Guns in the Home

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), at least 285 children got hold of a gun and inadvertently shot someone in 2017. That is why the AAP recommends that no guns be in the home of a child. If this is not possible, they recommend all guns be locked away properly, and that you discuss gun safety with any household where your child plays. Any death or injury from accidental gun use is a travesty, and it is up to responsible adults to ensure children are not able to get their hands on weapons.

Proper Storage

If a family decides to have guns in their household, it is important that these guns are stored properly so children do not have access to them. Proper storage means that all guns are stored unloaded, separately from ammunition. The gun should be stored in a lockbox, gun safe, or vault. A trigger lock can also be placed on the gun for added protection. If you do not have a lock, many police departments will give them away for free.

People may argue that they are not be able to adequately protect their families with all of these precautions in place, yet the truth is, children are more likely to hurt themselves with a gun rather than be protected by one. According to the AAP, a gun in the home is 43% more likely to kill a friend or family member than kill a criminal. Further, children with behavioral health issues are more likely to use a firearm to harm themselves or others. The risk of suicide is 4-10 times higher in a house with a gun. Continue reading “Guns in the Home”

Car Seat Safety Guidelines

It may seem like the guidelines for car seat safety have been all over the place the last few years. Yet the evolution of this safety practice has only become progressively stricter over time. Guidelines have shifted so the child can stay in each type of car seat as long as possible, ultimately mitigating serious injury.

The Recommended Stages

As of now, it is recommended that children remain in a rear-facing car seat for as long as they are able. All children below the age of two should definitely be in a rear-facing seat, and potentially children up to the age of four. Once a child transitions to a front facing seat, they should stay in that type of car seat until they no longer fit within the weight and height parameters. This is usually at least up to 60 pounds.

When they have outgrown this seat, they can be placed in a booster seat. Once the child reaches the size where a normal car seatbelt can fit them in the ideal locations, they can move past the booster seat. The child should always use both a lap and shoulder belt, and they should not sit in the front seat of the car until they are at least 13 years old. Continue reading “Car Seat Safety Guidelines”

Too Much Screen Time For Parents

Most people have heard about how detrimental too much screen time can be for the developing mind of a child, but it turns out that parents who are addicted to their technology may be causing harm to their children as well. It can take one second to check a notification that pops up on your phone. The problem is, as you check that notification, something else may catch your eye, and your one second has turned into ten minutes. Before you know it, you have been scrolling through social media much longer than expected!

While smartphones and tablets have certainly made life easier in some areas, they also can cause more stress, distraction, and subpar parenting. If you want to keep your children, your family, and yourself healthy, it may be time to ditch the technology – or at least cut back.

Distraction

It’s easy to see why our technology can be distracting, with endless social media posts, fun games, important emails, and interesting articles. Sometimes, switching focus to your phone can even be a quick mental break. Usually, however, it ends up being a distraction. Staring at a screen breaks up normal social interactions that you might have with family. This could mean missing important conversations about your children’s day or hearing about what is on their mind.

Research has shown that you have less in-depth conversations when a smartphone is on the table. Parents who are on their phone also are less responsive to their children, or at the very least slower in responding. Parents can become even more irritable when their children interrupt their screen time. All of these distractions can lead to the children having more behavioral problems, not to mention affect your relationship. Continue reading “Too Much Screen Time For Parents”

Food Allergies 101: How to Set Protocols to Protect Your Children

Living with a severe allergy is a constant challenge. If your child has been diagnosed with a food allergy, you understand how important it is to always be prepared for an unexpected reaction. This is especially true during the school year, when you may not be with your child to protect him during a food allergy reaction.

This is why it’s important to create a protocol of action to let other adults know how to react if your child is exposed to a severe allergen. A protocol can help ensure that the appropriate treatment occurs as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Peanut Allergy

Consuming even a small number of peanuts can cause the immune system to overreact if your child has a severe peanut allergy. While minor symptoms include stomach ache and hives, life-threatening reactions include trouble breathing and swallowing, swelling of the tongue, and loss of consciousness.

These severe reactions, known as anaphylaxis, and can occur minutes to hours after peanuts or peanut products have been consumed. Mild reactions can be treated with an antihistamine like Benadryl, but anaphylaxis must be treated with a doctor-prescribed epinephrine, or Epipen. If no Epipen is on hand, or the symptoms quickly return, your child should be immediately taken to the emergency room for treatment. Continue reading “Food Allergies 101: How to Set Protocols to Protect Your Children”

Common Childhood Illnesses to Look Out For During the School Year

Chickenpox

Chickenpox is a highly contagious disease that causes blister-like rashes, severe itching, exhaustion, and fever in children. It is common for children to have up to 500 itchy blisters across their bodies when they catch chickenpox. Fortunately, a chickenpox vaccine now makes it possible to prevent this disease entirely. Make sure your young child receives the proper chickenpox vaccine at the pediatrician.

