Category: News

Novel Coronavirus Update

2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Human Coronaviruses (https://www.cdc.gov /coronavirus/about/index.html) are a family of viruses that usually cause illnesses like the common cold. Almost everyone gets one of these viruses at some point in their lives. Most of the time the illness only lasts for a short time.

COVID-19: a new coronavirus

It was discovered in December 2019 and has now spread throughout the world. As the virus spreads, we are seeing some people with mild illness, some who get very sick, and some who have died. The reason health officials are concerned is because the virus is new, which makes it hard to predict how it will continue to affect people. Researchers and doctors are learning more about it every day, including exactly how it spreads and who is most at risk.

Symptoms of COVID-19

Symptoms can range from mild to severe and can include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Who is at risk?

According to the CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html), children do not seem to be at higher risk for getting COVID-19. However, some people are, including older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Lung disease
  • Suppressed immune systems

How to protect your family:

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, but there are a few things you can do to keep your family healthy:

  • Wash your hands (/English/health-issues/conditions/prevention/Pages/Hand-Washing-A-Powerful-Antidote-to- Illness.aspx) often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer (/English/safety-prevention/at-home/Pages/Keep-Hand-Sanitizer-Out-of-Childrens-Reach.aspx). Look for one that is 60% or higher alcohol-based.
  • Keep your kids away from others who are sick or keep them home if they are ill.
  • Teach kids to cough and sneeze into a tissue (make sure to throw it away after each use!) or to cough and sneeze into their arm or elbow, not their hands.
  • Clean and disinfect (/English/health-issues/conditions/prevention/Pages/Cleaners-Sanitizers-Disinfectants.aspx) your home as usual using regular household cleaning sprays or wipes.
  • Avoid touching your face; teach your children to do the same.
  • Avoid travel to highly infected areas (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/locations-confirmed- cases.html#map).

A note about facemasks:

The CDC only recommends facemasks for people who have symptoms of COVID-19, not for people who are healthy. Healthcare workers and anyone taking care of someone with COVID-19 should wear facemasks.

Preparing for School and Daycare Closures:

The COVID-19 outbreak in our community and many others has resulted in the temporarily closure of schools and childcare centers in order to help slow the spread of the virus. Many schools use email to update families. Be sure your child’s school knows how to get in touch with you.

Working parents can be prepared by having alternative childcare plans or talking with their employers about work from home options during school closings. If your child attends a college or university, encourage them to communicate with their school’s plan for the COVID-19 outbreak.

While your children are at home try to keep their days as routine and scheduled as possible. Here are a few tips that can help:

  • Read books with your child. It’s not only fun, but reading together strengthens your bond with your child AND helps their development.
  • Make time for active play. Bring out the blocks, balls, jump ropes and buckets and let the creativity go. Play games that kids of all ages can play, like tag or duck duck goose. Let your kids make up new games. Encourage older kids to make up a workout or dance to keep them moving.
  • Keep an eye on media time. Whenever possible, play video games or go online with your child to keep that time structured and limited. If kids are missing their school friends or other family, try video chats to stay in touch.

Talking to children about COVID-19

There’s a lot of news coverage about the outbreak of COVID-19 and it can be overwhelming for parents and frightening to kids. The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages parents and others who work closely with children to filter information and talk about it in a way that their child can understand. These tips can help:

Simple reassurance. Remind children that researchers and doctors are learning as much as they can, as quickly as they can, about the virus and are taking steps to keep everyone safe.

Give them control. It’s also a great time to remind your children of what they can do to help – washing their hands often, coughing into a tissue or their sleeves, and getting enough sleep.

Watch for signs of anxiety. Children may not have the words to express their worry, but you may see signs of it. They may get cranky, be more clingy, have trouble sleeping, or seem distracted. Keep the reassurance going and try to stick to your normal routines.

Monitor their media. Keep young children away from frightening images they may see on TV, social media, computers, etc. For older children, talk together about what they are hearing on the news and correct any misinformation or rumors you may hear.

Be a good role model. COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate and neither should we. While COVID-19 started in Wuhan, China, it doesn’t mean that having Asian ancestry – or any other ancestry – makes someone more susceptible to the virus or more contagious. Stigma and discrimination hurt everyone by creating fear or anger towards others. When you show empathy and support to those who are ill, your children will too.

