If you have a child with a life-threatening food allergy, you know the importance of planning ahead and carrying an Epi-Pen. You probably cook allergen-free meals or eat out at trusted restaurants, making day-to-day life a little easier on you and your child. However, as Thanksgiving and other holidays that involve a lot of eating approach, food allergies can become a more pressing daily concern. The family is snacking on the fly, attending parties with unfamiliar food and joining in family gatherings with well-meaning relatives who might not completely understand the severity of your child’s allergy.
The doctors at Willows Pediatrics are very familiar with food allergies, and several have family members with life-threatening allergies. Here is their advice as to how to prepare for, and navigate, the “eating” season.
First and foremost, always carry your child’s Epi-Pen and keep it nearby. Don’t leave it at home (where it will be of no use in an emergency) and don’t leave it in the car (where it can be rendered ineffective by extremely cold weather). Likewise, if you are dropping off your child at a party, leave the Epi-Pen with a responsible adult and take the time to train him or her on how and when to use it. Read More
At Willows Pediatrics we frequently meet with expectant mothers and fathers. At these consultations we are able to chat with them about a variety of topics including newborn care, lactation and what to expect in the delivery room. One of the issues our soon-to-be parents often raise is whether or not to bank their child’s umbilical cord blood … and where to do so.
Cord blood from the umbilical cord is a rich source of stem cells that can save lives through stem cell transplants. Parents of newborns can elect to have the cells from their baby’s umbilical cord “banked” for future use. There are two options for families to bank their newborn’s cord blood, through a private company or through the public cord blood bank. Read More
Sometimes, especially with young children, making sure everyone is in the car and safely buckled up can be the trickiest part of the day! We know that just getting your children to an appointment at Willows Pediatrics can involve various forms of car seats, boosters and seat belts. So, to make sure all of our patients arrive here safely, we wanted to go over current car safety guidelines.
According to the CDC, in 2008, an average of 4 children ages 14 or younger were killed in motor vehicle crashes every day, and many more were injured. These statistics are sobering, but there is also reassuring news: proper car seat safety can make a huge difference. In 2008, restraint use saved the lives of 244 children ages 4 and younger and child safety seats reduce the risk of death in car crashes by 71% for infants and 54% for toddlers ages one to four.
The AAP has put their car safety recommendations for 2010 on HealthyChildren.org.
According to this very detailed paper, infants should be placed in rear-facing car seats and always in the back seat of the car. Infants should ride rear-facing until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat’s manufacturer. (At a minimum, under Connecticut law, children must ride rear-facing until they have reached at least 1 year of age AND weigh at least 20 pounds.)
Everybody—and every body—needs vitamin D. Vitamin D is vital for bone growth and repair and many other bodily functions. A deficiency can cause a number of health issues including weak bones and muscles and, in severe situations, rickets. Unfortunately, especially during adolescence—which also happen to be peak bone building time—vitamin D deficiency is common.
One reason for the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency is because very few foods in nature contain it. Fish liver oils and fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel are the best sources, and small amounts of vitamin D are found in beef liver and egg yolks. Fortified milk, juice and some cereals are other good sources of the vitamin. However, it is important to note (1) that many dairy products made from milk, such as cheese and ice cream are not fortified; and (2) at least one study found that 15% of milk samples from the U.S. and Canada had no vitamin D and more than half had less than 80% of the vitamin D content stated on the label. Read More
Nothing gives our favorite Connecticut parents the heebie jeebies like a case of head lice! Head lice (pediculosis capitis), while relatively harmless to children, causes great anxiety and stress to families who find themselves dealing with a lice infestation.
Before we get into the “nit-ty” (pun intended) gritty, there are two things we’d like to remind our Willows Pediatrics patients of: (1) that head lice is not a sign of poor hygiene and (2) head lice do not carry disease. Read More
Most of our patients at Willows Pediatrics have heard of the DPT vaccine, but fewer know a whole lot about the diseases it was designed to prevent. Today, in light of a recent outbreak in California, we would like to shed some light on the “P” in DPT: Pertussis. Before vaccines, pertussis (also known as whooping cough) was a common childhood disease that caused thousands of deaths annually back in the 1920s and 1930s. The development of a pertussis immunization in the 1940s and the acellular version (which we now use in the DPT shot) in the 1990s, has reduced the cases of this disease significantly.
However, pertussis still exists and is a highly contagious childhood disease. According to the CDC, a typical case of pertussis in children and adults starts with a cough and runny nose for one to two weeks, followed by weeks (or even months) of rapid coughing fits that sometimes end with a whooping sound. It is most often transmitted via airborne droplets from a cough or sneeze or direct contact with the respiratory secretions from an infected person. When it comes to symptoms, pertussis is most severe in infants. It can lead to pneumonia, apnea, neurological complications (such as seizures), dehydration and even death. Read More
We all love sunny days in New England! The summer is our one chance to really enjoy our beaches, pools, backyard sprinklers, boats and everything else Fairfield County has to offer. However, as much as we adore the sun, we all have to be careful about exposing our skin—and our children’s young skin—to its rays. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it only takes one sunburn to double a child’s lifetime risk of developing melanoma. Pediatric skin cancer, while rare, is an important health concern and melanoma accounts for up to three percent of all pediatric cancers, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Read More
In Westport, Weston, Fairfield and neighboring towns, many of us live on cul de sacs, quiet streets or have paved driveways. These smooth surfaces are ideal for kids to play on scooters, bikes, skateboards, roller blades, rip sticks and other wheeled toys. While it makes us happy to see so many of our patients outside, learning balance, practicing coordination and getting exercise, we are routinely surprised by the sheer number of youngsters we see on a daily basis without helmets. Read More
photo via flickr.com
With the warm weather already here, many local families are venturing to the beach or to backyard pools for a little relief from the heat. And while swimming and splashing are fun, healthy ways to spend time in the summer, parents and caregivers cannot forget that safety is of paramount importance. The CDC reports that an average of ten people per day die from drowning in the U.S., and one quarter of those are children under the age of fourteen. Unfortunately, at Willows, we’ve seen first-hand the heartbreaking results of drownings and near-drownings in local water and hope never to see similar tragedies again. Read More
Welcome to our first Willows Pediatric Group blog! As part of our new website, we have decided to start publishing a weekly blog for our patients and their families.
Why a blog for a medical practice? First of all, it’s a quick and easy way for us to pass on new information to the families in our practice. So, if we see a new recommendation on the AAP website or read an interesting journal article, we’ll be able to share it with you—quickly—in a clear and concise manner. Read More