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Tips of the Week for December, 2016

Healthy New Year’s Resolutions for Children & Teens
12-27-2016

​​The start of the new year is a great time to help your children focus on forming good habits. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) provides the following list of ideas for you to talk to your children about trying, depending on their age. ​

Preschoolers

  • I will try hard to clean up​ my toys by putting them where they belong. 
  • I will let my parents help me  brush my teeth twice a day.
  • I will wash my hands after going to the bathroom and before eating.
  • I will learn how to help clear the table when I am done eating. 
  • I will be friendly to all animals. I will learn how to ask the owners if I can pet their animal first.
  • I will do my best to be nice to other kids who need a friend or look sad or lonely.
  • I will talk with my parent or a trusted adult when I need help or am scared.

Kids, 5 to 12 years old

  • I will drink reduced-fat milk​ and water most days. Soda and fruit drinks are only for special times.
  • I will take care of my skin by putting on sunscreen before I go outdoors on bright, sunny days. I will try to remember to stay in the shade whenever possible and wear a hat and sunglasses, especially when I'm playing sports.
  • I will try to find a sport (like basketball or soccer) or an activity (like playing tag, jumping rope, dancing or riding my bike) that I like and do it at least three times a week!
  • I will always wear a helmet when riding a bike, scooter or skateboard.
  • I will wear my seat belt every time I get in a car. I'll sit in the back seat and use a booster seat until I am tall enough to use a lap/shoulder seat belt.
  • I'll try to be friendly to kids who may have a hard time making friends by asking them to join activities such as sports or games.
  • I will tell an adult about bullying that I see or hear about to do what I can to help keep school safe for everyone. 
  • I will keep my personal info safe and not share my name, home address, school name or telephone number on the Internet. Also, I'll never send a picture of myself to someone I chat with on the computer without asking my parent if it is okay. 
  • I will try to talk with my parent or a trusted adult when I have a problem or feel stressed.
  • I promise that I'll do my best to follow our household rules for videogames and internet use.

Kids, 13 years old and older

  • I will try to eat two servings of fruit and two servings of vegetables every day. I will drink sodas only at special times.
  • I will do my best to take care of my body through fun physical activity and eating the right types and amounts of foods.
  • When I have some down time for media, I will try to choose educational, high-quality nonn-violent TV shows and video games that I enjoy. I will spend only one to two hours each day – at the most – on these activities. I promise to respect out household rules for videogames and internet use.
  • I will do what I can to help out in my community. I will give some of my time to help others, working with community groups or others that help people in need. These activities will make me feel better about myself and my community. 
  • When I feel angry or stressed out, I will take a break and find helpful ways to deal with the stress, such as exercising, reading, writing in a journal or talking about my problem with a parent or friend.
  • When faced with a difficult decision, I will talk about my choices with an adult whom I can trust.
  • When I notice my friends are struggling, being bullied or making risky choices, I will look for a  trusted adultso that we can attempt to find a way to help.
  • I will be careful about whom I choose to date. I will treat the other person with respect and not force them to do something they do not want to do. I will not use violence. I will expect to be treated the same way in return.
  • I will resist peer pressure to try tobacco-cigarettes, drugs, or alcohol. I will also avoid the use of e-cigarettes
  • I agree not to use a cell phone or text message while driving and to always use a seat belt.

Additional Information from HealthyChildren.org: 

 

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Published

12/13/2016 12:00 AM

 

All information provided by HealthyChildren.org.  For additional information, please go to https://www.healthychildren.org/English/news/Pages/Healthy-New-Years-Resolutions-for-Kids.aspx

 

Winter Car Seat Safety Tips from the AAP​
12-19-2016

​Winter is a tricky time for car seats. As a general rule, bulky clothing, including winter coats and snowsuits, should not be worn underneath the harness of a car seat. 

In a car crash, fluffy padding immediately flattens out from the force, leaving extra space under the harness. A child can then slip through the straps and be thrown from the seat.

These tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) will help parents strike that perfect balance between keeping little ones warm as well as safely buckled in their car seats.

How to Keep Your Child Warm and Safe in the Car Seat:

Note: The tips below are appropriate for all ages. In fact, wearing a puffy coat yourself with the seat belt is not a best practice because it adds space between your body and the seat belt.