Stay informed

Families are encouraged to stay up to date about this situation as we learn more about how to prevent this virus from spreading in homes and in communities. Your local and state public health department will have up-to-date information regarding your community and the most current health and safety recommendations.

Spruce Telehealth: A Standard of Care

Petite Pediatrics has offered this technology as a standard of care for our patients since 2018.

The current COVID-19 global pandemic, requires families to remain home to minimize exposure to the novel corona virus.  We want to assure our families that this is the latest technology in the delivery of medical care and we are committed to ensuring confidentiality while maintaining the safety and well-being of our patients.

Spruce provides the following services:

● Direct text messaging with Petite Pediatrics
Virtual visits for pediatric rashes, allergies, cold/cough and flu symptoms, and newly added COVID-19 risk questionnaire to assist with care during the MERS Cov-2 global pandemic
● Secure Video Visit for complaints that need a live interaction
● Prescription refills and requests

How do I get started?

1. Navigate to Spruce.care/petitepediatrics on your iOS or Android phone.
2. Click on “Get the App & Connect” to download Spruce.
3. That’s it! You should be welcomed by Petite Pediatrics in the app.

Spruce won’t replace all in-office visits.  This service has been offered to enhance our member’s patient-care experience so that we can extend care on occasions when coming to the office is not available, can be efficiently handled remotely, or as a way to better decide that in-person care is needed. We will continue to work with families to deliver excellent pediatric care and will update families via Spruce regarding the latest developments related to COVID-19 and how we can continue to provide pediatric care to our community.

Thomas Fire: Stay UP-TO-DATE

Thomas Fire Resources

  • Families can stay updated on the local conditions by checking the Count of Santa Barbara Website. There is also helpful information regarding the use of masks for safe breathing. N95 masks provide protection from small particles in smoke and should be fitted for proper usage.  

http://countyofsb.org/thomasfire.sbc#update

If they cant reach you, they can’t alert you….Register for Santa Barbara County alerts!

http://awareandprepare.org/

Thomas Fire (wildfires) and the Health Risk to Children

The Thomas Fire has been devastating and poses a major health concern for the young and old, alike.  Here are some guidelines that can be helpful during the acute phase of this fire:

The Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units (PEHSU) Network encourage families, pediatricians, and communities to work together to ensure that children are protected from exposure to environmental hazards. Wildfires expose children to a number of environmental hazards, e.g., fire, smoke, psychological stress, and the byproducts of combustion of wood, plastics, and other chemicals released from burning structures and furnishings. During the acute phase of wildfire activity, the major hazards to children are fire and smoke. Acute stress from fire activity and response to the fires and the emotional responses of those around them can also impact children during this time.

Children, individuals with pre-existing lung or cardiovascular problems, pregnant women, elderly, and smokers are especially vulnerable to environmental hazards such as smoke. Children are in a critical period of development when toxic exposures can have profound negative effects, and their exploratory behavior often places them in direct contact with materials that adults would avoid.

The acute phase environmental hazards for children and their family are highlighted below.

SMOKE consists of very small organic particles, liquid droplets, and gases such as CO, CO2, and other volatile organic compounds, such as formaldehyde and acrolein. The actual content of smoke depends upon the fuel source.

HEALTH EFFECTS OF SMOKE: Symptoms from smoke inhalation can include chest tightness, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, respiratory tract and eye burning, chest pain, dizziness or lightheadedness, and other symptoms. Asthma symptoms may flare up. The risk of developing cancer from short-term exposures to smoke is vanishingly small.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Stay indoors with windows and doors closed and any gaps in the building envelope sealed. Avoid strenuous activity.
If available and if needed for comfort, run an air-conditioner on the “recirculate” setting. Be sure to change the filter at appropriate intervals. Other types of room or central air filtration systems may help remove airborne particles, but they need to be selected to adequately filter the area in which they serve. Some electronic air cleaners and ozone generating “filters” can generate dangerous amounts of ozone indoors (see the Wildfire Smoke – A Guide for Public Health Officials resource). These ozone filtration systems do not remove harmful contaminants from the air and are not recommended.

