First 5 Riverside Executive Director Message

By Wednesday, August 24, 2016 No tags Permalink 0

August 2016 message from Tammi Graham

GrahamcroppedGood oral health is key to a child’s overall health and development.

Nearly 50 percent of children have tooth decay before age 5, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Prevention comes with seeing a dentist as soon as the first tooth appears or by their first birthday and continued regular checkups. Unfortunately, 33 percent of local children have never seen a dentist, according to the 2014 Community Health Interview Survey.

Riverside and San Bernardino county champions for children hope to increase services, prevention and care for our neediest children through a new Dental Transformation Initiative Local Dental Pilot Project centered on the virtual dental home. This proposed community-based program model aligns with national preventive pediatric health care recommendations to ensure a dental home and perform oral health assessments as needed starting at 6 months.



WHAT IS A Virtual Dental Home?

An innovative best practice where dental hygienists provide care, including x-rays and assessments, outside of a normal dental setting such as in a WIC center or at a school.



First 5 Riverside, in collaboration with First 5 San Bernardino, is submitting a grant proposal due Sept. 30 to implement a regional approach. If approved, services for at-risk targeted populations could start February 2017. A maximum of 15 pilot projects will be awarded.

Click HERE to learn more about bringing dental health to California children and expanding the reach of teledentistry.

Stay connected with us for updates and other First 5 Riverside news.

August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month

HEALTHY PEOPLE 2020, a national roadmap for improving the nation’s health calls for:

  • Increased proportion of infants breastfed
  • Increased proportions of employers that have worksite lactation programs
  • Reduction of the proportion of breastfed newborns receiving formula supplementation within the first two days of life
  • Increased proportion of births in “baby-friendly” facilities

In Riverside County, two First 5 Riverside grantees – Loving Support & San Gorgonio Hospital – provide significant breastfeeding support for new parents. Thousands of mothers have called the 24/7 countywide helpline (888-451-2499 or 951-358-7212) to work through a variety of challenges with lactation experts. Since fiscal year 2012-2013, San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital nurses (951-769-2151 or 951-201-4989) have made nearly 10,000 free home visits to mothers to identify solutions and walk them through techniques. This year alone, they have seen more than 3,000 moms.

Here is one struggling mother’s experience:

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“I had made up my mind prior to her birth and was always determined to breastfeed my baby. What I wasn’t prepared for how hard it was. I didn’t seem to have hardly any milk. My sleepy baby didn’t seem to know how to latch on properly, plus my breasts are large and her mouth was tiny!”

The mother was sore and emotionally drained. Just as she began to lose all confidence and give in to formula, a First 5 Riverside grantee lactation counselor stepped in to provide support. She assured her she was a good mother and helped her to succeed.

“I love these peaceful relaxed times with my daughter and feel this has really built a deep bond between us. If it wasn’t for this angel’s support, I would have failed several times over. Now, I feel confident in my ability to breastfeed and that I am providing exactly what my baby needs. Please know that my success is totally due to the immediate, kind, expert help that I was finally able to connect with. Now I can say that I am a grateful happy mom.”

SHARE YOUR STORY: If a First 5 Riverside grantee program has made a difference in the life of you, your child or your family, please tell us about it. Email your story to us at

Pregnant, Healthy & Happy? Check out these tips!

Research shows that a mother’s health during the nine months of pregnancy not only affects a baby’s development in the womb, but also influences the child’s health through adulthood.

First 5 Riverside works to ensure that babies are born healthy and ready to succeed once they enter the world, in school and in life and it starts with a healthy pregnancy.

Prenatal Care

  • The first step to a healthy pregnancy is taking a prenatal vitamin every day. Prenatal supplements contain a host of vitamins to boost your health, including folic acid and iron, vitamin A, vitamin D, zinc and calcium which are important when you’re pregnant.
  • Folic Acid can help reduce the chances of neural tube defects by up to 70 percent. Start taking a prenatal vitamin or 400 micrograms of folic acid at least one month before you become pregnant.
  • Foods like beans and legumes, citrus fruits and juices, whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables, poultry, pork, fish and shellfish all contain healthy amounts of folate in addition to your daily vitamin.
  • Taking a vitamin is no substitute for a healthy diet. They are meant to supplement your diet, and aren’t meant to be your only source of much-needed nutrients.