  • Store the carrier portion of infant seats inside the house when not in use. Keeping the seat at room temperature will reduce the loss of the child's body heat in the car.
  • Get an early start. If you're planning to head out the door with your baby in tow on winter mornings, you need an early start. You have a lot to assemble, and your baby may not be the most cooperative. Plus, driving in wintry conditions will require you to slow down and be extra cautious.
  • Dress your child in thin layers. Start with close-fitting layers on the bottom, like tights, leggings, and long-sleeved bodysuits. Then add pants and a warmer top, like a sweater or thermal-knit shirt. Your child can wear a thin fleece jacket over the top. In very cold weather, long underwear is also a warm and safe layering option. As a general rule of thumb, infants should wear one more layer than adults. If you have a hat and a coat on, your infant will probably need a hat, coat, and blanket.
  • Don't forget hats, mittens, and socks or booties. These help keep kids warm without interfering with car seat straps. If your child is a thumb sucker, consider half-gloves with open fingers or keep an extra pair or two of mittens handy — once they get wet they'll make your child colder rather than warmer.
  • Tighten the straps of the car seat harness. Even if your child looks snuggly bundled up in the car seat, multiple layers may make it difficult to tighten the harness enough. If you can pinch the straps of the car seat harness, then it needs to be tightened to fit snugly against your child's chest. See image right. ​
  • Use a coat or blanket over the straps. You can add a blanket over the top of the harness straps or put your child's winter coat on backwards (over the buckled harness straps) after he or she is buckled up. Some parents prefer products such as poncho-style coats or jackets that zip down the sides so the back can flip forward over the harness. Keep in mind that the top layer should be removable so your baby doesn't get too hot after the car warms up.
  • Use a car seat cover ONLY if it does not have a layer under the baby. Nothing should ever go underneath your child's body or between her body and the harness straps. Be sure to leave baby's face uncovered to avoid trapped air and re-breathing. Many retailers carry car seat bundling products that are not safe to use in a car seat. Just because it's on the shelf at the store does not mean it is safe!
  • Remember, if the item did not come with the car seat, it has not been crash tested and may interfere with the protection provided in a crash. Never use sleeping bag inserts or other stroller accessories in the car seat.
  • Pack an emergency bag for your car. Keep extra blankets, dry clothing, hats and gloves, and non-perishable snacks in your car in case of an on-road emergency or your child gets wet on a winter outing.

These precautions can make sure your child is as safe as can be when traveling to their next well-child visit or over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house.

Additional Information:

​ 

Last Updated

12/14/2015

Source

American Academy of Pediatrics (Copyright © 2015)

The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

 

All information provided by HealthyChildren.org.  For additional information including links and audio, please go to the following website:  https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/on-the-go/Pages/Winter-Car-Seat-Safety-Tips.aspx

 

Holiday Safety & Mental Health Tips
12-13-2016

​​The holidays are an exciting time of year for kids, and to help ensure they have a safe holiday season, here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). 

Trees

  • When purchasing an ar​tificial tree, look for "Fire R​esistant" on the label.
  • When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches and needles do not break when bent between your fingers. The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.
  • When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces, radiators or portable heaters. Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways.
  • Cut a few inches off the trunk of your tree to expose the fresh wood. This allows for better water absorption and will help keep your tree from drying out and becoming a fire hazard.
  • Be sure to keep the stand filled with water, because heated rooms can dry live trees out rapidly. 

Lights

  • Check all tree lights (even if you've just purchased them) before hanging them on your tree. Make sure all the bulbs work and that there are no frayed wires, broken sockets or loose connections.
  • Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be electrocuted.
  • Some light strands may contain lead in the bulb sockets and wire coating, sometimes in high amounts. Make sure your lights are out of reach of young children who might try to put lights in their mouths, and wash your hands after handling them.
  • Before using lights outdoors, check labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use. To hold lights in place, string them through hooks or insulated staples, not nails or tacks. Never pull or tug lights to remove them.
  • Plug all outdoor electric decorations into circuits with ground fault circuit interrupters to avoid potential shocks.
  • Turn off all lights when you go to bed or leave the house. The lights could short out and start a fire.
  • Lights and candles are fire hazards. If you use electric lights, look for frayed or exposed wires, and make sure no wires are pinched by furniture and no cords run under rugs. 
  • Don't use the same extension cord for more than three strands of lights and turn off all lights before going to bed. 
  • Space heaters are involved in 79% of fatal home heating fires. If space heaters are in use, there should be a 3-foot open zone--make sure they are not close to curtains, blankets or potentially flammable materials. Always turn off and unplug when unattended. 

Decorations

  • Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials to trim a tree. Choose tinsel or artificial icicles of plastic or nonleaded metals.
  • Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens. Always use non-flammable holders, and place candles where they will not be knocked over.
  • In homes with small children, take special care to avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable. Keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children to prevent them from swallowing or inhaling small pieces. Avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food that may tempt a young child to eat them.
  • Wear gloves to avoid eye and skin irritation while decorating with spun glass "angel hair." Follow container directions carefully to avoid lung irritation while decorating with artificial snow sprays.
  • Remove all wrapping papers, bags, paper, ribbons and bows from tree and fireplace areas after gifts are opened. These items can pose suffocation and choking hazards to a small child or can cause a fire if near flame. 
  • Keep potentially poisonous holiday plant decorations, including mistletoe berries, Jerusalem cherry, and holly berry, away from children.

