Health & Nutrition, Parent Support & Resources

Get Ready: Ask Your Child’s Doctor

Ask Your Child’s Doctor if They Will Offer the COVID Vaccine for Children Ages 6 Months to 4 Years

Ask your child’s regular doctor TODAY if they will offer COVID vaccine, when available.

Regular visits to the doctor help keep your child healthy and identify any health issues early on.
Your child’s doctor can vaccinate them for COVID and make sure they are up to date on other vaccinations.

If your child does not have a regular doctor, call (866) 967-4677 for assistance enrolling in government programs or health coverage, or visit:

770 South Bascom Ave
San Jose, CA 95128
Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Visit sccFreeVax.org for more information.
Call 711 for Hearing and Speech Relay Service.

Health & Nutrition

Meals for Kids

Free Summer Meals For All Kids 18 and Under!

All kids in San Mateo County and Santa Clara County can eat healthy meals during the summer of 2022! There is no documentation or registration required.

Enter your address, city, or zip code to find a summer meal provider near you.

Health & Nutrition

Infant Formula

Families across the nation are feeling the impact of the infant formula shortage. The purpose of this site is to provide the latest information about the shortage and connect California families in need of formula to helpful resources. 

Parents and caregivers who have a hard time finding formula should:

  • Call their healthcare provider to see if they have in-office samples or can suggest a similar formula.
  • NOT dilute formula, NOT make homemade formula, and NOT provide toddler formula.
  • Reach out to their local WIC office if they are current WIC participants or are eligible for WIC.
  • Try another brand of formula, if available. Babies usually tolerate alternative products except in the case of special therapeutic formula. For babies on therapeutic formula, consult with a healthcare provider first to get help or to discuss alternatives.

How can I support families impacted by the shortage?

Successful support and communications around the infant formula shortages should affirm parent’s concern about formula shortages and necessitate an approach that is individualized, respectful, and sensitive to the needs of both non-breastfeeding and partially breastfeeding families.

Health & Nutrition

Infant Formula Shortage

The recent recall of certain 2022 Abbott powdered formulas, along with the impacts of the ongoing pandemic, has led to periodic shortages of major brands of infant formula. The infant formula supply chain problems have affected all consumers, including California families receiving formula through the Women Infants and Child (WIC) program. 

The Community Care Licensing Division, Child Care Program would like to expand awareness regarding the shortage and provide the following resources to help safely navigate the situation. Please visit the following links from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) websites and share this information with other providers, families, and with anyone you think may benefit from this information: 

Parents or caregivers, who are having difficulty obtaining infant formula for their child at home, should reach out to their child’s pediatrician about safe and appropriate feeding alternatives. 

To learn more about what measures are being taken to address the shortage please visit: 

For any additional inquiries about this email please refer to your local regional office.  

Health & Nutrition, Parent Support & Resources

FDA to approve COVID-19 vaccine for kids under 6

Moderna is seeking to be the first to offer COVID-19 vaccine for the youngest American children, as it asked the Food and Drug Administration Thursday to clear low-dose shots for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.

Frustrated families are waiting impatiently for a chance to protect the nation’s littlest kids as all around them people shed masks and other public health precautions — even though highly contagious coronavirus mutants continue to spread. Already about three-quarters of children of all ages show signs they’ve been infected at some point during the pandemic.

Moderna submitted data to the Food and Drug Administration that it hopes will prove two low-dose shots can protect children younger than 6 — although the effectiveness wasn’t nearly as high in kids tested during the omicron surge as earlier in the pandemic.

“There is an important unmet medical need here with these youngest kids,” Dr. Paul Burton, Moderna’s chief medical officer, told The Associated Press. Two kid-size shots “will safely protect them. I think it is likely that over time they will need additional doses. But we’re working on that.”

Moderna submitted data to the Food and Drug Administration that it hopes will prove two low-dose shots can protect children younger than 6 — although the effectiveness wasn’t nearly as high in kids tested during the omicron surge as earlier in the pandemic.
“There is an important unmet medical need here with these youngest kids,” Dr. Paul Burton, Moderna’s chief medical officer, told The Associated Press. Two kid-size shots “will safely protect them. I think it is likely that over time they will need additional doses. But we’re working on that.”

Moderna’s vaccine isn’t the only one in the race. Pfizer is soon expected to announce if three of its even smaller-dose shots work for the littlest kids, months after the disappointing discovery that two doses weren’t quite strong enough.

Whether it’s one company’s shots or both, FDA vaccine chief Dr. Peter Marks said the agency will “move quickly without sacrificing our standards” in deciding if tot-sized doses are safe and effective.

While questions are swirling about what’s taking so long, Marks pointedly told lawmakers earlier this week that the FDA can’t evaluate a product until a manufacturer completes its application. In a statement Thursday, the FDA said it will schedule a meeting to publicly debate Moderna’s evidence with its independent scientific advisers but that the company still must submit some additional data. Moderna expects to do so next week.

