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The Importance of Well Child Visits in the First Year of Life

Nothing is more important to you than the health and wellbeing of your child. With that in mind, it is important to make sure you keep all of the well child visits for your infant during the first year of life. There are many well child checkups in the first two years, then they will lessen in frequency. These months are important to your child’s development and overall health.

Vaccinations

Your child will get many vaccinations during their well child visits, particularly within the first year of life. Many vaccinations are not approved for very young infants and children. As your child ages, more vaccinations are necessary. In addition, several vaccinations require more than one dose. Keeping your child up to date on vaccinations is vitally important to their welfare. With so many illnesses, particularly measles, making a reappearance, it is important to keep your child protected.

Growth

Your child will do more growing in weight and length during the first year than at any other point in their lives. It is important to have their height and weight checked often to make sure that their growth is on target. There are several medical conditions that could exist that could stunt your child’s growth. The sooner these are discovered, the easier they are to treat.

Development

Your pediatrician will also talk with you about your child’s development at each well child visit. Your child will learn a vast amount of information and skills in the first year of life. It is important to make sure that their development is on target. Slowed or delayed development could be signs of medical conditions that could affect your child’s entire life. The sooner these are discovered, the better you can plan for their care.

If you are going to be having a new baby soon, or if you already have a new infant, it is important to schedule an appointment with us today for information about how you can protect your child through well child visits.

Picking the Right Car Seat for Your Child

Being a parent can come with a lot of unknowns. There are so many things you’re expected to know, and it can all be really overwhelming. One of the first things that is beneficial to learn is how to pick the right car seat for your child. There are only four stages of car seats, which makes them pretty easy to remember.

Prenatal

The prenatal stage is actually meant for moms who are still carrying their babies. Car crashes are very dangerous to everyone, but especially pregnant women. There are crash tested pregnancy seat belt positioners that redirect the seat belt away from the stomach.

Rear Facing

The rear facing car seat stage is for birth to at least two years old. Ideally, a child stays rear facing until three or four, which is usually when they no longer fit into the seat in a rear facing position. Rear facing is very safe for children because the car seat gives them support for the head, neck, and back. If seated forward during an accident, the head and neck are unrestrained. This can be very dangerous because their bones and muscles are not fully developed. Continue reading “Picking the Right Car Seat for Your Child”

It’s That Time Of Year Again: 3 Things to Know About the Flu Shot

It’s the winter season, which also means it’s the flu season. Though the flu is common, it also has the potential to be extremely dangerous. Most healthy adults can beat the flu with their immune system, but children are more vulnerable to the complications of the flu due to their still-developing immune systems.

The flu shot is the quickest and easiest way to shield your children from the misery and danger of the flu this season. Here’s what you need to know to get started.

What Is the Flu Shot Made Of?

The flu vaccine is created with inactivated virus cells from the most common forms of the flu virus. Since they are inactivated, they are dead. While the strains used may not match perfectly with the strains that pop up this winter, they will still strengthen your immune system by activating antibodies that protect against infection. Continue reading “It’s That Time Of Year Again: 3 Things to Know About the Flu Shot”

The Truth About Antibiotics

Antibiotics save lives, but they also have the ability to put lives in jeopardy. How can something so miraculous also be so dangerous? While antibiotics definitely have an important role to play in medical care, it’s important to understand their implications and dangers, especially for your vulnerable children.

What Are Antibiotics?

An antibiotic is a medication meant to slow down and destroy the growth of bacteria in the body. A great deal of bacteria in the body is healthy and vitally necessary to survival, but the specific strains of bacteria targeted by antibiotics are known to cause infections like meningitis, salmonella, sinusitis, and many more. When used correctly, antibiotics defend against bacteria and give the body’s natural defense mechanisms a chance to finish the healing process.

Are Too Many Antibiotics Bad?

There is no denying that antibiotics like penicillin have saved countless lives by treating bacterial infections and preventing the spread of disease. However, too much of a good thing always results in negative consequences. There are now a number of standard antibiotic treatments that are no longer responsive in the body. This is known as antibiotic resistance and it is caused by overuse and misuse of antibiotics as a tool to fight illness. Continue reading “The Truth About Antibiotics”

Combating Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotics are a wonder drug, and can save children’s lives from dangerous bacteria. Unfortunately, because certain antibiotics have been overprescribed, we are beginning to have a problem with resistance, which makes these once powerful drugs useless in the face of illness. Illnesses like pneumonia, ear infections, and meningitis are now harder to treat than ever before. Thankfully, there are steps parents and pediatricians can take together to help prevent the overprescription of antibiotics.

Your Child May Not Actually Need Antibiotics

Your child may appear very sick, but unless they have a bacterial infection, antibiotics will not serve any purpose. According to the American Association of Pediatrics, there are certain illnesses that need antibiotics – but before the antibiotics are prescribed, there should be a degree of certainty that it is in fact a bacterial infection. This might mean doing a blood, urine, or culture test to determine the bacterial infection and then prescribing the shortest dosage possible per the evidence. Parents should never pressure their doctor to prescribe their child antibiotics when the doctor does not feel they are necessary.

Are Some Antibiotics Better than Others?

In certain scenarios, some antibiotics should be prescribed over others. For instance, Ampicillin is recommended for children hospitalized with community-acquired pneumonia. Broader-spectrum antibiotics like cephalosporins should be avoided if possible, due to the fact that they have been known to create resistance. Vancomycin or carbapenems should be avoided if possible as well. Children usually respond well to oral antibiotics, so prolonged courses of IV antibiotics are usually not necessary. Continue reading “Combating Antibiotic Resistance”

Back to the Basics: Ditch the Digital Toys

A new report by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is encouraging parents to avoid buying their children the latest digital toys, and instead reach for more simple classic toys. In the era of beeps, buzzes, and tablets, our children are not gaining the same skills previous generations garnered from play. When children play, we do not want to just randomly stimulate their minds. We want it to be the right kind of stimulation – one that promotes growth and learning.

Don’t Fall for the Trap

Many of the latest digital toys for kids (tablets, apps, interactive video, voice recorded books, and computer programs) advertise that they are educational. They make all sorts of claims leading parents to believe that they will make their children smarter. Just because these digital platforms call themselves interactive does not mean they are the correct type of interaction that a child needs. Toys are quintessential to helping a child’s brain develop language skills, pretend play, socially interact, problem solve, and promote physical activity, and these digital toys are just not going to cut it. Continue reading “Back to the Basics: Ditch the Digital Toys”

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”