Never operate gasoline powered generators indoors – they produce dangerous carbon monoxide. Avoid smoking, using wood stoves, and other activities that add to indoor air contamination.
If there is a period of improved air quality, open up (air out) the house and clean to remove dust particles that have accumulated inside.

Humidifiers or breathing through a wet washcloth may be useful in dry climates to keep mucous membranes moist, although this does nothing to prevent inhalation of contaminants.

When riding in a car, keep the windows and vents closed. If comfort requires air circulation, turn the air-conditioning on “re-circulate” to reduce the amount of outside air drawn into the car.

Children with asthma, heart disease, and others considered at high risk from health effects from contaminant inhalation should be moved to an adequate “clean air” shelter, which may be in their home, in the home of a friend or relative, or in a publicly-provided “clean air” shelter.

Use of Masks

Paint, dust, and surgical masks are not effective obstacles to inhalation of the fine airborne particles generated by wildfires. For information on use of respiratory protection for adults see “Wildfire Smoke – A Guide for Public Health Officials.”  [See local Neighborhood Clinics for distribution of masks]

Although smaller sized masks may appear to fit a child’s face, none of the manufacturers of masks recommend their use in children. If a child is in air quality severe enough to warrant wearing a mask, they should be removed to an indoor environment with cleaner air.

Air Quality Index

The Air Quality Index indicates how dangerous the air is to breathe based upon the measurement of various pollutants such as ozone and small particles (PM2.5). The smoke from wildfires contains large amounts of these hazardous particles. In areas where the Air Quality Index is not determined, measuring PM2.5 is a good substitute for determining the air quality. 
Recommended actions for each level of air quality can be found in the Wildfire Smoke – A Guide for Public Health Officials and Air Quality Index – A Guide to Air Quality and Your Health resources cited below. The current air quality index can be found at http://www.airnow.gov.

CLOSING OF SCHOOLS AND BUSINESSES may become necessary because of smoke exposure risk when air quality is so poor that even traveling between indoor locations places people at risk. However, in some situations the school may be a relatively protected indoor environment with better air quality and where children’s activity can be monitored.

CONSIDERATION OF EVACUATION because of smoke should weigh the effects of smoke exposure during the evacuation versus what the exposure would be while resting quietly inside one’s home. A disorderly evacuation can unnecessarily increase the duration and extent of smoke exposure. Remember to pack at least 5 days of any medications taken by family members.
ASH: Recent fires may have deposited large amounts of ash on indoor and outdoor surfaces in areas near the fire. This ash may be irritating to the skin and may be irritating to the nose and throat and may cause coughing. The following steps are recommended:
Do not allow children or animals to play in ash.
Wear gloves, long sleeved shirts, and long pants when handling
ash, and avoid skin contact.
Wash any home-grown fruits or vegetables before eating.
Avoid spreading the ash in the air; wet down the ash before
attempting removal; do not use leaf blowers or shop vacuums.

PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS ON CHILDREN: During the acute phase, parents and caregivers should also be alert to children’s emotional health and psychological wellbeing. It is important to keep in mind the youngest members of our society may easily become saturated with graphic pictorial images and incessant talk of smoke, flames and destruction. Resulting stress and anxiety may be manifested in a variety of ways, depending upon the developmental stage of an individual child:
Clinging, fears
Uncooperative behaviors, irritability
Nightmares
Physical complaints
Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
Regression
Indifference
Parents and caregivers can support children in a number of ways:
Maintain previously established routines and structures as much as possible.
Provide an open door and a listening ear for children; encourage the expression of feelings through a variety of pathways, e.g.,music, art, journaling, talking.
Answer questions openly and honestly, remaining mindful of the age of the child will determine how information is shared.
Reassure and hug when hugs are wanted; practice patience and adopt a peaceful demeanor, as children take their cues from the clues given by their parents and the environment.
To contact your local Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit with any questions about this fact sheet please visit http://www.pehsu.net.

New Medical Home

510 West Pueblo Street

Dr. Barry and the staff at Petite Pediatrics are excited to announce the move of our medical office this fall. We will be relocating to a free-standing medical home that will provide our signature care of personalized medicine for infants, children and adolescents.  We look forward to welcoming you to our new space! 

Back to School Tips

Summer is ending soon and the new school year will be starting up. Healthychildren.org has some great Back-to-School tips. 