“It’s critically important that we have the proper evaluation so that parents will have trust in any vaccines that we authorize,” Marks told a Senate committee.

If FDA clears vaccinations for the littlest, next the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would have to recommend who needs them — all tots or just those at higher risk from COVID-19.

“It’s very important to get the youngest children vaccinated” but “moving quickly doesn’t mean moving sloppily,” said Dr. Philip Landrigan, a pediatrician and public health expert at Boston College. FDA must “see if it’s safe. They need to see if it’s effective. And they need to do so swiftly. But they won’t cut corners.”

Many parents are desperate for whichever vaccine gets to the scientific finish line first.

“We’ve been kind of left behind as everybody else moves on,” said Meagan Dunphy-Daly, a Duke University marine biologist whose 6-year-old daughter is vaccinated — but whose 3-year-old and 18-month-old sons are part of Pfizer’s trial.

RELATED: Dr. Fauci says the ‘US is out of the pandemic phase’

The family continues to mask and take other precautions until it’s clear if the boys got real vaccine or dummy shots. If it turns out they weren’t protected in the Pfizer study and Moderna’s shots are cleared first, Dunphy-Daly said she’d seek them for her sons.

“I will feel such a sense of relief when I know my boys are vaccinated and that the risk of them getting a serious infection is so low,” she said.

Read more at KTVU

Health & Nutrition

Oral Health For Any Age

Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease found in young children. In Santa Clara County, roughly half of low-income children have a history of cavities before entering Kindergarten. Oral health disease can impact children’s growth, speech, development, school readiness, and overall quality of life. To support children’s oral health, FIRST 5 invests in programs that support prevention, early identification, and treatment of tooth decay.

FIRST 5 partners with The Healthier Kids Foundation to provide oral health education and connect families to dental insurance and dental clinics.

SmileFirst Oral Education provides interactive and informative presentations to all ages about oral health, dental hygiene, and preventing tooth decay in young children as well as the whole family. The program offers free 30-minute informative workshops for parents and caregivers available in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese via Zoom. For more information about SmileFirst or if you’re interested in attending an oral health workshop, please email DentalEducation@hkidsf.org, or call 408.600.3588.

The DentalFirst program screens children 6 months to 18 years old for undetected dental issues and assists them with accessing follow-up dental care utilizing licensed dentists. For more information on DentalFirst, please contact DentalFirst@hkidsf.org, or call 408.564.5114 x231.

Prevention & Guidance Tips

Research shows that nearly 30% of children ages 2-5 have dental disease in the United States. By the time children are 5 or 6, a whopping 51% enter school with tooth decay.

Following these steps will help prevent tooth decay. Make sure your child has the best oral health for years to come!

PRENATAL TIPS FOR MOM

  • Visit a dentist every 6 months
  • Brush for 2 minutes, 2X a day with fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss daily
  • Choose low-sugar foods
  • Chew gum with xylitol 2-3 times per day.

BEFORE YOUR BABY HAS TEETH

  • Clean gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth after each feeding
  • Use unfluoridated toothpaste for children under 2 years old (use a “rice grain-sized” amount of toothpaste)
  • Visit a dentist once the first tooth appears and then every 6 months after that

AS SOON AS YOUR CHILD’S TEETH APPEAR

  • Brush for 2 minutes, 2X a day with fluoride toothpaste (use a “pea-size” amount of toothpaste)
  • Floss daily between your child’s teeth
  • Visit the dentist regularly for routine checkups and fluoride varnish treatments.

If your child has health coverage through Medi-Cal or a Covered California health plan, they also have dental coverage and can go to the dentist for regular checkups and care.

  • COVERED CALIFORNIA: Contact your health plan to find a dentist or to learn more about your dental care options. For more information, visit www.coveredca.com or call (800) 300-1506.
  • MEDI-CAL: To find a dentist that accepts Medi-Cal, call (800) 322-6384, or look online at dental.dhcs.ca.gov.

Early Development & Well Being, Health & Nutrition

Happy, Healthy Toddlers

Develop healthy habits from the start! Here are a few ways to support your happy, healthy toddler.

  • Give your child water and plain milk instead of sugary drinks. After the first year, when your nursing toddler is eating more and different solid foods, breast milk is still an ideal addition to his diet.
  • Your toddler might become a very picky and erratic eater. Toddlers need less food because they don’t grow as fast. It’s best not to battle with him over this. Offer a selection of healthy foods and let him choose what she wants. Keep trying new foods; it might take time for him to learn to like them.
  • Limit screen time. For children younger than 18 months of age, the AAP recommends that it’s best if toddlers not use any screen media other than video chatting.
  • Your toddler will seem to be moving continually—running, kicking, climbing, or jumping. Let him be active—he’s developing his coordination and becoming strong.
  • Make sure your child gets the recommended amount of sleep each night: For toddlers, that’s 11–14 hours per 24 day including naps.

