 San Diego, Vons and Fourth District San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts attended the official kickoff event at Vons’ Mission Hills store located at 515 W. Washington St.

“We know kids do better in school if they get into good eating habits, so we’re promoting it,” said Roberts who also serves as Chair of the First 5 Commission of San Diego County. “We want to make sure they know at an early age what is good for them.”

To kick start the initiative which encourages parents and caregivers to provide healthy food choices to children at an early age, Roberts along with First 5 San Diego Executive Director Kimberly Medeiros and Vons Vice President of Retail Operations Andy Barker helped debut a full-size San Diego MTS bus wrapped in the First 5 logo and messaging. The officials unveiled First 5 San Diego-Vons healthy eating window clings and take-home fliers that are now posted in all 58 San Diego County Vons store locations. They even helped bag groceries for Vons customers with reusable First 5 San Diego bags at the checkout stands.

“We want to encourage families to use grocery shopping as a time to talk with children about healthy eating,” said Medeiros. “The earlier you introduce new fruits and vegetables, the more likely they are as adults to carry on with those good eating habits.”

Vons customers can now grab a healthy eating flier inside the store to help guide them in making great food choices for their children and families.

“Our company deeply believes in the communities that we serve,” said Andy Barker, Vons Vice President of Retail Operations. “That is why we look forward to promoting the health and well-being of children ages 0 through 5 through this healthy eating initiative.”

For more information about First 5 San Diego, please visit

Watch this video.

New Potter the Otter Book: It’s Picnic Day, Potter!

The book teaches kids the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle by drinking water, eating healthy foods and being active.
Read the new book at

Preschool Readiness

Preschool Readiness

The preschool year is here! 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. Each child grows and develops at their own pace and the child must be prepared for what preschool brings – starting preschool can be an exciting experience and often a little scary. Fortunately, parents can prepare their children for entering preschool by helping them learn what to expect. As their children’s first and best teachers, parents can encourage their children’s cognitive, physical, and emotional development before they step foot into a preschool classroom.

Parent Preschool Prep Tips

  • Read to your child
    • A fun, parent-child activity that can help prepare children for preschool can be as simple as reading books or singing songs with rhyming words in them. The local library is a great resource for finding age-appropriate reading materials and activities to help your child’s development. To find a County library near you, visit
    • Reading aloud to your child everyday helps them to develop vocabulary skills and a love for reading. Research shows that children who spend time reading with their parent or caregiver are better prepared for school.
  • Talk with your child
    • Talk with your child what about preschool involves such as a classroom, teacher, other children, activities, and rules. Discuss how your child’s daily schedule will change once they begin preschool. Inform your child about the importance of listening and following directions while at preschool.
  • Encourage your child to play with other children
    • It is important for your child to meet and play with other children. This will help your child learn how share, take turns, socialize with others, and will contribute to your child’s success in school.
    • In addition to strengthening socialization skills, such as how to compromise, be respectful of others, and problem solve, preschool provides a place where your child can gain a sense of self, explore, play with his or her peers, and build confidence.
  • Bond with your child
    • Spend time engaging in fun learning activities with your child. As a parent, you don’t have to teach your child how to read and write before they enter preschool but you can help prepare them for the classroom with activities like coloring, drawing, playing games, and introducing them to letters, numbers, colors, and shapes.
  • Make sure your child’s immunizations are up-to-date
    • The California School Immunization Law requires children to have certain vaccines by the time they enter kindergarten. Often, child care providers and preschools also require vaccinations before enrollment. Check with your doctor or health provider to make sure your child’s immunizations are up-to-date and on schedule.
  • Don’t forget about your child’s oral health
    • Since 2006, a California law requires that children have a dental check-up before entering kindergarten or 1st grade. Children should actually receive their first dental screening by their first birthday. Regular dental check-ups for children are important for their healthy development and performance in school. During preschool, parents are advised to take their child to the dentist to give him or her a good start for when they enter kindergarten. For information on First 5 San Diego’s oral health services, call 1-888-5 FIRST 5 (1-888-534-7785) or visit
Protecting your most precious cargo

Protecting your most precious cargo
Keeping kids safe in the car

With today’s technology, cars and car seats are designed to keep kids as safe as possible. But with all of the choices of car seats and booster seats, how do you know which one at what age is right for your child? In honor of National Child Passenger Safety Week, September 15-22, we want to prepare you with the information needed to make the right choices and ensure that your most precious cargo stays safe.