This is a good time to organize and prepare your paperwork for immunizations, sports physicals, learning issues etc. and/or schedule necessary appointments to be ready for the school year. 

Back-to-School Tips

The following health and safety tips are from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Making the First Day Easier
If your child seems nervous, remind him or her that there are probably a lot of students who are uneasy about the first day of school. This may be at any age. Teachers know that students are nervous and will make an extra effort to make sure everyone feels as comfortable as possible.

Point out the positive aspects of starting school to create positive anticipation about the first day. Your child will see old friends and meet new ones. Refresh his or her positive memories about previous years, when he or she may have returned home after the first day with high spirits because of a good time.

Find another child in the neighborhood with whom your student can walk to school or ride on the bus.

If it is a new school for your child, attend any available orientations and take an opportunity to tour the school before the first day.

If you feel it is needed, drive your child (or walk with him or her) to school and pick him or her up on the first day.

Backpack Safety
Choose a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back.

Pack light. Organize the backpack to use all of its compartments. Pack heavier items closest to the center of the back. The backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of your child’s body weight. Go through the pack with your child weekly, and remove unneeded items to keep it light.

Always use both shoulder straps. Slinging a backpack over one shoulder can strain muscles.

Adjust the pack so that the bottom sits at the waist.

If your school allows, consider a rolling backpack. This type of backpack may be a good choice for students who must tote a heavy load. Remember that rolling backpacks still must be carried up stairs, they may be difficult to roll in snow, and they may not fit in some lockers.

Traveling To and From School
Review the basic rules with your child.

School Bus
Children should always board and exit the bus at locations that provide safe access to the bus or to the school building.

Remind your child to wait for the bus to stop before approaching it from the curb.

Make sure your child walks where he or she can see the bus driver (which means the driver will be able to see him or her, too).

Remind your child to look both ways to see that no other traffic is coming before crossing the street, just in case traffic does not stop as required.

Your child should not move around on the bus.

If your child’s school bus has lap/shoulder seat belts, make sure your child uses one at all times when in the bus. (If your child’s school bus does not have lap/shoulder belts, encourage the school system to buy or lease buses with lap/shoulder belts). See Where We Stand: Safety Restraints on the School Bus for more information.

Check on the school’s policy regarding food on the bus. Eating on the bus can present a problem for students with food allergies and can also lead to infestations of insects and vermin on the vehicles.

If your child has a chronic condition that could result in an emergency on the bus, make sure you work with the school nurse or other school health personnel to have a bus emergency plan.

Car
All passengers should wear a seat belt and/or an age- and size-appropriate car seat or booster seat.

Your child should ride in a car seat with a harness as long as possible and then ride in a belt-positioning booster seat. Your child is ready for a booster seat when he or she has reached the top weight or height allowed for his or her seat, his or her shoulders are above the top harness slots, or his or her ears have reached the top of the seat.

Your child should ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle’s seat belt fits properly (usually when the child reaches about 4′ 9″ in height and is between 8 to 12 years of age). This means that the child is tall enough to sit against the vehicle seat back with her legs bent at the knees and feet hanging down and the shoulder belt lies across the middle of the chest and shoulder, not the neck or throat; the lap belt is low and snug across the thighs, and not the stomach.

All children younger than 13 years of age should ride in the rear seat of vehicles. If you must drive more children than can fit in the rear seat (when carpooling, for example), move the front-seat passenger’s seat as far back as possible and have the child ride in a booster seat if the seat belts do not fit properly without it.

Remember that many crashes occur while novice teen drivers are going to and from school. You should require seat belt use, limit the number of teen passengers, and do not allow eating, drinking, cell phone conversations (even when using hands-free devices or speakerphone), texting, or other mobile device use to prevent driver distraction. Limit nighttime driving and driving in inclement weather. Familiarize yourself with your state’s graduated driver’s license law and consider the use of a parent-teen driver agreement to facilitate the early driving learning process. For a sample parent-teen driver agreement, click here.

Bike
Always wear a bicycle helmet, no matter how short or long the ride.

Ride on the right, in the same direction as auto traffic and ride in bake lanes if they are present.

Use appropriate hand signals.

Respect traffic lights and stop signs.

Wear bright-colored clothing to increase visibility. White or light-colored clothing and reflective gear is especially important after dark.

