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Daily Dose

National Safety Month

1:30 to read

June is National Safety Month…just in time for summer! It is a good reminder for all of us to try and prevent any injuries in our children. I do know from my own pediatric office that we see more injuries during the summer months. Whether it is from falls, bike accidents, pool incidents, household poisonings or burns, our phones stay busy.

 

So..this is the perfect time to re-think child proofing your home. Make sure that stairs are gated, both top and bottom. Cabinets need to have child proof latches to protect children from getting into breakable or sharp objects as well as medicines or household products that may be poisonous.  Put the number for Poison Control in your phone….1-800-222-1222. I am often surprised that a parent calls our office about a child who has “gotten into “ a possible poison…the first call should be to Poison Control. Keep the number posted in the house as well so a babysitter may also have it if necessary.

 

Learning to ride a bike a is “life skill” for sure….but that also includes learning to wear your helmet. I see most young children in our neighborhood who are still under the eye of a parent with a bike helmet, but once they are older I often see kids without helmets. Just saw a neighbor’s child ride down the street this evening..no helmet!!  Bike helmets are like a seat belt…not optional. Many “tween” boys will “debate” with me during their check ups about the need for a helmet,  as they tell me “ I am a great bike rider and don’t have wrecks”. Teach your children what the word ACCIDENT means and that just like a car…you never know what “the other guy may do”.  Accidents are NEVER planned and a bike helmet protects the head and brain. We can “fix” the broken arm or stitch a leg…but cannot “fix” a brain injury.

 

Texting and driving is unsafe and may even be illegal in your state. Texas just passed a law prohibiting texting and driving….but teens (and adults)  need to be reminded on a regular basis that texting is not allowed!!  Texting while driving is a leading cause of accidents and I just saw a mother who is pregnant, and was in the office with her 1 year old…she had just been involved in accident that totaled her car.  She was hit from behind by a teen who had been texting and never slowed down.  Fortunately both mother and child were buckled up and were not seriously injured.  If your child is found to be texting while they are driving you should have some serious consequences with both revoked driving privileges and no phone for a while. 

 

Lastly, this is a good month to remember to check your medicine cabinet and throw away any expired or unused medication.  There are some pharmacies that are having events where you can bring in expired medications and they will dispose of them properly. The number one place that  teens find drugs is in the home…keep all narcotics locked up and dispose of any unused medications!! I have had more than several parents who have told me that “drugs” had disappeared from their medicine cabinets after their own kids had had a lot of friends over…and who knows who may be “seeking” prescription medications. Locks on medicine cabinets and liquor cabinets are a must for families. 

What about taking a family first aid course at your local YMCA or Red Cross and spend a day getting your own family first aid kit together.  This is a great way to spend some time together and a productive activity. Have a fun and safe summer!!

Daily Dose

Talk To Your Child At Every Opportunity

1.30 to read

A frequent subject among us “older moms “ is the observation that parents with young children are not talking to their children.  Now, what do I mean by that?