Car crashes are the leading cause of death and injuries to children ages 0-13, but by correctly installing your child’s car or booster seat, you can help keep your kids safe and reduce injury or death by as much as 71 percent.

It’s up to the parents or guardians to get the right seat for their child and make sure that seat is installed properly, so when thinking about what seat to get for your car and how to install it, first remember these four steps to help protect your child:

And remember that, the best way to protect them in the car is to put them in the right seat, at the right time, and use it the right way. Here is an easy car seat checklist to help ensure your kids will stay safe:

  • Right Seat. Check the label on your car seat to make sure it’s appropriate for your child’s age, weight and height. Like milk, your car seat has an expiration date. Just double check the label on your car seat to make sure it is still safe.
  • Right Place. Kids are VIPs, just ask them. We know all VIPs ride in the back seat, so keep all children in the back seat until they are 13.
  • Right Direction. You want to keep your child in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible, usually until around age 2. When he or she outgrows the seat, move your child to a forward-facing car seat. Make sure to attach the top tether after you tighten and lock the seat belt or lower anchors.
  • Inch Test. Once your car seat is installed, give it a good shake at the base. Can you move it more than an inch side to side or front to back? A properly installed seat will not move more than an inch.
  • Pinch Test. Make sure the harness is tightly buckled and coming from the correct slots (check car seat manual). Now, with the chest clip placed at armpit level, pinch the strap at your child’s shoulder. If you are unable to pinch any excess webbing, you’re good to go.

In January of 2012, the State of California updated the Child Passenger Safety laws, from the “6-years-old and 60 pounds” rule, to children remaining in booster or car seats until they are 8 years old or 4’9” tall. The new law is extending coverage to the six and seven year olds who may be too big for a car seat and too small for lap/shoulder belts. Please note that if your child is under 8 years of age but is 4’9’’, or taller, they may ride in the back seat with a lap/shoulder belt.

Learn more on Child Passenger Safety, and more tips on how to buy the right seat for your children, at the right time.

Bates Nut Farm

Balboa Park

Maritime Museum


Boy in Red Shirt

Fun San Diego Fall Adventures

The end of summer doesn’t mean the end of fun, educational things to do in San Diego. With great weather during the autumn months, get out with your little one and experience all that our home town has to offer.

Bates Nut Farm Pumpkin Patch
Wednesday, September 25, 2013 to Thursday, October 31, 2013
9:00am to 5:00pm

15954 Woods Valley Road
Valley Center, CA 92082

Experience the fall harvest at Bates. with the colors, scents, tastes and sounds found on our 100 acres. Shop for pumpkins, squash and gourds in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes. Enjoy numerous activities including hay rides, straw maze, pony rides and farm zoo. Many special events take place each weekend to celebrate pumpkin season.

September 28, 2013 to Sunday, September 29, 2013
9:00am to 5:00pm
Experience a full weekend of Fall activities! Farm Education Day (September 28) and Early Days Gas & Tractor Association (September 28 and 29). Watch the tractor parade both days at 11:00 am and 2:00 pm. The Pumpkin Patch, Straw Maze and Hayride open are both days.

Balboa Park
1549 El Prado Road, San Diego, CA
(619) 239-0512
Open daily

On a beautiful day, look no further than taking a trip to Balboa Park, “a landscape of art and culture.” At the nation’s largest urban cultural park you can experience museums, performing arts venues, gardens, trails and play areas. Younger grandchildren will love the Balboa Park Carousel and Miniature Railroad. The museums offer exhibits that will thrill your children as well.

