January 25, 2018 3:38 pm
It’s heartbreaking when your child is sick, but it’s also a definite inconvenience. If your kids are sick enough to need a day out of school and/or childcare, it takes a lot of coordination and rearranging from you as a parent. But many parents have difficulty knowing where the line is, and when they should or should not keep their kids home. The next time your child isn’t feeling well, our board-certified pediatricians and pediatric nurse practitioner have a helpful guide you can check.
How to Know if Your Child Needs to Stay Home Sick
There are three basic questions that can help you determine if you should keep your child home:
- Does he/she have a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher (or has within the past 24 hours)?
- Is he/she too ill to participate in class or would he/she need extra attention from the teacher or care provider?
- Is he/she contagious?
The first question has a clear answer – if your child’s temperature is 100.4 degrees or higher or if he/she has not been fever-free for 24 hours without ibuprofen or Tylenol, you need to keep him/her home. The second two questions are a bit less black-and-white. If you aren’t sure whether your child should go to school/day care, it’s best to ask a pediatrician or pediatric nurse practitioner. We understand that these things happen and that they can show up unexpectedly, so our team at Children’s Wellness Center can usually accommodate same-day appointments.
Even if your child didn’t meet the criteria above, he/she shouldn’t go to school with any significant symptoms, such as:
- Profuse runny nose
- Frequent or somewhat frequent coughing
- Respiratory symptoms that you feel the need to monitor
- Not at their normal activity level
- Not eating or drinking like they normally do
Specific Conditions that Warrant a Day at Home
For more specific guidelines, here are a few symptoms and conditions that will require your child to take the day off:
- Severe illness, persistent crying, lack of responsiveness, breathing difficulty, or a quickly spreading rash
- Diarrhea that doesn’t stay contained in a baby’s diaper or is causing a child to have accidents
- Vomiting twice or more in the past 24 hours
- Mouth sores with drooling that the child can’t control, or skin sores that are exposed and leaking fluid
- Rash accompanied by a fever and/or behavioral changes
- Strep throat or other streptococcal infection
- Untreated head lice, scabies, or ringworm
- Hepatitis A virus infection
In addition to these guidelines, some schools and child care facilities have their own policies about when kids are too sick to come. Find out if your kids’ facilities have policies and follow them closely so you don’t put other parents’ children or care providers at risk.
When your child is sick, all you want to worry about is helping him/her feel better. But with everyone’s busy lives, there’s a lot more to consider as well. This guide can be helpful, but if your child is sick, it may be best to schedule a pediatrician appointment to find out what could be wrong and whether you should keep him/her at home.
For more helpful kids’ health tips for parents, keep up with our blog and follow Children’s Wellness Center on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
January 15, 2018 11:48 pm
Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, aren’t illnesses we tend to associate with kids, but they happen often. In fact, according to the National Institute of Health, every year 3 out of 100 kids will get a UTI. As a parent, knowledge is the first step toward keeping your kids healthier, and our pediatric nurse practitioner and board-certified pediatricians are here to help by answering your questions about UTIs in kids.
What causes urinary tract infections?
Urinary tract infections happen when bacteria gets into the urethra, bladder, or other parts of the urinary tract and creates an infection. There are a number of ways this can happen, but the most common cause is E. coli from the digestive tract. In other cases, holding urine too long or an inability to properly and fully empty the bladder can lead to a UTI. Girls are at a much higher risk of urinary tract infections – in fact, they’re very uncommon for boys who are over 1 year of age, even uncircumcised boys who are more likely to have a UTI than circumcised boys. In some cases, infants who get a UTI may be recommended for further evaluation to determine if they have anatomical abnormalities or urinary reflux.
Why are urinary tract infections common in kids?
With so many types of bacteria in the stool, it’s easy to understand how babies in diapers can get pediatric urinary tract infections. In older, toilet-trained kids, it often happens because they’re not wiping properly after using the restroom. Kids also tend to put off going to the bathroom when they don’t want to stop playing, which can cause a UTI.
How do I know if my child has a urinary tract infection?
As adults, we typically recognize a UTI because of the burning during urination, but kids may not tell you if this is happening. Here are some other symptoms to look for as well:
- Foul-smelling urine
- Lack of appetite
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Frequent rushing to the bathroom but passing little or no urine
- Unusual bedwetting
- Red, pink, or cloudy urine
How are urinary tract infections treated in kids?
Urinary tract infections in kids, as with adults, are usually treated with oral antibiotics. In severe cases, it may need to be treated in a hospital with intravenous antibiotics instead. You can also help the healing process by having your child drink plenty of water. As simple as the treatment may sound, it’s crucial to schedule a pediatrician appointment and get treatment for your child’s UTI as soon as you can. If left untreated, a UTI can spread to the bladder, the ureters, and the kidneys, which can lead to permanent kidney damage and high blood pressure.