Eat Right, Not Twice 

  • Research suggests that women should only increase their caloric intake by 10 percent. In fact, you only need an additional 300 calories a day – that’s about half a cup of nuts or two cups of milk.
  • Make sure to eat healthy – lots of vegetables and fruit; protein from lean meats, eggs and nuts; and low-fat dairy products like cheese, yogurt and milk and steer clear of “empty calories,” those calories that come from added sugars and solid fats.
  • Because your growing baby’s calcium demands are high, you should get 1,200 milligrams a day to prevent a loss from your own bones.
  • Iron helps support your 50 percent increase in blood volume. Aim for 30 mg of iron every day from iron-rich foods such as red meat, salmon, eggs, tofu, dark poultry, enriched grains, beans and peas and dark leafy green vegetables.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids boost your baby’s brain development before birth. The National Institutes of Health recommend that pregnant and nursing women get at least 300 milligrams in their daily diet.
  • Choose fish that are high in omega-3s but low in mercury, which can harm a fetus’s nervous system. Avoid swordfish, shark, king mackerel, tilefish and, some experts now say, tuna. Top picks include wild Alaskan salmon, Atlantic mackerel, herring, sardines and anchovies. Fish oil supplements are also safe.

Keep Fit

  • Most experts recommend gaining about 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy.
  • Regular exercise during pregnancy can help prevent excess weight gain, improve sleep, boost your mood, improve circulation and lessen recovery time.
  • Low-impact, moderate-intensity activities such as walking and swimming are great.
  • Make sure to take frequent breaks and remember to drink plenty of fluids. Also remember that your center of gravity shifts as your pregnancy progresses.
  • Talk to your doctor before beginning or continuing any exercise regimen. And use common sense — slow down or stop if you get short of breath or feel uncomfortable.
  • Drinking enough water prevents dehydration which can lead to headaches, nausea, cramps, edema and can trigger preterm labor.
  • Aim for 2.3 liters, or about 10 cups of water per day.

 Know the “Don’ts”

  • Say no to alcohol. Even as little as one drink a week has been linked in studies to behavioral problems in kids and can cause the more dangerous Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
  • Quit smoking and avoid secondhand smoke. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, smoking is the most preventable cause of poor pregnancy outcomes in the nation.
  • Smoking can cause miscarriages, bleeding, restricted growth, premature babies and other complications during pregnancy. Plus, infants are three times more likely to die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) when their mothers are smokers.
  • First 5 California sponsors the California Smokers’ Helpline (1-800-NO-BUTTS) to provide smoking or tobacco using parents with free resources to quit. Available in English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean and Vietnamese.
  • Limit caffeine intake to less than 200 milligrams a day, about a 12-ounce cup of coffee.

It’s time to focus on keeping children safe around water

There is a list of basic life skills all parents instinctively know they must teach their children to keep them safe and healthy. It includes habits like looking both ways before crossing the street, washing hands with soap and water and eating the right amount of fruits and vegetables every day.

For too many parents, safety in and around water is not high on the list and that’s something we need to change.

Fatal drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years old. For children under the age of 5, more than 60 drowning deaths per year occurred statewide over the last 5 years. The problem is particularly acute among minority communities. African American children are three times more likely to drown than their white counterparts. The disparity is partly due to the lack of swimming experience among these children.

According to a recent national research study conducted by the USA Swimming Foundation and the University of Memphis, 70 percent of African American and 60 percent of Hispanic children cannot swim, compared to just 40 percent of Caucasian children.

The YMCA of Riverside County is committed to reducing water-related injuries, particularly in communities where children are most at risk. Joining us in the cause is First 5 Riverside, Riverside County Children and Families Commission. First 5 Riverside invests in partnerships that promote, support and enhance the health and early development of Riverside County children, prenatal through age 5, their families and communities.

As part of the program, the Y will provide opportunities to children from low-income and underserved communities to participate in free water safety lessons. The lessons teach young people valuable skills like what to do if they find themselves in the water unexpectedly, a situation every child should be equipped to handle. Two sessions will run this summer at Shamel Park in Riverside from June to July and from August to September.

If you know how to stay safe in and around water, swimming can be a lifelong source of fun and exercise. Instead of keeping your children away from water, help them learn fundamental water safety skills by enrolling them in lessons. These classes can provide them a new, exciting way to keep active and meet new friends.

To learn more about the Y’s Safety Around Water program, please visit!

For more resources about water safety, visit