Toy Safety

  • Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills and interest level of the intended child. Toys too advanced may pose safety hazards for younger children.
  • Before buying a toy or allowing your child to play with a toy that he has received as a gift, read the instructions carefully.
  • To prevent both burn​s and electrical shocks, don’t give young children (under age 10) a toy that must be plugged into an electrical outlet. Instead, buy toys that are battery-operated.
  • Young children can choke on small parts contained in toys or games. Government regulations specify that toys for children under age three cannot have parts less than 1 1/4 inches in diameter and 2 1/4 inches long.
  • Children can have serious stomach and intestinal problems -- including death -- after swallowing button batteries or magnets. In addition to toys, button batteries are often found in musical greeting cards, remote controls, hearing aids and other small electronics. Small, powerful magnets are present in many homes as part of building toy sets. Keep button batteries and magnets away from young children and call your health care provider immediately if your child swallows one.
  • Children can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons; do not allow children under age 8 to play with them.
  • Remove tags, strings, and ribbons from toys before giving them to young children.
  • Watch for pull toys with strings that are more than 12 inches in length. They could be a strangulation hazard for babies.
  • Parents should store toys in a designated location, such as on a shelf or in a toy chest, and keep older kids’ toys away from young children.

Food Safety

  • Bacteria are often present in raw foods. Fully cook meats and poultry, and thoroughly wash raw vegetables and fruits.
  • Keep hot liquids and food away from the edges of counters and tables, where they can be easily knocked over by a young child’s exploring hands. Be sure that young children cannot access microwave ovens.
  • Wash your hands frequently, and make sure your children do the same.
  • Never put a spoon used to taste food back into food without washing it.
  • Always keep raw foods and cooked foods separately, and use separate utensils when preparing them.
  • Always thaw meat in the refrigerator, never on the countertop.
  • Foods that require refrigeration should never be left at room temperature for more than two hours.                          

Happy Visiting

  • Clean up immediately after a holiday party. A toddler could rise early and choke on leftover food or come in contact with alcohol or tobacco.
  • Remember that the homes you visit may not be childproofed. Keep an eye out for danger spots like unlocked cabinets, unattended purses, accessible cleaning or laundry products, stairways, or hot radiators.
  • Keep a list with all of the important phone numbers you or a baby-sitter are likely to need in case of an emergency. Include the police and fire department, your pediatrician and the national Poison Help Line, 1-800-222-1222. Laminating the list will prevent it from being torn or damaged by accidental spills.
  • Always make sure your child rides in an appropriate car seat, booster seat, or seat belt. In cold weather, children in car seats should wear thin layers with a blanket over the top of the harness straps if needed, not a thick coat or snowsuit. Adults should buckle up too, and drivers should never be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. See Winter Car Seat Safety Tips from the AAP for more information. 
  • Traveling, visiting family members, getting presents, shopping, etc., can all increase your child's stress levels. Trying to stick to your child's usual routines, including sleep schedules and timing of naps, can help you and your child enjoy the holidays and reduce stress.

Fireplaces

  • Before lighting any fire, remove all greens, boughs, papers, and other decorations from fireplace area. Check to see that the flue is open.
  • Use care with "fire salts," which produce colored flames when thrown on wood fires. They contain heavy metals that can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting if eaten. Keep them away from children.
  • Do not burn gift wrap paper in the fireplace. A flash fire may result as wrappings ignite suddenly and burn intensely.
  • If a glass-fronted gas fireplace is used, keep children and others well away from it with a screen or gate. The glass doors can get hot enough to cause serious burns and stay hot long after the fire is out.

