According to a study recently published in the Pediatrics journal, it was reported that autism rates among children tripled in the New York and New Jersey metropolitan areas from 2000 to 2016. The report mostly highlighted how medical professionals are becoming better at diagnosing autism.
However, it also paints a grim picture of how neurological disorder risks, like autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and ADHD, are also growing.
COVID during pregnancy has been found to play a big role in causing such disorders in male children, as per a US News report. However, COVID isn’t the lone culprit here. There are many other reasons why children are born or end up developing neurological disorders, and while knowing those causes is important, it’s more important to realize how to prevent these disorders in the first place.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the ways parents can protect their children from neurological disorders.
Nurturing a Healthy Lifestyle
Promoting a healthy lifestyle from an early age is crucial for optimal brain development and overall well-being. Parents can lay the foundation for a healthy lifestyle by encouraging regular physical activity and providing nutritious meals.
Engaging in regular exercise not only enhances cardiovascular health but also stimulates brain function and improves cognitive abilities. Activities like sports, dancing, or even family walks can contribute to a child's physical and mental well-being.
As explained on UCLA Health, foods like eggs, seafood, leafy greens, beans, yogurt, nuts, and seeds are very beneficial when it comes to your child’s brain health. However, before starting this sort of diet, get in touch with your doctor or a child nutritionist to understand what amounts of these foods you should be feeding your baby.
Ensuring good brain health will help you keep neurological disorders at bay from your child.
Encouraging Intellectual Stimulation
Intellectual stimulation plays a vital role in promoting brain development and preventing neurological disorders. Parents can provide various opportunities for intellectual growth by fostering curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking skills.
Encouraging reading habits, engaging in interactive storytelling, and playing educational games can stimulate cognitive abilities and enhance problem-solving skills.
Parents can also consider limiting excessive screen time and promoting constructive alternatives such as puzzles, building blocks, and artistic activities that can foster cognitive development. Furthermore, parents should create an environment that encourages open discussions, exploration, and learning.
Engaging in conversations about diverse topics, exposing children to new experiences, and providing opportunities for hands-on learning can enrich their intellectual growth.
These activities promote neuroplasticity and the development of strong neural connections, reducing the risk of neurological disorders and enhancing overall brain health.
Ensuring a Safe Environment
Creating a safe environment is essential for protecting children from neurological disorders. Parents should take precautions to prevent accidents that could result in head injuries, which may contribute to long-term neurological consequences.
Simple measures such as using childproof locks, securing furniture, and providing appropriate safety gear during physical activities can significantly reduce the risk of head injuries.
Parents should also be mindful of potential exposure to toxins and pollutants. Avoiding or minimizing exposure to secondhand smoke, lead-based paints, pesticides, and other harmful chemicals can help safeguard children's neurological health.
A safe environment must also be ensured when the child is inside the womb. In this case, you must avoid coming in contact with toxic substances at all costs. This, however, won’t be possible unless you’re extremely careful with what you consume and come in contact with.
Take the Tylenol lawsuit as an example. According to TorHoerman Law, Tylenol (acetaminophen), which is a popular pain relief drug, has been linked to an increased risk of children developing ADHD, ASD, and other developmental disorders and neurological disorders when consumed during pregnancy. Scientific evidence also suggests that taking Tylenol during pregnancy also leads to cerebral palsy.
As highlighted in the Tylenol lawsuit, autism and ADHD risks are what led to many people filing complaints against this pain relief drug. Currently, law firms involved in the case predict that the Tylenol settlement amounts could be anywhere between $50,000 to $500,000.
Thus, when ensuring a safe environment, you must also be aware of the environment you’re creating inside the womb for your baby and avoid toxic products and chemicals at all costs. Researching the products before you use them is the best way to ensure this type of safety.
Prioritizing Mental Health and Emotional Well-being
Mental health and emotional well-being are closely linked to brain health. Parents should prioritize creating a nurturing and supportive environment that promotes positive mental health. They must actively listen to their children's feelings and provide emotional support that can help children develop healthy coping mechanisms and resilience.
Teaching stress management techniques, such as deep breathing exercises or mindfulness practices, can aid in reducing the impact of chronic stress on the developing brain. Additionally, recognizing the signs of mental health issues and seeking professional help when needed is crucial.
Early intervention and appropriate treatment can significantly mitigate the risk of neurological disorders associated with untreated mental health conditions.
Regular Health Check-ups and Immunizations
Regular health check-ups and adherence to recommended immunization schedules are essential for safeguarding children's neurological health. Routine check-ups help healthcare professionals monitor the child’s developmental milestones as well as identify potential concerns early on. Doing so can also help doctors intervene as necessary and provide necessary medical guidance.
Immunizations also play a critical role in preventing infectious diseases that can lead to neurological complications. Following the recommended vaccination schedule protects children from illnesses such as measles, mumps, rubella, polio, and meningitis, which can have severe neurological consequences.
Parents should consult with their healthcare providers to ensure their children receive the necessary vaccinations according to the recommended guidelines.
As a parent, the last thing anyone would want is for their child to be born or grow up with any sort of disorder, particularly neurological ones which are more difficult to treat compared to many other conventional diseases or disorders.
Thus, if you’ve recently given birth to a baby or are expecting one sometime soon, keep the above-discussed tips in mind to protect your child from all sorts of neurological disorders.