Know the “rules of the road.”

Walking to School
Make sure your child’s walk to school is a safe route with well-trained adult crossing guards at every intersection.

Identify other children in the neighborhood with whom your child can walk to school. In neighborhoods with higher levels of traffic, consider organizing a “walking school bus,” in which an adult accompanies a group of neighborhood children walking to school.

Be realistic about your child’s pedestrian skills. Because small children are impulsive and less cautious around traffic, carefully consider whether or not your child is ready to walk to school without adult supervision.

If your children are young or are walking to a new school, walk with them or have another adult walk with them the first week or until you are sure they know the route and can do it safely.

Bright-colored clothing will make your child more visible to drivers.

Eating During the School Day
Studies show that children who eat a nutritious breakfast function better. They do better in school, and have better concentration and more energy.

Most schools regularly send schedules of cafeteria menus home and/or have them posted on the school’s website. With this advance information, you can plan on packing lunch on the days when the main course is one your child prefers not to eat.

Many school districts have plans which allow you to pay for meals through an online account. Your child will get a card to “swipe” at the register. This is a convenient way to handle school meal accounts.

Look into what is offered inside and outside of the cafeteria, including vending machines, a la carte, school stores, snack carts, and fundraisers held during the school day. All foods sold during the school day must meet nutrition standards established by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). They should stock healthy choices such as fresh fruit, low-fat dairy products, water, and 100% fruit juice. Learn about your child’s school wellness policy and get involved in school groups to put it into effect.

Each 12-ounce soft drink contains approximately 10 teaspoons of sugar and 150 calories. Drinking just one can of soda a day increases a child’s risk of obesity by 60%. Choose healthier options (such as water and appropriately sized juice and low-fat dairy products) to send in your child’s lunch.

Bullying
Bullying or cyberbullying is when one child picks on another child repeatedly. Bullying can be physical, verbal, or social. It can happen at school, on the playground, on the school bus, in the neighborhood, over the Internet, or through mobile devices like cell phones.

When Your Child Is Bullied
Alert school officials to the problems and work with them on solutions.

Teach your child when and how to ask a trusted adult for help.

Recognize the serious nature of bullying and acknowledge your child’s feelings about being bullied.

Help your child learn how to respond by teaching your child how to:

Look the bully in the eye.

Stand tall and stay calm in a difficult situation.

Walk away.

Teach your child how to say in a firm voice.

“I don’t like what you are doing.”

“Please do NOT talk to me like that.”

“Why would you say that?”

Encourage your child to make friends with other children.

Support activities that interest your child.

Make sure an adult who knows about the bullying can watch out for your child’s safety and well-being when you cannot be there.

Monitor your child’s social media or texting interactions so you can identify problems before they get out of hand.

When Your Child Is the Bully
Be sure your child knows that bullying is never OK.

Set firm and consistent limits on your child’s aggressive behavior.

Be a positive role model. Show children they can get what they want without teasing, threatening, or hurting someone.

Use effective, non-physical discipline, such as loss of privileges.

Develop practical solutions with the school principal, teachers, school social workers or psychologists, and parents of the children your child has bullied.

When Your Child Is a Bystander
Encourage your child to tell a trusted adult about the bullying. Encourage your child to join with others in telling bullies to stop.

Help your child support other children who may be bullied. Encourage your child to include these children in activities.

Before and After School Child Care
During early and middle childhood, children need supervision. A responsible adult should be available to get them ready and off to school in the morning and supervise them after school until you return home from work.

If a family member will care for your child, communicate the need to follow consistent rules set by the parent regarding discipline and homework.

Children approaching adolescence (11- and 12-year-olds) should not come home to an empty house in the afternoon unless they show unusual maturity for their age.

If alternate adult supervision is not available, parents should make special efforts to supervise their children from a distance. Children should have a set time when they are expected to arrive at home and should check in with a neighbor or with a parent by telephone.

If you choose a commercial after-school program, inquire about the training of the staff. There should be a high staff-to-child ratio, trained persons to address health issues and emergencies, and the rooms and the playground should be safe.

Developing Good Homework & Study Habits
Create an environment that is conducive to doing homework starting at a young age. Children need a consistent work space in their bedroom or another part of the home that is quiet, without distractions, and promotes study.