Residents Free Tuesday at Balboa Park Museums

Park organizations offer free admission on a rotating basis on the first four Tuesdays of the month to San Diego City and County residents (with ID), and active military and their dependents.

Please note: Some museums may offer complimentary admission to their permanent collections only and charge admission to special exhibitions or films. Also note: Some museums may require ID for minors

  • First Tuesday
    Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
    Centro Cultural de la Raza
    San Diego Model Railroad Museum
    San Diego Natural History Museum (Not valid for 3-D films)
    The Timken Museum of Art is always free
  • Second Tuesday
    Museum of Photographic Arts
    San Diego History Center
    Veterans’ Museum and Memorial Center
    The Timken Museum of Art is always free
  • Third Tuesday
    San Diego Art Institute
    Mingei International Museum
    San Diego Museum of Art
    San Diego Museum of Man
    Japanese Friendship Garden
    The Timken Museum of Art is always free
  • Fourth Tuesday
    San Diego Air & Space Museum (Not valid for special exhibitions)
    San Diego Automotive Museum (Last admission 3:45pm)
    San Diego Hall of Champions
    SELECT House of Pacific Relations International Cottages
    The Timken Museum of Art is always free

Due to large crowds and for visitor safety some museums may restrict entrance to strollers.

Maritime Museum of San Diego
1492 North Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA
(619) 234-9153
Hours: 9am-8pm (daily)
Price: Children (ages 6-12): $8, Students (ages 13-17): $11, Adults (ages 18-61): $15, Seniors (ages 62+): $11

Family Day at the Maritime Museum
October 20, 2013.

Kids craft activity will be available from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. aboard the museum’s ships. It’s a great way to spend some family time together!

Children 12 years and under are admitted free!* For an additional $5.00 per person, families can sign up for a Historic Bay Cruise on San Diego Bay aboard the museum’s historic 1914 harbor pilot boat Pilot.

*Children must be accompanied by an adult in order to receive free Maritime Museum admission. Only two children 12 or under per adult will be admitted free.

Sailor’s Days
November 23 to December 1, 2013

Lots of fun things to do: scavenger hunt with prize, make brass rubbings, ferryboat steam engine demos, explore our ships, raising sail, rope making, knot tying, rowing…
Come aboard & join the fun!

*Activities available vary each day and are offered with paid admission to the Maritime Museum of San Diego.

Halloween Bash at Seaport Village
October 26
3:30 – 8:00 p.m.

Click here for website

Celebrate the arrival of fall at Seaport Village, where San Diegans are invited to join the fun at Seaport’s third annual Halloween Bash on the Bay on Saturday, October 26, from 3:30 to 8:00 p.m. A week of deals and events leading up to the fall festival will honor San Diego locals from October 21-26. The third annual celebration invites little monsters, pirates, witches and superheroes out to the village for an afternoon of fall festivities, including photos with a living scarecrow, costume contest for kids and pets, music including a monster mash band and Thriller DJ, and games for kids.

Living Coast Discovery Center
1000 Gunpowder Point Drive
Chula Vista, CA 91910
(619) 409-5900

$14 Adults (18-64); $9 Children (4-17); Free Children (0-3)
Show your AAA card and get 20% off

The Living Coast Discovery Center is a natural treasure on San Diego Bay. Our nonprofit zoo and aquarium is uniquely situated on the Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, offering visitors an ideal setting in which to explore the amazing animals and plants that call our coastal region home.

With a diverse collection of animal ambassadors and hands-on, interactive exhibits, the Discovery Center inspires curiosity and exploration of the living earth in guests of all ages.

We Can’t Wait Conference

First 5 San Diego is pleased to sponsor the Fourth Annual “We Can’t Wait” Early Childhood Mental Health Conference which will be taking place September 27 & 28, 2013 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 2270 Hotel Circle North, San Diego, CA 92108. This year’s focus will be on prenatal experiences important to early childhood development including parent and caregiver factors that impact mental health. Individuals who provide support, assessment, treatment, and education to children 0 through 5 including are encouraged to attend.