It seems that the parents are busy talking on their cell phones, or texting or replying to e-mails on their iPhones or Blackberry’s. I often see young mothers strolling their children around the neighborhood, but the child is in their stroller and the mother is talking away on her cell phone, or listening to her iPod oblivious that this is a perfect opportunity to be talking with her child. There are so many subjects to talk about while strolling an infant or young child. The sun, wind, flowers, trees, squirrels, lawnmower noises, different colors of flowers, the list is endless. All of these conversations are important to developing language for infants and toddlers. As you probably know, it is not as important what you are talking about with an infant, but that you are talking, all of the time. As your child is a little older it is important to talk to children about things around them, describing objects and events, and telling them stories. What better place to discuss how squirrels find acorns that might one day become a tall oak tree. Now that we are the “wired” generation the opportunities to just have idle chatter and conversation with your child seem to be limited. I have even noticed this in my office as parents and their children are waiting for the doctor (I apologize for running late!). In years gone by (now I really sound old) I would walk into an examining room and the mother or father and their child would be playing hangman on the exam table paper, or they might be playing “I spy” in the room, or even playing patty cake or “where’s your eyes, where’s your nose” with a one-year-old. There was interaction and conversation. Now it is not uncommon for the parent to be answering the phone and texting while the child is “hooked up” to a DVD player watching anything from Baby Einstein, to a Disney movie. I understand that waiting for the doctor is boring and nerve wracking, so that may not be the best example, but the point is the same, interact with your child at every opportunity. The importance of talking to your children to encourage language acquisition was supported by a recent study in Pediatrics. Dr. Zimmerman, the lead author, looked at not only the importance of reading, and talking to your child to promote language skills, but actually showed that conversing with children is important in acquisition of language. Not surprisingly, they found that children who had increased exposure to adult speech had higher preschool language scores than children who had greater amounts of television viewing. Interestingly, they also found that preschool language scores significantly improved the more an adult and child conversed back and forth. By using dialogue rather than just talking to children, parents could better foster their children’s developing language skills. Zimmerman showed the importance of getting back to the basics. Not only is it important for parents to read to their children, or to tell stories and limit television viewing, it is also important to engage their children in discussions, on just about subject. It doesn’t have to be rocket science. So, the next time you have the opportunity to talk with your child , turn off the hardware and have a conversation, whether it is through babble or a lengthy discussion. We don’t want the next generation to forget that language is an inherent tool for engagement with others. That’s your daily dose, we’ll chat again tomorrow. Send your question to Dr. Sue!

Parenting

Bedwetting Accidents

1:45

I’ll admit it; I was a bed-wetter on and off until I was about 6 years of age. The biggest hurdle I faced in getting past leaving a little puddle of urine in the bed during the night, was visually realistic dreams. I would actually see myself get out of bed, walk to the bathroom and sit on the toilet. Unfortunately, I was only dreaming and would awaken after feeling a wet spot in the bed. It was quite embarrassing.

An accident in a friend’s bed during a sleepover was the last straw.

It took several pre-bedtime experiments to finally help me make it through the night dry; but eventually I was able to tell reality from dreams.

How common is bedwetting? Nocturnal enuresis (the medical name for bedwetting) is involuntary urination that happens at night during sleep after the age when a child should be able to control his or her bladder.

About 13 percent of 6 year olds wet the bed, while about 5 percent of 10 year olds.

Bedwetting sometimes runs in families – if one or both parents wet the bed when they were children, odds are that their children will too.

Most of the time, bedwetting goes away on its’ own. Until that time, it can test a parent’s patience and cause a child plenty of anxiety.

To help a child cope with this uncomfortable time, reassure your child that bedwetting is a normal part of growing up for many kids, and that it will not last forever. If you have stories of your own experiences, this would be the time to share them with your little one.

My child also wet the bed and one sure way to stop her tears of embarrassment was to tell her one of my own personal experiences.  It didn’t take long to switch from sobbing to laughing over our shared nighttime horror.

Kidhealth.org offers these tips for breaking the bedwetting spell:

- Try to have your child drink more fluids during the daytime hours and less at night (and avoid caffeine-containing drinks). Then remind your child to go to the bathroom one final time before bedtime. Many parents find that using a motivational system, such as stickers for dry nights with a small reward (such as a book) after a certain number of stickers, can work well. Bedwetting alarms also can be helpful.

- When your child wakes with wet sheets, don't yell or punish. Have your child help you change the sheets. Explain that this isn't punishment, but it is part of the process. It may even help your child feel better knowing that he or she helped out. Offer praise when your child has a dry night.

Sometimes, bedwetting can be a signal that there is a medical condition that should be checked out. If it begins suddenly or is accompanied by other symptoms, talk to your pediatrician.

The doctor may check for signs of a urinary tract infection (UTI), constipation, bladder problems, diabetes, or severe stress.