Schedule ample time for homework; build this time into choices about participation in after school activities.

Establish a household rule that the TV and other electronic distractions stay off during homework time.

Supervise computer and Internet use.

By high school, it’s not uncommon for teachers to ask students to submit homework electronically and perform other tasks on a computer. If your child doesn’t have access to a computer or the Internet at home, work with teachers and school administration to develop appropriate accommodations.

Be available to answer questions and offer assistance, but never do your child’s homework for him or her.

Take steps to help alleviate eye fatigue, neck fatigue and brain fatigue while studying. It may be helpful to close the books for a few minutes, stretch, and take a break periodically when it will not be too disruptive.

If your child is struggling with a particular subject, speak with your child’s teacher for recommendations on how you or another person can help your child at home or at school. If you have concerns about the assignments your child is receiving, talk with his or her teacher.

If your child is having difficulty focusing on or completing homework, discuss this with your child’s teacher, school counselor, or health care provider.

For general homework problems that cannot be worked out with the teacher, a tutor may be considered.

Some children need help organizing their homework. Checklists, timers, and parental supervision can help overcome homework problems.

Some children may need help remembering their assignments. Work with your child and his or her teacher to develop an appropriate way to keep track of his or her assignments–such as an assignment notebook.

Establish a good sleep routine. Insufficient sleep is associated with lower academic achievement in middle school, high school and college, as well as higher rates of absenteeism and tardiness. The optimal amount of sleep for most adolescents (13 to 18 years of age) is in the range of 8 to 10 hours per night. See Healthy Sleep Habits: How Many Hours Does Your Child Need? for more information.

Additional Information from HealthyChildren.org:
Ten Tips for Your Child’s Success in School

Administering Medication at School: Tips for Parents

Snacks & Sugary Foods in School: AAP Policy Explained

How You Can Help Your Child Avoid & Address Bullying

Back to School, Back to the Doctor

The Healthy Children Show: Energy Balance for School-Age Kids (Video)

Published 8/8/2016 12:00 AM

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/news/Pages/Back-to-School-Tips.aspx

 

Ear Infections

Ear Infection Information
 
When is it an Ear Infection?
A typical middle ear infection in a child begins with either a viral infection (such as a common cold) or unhealthy bacterial growth. Sometimes the middle ear becomes inflamed and causes fluid buildup behind the eardrum. In other cases, the eustachian tubes — the narrow passageways connecting the middle ear to the back of the nose — become swollen.

Children are more prone to both of these problems for several reasons. The passages in their ears are narrower, shorter, and more horizontal than the adult versions. Because it’s easier for germs to reach the middle ear, it’s also easier for fluid to get trapped there. And just as children are still developing, so are their immune systems. Once the infection takes hold, it’s harder for a child’s body to fight it than it is for a healthy adult’s.

The symptoms of an ear infection may be hard to detect. A child who constantly tugs or pulls at the ear could simply be exploring, or simply showing a self-soothing reflex — even though that tops the list of signals listed in many books and Web sites.

Other symptoms can include:
More crying than usual, especially when lying down
Trouble sleeping or hearing
Fever or headache
Fluid coming out of the ears
Doctors can use special instruments to see if an infection is present.

Treatment: Less May Be More
Perhaps the most surprising news is that common ear infections rarely require medication or any other action, except when severe or in young infants. “The body’s immune system can usually resolve them,” says Dr. Robert M. Jacobson, chair of the Mayo Clinic’s Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. “More and more studies show that children treated or untreated are at the same place 10 days out. We are constantly amazed at how many ear infections resolve on their own.”

It’s true: Fewer doctors are relying on antibiotics. As Dr. Jacobson points out, it’s important to understand that taking antibiotics might or might not speed recovery, and overusing them can lead to bacteria developing resistance to the drugs, as the germs mutate to defend themselves against medicine. As a result, many pediatricians have adopted a wait-and-see approach, rather than prescribing antibiotics at the first sign of infection.

Asking the parents to observe the child for 48 to 72 hours is becoming the most common first step among pediatricians. That doesn’t mean that an office visit isn’t a good idea, however. Doctors can prescribe numbing drops and suggest over-the-counter pain relievers to treat symptoms, which can help the child feel better as she recovers. 