How can I protect my kids from urinary tract infections?
You may not be able to prevent them 100%, but there are ways to lower your kids’ risk for urinary tract infections:
- If you have kids in diapers, change their diapers promptly.
- Explain to your kids that they shouldn’t put off using the restroom.
- Make sure your kids drink plenty of water to keep their urinary system active and healthy.
- Teach your toilet-trained kids to wipe from front to back (not back to front) when they use the restroom.
- When giving your kids a bath, avoid using bubble bath or other potentially irritating products.
- When your daughter gets her period, explain to her that it’s important to change her pads and tampons frequently.
- If your kids go swimming or if their underwear gets wet, change them into dry clothes promptly.
- Make sure your kids don’t wear overly tight clothing.
- If your kids are constipated or have trouble emptying their bladder (or are experiencing other related problems), get treatment for them as early as possible.
We understand how overwhelming it can be to try to learn everything about your child’s health. That’s why we post these blogs – to break down the information you actually need in a convenient, easy-to-reference guide. If you think your child may have a urinary tract infection, schedule an appointment with us. For more kids’ health tips, follow Children’s Wellness Center on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
August 10, 2017 8:28 pm
It may be back-to-school month, but as far as the weather is concerned, summer is far from over. For most homeowners, that means there’s probably another few months of heavy lawn-mowing ahead. If you’re someone who’s been mowing grass for decades, it’s easy to take safety for granted and overlook the dangers a mower can pose, especially for children. In fact, when the US Consumer Product Safety Commission studied the issue in 2010, they found that nearly 17,000 kids and teens were treated in that year alone for lawn mower-related childhood injuries. To help you keep your family safe this year and for many summers to come, our providers at Children’s Wellness Center have compiled a few lawn mower safety tips.
- Wait until your child is at least 12 to let him/her operate a walk-behind mower, and at least 16 to operate a riding lawn mower. Each child’s maturity varies, but these are the general guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- When your teen is starting to use the lawnmower, give him/her hands-on instruction and supervise until you feel confident that he/she can safely do the chore alone.
- Always keep all children indoors while you mow, and make sure they’re being supervised by someone who can make sure they don’t get outside on their own. Even if they’re in an area that seems safe for kids outdoors, there’s a risk that a rock, stick, or other debris can be thrown from the mower and hurt them, so it’s truly best to keep everyone indoors.
- Teach children that the mower is a dangerous tool, not a toy, and do not let anyone (child or adult) ride as a passenger.
- Avoid reversing the mower if at all possible. If you absolutely must go in reverse, look very carefully for children before and during the back-up.
- Kids have a tendency to leave small toys in the yard, or to track rocks and sticks into the grass. Before you mow, walk through the lawn and remove any debris you find.
- If you need to walk away from your mower, always turn it off before you do. Never leave a running mower unattended.
- Teach your children not to touch the mower, even when it’s not in use. The blades may be sharp enough to make cuts or lacerations even when they’re not in use, and mowers can also remain hot enough to burn the skin for some time after they’re turned off.
- Stay alert while you’re mowing, even if you’re confident that all children are safely and securely indoors. It’s a good idea to avoid wearing headphones, to help you be more aware of your surroundings.
- When it comes to alcohol, prescription medications, or any other substance, don’t use a lawnmower under the influence. A lawnmower can be just as dangerous as a car, so if you aren’t sober enough to drive, you aren’t sober enough to mow.
- While we understand that each family has a budget, use a lawn mower with as many safety features as possible. For instance, many push mowers will stop if they detect that you stop touching the handle, and some riding mowers will stop the blades if the mower is driving in reverse or if the rider gets off the seat. If you’re shopping for a mower, look for one that meets the most up-to-date safety standard: ANSI B71.1-2017.
- Be particularly cautious when you’re approaching any corner, bush, or anything else that could be blocking your view of a nearby child.
- Whether or not your mower is currently in use, always store the gasoline in a locked cabinet that is out of your children’s reach.
It’s certainly possible to maintain a beautifully manicured lawn while keeping your kids safe, and it really just requires planning ahead and staying aware of your surroundings. If you have questions about lawn mower safety or any other topic about your child’s health and safety, contact Children’s Wellness Center. For more helpful tips, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
July 31, 2017 11:58 am
Worrying about your kids’ safety is just part of being a parent, but there’s one event that really amplifies this stress for most parents – the moment when your teenager starts driving. If that time is on the horizon for your family, don’t panic. Our board-certified pediatricians at Children’s Wellness Center have compiled some helpful tips for both parents and teens to make the early years of driving a safe, educational, and maybe even enjoyable experience.
