Getting ready for back to school by updating immunization records

As a parent, keeping your children safe and healthy is your number one priority. With the beginning of school less than a month away, it’s important to start planning now to ensure your children are up-to-date with their immunizations and that you’ve reported any updates to the Health Department. Immunization can ensure our children and community are protected from the threat of preventable diseases and Halton Region is doing its part to help families stay safe and healthy.

While the majority of families in Halton immunize their children to protect their health, many are unaware of the legal requirement to notify the Halton Region Health Department about any required immunizations or exemptions their children have, especially those the province requires for school attendance.

ImmunizationRecordsIn order to enforce the provincial Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA), the Health Department needs your help. Please take a moment this summer to ensure that your family’s immunizations are up-to-date and report any immunizations to the Region. If your child is unable to get immunized, you must have a notarized exemption on file with the Health Department in order to meet school attendance requirements.

Since immunization reporting is so important to not only the health of our children, but also needed to attend school, Halton has recently been making it easier for parents to report and request immunization records. You can now report immunizations either online, in person or by dialing 311. If you’re unsure what immunizations the Health Department has on file, we recently launched an online immunization records request form to give you a more convenient way to request a copy of the immunization records we have on file.

As we continue to enforce ISPA, the Halton Health Department periodically sends out letters to students in certain age groups who have outdated immunization records. In May, we sent out letters to families with students born in 1999 and 2000. If you received one of these letters, you can sign up for one of Halton’s special summer clinics to help your family catch up with mandatory immunizations.

Working together, we can protect ourselves, our children and our community from vaccine preventable diseases. Thank you for helping us keep Halton a great and healthy place to live, work, go to school, raise a family and retire.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report”.

Have a safe and healthy Halloween in Halton

Halloween is always a fun and exciting time of year for children and parents across the region. Before you turn your pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, transform your home into a haunted house and help your little ghosts and goblins get into their costumes, be sure to take a moment to talk about safety with your children.

Parents can take some simple steps to help their children stay safe and enjoy trick-or-treating this Halloween:

  • Practice road safety. If you are driving, slow down and pay attention. Children will be distracted, so please take extra caution.
  • Remember to take flashlights or have your children carry glow sticks so they are easy to see.
  • Remind your children to be careful when crossing the street by showing them how to look both ways and cross only when no cars are coming.

You can visit the Government of Canada’s website for additional Halloween safety tips for the whole family.

Halton Region has been recognized as a leader for its commitment to community safety. From protecting the safety of our roads, water and air to providing children’s services and services for seniors to offering a wide range of public health programs and services to protect the safety and health of our residents every day, we keep raising the bar for our residents. Additionally, our Halton Regional Police Service is a trailblazer in protecting our community and has a remarkable record that is unsurpassed by most police forces across the country. Working together, we can continue to make Halton one of the safest communities in Canada.

On the days leading up to October 31, I hope that you will spend time together as a family and enjoy some fun activities. Stay safe and have a great Halloween!

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter,”The Carr Report.”

Excellent programs and supports available for Halton’s parents

Raising a family can be a full-time job for many parents. Many of us strive to create a balance between home and family, work, friends, health and hopefully some community service. With so many competing interests, it’s comforting to know that Halton Region offers parents some excellent programs and supports.

Local parents can connect directly with a member of the Halton Region public health nursing team through our ever-growing HaltonParents online Twitter and Facebook communities or by dialing 311. For busy parents in search of timely information, the Region’s nurses also offer quality health information in their HaltonParents blog and provide a wealth of excellent online resources at halton.ca/haltonparents.

Whether you are transitioning to parenthood or working to improve your relationship with your teenager, the Region’s website offers parenting information for every age and stage, including topics such as pregnancy, growth, development, child safety and breastfeeding support.

At Halton Region, we want to ensure that your little ones get the best possible start to help build the foundation for a lifetime of good health. As a designated Baby-Friendly health unit, the Halton Region Health Department protects, promotes and supports breastfeeding in the community. In fact, we offer residents several great programs, classes and workshops focused on prenatal and early childhood development, including Healthy Babies, Healthy Children, the Halton Prenatal Nutrition Program and Halton Breastfeeding Connection.

Whether you are just thinking about having kids or your exciting journey has already begun, Halton Region and our public health nursing team is with you every step of the way. A complete list of our parenting programs, workshops and seminars is available on the Halton Region website.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter,”The Carr Report.”

 

Family Day Activities

Family Day is a great opportunity to get outside, spend time together and enjoy the many opportunities we have in Halton to be active. The cold weather and mountains of snow we have this year can make it even more fun to go skiing, skating, or enjoy the scenery at one of our many parks or conservations areas. All you need is to make a few preparations first to ensure you’re ready for the day:

Winter Tips

  • Be sure to check the forecast and dress for the weather.
  • Wear layers of clothing and cover as much skin as possible.
  • Don’t forget sunglasses and sunscreen on sunny days.

Many of our healthy living community partners like Conservation Halton and Bronte Creek Provincial Park have Family Day Activities planned. Also, check out your local recreation department in Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville for activities. Finally, have a look at our Family Fun in Halton brochure for ideas of ways to stay active during any season.

Enjoy our beautiful region and your Family Day!

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhaltonLinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Celebrating Clean Air Day with Ka-Pow to Powerjams

Protecting public health, emergency preparedness, environmental health and air quality are all Citizens’ Priorities in Halton Region’s 2011-2014 Action Plan.

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On June 5, Halton Region celebrated Canadian Environment Week (June 2 – June 8, 2013) and Clean Air Day (June 5) at Milton Public Library with the first public reading of Ka-Pow to Powerjams, a picture book for children aged four to eight.

The launch at Milton Public Library was attended by more than 50 young students and featured a book reading, a visit from some special guests from the Mountsberg Raptor Centre, a presentation on asthma triggers and an emergency preparedness display.

Ka-Pow to Powerjams is the third and final book in a three-book series about the implications of air quality and climate change on human health. It builds on the themes presented in A Farewell to Featherwagons and Wings and Thingamajigs, completing the Owls for Climate Change series by exploring emergency preparedness themes and the linkages between climate change, severe weather and energy conservation.

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Over the next few months, copies of the book will be provided to public libraries in Halton as well as child care centres, schools, community networks and partners. A complementary Storytelling Kit is available online.

As this story illustrates, simple actions can have an impact in making our community healthy, energy smart and disaster resilient. This week, why not walk or bike to your local library and borrow a copy of the book to share with your children or grandchildren. Related to emergency preparedness, consider assembling or purchasing a 72 hour Go-Kit to use during an evacuation of your home or community.

Visit www.halton.ca/owlbooks to read all three books online.  Books one and two are available in English, French, Cantonese, Polish, Punjabi and Spanish; translations of book three will be available online this summer.

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Get out and have family fun in Halton over March Break

March Break is almost here and if you are staying in Halton, there are so many things for you and your family to do. The HaltonParents team of public health nurses have been tweeting their growing number of followers about local activities for March Break, and reminding parents and caregivers to get out and be active with your kids. It’s not only great for your health, but it’s also great for building stronger connections with your children, no matter if they are 6 or 16.

Of course, as a former hockey player, skating was one of my favourite activities to do with my kids, but I used to love any times I spent with them when they had breaks from school. Here are some thoughts for what you can see and do in Halton this week:HRCA Crawford Lake

Of course, these are just a handful of ideas for you and your family. I encourage you to find out more about what is available just outside your front door. You can even check out the HaltonParents blog for more ideas about what to do with your kids during the winter. Enjoy the week.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at  gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

2013 Budget and Business Plan (video)

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”