Holiday Mental Health Tips

  • Try to keep household routines the same. Stick to your child's usual sleep and mealtime schedules when you can, which may reduce stress and help your family enjoy the holidays. 
  • Take care of y​ourself both mentally and physically. Children and adolescents are affected by the emotional well-being of their parent or caregivers. Coping with stress successfully can help children learn how to handle stress better, too.
  • Make a plan to focus on one thing at a time. Try a few ideas to balance the hustle and bustle of things like shopping, cooking, and family get-togethers during the holidays: Stop and pay attention to what is happening at the moment, focus your attention on one thing about it ,and notice how you are feeling at the time. Withhold immediate judgment, and instead be curious about the experience.
  • Give to others by making it an annual holiday tradition to share your time and talents with people who have less than you do. For example, if your child is old enough, encourage him or her to join you in volunteering to serve a holiday meal at your local food bank or shelter or sing at a local nursing home. Help your child write a letter to members of the armed forces stationed abroad who can't be home with their own family during the holidays.
  • Remember that many children and adults experience a sense of loss, sadness or isolation during the holidays. It is important to be sensitive to these feelings and ask for help for you, your children, family members or friends if needed.
  • Kids still need to brush their teeth twice a day!
  • Don't feel pressured to "over-spend on gifts." Consider making one or two gifts. Help your child make a gift for his or her other parent, grandparents, or other important adults and friends. Chances are, those gifts will be the most treasured ones and will teach your child many important lessons.
  • Most important of all, enjoy the holidays for what they are -- time to enjoy with your family. So, be a family, do things together like sledding or playing board games, and spend time visiting with relatives, neighbors, and friends.

Published

11/15/2016 12:00 AM

 

All information provided by HealthyChildren.org.  For additional information including links and audio, please go to the following website:  https://www.healthychildren.org/English/news/Pages/Holiday-Safety-Tips.aspx

 

 

Tear-Free Vaccination Tips
12-05-2016

Many children and parents associate a trip to the pediatrician with shots. There are actually a couple of vaccines that we don't give as an injection, specifically the oral rotavirus vaccine. It would be great if we could give them all by mouth, but vaccines contain proteins and complex sugars that are digested quickly in the stomach, so the only way to get most of them into contact with the immune system is to inject them into the skin or muscle.

Combination Vaccines

The good news is that pediatricians have gotten better at minimizing or even eliminating the pain of vaccination. For one thing, we can often administer multiple vaccines in a single injection.

Thanks to combination vaccines, the greatest number of injections many children receive at any given wellness examination is 3. We usually give these vaccines in the thighs during the first few years of life and in the shoulder muscles after that. When staff are available, they can use both legs at the same time to minimize the duration of discomfort. Because what pain there is tends to be experienced as a single event, it is discouraged for parents to spread vaccines out over multiple visits. There is no medical reason to do so, and it tends to prolong the discomfort for everyone.

Pain-Control Techniques

A number of pain control techniques are currently available and can make shots much less stressful. For toddlers and school-aged children, the combination of distraction techniques, like blowing bubbles or playing games and numbing creams or sprays can be very effective for all shots and needle procedures.

Numbing agents include:

  • A cooling spray which can be applied just before shots are given so there is no poking sensation.
  • Topical anesthetic creams that can also be applied ahead of time to make the skin numb when the shot is given.
  • A plastic plate covered with small points and a buzzing sensation that blocks pain signals.

For babies who are nursing, breastfeeding during a vaccination can provide significant pain relief.  Sucking on a pacifier can also be comforting.

Even without using any of these techniques, most babies calm down very quickly after their shots with being held. The calm in your voice and the firm reassurance of your embrace tell your baby that everything is fine. Remember, the shots may hurt for a moment, but the protection they're giving your baby is good for a lifetime.

Adverse Reactions

By far the most common adverse reactions following vaccination are fever and fussiness, and sometimes there may be a little redness or swelling at the injection site. Many parents ask if they should give acetaminophen (eg, Tylenol, PediaCare Fever Reducer) or ibuprofen (eg, Motrin, Advil) prior to the vaccine visit. In the past we have encouraged using these medications to reduce any discomfort or potential fever from vaccines. Some newer studies have questioned whether giving acetaminophen might make the vaccines slightly less effective, so some pediatricians are no longer recommending it.

Any medication or vaccine has the potential to cause an allergic reaction, sometimes a severe one. Rates of severe allergic reactions with vaccines run in the 1 per million range, making them quite rare.

When to Call the Doctor

No symptoms after receiving vaccines should be dramatic. If your child has a temperature above 102°F or a fever that lasts more than a few days, or if she is unusually fussy, you should still consult her doctor and not just assume her symptoms are from vaccines.

If you notice your child getting hives, wheezing, or seeming unusually ill shortly after she gets vaccines, alert office staff if you're still there or call emergency medical services (911) if you're not.

Additional Information from HealthyChildren.org:

Author

David L. Hill, MD, FAAP

Last Updated

11/28/2016

Source

Adapted from Dad to Dad: Parenting Like a Pro (Copyright © American Academy of Pediatrics 2012)

The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

 

All information provided by HealthyChildren.org.  For additional information including links and audio, please go to the following web address:  https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/immunizations/Pages/Tear-Free-Vaccination-Tips.aspx

 

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