Tips for Parents
- Go beyond the minimum state requirements for driving practice. Georgia law requires 40 hours of supervised driving experience before teens can get their full driver’s license, but the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends at least 50 hours.
- Start teaching your teen the basic skills in an easy, low-traffic and low-speed environment first. Then, gradually add in new skills and situations for them to master, like night driving, heavy traffic areas, interstates, etc.
- When looking for a vehicle for your teen driver, midsize or full-size cars with the latest safety measures are ideal. Steer clear of sports cars (which make speeding more tempting) and SUVs. SUVs are easier to roll over than other cars, and these crashes are more likely to cause injuries in children, teens, and adults alike.
- Be a good driving role model (no matter what age your child is) – avoid distractions, obey all traffic laws, and remind yourself to drive in the same way you would want your kids to drive.
- When you’re supervising your teen’s driving, stay calm and avoid yelling out critiques while they’re trying to focus on the road. If they make a mistake, have them pull into a parking lot or other safe place and have a conversation about what they should have done differently.
- Keep a log of your teen’s driving lessons, including the location, time, what skills you working on during each session, how long each session lasts, etc.
- The state of Georgia places restrictions on the number of passengers teens can have in their car, but as a parent, you can feel free to give your teen stricter limitations.
- Give your kids a limit on how far from home they’re allowed to drive, and define specific areas where they’re not allowed to drive by themselves.
- Even if you’ve already discussed underage drinking, make sure your teenager truly understands the importance of not drinking and driving.
- Some teens simply develop the decision-making skills they need later than others, so if you don’t feel that your teenager can safely begin learning to drive, you can have them wait to start the process, even if they’ve met Georgia’s age requirements.
- Communicate to your teen that the restrictions you put on their driving privileges are there for their own safety, and that you both have the same goal: for them to be safe on the road.
- Be careful about having your teen drive their younger siblings around. The Georgia legal restrictions on passengers for young drivers only apply to kids who aren’t in the driver’s immediate family, but siblings can be just as distracting as friends. For instance, it’s probably not a good idea to have your teenager drive four eight-year-olds to their baseball game.
- In their first few months of unsupervised driving, consider giving your teen a driving curfew so that they aren’t driving when it’s too dark or when they’re likely to be tired.
- Establish a parent-teen driving agreement like the one provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics, so that everyone is clear from the beginning about the driving rules.
- Familiarize yourself with the Georgia Graduated License Program. Under these laws, teens start with a learner’s permit, then an intermediate license, and only receive an unrestricted license after age 18.
Tips for Teen Drivers
- Don’t use your phone while your car is not parked (even if you’re stopped at a stoplight). This includes calling, texting, using social media, etc. If you need to use your phone, pull over into a parking lot or other safe area first.
- Be conscious of the weather. Rain, wind, snow, and other issues can strongly impact your ability to drive, so if you’re not comfortable driving in certain weather conditions, ask your parent to supervise.
- Learn how to handle emergency situations that might occur while you’re driving, like what to do if your tire blows out, if your car overheats, if you start to skid, if you get into an accident, etc.
- Before you start a drive, mentally review the route you’ll be taking so that you can focus more on watching the road, not on finding your way or messing with your navigation app.
- Never drive after using alcohol or drugs (including pain pills and certain other prescription medications), and never get in the car with a driver who has been using these substances (whether they’re a teenager or an adult).
- Don’t eat or drink while you’re driving – keep your hands and your mind distraction-free.
- Keep your music at a low enough volume so you can always hear emergency vehicles or other cars’ horns.
- Make sure any passengers in your vehicle are wearing their seatbelts, because you may be held responsible if there’s a crash and someone is hurt.
- Don’t drive when you’re angry, upset, or tired. These can all lead you to be distracted, and drowsy driving is particularly dangerous, so make sure you’re following the right sleep recommendations for teenagers.
- Never pick up hitchhikers, even if you’re concerned for his/her safety.
- Always call your parents if you won’t make it home before your curfew. They might be a little unhappy that you’re coming home late, but they’ll be much more upset if you don’t call, because they’ll be worrying that you’ve been in an accident.
The early driving years can really show the complex relationship between a teen and their parents – the teen is developing a desire for independence, while the parents need to retain some authority to teach their child how to be a responsible adult. But remember, everyone has the same goal for a young driver: to get from point A to point B safely. If you have more questions about your teenager’s health and safety, give us a call or schedule an appointment at Children’s Wellness Center online.