Along with getting away from prescriptions, pediatricians are also shying away from ear tubes, a procedure in which a small tube is surgically inserted in the ear to drain fluid. According to Dr. Jacobson, tube placement is best used with those children who have recurring hearing problems caused by multiple infections.

“Tubes don’t actually stop ear infections, just symptoms and fluid retention,” says Dr. Jacobson. “We don’t want to do it too often because there is an increased risk of damage to the eardrum.”

According to Dr. Jacobson, diagnosis and treatment should be a three-step process:
First, the pediatrician determines whether or not an ear infection is present.
Second, the pediatrician and parent discuss risk factors and how to reduce them.
Finally, observation and treatment of symptoms ensure the child is recovering without pain.
Reducing the Risks for Ear Infection
While parents can’t head off every germ that’s headed for their children, they can take steps to reduce their children’s risks.

Avoid Secondhand Smoke Exposure
Smoking is a huge contributor to childhood illness. Ear infections are no exception to that rule. Smoking is addictive and hard to quit, but not every smoker realizes the harmful effects that secondhand smoke could have on his or her child. Quitting is just as important for your child’s health as your own.

Proper Hygiene
Bad hygiene habits are another major problem. Children in child care are more exposed to widespread bacteria, as are those who drink from a bottle as opposed to asippy cup, says Dr. Jacobson. That’s because bottles have more surface area for germs to live on. Teach children to wash their hands frequently to prevent the spread of germs that spread illness.

Keep Your Child Up-To-Date with Vaccines
Talk with your child’s doctor about the vaccines that protect against pneumonia and meningitis. Studies show that vaccinated children experience fewer ear infections.

Breastfeed Your Baby
Breastfeed infants for the first year. Breast milk has many substances that protect your baby from a variety of diseases and infections. Because of these protective substances, breastfed children are less likely to have bacterial or viral infections, such as ear infections.

Get A Flu Shot
Consider getting immunized against influenza. Aside from protecting against this yearly disease, it can help prevent ear infections.
Last Updated
 11/21/2015
Source
 Adapted from Healthy Children Magazine, Summer 2007
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.

UPDATES Car Seat Safety

Car Seat Checkup
 

Using a car seat correctly makes a big difference. Even the right seat for your child’s size must be used correctly to properly protect your child in a crash. Here are car seat tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Does your car have air bags?
Never place a rear-facing car seat in the front seat of a vehicle that has a front passenger air bag. If the air bag inflates, it will hit the back of the car seat, right where your baby’s head rests, and could cause serious injury or death.
The safest place for all children younger than 13 years to ride is in the back seat.
If an older child must ride in the front seat, a child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness may be the best choice. Be sure you move the vehicle seat as far back from the dashboard (and air bag) as possible.
Is your child facing the right way for weight, height, and age?
All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car seat until they are at least 2 years of age or reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat manufacturer.
Any child who has outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit for his car seat should use a forward-facing seat with a harness for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by his car seat manufacturer.
Is the harness snug?
Harness straps should fi t snugly against your child’s body. Check the car seat instructions to learn how to adjust the straps.
Place the chest clip at armpit level to keep the harness straps secure on the shoulders.
Does the car seat fit correctly in your vehicle?
Not all car seats fi t properly in all vehicles.
Read the section on car seats in the owner’s manual for your car.
Can you use the LATCH system?
LATCH (lower anchors and tethers for children) is a car seat attachment system that can be used instead of the seat belt to install the seat. These systems are equally safe, but in some cases, it may be easier to install the car seat using LATCH.
Vehicles with the LATCH system have anchors located in the back seat, where the seat cushions meet. Tether anchors are located behind the seat, either on the panel behind the seat (in sedans) or back of the seat, ceiling, or floor (in most minivans, SUVs, and hatchbacks). All car seats have attachments that fasten to these anchors. Nearly all passenger vehicles and all car seats made on or after September 1, 2002, are equipped to use LATCH. All lower anchors are rated for a maximum weight of 65 pounds (total weight includes car seat and child).
The top tether improves safety provided by the seat. Use the tether for all forward-facing seats, even those installed using the vehicle seat belt.
Always follow both the car seat and vehicle manufacturer instructions, including weight limits, for lower anchors and tethers. Remember, weight limits are different for different car seats and different vehicles.
Is the seat belt or LATCH strap in the right place and pulled tight?
Route the seat belt or LATCH strap through the correct path. Convertible seats have different belt paths for when they are used rear facing or forward facing (check your instructions to make sure).
Pull the belt tight. Apply weight into the seat with your hand while tightening the seat belt or LATCH strap. When the car safety seat is installed, be sure it does not move more than an inch side to side or toward the front of the car.
If you install the car seat using your vehicle’s seat belt, you must make sure the seat belt locks to keep a tight fit. In most newer cars, you can lock the seat belt by pulling it all the way out and then allowing it to retract to keep the seat belt tight around the car seat. Many car seats have built-in lock-offs to lock the belt.
It is best to use the tether that comes with your car seat to the highest weight allowed by your vehicle and the manufacturer of your car seat. Check your vehicle owner’s manual and car seat instructions for how and when to use the tether and lower anchors.
Has your child outgrown the forward-facing seat?

