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?
A friend once told me with great disdain, while watching me wiggle a cotton swab deep in my ear canal with great satisfaction, “I never use Q-tips to clean out my ears.” Apparently a doctor once told him never to put anything smaller than his elbow into his ear, and he took these words as gospel.
Do you ever have the feeling when someone tells you some great truth, a law of the universe that you’ve been breaking for years in ignorance, that it’s remarkable that you have survived this long, having missed out on some basic manual on life along the way? I often wonder if the parents in my practice feel this way as I spout my wisdom on general health issues, and they look chagrined at having broken the rules with their child. The good news is, it’s hard to break your child. Especially with things like the management of ear wax.
So what are the rules of proper ear hygiene? Though I think that my friend’s doctor was a bit dramatic, I do agree that for the most part, cotton swabs do more harm than good for children’s ears. Continue reading
When I was growing up, “juice” was standard fare for kids. Those were the Kool-Aid days…. But now we realize that even juice that comes from real fruits and not a packet of sugary powder is not necessarily healthful.
What is so wrong about juice or other sugary beverages? Isn’t a glass of orange juice an important part of a well-rounded breakfast? Continue reading
As the ad jingle goes, milk it does a body good. But many parents ask me if they should stop giving their sick child cow’s milk. Myth or truism? Here’s the lowdown.
It is true that milk may increase the thickness of mucous during a cold or other respiratory infection. It will not, however, worsen or prolong the illness itself. Avoiding dairy products during a respiratory illness may make your icky-feeling kid feel slightly less icky. But during any illness it is crucial that children drink plenty of fluids to stay well hydrated. If milk is the only thing your little one will drink during an illness, then give him milk! Continue reading
Rolling over, sitting, and walking are all important motor milestones in the life of an infant. And the exact timing of reaching these milestones vitally important… to the psyche of parents.
The mother of my four-month-old patient was ecstatic when she rolled over (all by herself!), and then devastated when she seemed uninterested in trying this new found skill again for nearly two months. She would sit by the crib pleading with her daughter: Roll over, honey, you can do it.
Every day in my pediatric practice I hear from parents who are worried about the rate that their child is developing motor skills. Parental worries come from watching friends’ children who are developing at different rates, or are triggered during a review of the prior generation’s baby books that detail how precocious other family members were. Continue reading
“My 2 year old doesn’t talk! What can I do doctor?”
A recent day in my clinic revealed why speech and language are the source of much anxiety for the parents of toddlers.
My first patient of the day was a very cute 17-month-old girl. As I walked in the room she demanded to “Color! Color! Color!” This budding artist was also investigating her body parts, as well as those of others. After I examined her abdomen she pointed to her umbilicus and proudly proclaimed “Beeeyyeee Buuuooon”.
Then she toddled over to me happily. She wanted, apparently, to see my beeeyyeee buuuuoon (belly button) and was determined in this pursuit. I am accustomed to being caressed/attacked by an explorative toddler but her mother was quite embarrassed by her groping. I reassured her mother that her socially-engaged use of language was not only age-appropriate, but actually quite precocious. Continue reading
Question from Melissa: So, my daughter (16 months) is not the best eater these days. I’ve read a million things on various websites about toodlers and eating, but I’d like to know what you think. This is the situation: she doesn’t eat ANY vegetables except some avocado on occasion; she regularly skips meals (so, has on a good day she has two meals and a bit of a snack); and much of her diet is diary (milk appx. 20 oz. and cheese) and bread (whole grain, but still…). This seems a horrible diet to me. Though I introduce different things to her, she doesn’t seem to like much of anything else. How many calories should she have in a day and should I just give her a multivitamin and not stress about this??
If I had a nickel for every parent who felt this way….
And thus begins the fun of toddler eating. Even babies who would eat *anything* at 12 months old suddenly seem to stop eating when they become 14 to 16 months old. But not to despair! The average toddler only eats 1 good meal every one to two days. At the other mealtimes, they just pick. With these bird-like appetites, it seems amazing that they get enough calories to grow! But somehow they all do. Continue reading
Between 9 and 12 months of age, many parents bring their little one in to see me because they are worried about an ear infection. Their child has started tugging on, batting at, scratching, or generally messing with their ears. The good news? These children almost never have an ear infection, unless there are other suspicious symptoms.
I don’t know why, but this seems to be the age when babies discover their ears (the feet and hands have long lost their novelty).
So, if you see your smiling, cheerful baby without a fever or other signs of illness batting away at his ears, there is no need to worry. On the other hand, if your child seems unusually irritable or lethargic, develops a fever, and is tugging on his ears, you should head on in to the doctor’s office for a quick look.
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