For a new parent, choosing a pediatrician is one of the most challenging and important decisions you’ll need to make. Your doctor needs to be knowledgeable and experienced. They need to connect with you and your kids alike. And of course, they need to be accessible when you need them…it’s not an easy task. Most of our pediatricians and nurse practitioners are parents ourselves, so we know how helpful it is to hear input from other parents. Fortunately, several of our patients’ families at Children’s Wellness Center are happy to share their thoughts with you.
We understand that choosing the right pediatrician is a process. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Families’ stories like those in the video above can be a great step. But you should still take the time you need to research qualifications, meet in person, and ask all your questions to find the right pediatrician. Whether you’re about to have a new baby, you’ve moved, or you’re looking to switch from your current pediatrician, checking out all your options can help you find the pediatrician and “medical home” that will guide your kids through a healthy childhood. To find out more about our practice or to become a new patient, contact Children’s Wellness Center today. For more interesting articles about keeping your kids safe and healthy, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
Everyone knows that prescription medications are prescription-only because they need to be used sparingly and with caution. However, it’s important to also remember that just because a medication is over-the-counter (or OTC) does not mean that it carries no risks. Especially for kids, over-the-counter medicines need to be used correctly in order for them to be safe and effective. Our board-certified pediatricians and nurse practitioners at Children’s Wellness Center want your family to be safe and healthy, so here are a few tips to help you use your kids’ OTC medicines correctly:
Don’t be overly quick to give your child medicine. While the right medications can be perfectly safe if used correctly, many childhood illnesses simply need a little rest and time to allow your child’s immune system to do its job.
Keep all medications in their original containers, complete with childproof lids.
Always read the instructions on the original packaging for the medicine and follow the instructions closely.
Be aware that some OTC medicines have minimum ages. For example:
Acetaminophen (like Tylenol®) should not be given to infants under 2 months of age unless it is specifically recommended by a doctor.
Ibuprofen (like Motrin®) should not be used until 6 months of age.
Kids under 6 years old should not take any OTC cold medicines or cough
Aspirin (and all medications that contain aspirin) should be avoided for all kids unless your doctor specifically says that it’s okay.
Use measuring spoons, droppers or other applicators that are specifically made for the purpose of measuring and administering medicine for kids (in fact, many medicines come with their own measuring cups or spoons). Do not use kitchen teaspoons and tablespoons as a substitute, and don’t try to “eyeball it” and guess on a dosage. The most accurate way to measure dosage is with an oral syringe, which most pharmacies will give to parents for free.
Some OTC medicines come in the form of oral drops for infants and syrups for toddlers. Remember that infant drops are usually more concentrated than the syrups, so if your toddler needs, for instance, 1 teaspoon of syrup, do not substitute 1 teaspoon of an infant drop medicine.
Store all OTC and prescription medicines alike in a safe, secure place that is out of your kids’ reach. This should be one of your childproofing
Keep in mind that some drops, syrups, and tablets include multiple medicines, so be sure to read the ingredient list. For example, if you’ve given your child a syrup that contains acetaminophen, avoid doubling up and giving him/her an additional dose of acetaminophen as well.
Many medicines for kids have charts to tell you the correct dosage. If there is a weight chart and an age chart, use the weight chart first, because it will be a more accurate dosage.
OTC medications can still cause adverse side effects or allergic reactions. Keep track of these so that you know if you need to avoid certain ingredients in the future. Call your pediatrician if your child vomits or develops a rash. Call 911 emergency services if your child is unconscious and won’t wake up, has a lot of trouble breathing, starts twitching or shaking uncontrollably, or begins acting very strangely.
As far as vitamins and dietary supplements go, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends vitamin D supplements of 400 IU/day for infants under 1 year of age, and 600 IU/day for kids over 1 year of age. This is primarily for infants who are being breastfed or for kids who are not getting enough vitamin D in their normal diet. Beyond this, only give your kids additional vitamins if it’s specifically recommended by your pediatrician, because large doses of unnecessary vitamins can cause serious adverse effects.
Be sure to follow any OTC medication’s instructions about whether the medicine should be taken with certain foods, with water, without food, etc. so that your child’s body can absorb and use the medication the way it should.
When your kids are sick, of course you want to do everything you can to help them feel better quickly, and OTC medicines can be helpful. Just be sure you’re using them correctly and only when appropriate to make sure that they’re truly giving you and your kids the benefits you expect. For more kids’ health tips for parents, follow Children’s Wellness Center on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
“No more pencils, no more books;” if there’s one thing kids get most excited about when it comes to school, we’d bet it’s summer vacation! With their newfound increase of free time, summer months are a popular time when many kids pack their bags for the great outdoors, by attending summer camps. As their parent, you send your children off to camp knowing they will be cared for and well looked after by their counselors but what can you do to help your child stay safe before they leave? While not all summer camps have the same pre-participation requirements for their campers, the Children’s Wellness Center pediatricians want to share the importance of camp physicals for children and teens and what you should know before you go to help them have a healthy, safe, and fun-filled summer.
Even if your summer camp doesn’t require a camp physical prior to starting camp, we’re firm believers in parents bringing their kids in to see their pediatrician for extra peace of mind. Kids get to participate in a lot of activities when they’re at camp, some indoor-related and others outdoor-related, including swimming, hiking, rock climbing, archery, canoeing, rafting, to name a few. Camp physicals let the people in charge of your child’s supervision know that they are indeed healthy enough to safely participate in these types of physically-engaging sports and activities. If there is a particular underlying health concern or pre-existing condition, like asthma or diabetes, that would make it unsafe for your child to participate, then they should most certainly know that beforehand so these health issues don’t worsen over time or have your child spending their summer in chronic pain or discomfort.
Camp physicals determine one of three things:
Your child can participate in a camp activity without limitations
Your child can participate in certain camp activities (not all) but has limitations due to a health concern
Your child should not participate in camp activities
When you bring your child in for their camp physical, we’ll start with reviewing your child’s and family medical history as this helps us to identify potential health problems, like heart issues, or injuries that can be recurring like sprains, muscle tears, or broken bones. We’ll discuss medications that your child may be currently taking or has taken in the past, conduct a physical exam to check their heart, lungs, abdomen, ears, eyes, throat, vision, etc., to see if there are any indicators that your child’s participation in summer camp activities could be unsafe to their health, or worse, life-threatening. To conclude the camp physical, we’ll determine if your child is all clear to enjoy their summer camp experiences or help implement a treatment plan for a medical concern we may identify. The key here is to make sure your child gets to camp safely in hopes they return home with a summer full of great memories.