Ear Infection

Most children will experience at least one ear infection in their young lives. Ear infections affect the ear canal or middle canal, often when fluid builds up as result of bacteria or viruses. Breastfeeding for the first six months and getting the pneumococcal vaccination are both known to minimize your child’s risk of ear infections.

Specific symptoms indicate that your child may have an ear infection, including tugging or pulling at an ear, difficulty sleeping, irritability and crying, loss of balance, and fever. Depending on the severity of your child’s ear infection, your pediatrician may recommend antibiotics as a treatment. Continue reading “Common Childhood Illnesses to Look Out For During the School Year”

What Do You Need to Know About Gardasil and Cervical Cancer?

Immunizations are a very important part of your child’s lasting health. From the time your child is born, she needs to receive a very specific schedule of immunizations to stay protected from serious and deadly infections. You are probably familiar with most of the, but the HPV vaccine that combats cervical cancer is not widely understood.

If your child is 11 or older, make sure you understand the risks of cervical cancer and the role of Gardasil.

The Risks of Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer develops in the cervix, the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that plays a leading role in causing cervical cancer.

When a woman’s immune system is exposed to HPV, her immune system may not be able to prevent the virus from doing harm. This allows HPV to morph cells on the cervix into cancer cells. Continue reading “What Do You Need to Know About Gardasil and Cervical Cancer?”

How to Prepare For Your Child’s Pediatrician Appointment

Everything is easier with a bit of preparation, including your child’s pediatrician appointment. Whether you’re heading to an annual checkup or a sick visit, the following tips will help make the experience as smooth and stress-free as possible for you and your child.

Set the Schedule Strategically

If you have flexibility in your schedule, it can help to set your child’s appointment based on its overall purpose. Routine check-ups, for example, are best on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays. These are often calmer days at the pediatrician’s office compared to Mondays and Fridays, when parents of sick children are rushing in immediately before or after the weekend. Continue reading “How to Prepare For Your Child’s Pediatrician Appointment”

Exploring Common Childhood Viruses: Fifth Disease

We are all familiar with the chicken pox and the flu, but fifth disease is not as widely understood. Fifth disease is usually a quick and uncomplicated viral illness, but the distinctive red rashes always cause alarm in parents.

Familiarize yourself with fifth disease below so that you can recognize it in your own child and arrange the best treatment without delay.

What Is Fifth Disease?

Fifth disease is a viral illness that often develops in young children ages 5 to 15. It spreads through saliva and respiratory secretions, especially in school settings where so many children are together.

This illness is known to cause a bold red rash on the face. The redness caused by fifth disease is so distinctive that it can be compared to having a “slapped cheek”. This rash usually spreads down the trunk, arms, and legs and lasts up to three weeks. Continue reading “Exploring Common Childhood Viruses: Fifth Disease”

Is It Allergies Or a Cold? How to Differentiate Symptoms in Young Children

It’s awful to watch your child feel uncomfortable and sick, especially when you’re not sure of the root cause or how to address it. Trying to differentiate between allergy symptoms and cold symptoms is especially challenging for parents since the signs are so similar.

If your child has been suffering from sneezing, coughing, and congestion, it’s important not to ignore these symptoms and simply hope they go away. Use these tips to gain a better understanding of the real cause of your young child’s illness, and seek help from your pediatrician if needed.

Track the Triggers Of Your Child’s Symptoms

Though the symptoms of allergies and the common cold are similar – runny nose, sneezing, red eyes, lethargy – the triggers of the symptoms will be different. If your child’s symptoms only occur at specific times or in certain places, allergies are most likely to blame.

For instance, if your child’s runny nose only occurs after she has played outside or visited a home with a dog or cat, a pollen or pet allergy could be the cause. Also take note that pollen counts are highest around midday, so if allergies are to blame, your child’s symptoms could worsen between lunch and dinner. Continue reading “Is It Allergies Or a Cold? How to Differentiate Symptoms in Young Children”

The Importance of Keeping Your Children on a Regular Immunization Schedule

We are fortunate enough to live in an era with the medical technology capable of preventing terrible diseases that caused significant suffering to past generations. The immunization schedule outlined for children ages 0 to 6 year of age is designed to protect your child from the measles, polio, and countless other devastating diseases. Keeping to a recommended immunization schedule is key to ensuring the vaccinations do their job effectively.

Why Do Childhood Vaccinations Matter?

When your baby is growing in the womb, she is in a sterile environment safe from the threats of the outside world. Immediately after birth, your baby’s immune system must begin confronting bacteria and developing immune responses to environmental threats. However, your baby’s immune system isn’t strong enough to combat serious and life-threatening illnesses like the measles or polio. Continue reading “The Importance of Keeping Your Children on a Regular Immunization Schedule”