Call the doctor if your child:

•       Suddenly starts wetting the bed after being consistently dry for at least 6 months

•       Begins to wet his or her pants during the day

•       Snores at night

•       Complains of a burning sensation or pain when urinating

•       Has to pee frequently

•       Is drinking or eating much more than usual

•       Has swelling of the feet or ankles

•       Is 7 years of age or older and still wetting the bed

Bedwetting can be a sign that a child is under a lot of stress. Often, when a child loses a family member or pet, is doing poorly in school or is frightened about something, they will suddenly start wetting the bed – even if they’ve never done it before or have mastered the art of getting through the night dry.

Your support and patience can go a long way in helping your child feel better about and overcome the bedwetting.

Remember, the long-term outlook is excellent and in almost all cases, dry days are just ahead.

As for me, I had to find a touchstone to let me know the difference between dreaming and actually getting up to go the bathroom. It was the bathroom light switch. If I actually touched the light switch and turned it on, then counted to five before moving, I was really awake. If the light was already on and I walked to the toilet and sat down- I was dreaming.

Story source: http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/enuresis.html#

 

 

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Daily Dose

Weird Skin issue?

1:15 to read

Have you ever heard of dermatographism??  This is the phenomena that occurs in some individuals when you scratch their skin and it seems to “welt” up? .I remember doing this at slumber parties and writing people’s names on their back..we thought it was really weird and cool at the time.  Never expected that I would go on to be able to “name that tune” later in life.

Dermatographism is actually a form of hives which occur when you simply stroke or scratch the skin, and it affects about 5 percent of the population.  It is typically a benign reaction, and most people are otherwise healthy.  It is also known as skin writing, because people realize that when they write letters on their arms, chest or back that within several minutes the skin has become raised and red (hives) and the writing is visible.  The hives usually fade within 30-60 minutes, although on occasion may last for hours.

It is really unclear as to why this occurs, but seems to be some type of allergic reaction and histamine and other inflammatory mediators play a role.  In some people this reaction may also occur when exposed to extreme cold or heat.

Although some parents have recognized dermatographism in their younger children, it is actually more common in females and teens….maybe that is why I have the memory of slumber parties and experimenting to see who might have this “interesting” skin.  We didn’t have cameras to take pictures of the art work we drew, but there are even artists now posting all sorts of pictures of their “skin art” on websites.

In most cases there is no need to be concerned and the condition may not be life long.  It seems that moisturizing the skin may help a bit as you are less likely to scratch your skin. It may also  help to take an antihistamine such as benadryl (diphenhydramine) or zyrtec (cetirizine) which may help to block the reaction.

But, if you or your child is lucky enough to have dermatographism, it makes for a good show and tell and party conversation.  

Parenting

New Year Resolutions for the Family

2:00

As 2015 closes its tired eyes, 2016 is ready for full steam ahead! The beginning of a new year is often the time when people take stock of where they’ve been and where they want to go. It’s a great time for families to set new goals and discuss what is important to them.

Resolutions do not need to be difficult or overwhelming. In fact, the simpler the resolution, the better.

One small step at a time and before you know it 2017 will be here and your family will have accomplished more than they thought they would!

If you’re searching for ideas, here’s a list of suggestions.

1.     Spend one day out of the week unplugged from any unnecessary electronics or social media. Cell phones and computers have become a necessity these days, but too often they are overused for texting, social media and mindless Internet searches. Set a goal of spending at least one day a month (if not per week) without your gadgets, and instead, enjoy the outdoors or have a board or card game marathon.

2.     Commit to better eating schedules and choices. Healthy eating habits provide benefits for the whole family. Ask for your kids input when planning meals and discuss ways to make everyone’s choices healthier. Positive discussions about health and food can have a big impact on a child’s lifetime eating habits.

3.     Plan family outings that involve exercise. Make it fun and easy. Daily walks, bicycling, swimming even an indoor dance party can get everyone moving without a lot of expense.

4.     Read with and to your kids. Libraries are great places for young children to experience new books and reading programs. A whole new genre of books have peaked an interest in reading for many teens. Summer is a great time to start a family book club, when the kids don’t have homework competing for their time.