Source: CDC

Please note, use of this material does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government, Department of Health and Human Services, or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  of FIRST 5. This content is otherwise available on the agency website for no charge.

Health & Nutrition, Parent Support & Resources

Breastfeeding – How Much and How Often

Every baby is different. How much and how often your baby feeds will depend on your baby’s needs. Here are a few things to know about how much and how often babies breastfeed during the first days, weeks, and months of life.

First Days

If you have questions about your baby’s growth or how much breast milk he or she is getting, talk with your child’s doctor or nurse.

  • Your newborn baby’s belly is tiny. He or she does not need a lot of milk with each feeding to be full.
  • Your baby may want to eat as often as every 1 to 3 hours. Frequent feeding helps increase your milk supply and gives your baby practice at sucking and swallowing.
  • You may be able to hear your baby sucking and swallowing the breast milk.
  • Most babies who are getting breast milk should not be fed infant formula in the first few days. If you are concerned about meeting your baby’s needs, talk to a lactation consultant, or your baby’s nurse or doctor, right away.

First Weeks and Months

  • As your baby grows, his or her belly also grows. Your baby will gradually be able to drink more breast milk at each feeding.
  • Over the first few weeks and months, the time between feedings will start to get longer— on average about every 2 to 4 hours for most exclusively breastfed babies. Some babies may feed as often as every hour at times, often called cluster feeding, or may have a longer sleep interval of 4 to 5 hours.
  • How often your baby feeds might change depending on the time of day. Some feeding sessions may be long, and others short. That is okay. Babies will generally take what they need at each feeding and stop eating when they are full. They should seem content and drowsy after feeding when they have had enough milk.
  • Your baby will breastfeed about 8 to 12 times in 24 hours.

6 to 12 Months

  • Breastfed babies’ feeding patterns (how often and how long they feed) vary and will likely change as they grow and start eating more solid foods.
  • Continue to follow your baby’s cues and breastfeed when you notice signs of hunger.
  • If your baby seems to be less interested in breastfeeding after you introduce solids, try breastfeeding first before you offer solids.
  • Your breast milk is the most important source of nutrition, even after you start feeding your baby solids.

12  to 24 Months

  • The number of times a day a toddler breastfeeds varies. Some want to breastfeed only before bed or in the morning, while others continue to drink breast milk as a bigger portion of their daily diet. Continue to follow your child’s cues to decide when he or she is hungry and wants to breastfeed.

Source: CDC

Please note, use of this material does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government, Department of Health and Human Services, or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  of FIRST 5. This content is otherwise available on the agency website for no charge.

Health & Nutrition

Healthy Eating

Healthy eating in childhood and adolescence is important for proper growth and development and to prevent various health conditions. 

To help children develop healthy eating habits:

  • Provide plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain products
  • Include low-fat or non-fat milk or dairy products, including cheese and yogurt
  • Choose lean meats, poultry, fish, lentils, and beans for protein
  • Encourage your family to drink lots of water while limiting sugary drinks
  • Limit consumption of sugar, saturated fats, and sodium

Additionally, remember that you as a parent serve as a role model for your child. Eating a healthy diet sets a good example for your children!

Benefits of Healthy Eating

Healthy eating can help individuals achieve and maintain healthy body weight, consume important nutrients, and reduce the risk of developing health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and iron deficiency.

Furthermore, healthy eating can improve academic performance. In particular, eating a healthy breakfast is associated with improved cognitive function and improved mood.

What Foods Should I Introduce to My Child First?

When children are around 6 months old, you can start introducing them to food and drinks other than breast milk and infant formula. For most children, you don’t need to introduce foods in a specific order; however, always consult your doctor if you have any concerns. 

By the time your child is 7 or 8 months old, he or she can eat a variety of foods from different food groups. Your child needs a variety of vitamins and minerals to get healthy and strong

Try making a rainbow of different colored foods on your child’s plate.

  • Fruits: bananas, strawberries, pears, oranges, melons, or avocados
  • Vegetables: cooked spinach, carrots, peas, sweet potatoes, or beets
  • Whole Grains: whole grain bread, crackers, or pasta
  • Meats: soft, small pieces of beef, lamb, chicken, fish, or turkey
  • Dairy: yogurts or cheeses (pasteurized only)

Foods to avoid if your child is under 12 months of age

  • Honey
  • Unpasteurized drinks or foods
  • Fortified cow’s milk
  • Fruit juice and other sugary drinks

Source: CDC

Please note, use of this material does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government, Department of Health and Human Services, or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  of FIRST 5. This content is otherwise available on the agency website for no charge.