Keeping kids safe is top on the minds of most parents, but sometimes hazards are just not that obvious. Introducing foods to infants and toddlers can be great fun, but it also brings opportunities for danger. A little knowledge about how to avoid choking can go a long way in avoiding serious emergencies.
I wrote in a previous post about using pixie stix to get kids to take their medicine. I am going to co-opt this old favorite treat for our lesson about choking hazards. What does a powdered candy have to do with choking hazards, you might ask?
Coughing children are a big problem. They can’t sleep. They keep their parents awake. They sound dreadful. They cough so hard they barf (ick).
Every parent, at some time, comes to me desperately seeking a cure for their child’s cough. The children are usually desperate too, though after his mom told me that he had coughed for a month, one patient of mine seemed quite gleeful, exclaiming “And I have snot rockets!”
What can a sleep-deprived parent do to help the hacking little one? Isn’t there a medicine to stop that cough?
The marketers of cough and cold medications would like you to think so. Take a tour of the cough and cold aisle in your local drugstore and you will see some very seductive terms: cough syrups are marketed as “mucolytics” (break down that disgusting thick sludge in your lungs!), “expectorants” (out, out, damn goo), and “suppressants” (STOP that painful, hacking cough.) True, “seductive” may be a strange descriptor when discussing snot, but these terms can be very tantalizing to a frantic parent whose kid is hacking up a lung.
A sure fire cough remedy, however, is not as easy to find as these product descriptions would suggest. Continue reading
First peanuts, now pistachios…. What can a hungry child eat anymore?
After Salmonella infections were identified in peanuts, many parents are nervous about feeding their young children products containing peanuts and have switched to alternative nut products.
Recently, however, Salmonella bacteria have been detected some pistachio products processed by Seton Pistachio of Terra Bella Inc.
Salmonella is a bacteria that causes gastrointestinal infection: vomiting and diarrhea. These infections can be mild or they can be severe, especially in young children.
Many of the active parents in my practice, eager to stay fit in this new phase of their lives, want to know when they can go jogging with their new baby.
A pediatrician friend of mine recently asked my opinion on the subject.
He also forwarded me an email he got from their pediatrician. Continue reading
Boy have times changed. Child safety seats are now recommended for all children younger than age 8. But I remember the days when the whole neighborhood squeezed into my mom’s Buick station wagon (adorned, of course, with faux wood panel siding, in full 70’s style.) We cruised to the swimming pool or the ice cream parlor with kids piled on top of each other, baby sister in my lap and another child wedged nearby.
Gone are these clown car days (and, sadly, the summer days spent poolside….) Today we know that car seats, booster seats, and seat belts with shoulder straps save lives. And parents and children use them.
But as your child grows, the recommendations about which child safety seat to use and which direction he should face can seem confusing. Continue reading
My general philosophy about childhood is that kids should get down and dirty as much as possible. I think that dirt is good for kids (as are stubbed toes and scraped elbows). Builds character!
So when parents tell me that their kid ate some sand at the beach or the playground, I tell them not to panic. It’s good for them!
A mother of one of my patients called me to report that her child had recently dined on some gourmet goose poop at the local park. Delish! And, luckily, ingestion of goose poop is unlikely to transmit any severe infections.
When I was growing up the family that lived next to us had a great brood of kids. Andrew, the 3rd child of 4, was always getting into their pantry and eating the dog food. Gross! But I never imagined that it was harmful for the little tike.
Well, Andrew, I hope that you have grown out of that habit. The CDC has reported an outbreak of salmonella in humans, which was transmitted from dry pet food. Apparently most of the cases are transmitted when young children touch or eat the contaminated pet food.
Despite this news, I am still going to advocate for kids to jump in puddles, to make mud pies, and occasionally to eat a little dirt. But, at least for the time being, please stick to human food. Continue reading