5.     Spread the household responsibilities. Having a system for household responsibilities spreads out the work instead of having it all fall on one person. Try keeping a chore jar with slips of paper for kids to pick which chore they'll do that week, such as taking out the trash. Print out this chore chart and put it on the refrigerator or a clipboard to help your family stay on task.

6.     Teach and reflect kindness. Kids learn how to be kind by their parent’s example. Bring unkind or rude comments to your child’s attention. Discuss how to handle frustration or angry feelings. Most of all, exhibit kindness towards your mate and others. Teach compassion through community service when an organization needs volunteers. Children who volunteer to help others in need have a broader view of the world.

7.     Get more sleep! The fact is, you all need at least eight hours of sleep to stay healthy and productive. Some children need more than that. Make sure bedtime is quiet and computers and cell phones are shut down at least an hour before bed.

8.     Teach your children how to manage money. Have them create a budget with their allowance or gift money and help them stick to it. Again, being a good example not only helps the whole family’s budget, but also teaches children the difference between want and need.

Also don’t forget to take a little time out for just you and your spouse. The occasional date night can help you reconnect and have fun together. Being a parent is hard work – one of life’s most demanding and rewarding. Don’t forget that you need to take care of yourself emotionally, physically and spiritually to be the example you want to be.

Have a Happy New Year!

Source: Erin Dower, http://life.familyeducation.com/slideshow/new-years/67775.html

Image: http://colongan.xyz/happy-new-years-eve-2016/happy-new-years-eve-happy-holidays/

Daily Dose

A Better Night's Sleep

1:15 to read

What is it about sleep and parenting? Babies never sleep enough and teenagers sleep too much!! Why can’t “we” get this right? While sleep patterns definitely do change with the age of the child, good sleep habits can begin in infancy and continue throughout adolescence.

Even from the beginning,  you should try to teach your child to fall asleep on their own and to self-console by either sucking on their fingers or a pacifier. But remember, this sleep thing is new and babies really do have to learn how to do this.  Think of it as if you were teaching your child to read, it doesn’t happen overnight, but evolves with practice, patience and repetition. Sleep is the same way.

After the early years of teaching your child to fall asleep on their own, the toddler, preschool, and elementary years are usually fairly easy to establish good sleep patterns if you follow a routine, with a set bedtime, reading to your child before bed and hugs and kisses and lights out. This is the age for occasional nightmares, or fears, but also for regular nights of uninterrupted sleep.

With the tweens and teens and hormone changes of adolescence comes a new sleep clock that is set to stay up too late and not wake up in the morning. Even teens need a good nights rest, so a bedtime should be encouraged and enforced unless there is a test of special event. There is not a reason I can think of for teens to be up past 11 pm on a school night, homework should be finished, and all of the accessories such as cell phone, computer and all other electronic gear put up before bed. The older you get the more you understand a good night’s sleep , but someone has to teach the basics along the way and before you know it the whole house will be on that schedule too. That's your daily dose for today.  We'll chat again tomorrow. Send your question to Dr. Sue now!

Your Child

Trampoline Safety Tips

2:00

Trampolines are a lot of fun and great exercise, but they also come with risks for injuries.  All the hopping, bouncing and tumbling can sometimes lead to accidents, particularly if more than one child is on the trampoline. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has released a list of safety precautions parents should take if there is a trampoline at the house.

The AAOS and the AAP both say that children 6 years and younger should not be allowed on trampolines.

"Children younger than age 6 are less likely to have the coordination, body awareness and swift reaction time necessary to keep their bodies, bones and brains safe on trampolines," said Dr. Jennifer Weiss, a Los Angeles pediatric orthopedic surgeon and academy spokesperson.

The most common injuries children suffer on trampolines are sprains and fractures caused by falls on the trampoline mat, frame or springs. Collisions with other jumpers; stunts gone wrong; and falls off the trampoline onto the ground or other hard surfaces, are also injuries physicians see.

Landing wrong can cause serious or permanent injuries even when the trampoline has a net and padding. The majority of injuries occur when there is more than one person on the trampoline.