All children whose weight or height is above the forward-facing limit for their car seat should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle seat belt fits properly, typically when they have reached 4 feet 9 inches in height and are 8 through 12 years of age.
A seat belt fits properly when the shoulder belt lies across the middle of the chest and shoulder, not the neck or throat; the lap belt is low and snug across the upper thighs, not the belly; and the child is tall enough to sit against the vehicle seat back with her knees bent over the edge of the seat without slouching and can comfortably stay in this position throughout the trip.

Do you have the instructions for the car seat?

Follow them and keep them with the car seat.
Keep your child in the car seat until she reaches the weight or height limit set by the manufacturer. Follow the instructions to determine whether your child should ride rear facing or forward facing and whether to install the seat using LATCH or the vehicle seat belt.
Has the car seat been recalled?
You can find out by calling the manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Vehicle Safety Hotline at 888/327-4236 or the NHTSA Web site.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for making any repairs to your car seat.
Be sure to fill in and mail in the registration card that comes with the car seat. It will be important in case the seat is recalled.
Do you know the history of your child’s car seat?
Do not use a used car seat if you do not know the history of the seat.
Do not use a car seat that has been in a crash, has been recalled, is too old (check the expiration date), has any cracks in its frame, or is missing parts.
Make sure it has a label from the manufacturer and instructions.
Call the car seat manufacturer if you have questions about the safety of your seat.
Questions
If you have questions or need help installing your car seat, find a certified child passenger safety technician (CPST). Lists of certified CPSTs and child seat-fitting stations are available on the following Web sites:

NHTSA Parents Central
SeatCheck
National Child Passenger Safety Certified Technicians  
Additional Information from HealthyChildren.org:
Car Seats: Information for Families
Car Seats: Product Listing  
Car Seats and Obese Children: Suggestions for Parents
​ 

Figure 1 adapted from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. LATCH Makes Child Safety Seat Installation as Easy as 1-2-3. 2011. DOT HS publication 809 489. Published March 2011. Accessed November 5, 2015.

Figures 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 by Anthony Alex LeTourneau.​

 
Last Updated
 2/16/2016
Source
 Car Seat Checkup (Copyright © 2016 American Academy of Pediatrics)
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.

New Year’s Resolutions for Kids

Healthy New Year’s Resolutions for Kids

​​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 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 help clear the table when I am done eating. 
I will be friendly to all animals. I will remember to ask the owners if I can pet their animal first.

I will 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 every day, and drink soda and fruit drinks only at 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 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 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 always tell an adult about any bullying I may see or hear about to help keep school safe for everyone. 

I will keep my personal information 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 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, and I will drink sodas only at special times.

I will take care of my body through physical activity and eating the right types and amounts of foods.

I will choose non-violent television shows and video games, and I will spend only one to two hours each day – at the most – on these activities. I promise to follow our household rules for videogames and internet use.

I will help out in my community – through giving some of my time to help others, working with community groups or by joining a group that helps people in need.

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 talk with a trusted adult and attempt to find a way that I can help them.

I will be careful about whom I choose to date, and always treat the other person with respect and without forcing them to do something or using 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.

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/news/Pages/Healthy-New-Years-Resolutions-for-Kids.aspx
 

Published
 12/16/2015 12:00 AM