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Posts for category: Child Health Care

By Pediatric Associates of Paoli - Pediatrics for Family Health
November 03, 2017
Category: Child Health Care
Tags: Infant Jaundice  

Infant Baby SleepingJaundice is a common condition in newborns, caused by excess yellow pigment in the blood called bilirubin, which is produced by the normal breakdown of red blood cells. When bilirubin is produced faster than a newborn’s liver can break it down, the baby’s skin and eyes will appear yellow in color.

In most cases, jaundice disappears without treatment and does not harm the baby. However, if the infant’s bilirubin levels get too high, jaundice can pose a risk of brain damage. It is for this reason that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all infants should be examined for jaundice within a few days of birth.

Is it Jaundice?

When parents leave the hospital with their newborn, they will want to look for signs of jaundice in the days following, as the condition usually appears around the second or third day of life. Most parents will be able to detect jaundice simply by looking at the baby’s skin under natural daylight. If you notice your newborn’s skin or eyes looking yellow, you should contact your pediatrician to see if jaundice is present.

Also, call your pediatrician immediately if your jaundiced newborn’s condition intensifies or spreads. The following symptoms may be warning signs of dangerously high levels of bilirubin that require prompt treatment.

  • Skin appears very yellow
  • Infant becomes hard to wake or fussy
  • Poor feeding
  • Abnormal behavior
  • Feverish

Treating Jaundice

While most infants with jaundice do not require treatment, in more moderate to severe cases treatment will be recommended. Some infants can be treated by phototherapy, a special light treatment that exposes the baby’s skin to get rid of the excess bilirubin. Infants who do not respond to phototherapy or who continue to have rising bilirubin levels may be treated with a blood transfusion.

Always talk to your pediatrician if you have questions about newborn jaundice. 

By Pediatric Associates of Paoli - Pediatrics for Family Health
October 13, 2017
Category: Child Health Care
Tags: Germs   Prevention  

Germ PreventionKids pick up germs all day, every day. Whether they are sharing toys, playing at day care or sitting in the classroom, whenever children are together, they are at risk for spreading infectious diseases.

Parents should play an active role in helping their kids stay healthy by taking extra precaution to minimize germs. Here are a few tips on how.

Tidy Up

Spending just a few extra minutes each day tidying up your household can go a long way to keep your home germ-free and your kids healthy. Disinfect kitchen countertops after cooking a meal, and wipe down bathroom surfaces as well—especially if your child has been ill with vomiting or diarrhea. Doorknobs, handrails and many plastic toys should also be sanitized on a routine basis. Simply by disinfecting your home more regularly, and even more so when someone in your household has been ill, you can significantly cut down on re-infection.

Set a Good Example

Parents should set good examples for their children by practicing good hand washing and hygiene at home. Encourage your kids to cough or sneeze into a tissue rather than their hands. Children should also be taught not to share drinking cups, eating utensils or toothbrushes. If your school-aged child does become ill, it’s best to keep them home to minimize spreading the illness to other children in the classroom.

Hand Washing

Finally, one of the easiest (and most effective) ways to prevent the spread of infection is by hand washing. At an early age, encourage your child to wash their hands throughout the day, especially:

  • After using the bathroom
  • Before eating
  • After playing outdoors
  • After touching pets
  • After sneezing or coughing
  • If another member of the household is sick

The Centers for Disease control recommends washing hands for at least 10 to 15 seconds to effectively remove germs.

Parents can’t keep their kids germ-free entirely, but you can take extra precautions to help keep your environment clean. It’s also important to help your child understand the importance of good hygiene and thorough hand washing as a vital way to kill germs and prevent illnesses. 

Children ExercisingChildren need physical activity on a regular basis to keep them healthy and strong. It’s unfortunate that many kids today are considered overweight. In fact, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. And in 2008, more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.

The effects of obesity on a child’s health can be severe. Overweight children are more prone to chronic illnesses as well as a poor self-image during childhood. It's critical that kids are getting the right amount of exercise in order to regulate obesity, promote heart and lung fitness, and prevent other serious illnesses. Adopting healthy habits at a young age can keep kids fit and healthy into adulthood.

So as a parent, how do you find the time to stay active and healthy? And how can you make physical activity fun and enjoyable for your child? To help kids stay fit while having fun, follow these helpful tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • Set a good example and embrace a healthier lifestyle for yourself. Children who see a parent making health and fitness a priority will be more inclined to do the same.
  • Limit TV time to two hours a day to encourage physical activity elsewhere.
  • Keep physical activity fun and enjoyable so that your child wants to participate again and again.
  • In combination with an active lifestyle, provide well-balanced meals and promote healthy food choices.
  • Talk to grandparents, teachers, and other caretakers about your expectations for fitness so that you can work together to encourage healthy activity when your child is away from home.
  • Turn mundane tasks, such as raking leaves, into a fun family activity that involves exercise.
  • Learn your child’s interests and suggest team sports, such as soccer as a great way to keep kids active and fit on a regular basis.

Combining regular physical activity with a healthy diet is the key to a healthy lifestyle for your entire family. Parents can turn exercise into a lifelong habit by making fitness a part of their daily schedule. When your child is interested in physical activity at a young age, exercise and fitness are more likely to become a routine that lasts for years in years.

Questions about fitness or nutrition? Talk to your pediatrician for advice and suggestions for promoting a healthier lifestyle for your family.

Playground SafetyWhether it’s at the park, school or in your own backyard, kids of all ages enjoy climbing on the monkey bars, going down the slide and swinging.  Playgrounds are a great place for kids to exercise, take in fresh air and socialize with friends.   Unfortunately, it’s also a place many kids get injured every year as a result of faulty equipment and improper use.  In fact, each year more than 200,000 kids under the age of 15 are treated in hospital emergency rooms for playground-related injuries.

While there are some inevitable dangers, the good news is that many of these injuries can easily be prevented with proper supervision. Do you know what to look for to make sure your playground is safe?

Play it Safe: What to Look for at Your Playground

Risks linked with playground safety may not be as apparent as those associated with swimming or biking; you just have to know what to look for. You can make the playground safe and fun for your kids by checking equipment and surfacing for potential hazards and following some simple safety guidelines. These include:

  • Always supervise your child to ensure playground equipment is used properly.  
  • Regularly check playground equipment for loose, sharp or broken parts. 
  • Know which surfacing is most appropriate. Sand, wood chips and rubberized matting are the safest surfaces for playgrounds, while concrete or asphalt could lead to a serious injury if a child falls.
  • Make sure playground equipment is age and size appropriate for your child.
  • Minimize injuries by teaching your kids basic playground rules.
  • Play areas for younger children should be separated from those for older kids.
  • Don’t let children wear drawstrings, purses, necklaces or other items that could get caught on equipment.
  • Report dangerous playgrounds to responsible parties.
  • Ask your pediatrician about other tips for playground safety.

Don’t let careless behavior or a faulty apparatus ruin playground fun.  To minimize injuries, always be on the lookout for faulty equipment, improper surfaces, and careless behavior.  Play is an essential part of a child’s physical, social, intellectual, and emotional development. Following these playground safety tips will help your kids play as safely as possible.