Here is a quick look at some headlines from this week impacting the lives of kids 0-5 and their families. The purpose of these stories is simply to inform, and they do not necessarily reflect First 5 Kern's areas of support or efforts towards these issues.

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Now for the headlines........

If you want to relieve stress, boost self-discipline, increase physical activity and promote self-motivation in your student, make them spend more time outside, claims a recent study led by the University of Illinois. They say spending time in nature boosts children's academic achievement and healthy development, and published their study in the journal Frontiers in Psychology .

"It's time we take nature seriously as a resource for learning," said lead author, Ming Kuo.

An unrelated study published in the National Academy of Sciences found a dramatic correlation between green space and mental health. The study included over 900,000 people and found "children who grew up with the lowest levels of green space had up to 55% higher risk of developing a psychiatric disorder." This article from U.S. News & World Report goes into some detail on the study.

We love a good children's book list, and you probably do too. That's why we're predicting that this list of 10 children's books to inspire kids during Women's History Month will get more clicks than any other article on this email.

RELATED: The illustrator for the acclaimed book A Computer Called Katherine , which is on the above list, was recently interviewed by NPR and is worth a listen/read. The book is an adaptation of the true story made famous in the movie Hidden Figures . The only question is why this story took five decades to become even moderately known by the general public.

There are many reasons why scientific research on pregnancy and pregnant women's health has been lacking in the past. But slowly, those reasons are fading and as this thorough article explains, pregnancy is finally getting the attention from science that it deserves.

The article asserts that the "assumption has long been... that it's essential to protect pregnant women from research, rather than ensure they benefit from its rapid progress." But policy and scientific opinion appears to be changing, promising to revolutionize the way we understand pregnancy.

A study conducted by Tulane University is touting the use of a cancer imaging tool to screen for preeclampsia . The pregnancy complication is known to cause high blood pressure, even in women who have no history of blood pressure issues.

A study in Sweden found a link to autism and depression with exposure to mom's infections during pregnancy. The population-based study looked at births between 1973 and 2014. The findings suggest an increase risk for babies, and researchers stress the importance of avoiding infections during pregnancy.

Previous research has claimed that smoking is considered one of the risk factors for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and Sudden Unexplained Infant Death. A recent study, however, has accumulated more data to attempt a statistical analysis of the risk. CNN highlighted the study , which was published in the American Journal of Pediatrics.

Approximately 3,500 children die suddenly and unexpectedly in the U.S. each year before their first birthday. The Kern County Public Health website has more information about SIDS and SUID.

First 5 Kern is a member of the Safe Sleep Coalition, a group of county agencies, community members and hospitals, which meets monthly to discuss issues related to Safe Sleep.

The song "Baby Shark" is now being widely used as a teaching tool for CPR classes .

In a movement that appears to trace back to a Central Valley CPR instructor, the song is being used nationwide to teach young kids - and even adults - the rhythm needed to properly administer the life-saving technique. Instructor Chris Pietroforte, who operates his own training facility in Tulare, would bring his 2-year old to classes and tell students if they can't do it better than her, they fail.

Now that's pressure.

It was a busy week for stories on children's issues. Here are some other great reads:

With a little help from President Trump's daughter, Ivanka , it appears that the impending White House budget is expected to call for more spending on child care as well as propose an initiative to address shortages. It reportedly includes $1 billion in funding that would be available for states and the private sector to apply for, to increase supply in under-served communities.

The governor of Ohio is asking for a doubling of spending for their Nurse-Family Partnership program. The Kern County Department of Public Health's Nurse-Family Partnership program is one of the originally funded programs for First 5 Kern, and continues to receive funding to this day.

It was recently announced that the U.S. is one of only three countries that will feature 5-year olds participating in the Program for International Assessment (also known as the PISA). The PISA doesn't usually assess children that young, and as Education Dive explains, reaction to being included has been mixed . The U.S. is typically ranked in the middle range for the study of industrialized nations.

The city of Duluth, Minnesota , is going so far to address the child care needs in their community that they are proposing changes to zoning in business districts and encouraging companies to pool resources to help fund centers.

If you're looking for a good excuse to get kids outside , let them help you plant a garden, says Gardner/Author Robyn Jasko. They can choose what to plant, understand how plants grow healthy, and introduce them to more veggies. Plus, they get to play in the dirt.
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...about First 5 Kern
First 5 Kern was established in 1998 when California voters passed Proposition 10, which levied a 50-cent tax on tobacco products. Revenues generated from the tobacco tax are used to fund local programs in the areas of health and wellness, early childcare and education, and parent education and support services that promote early childhood development for children ages zero to five.

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Special thanks to Vecteezy for assistance on graphics