Moms do everything they can to protect their children – from packing healthy lunches to making doctor’s appointments to tucking them in at night – but one of the most important jobs a mom has is keeping her children healthy. Moms have been taking charge of their health and the health of their families for generations, but as school starts and schedules get busier, sometimes important health checks, including keeping you and your children up to date on their immunizations, can slip through the cracks.
Several vaccine-preventable diseases have made a comeback the last few years. In fact, the U.S. is experiencing the largest number of measles cases since 19961. Additionally, children and adults are being diagnosed with pertussis — otherwise known as whooping cough — at alarming rates throughout the country2. As a parent, ensuring immunizations for all family members are up to date is one of the best things you can do to help protect your family from vaccine-preventable diseases3.
In my family, health has always been discussed regularly. My father was one of the first children to receive the polio vaccination and many call him a “polio pioneer.” Looking back on my childhood, I remember that my father always emphasized the importance of preventive health. Then, when I met my husband, I found out that his family had been directly affected by polio – both his aunt and uncle were stricken as children. In his 80s now, Uncle Maurice was severely impacted and used hand-crutches for most of his life; he currently uses a wheelchair.
Considering this firsthand personal experience with a vaccine-preventable disease and the stories passed down from generations, my family and I decided to make vaccination a priority. I believe it’s a parent’s role to do everything in their power to help protect their children. This was especially important for my husband and me when my son, Aidan, now six years old and healthy, was born prematurely.