The AAP doesn’t recommend that parents buy a home trampoline, but if you decide to have one, they offer these safety guidelines:

  • Adult supervision at all times
  • Only one jumper on the trampoline at a time
  • No somersaults performed 
  • Adequate protective padding on the trampoline that is in good condition and appropriately placed
  • Check all equipment often 
  • When damaged, protective padding, the net enclosure, and any other parts should be repaired or replaced

The AAOS adds these safety precautions:

  • Place the trampoline-jumping surface at ground level. Remove trampoline ladders after use to prevent unsupervised use by young children.
  • Regularly inspect equipment and throw away worn or damaged equipment if you can't get replacement parts.
  • Don't rely on safety net enclosures for injury prevention because most injuries occur on the trampoline surface. Check that supporting bars, strings and surrounding landing surfaces have adequate protective padding that's in good condition.
  • Close adult supervision, proper safety measures and instruction are crucial when a trampoline is used for physical education, competitive gymnastics, diving training and similar activities.
  • Have spotters present when participants are jumping. Do not allow somersaults or high-risk maneuvers unless there is proper supervision, instruction and protective equipment such as a harness.

Another tip that the AAP offers trampoline owners is to check their homeowner’s insurance policy to obtain a rider to cover trampoline-related injuries if not included in the basic policy.

Story sources: Robert Preidt, https://consumer.healthday.com/fitness-information-14/trampolining-health-news-285/surgeons-warn-of-trampolines-down-side-724795.html

https://healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/Pages/Trampolines-What-You-Need-to-Know.aspx

 

Daily Dose

Are Parents Too Connected?

1.30 to read

Has your spouse, babysitter or other child care provider ever called you to come home “because the baby is crying”?  It seems that technology, which is readily at our finger tips 24/7, has created yet another dilemma - what to do if a baby is crying? 

Pre-cell phone days, there really was not much to do if you the parent left home and your baby/child started crying.  Outside of calling the restaurant, store, movie theater (directly), and asking them to page a parent, most of us just muddled through a crying child.  I also think that in most cases, said child eventually stopped crying (unless there was an obvious reason that could be “fixed”) and by the time you the parent returned home, all was typically well.  

But now, with a cell phone in every hand, it only takes one call to summon the parent of a crying child.  I think this is a good news/bad news dilemma.  The good news is: parents may feel more comfortable leaving their child with a babysitter, knowing that they may be reached in the event of an emergency.  The bad news is:  is a baby or child who is only crying, typically an emergency?  Depends on your definition. 

The reason I bring this up is that I often hear young parents, and especially mothers, tell me that during the first several months of their infant’s life, they cannot leave the house for more than minutes, before being called home....because the baby is crying.  Some of these mothers are really “stressed out and exhausted” and need a bit of a get-away to “re-boot”. I am not talking about a trip to the day spa. I am simply talking about an hour or 2 to go to the store or meet a friend for lunch or just sit alone in the park and read a book.  Just a bit of quiet after being home with a baby day in and day out for the first 4 weeks of their newborn’s life.  If you have been there you understand. 

But, now that they have a cell phone, there is CONSTANT communication.  The minute the baby cries, the cell phone rings....”the baby is CRYING, come home.”  My husband would tell you that his best parenting started the first time I left him alone with our first son and I actually went away for the weekend.  (I believe the baby was 6 or 7 weeks old and off I went breast pump in hand to a reunion.)  No cell phones then, and guess what, he did a great job!!!!  He told me how after the first 24 hours he figured out that he really didn’t have to have the baby in the bathroom with him in order to take a shower. He later told me that the first shower he took, not only was our son in the room in his “bouncy” chair, but he left the shower door open as the door got steamy and he couldn’t see the baby!! How cute is that. 

Technology, as wonderful as it is, may also enable us to “cop out” when things get a bit difficult.  That goes for parenting as well. 

Turnoff your phone off sometime and let the “other parent” or babysitter handle it for awhile. Being disconnected is NOT always a bad thing!

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