Parents magazine is turning 85! To celebrate, we're making wishes that will benefit children and families everywhere. Would you help make our wishes come true? Please advocate for one or more of our causes, and add a wish or two of your own. The best present for our 85th year: to have all these hopes and dreams for families come true by the time Parents turns 100!
By Karen Cicero
Our Wish: Babies stay in mama's belly for 40 weeks -- or at least 39! More than 12 percent of them make an early entrance now.
Help Make It Come True: Sign up for the March of Dimes Prematurity Registry
Our Wish: A safe playground is within walking distance of every child's home.
Help Make It Come True: See if KaBoom! is building or modernizing a playground near you with the help of volunteers.
Our Wish: Schools would make changes to the cafeteria to reduce the risk of obesity: out with soda, in with salad bars.
Help Make It Come True: Find out how get a salad-bar grant for your kid's school from Michelle Obama's Let's Move! Campaign; Plus, learn how to get a grant for a school garden.
Our Wish: All children would be covered by health insurance.
Help Make It Come True: Champion high-quality medical care for all kids by signing up for the Children's Health Fund's Share the Care movement.
Our Wish: When you buy a kid a bike, it automatically comes with a helmet.
Help Make It Come True: Volunteer to be a part of Safe Kids USA, teaching other parents about the importance of bike helmets, booster seats, and more.
Our Wish: Children are screened early for autism and other developmental delays when treatments are most effective.
Help Make It Come True: Join Autism Speaks in advocating for the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act of 2011, which provides funding for early intervention.
Our Wish: Families who have mental health problems will no longer feel stigmatized.
Help Make It Come True: Discover the real answers about causes and treatments for children's mental-health disorders through information from the Child Mind Institute.
Our Wish: Every family can afford to buy groceries; in the last year 1 in 4 didn't have enough money for food.
Help Make It Come True: Work to end child hunger by volunteering with the kids at a soup kitchen or a food bank.
Our Wish: Smoking would be banned in public places everywhere in the country.
Help Make It Come True: Join the American Lung Association's Lung Action Network to advocate for policies that help reduce exposure to secondhand smoke.
Our Wish: There will be a vaccine to prevent childhood leukemia and other types of kid cancers.
Help Make It Come True: Help fund pediatric cancer research by hosting a bake sale; Plus, find out about the studies going on at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Our Wish: All countries adopt the United Nation Rights of Children, which protects kids from hunger and maltreatment.
Help Make It Come True: Work with Unicef to promote and protect children's rights around the world.
Our Wish: Moms who don't have paid maternity leave receive it -- plus dads get paid time off too.
Help Make It Come True: Find out how you can work with the National Partnership for Women & Families to lobby for better paid-leave laws.
Our Wish: Families get 8 to 11 hours of shut-eye a night.
Help Make It Come True: Get tips for a better night's rest from the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at Children's Hospital Boston.
Our Wish: The unemployment rate falls so families have an easier time making ends meet.
Help Make It Come True: Find out how to start a small business of your own.
Our Wish: Doctors would find a cure for food allergies so there never has to be a segregated lunchroom again
Help Make It Come True: Find out about the latest food allergy research from the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network.
Our Wish: No kid misses out on preschool because his parents can't afford it.
Help Make It Come True: Champion legislation that would increase access to high-quality early childhood education. The National Association for the Education of Young Children has all the details.
Our Wish: There would be more pediatric specialists so kids won't have to wait so long to get an appointment.
Help Make It Come True: Download a fact sheet from the American Academy of Pediatrics, and support legislation that would help provide loan repayments for pediatric medical and surgical specialists.
Our Wish: More moms are able to breastfeed and get the support and advice they need.
Help Make It Come True: Find breastfeeding resources at Best for Babes.
Our Wish: More food is grown without chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Help Make It Come True: Read the Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce from the Environmental Working Group.
Our Wish: All states mandate that insurers cover fertility treatments.
Help Make It Come True: Advocate for state and federal fertility legislation through Resolve, the National Infertility Association.
Our Wish: The United States would increase how much energy it gets from renewable sources.
Help Make It Come True: Learn about renewable energy options for your home and car.
Our Wish: Every child gets at least one hug every day.
What's your wish for our kids' future? Add yours here.
This article first appeared in Parents magazine.