The event is also funded by the County of San Diego, Health and Human Services Agency – Behavioral Health Services and is organized by the San Diego Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

For more information, visit


First 5 San Diego was delighted to participate in the WeConnect Health Care Enrollment & Resource Fair on July 13, 2013. At the event, San Diego County residents were able to receive application assistance for Medi-Cal, CalFresh and the Low-Income Health Program. There were also health screenings, dental screenings, healthy food giveaways and other money-saving programs and services. Events like this help connect families to important programs and resources, and most importantly, with the people and organizations who can help answer questions and apply.

WeConnect was established by former California First Lady Maria Shriver in 2005 and is now run by The California Endowment. WeConnect joins the Endowment in challenging conventional wisdom that health solely happens in the doctor’s office.

For more information about WeConnect, visit

Fiesta del Sol San Diego
Cousins Camila and Sofia, 2 ½ years old.

Fiesta del Sol San Diego
Paulina, 8 months

Fiesta del Sol San Diego

First 5 San Diego was pleased to co-sponsor as well as participate in the 8th annual Fiesta del Sol San Diego held July 20-21, 2013 on Historic Logan Avenue. Presented by Justice Overcoming Boundaries (J.O.B.), thousands of people attended the free two-day festival in celebration of the history and diversity of the region’s rich cultures while honoring Latino communities’ contributions to San Diego.

The event featured live entertainment, food, art, vendors and activities for all ages. The fiesta also provided community resources, education and advocacy opportunities at five themed pavilions – Children’s Village, Arts and Culture, Health and Fitness, Civic Participation and Youth Zone. First 5 San Diego sponsored a Children’s Pavilion that provided educational resources, arts and crafts, and games for young children. First 5 San Diego shared information about its programs and services, and resources available in the community. Giveaways included 5210 Every Day! water bottles as well as Potter the Otter Books, crowns and MyPlate portion plates, all to promote the importance of drinking water and encourage healthy eating. Children also enjoyed a fun bean bag tossing game, coloring and hula hoops.

Other sponsors of the event included Cricket Wireless, The Home Depot, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Huggies, The San Diego Foundation, Northgate Market, Operation Samahan, San Diego Metropolitan Transit System, various radio stations and other local businesses and organizations.

J.O.B. is a non-profit organization whose mission is to invest in the development of community leaders so they may address issues affecting families. For more information about J.O.B., visit

First Five High Fives
KinderStart participants celebrating graduation at Laurel Elementary School on August 9, 2013.

First 5 High Fives

Oceanside children are now ready for Kindergarten thanks to First 5 San Diego’s KinderStart program, a high-quality, 5-week, early learning program designed for children preparing to enter Kindergarten who need additional support. The summer readiness camp was held from July 8 – August 9 at Laurel Elementary School, which is part of the Oceanside Unified School District, where 73 children graduated from the program.

The program utilizes a curriculum that promotes both academic and social-emotional development and provides parents with the training and resources to help them promote their child’s development and ongoing academic success. The goal is to prepare students and parents for successful entry into Kindergarten and boost academic achievement and social emotional growth throughout their entire school experience.

Community Events

Camp Pendleton 4th Marriage, Parenting, and Relationship Expo
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, Oceanside, CA 92058

Descanso Library’s Storytime
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Descanso Branch Library
9545 River Road, Descanso, CA 91916
Click here

Kids Care Fest
Saturday, September 21, 2013
Briercrest Park and Grossmont Health Care District
9001 Wakarusa, La Mesa, 91942
Click here

San Diego Public Library Street Fair/ Ribbon Cutting Celebration
Saturday, September 28, 2013
San Diego Central Library
330 Park Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92101

Live it Up! Celebrating the Good Life
Saturday, October 12, 2013
Vista Branch Library
700 Eucalyptus Avenue, Vista, CA 92084

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.

Like Us On Facebook
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.