"Connected Kids: Safe Strong Secure" -- A New Health Information Program for Pediatricians, Parents and Kids

by Robert D. Sege, MD, PhD
Chief, General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine Division,
Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts-New England Medical Center

Growing independence tips for parents of your childrenChildren begin life with an enormous capacity to learn - indeed, childhood includes two phases of rapid brain growth - during the first three years of life and again during adolescence. It is not surprising that during these stages of rapid change, parenting can be a particular challenge.

Connected Kids: Safe Strong Secure is a new health education program that helps pediatricians provide both parents and children needed information in a society where the major threats to child health are violence, mental health issues, and drug abuse.

The program includes a Clinical Guide for pediatricians, 21 parent/patient information brochures, and supporting training materials. Each suggested counseling topic includes information about the child's development, the parent's feelings and reactions in response to the child's development and behavior, and specific practical suggestions to help families connect to existing community resources and raise resilient children.

Connected Kids offers practical advice and insight for parents, including:

Connected Kids was recently launched by the American Academy of Pediatrics and is being distributed to pediatricians nationwide. Over 100 experts contributed to the development of the program, and there was also extensive input from parents and providers through surveys, focus groups, and field tests.

Connected Kids also followed its own recommendations in the development of program materials. Because one of the best ways to help young people find their way is to offer them opportunities to contribute to society, Connected Kids sought to involve local young people in the production of its brochures. Boston area teenagers who worked for Artists for Humanity, a non-profit arts and entrepreneurship program, won the contract to develop all of the graphic arts and layout incorporated in Connected Kids. Their talent and energy provide a fresh look rarely seen in materials provided through the health care setting.

Through its positive approach and extensive community input, Connected Kids: Safe Strong Secure offers a 21st century approach to the age-old alliance between children's doctors, their parents and the community.

About the Floating Hospital for Children and Tufts-New England Medical Center:
Tufts-New England Medical Center is a world-class academic medical institution that is home to both a full-service hospital for adults and the Floating Hospital for Children. It has long been recognized as a leader in cancer care, cardiology, organ transplantation, neurosciences and pediatrics. Founded in 1796 as the Boston Dispensary to care for sick and needy Bostonians, Tufts-NEMC is the oldest health care facility in New England. The Medical Center is the principal teaching hospital for Tufts University School of Medicine. The Floating Hospital for Children, Tufts-NEMC's full-service children's hospital, began as a hospital ship more than a century ago. The 128-bed Floating Hospital provides comprehensive inpatient and outpatient services in every area of medical specialization. Floating Hospital for Children clinicians were the primary developers of Connected Kids: Safe Strong Secure. For more information on Tufts-NEMC access our web site, https://www.tuftsmedicalcenter.org/. Connected Kids: Safe Strong Secure is now available from the AAP. For more information, visit https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/Pages/Connected-Kids.aspx.


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