New, exciting, and a little bit mystifying. These are the emotions that run through parents who are awaiting the birth of their first child. There are a million things to prepare for, to learn, and buy. Nine months do not seem enough time to get ready. As you approach the birth of your first child, you will be selecting a pediatrician to care for your newborn. Vaccinations are a significant part of that early health care.
A 2008 World Health Organization study entitled, “Global, regional, and national causes of child mortality in 2008: a systematic analysis” reported that 1.5 million children under the age of five die from diseases that vaccinations could have prevented. That is 17 percent of global mortality in children under five. Besides death, these preventable diseases can cause pneumonia, paralysis, deafness, and brain damage among other complications. In areas of the world where childhood vaccinations are common practice, diseases such as measles, tuberculosis, yellow fever, and mumps are rare.
Good parenting dictates that you should understand the potential for side effects before beginning a series of vaccinations for your child. Most reported side effects consist of low-grade fevers, swelling at the injection site, or headache. Your child may have a more pronounced allergic reaction or seizure as a result of a vaccination. While rare, parents need to be vigilant to watch for these more serious vaccination side effects in their child.
What Childhood Vaccinations are Recommended?
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has published an easy-to-use chart entitled “2013 Recommended Immunizations for Children from Birth to Six Years Old.” You can get this chart at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/downloads/parent-ver-sch-0-6yrs.pdf. The childhood vaccines currently recommended by the CDC are to protect against chickenpox, diphtheria, Hib, HepA, HepB, flu, measles, mumps, pertussis, polio, pneumococcal, rotavirus, rubella and tetanus. If you have questions about the vaccine recommendations or the illnesses they prevent, discuss your concerns with your pediatrician.
Preventative healthcare for children can be confusing. Develop a strong partnership with your child’s pediatrician and ask about any childhood vaccination concerns that you may have. Information on childhood vaccinations is readily available for parents seeking to understand the benefits and downsides of disease prevention. While you still may not know which crib mobile to buy, childhood vaccinations do not have to be perplexing.