Our weekly newborn group is a time for new mothers to come together to share their experiences and learn from our group facilitators, Willows physicians, and each other. We also enjoy having guest speakers who present on subjects that moms have shown an interest in. One of our regular guest speakers is Tina Botticelli, a pediatric physical therapist from Norwalk Hospital. At a recent meeting Tina joined our newborn group to discuss infant motor development, and demonstrated recommended ways to position and hold babies to support their emerging physical skills. By encouraging proper head and neck development, parents can also reduce the likelihood that their baby will develop occipital plagiocephaly, or flattening on one side of the back of the head.
As part of teaching about infant development, the physicians, PA’s, and nurses at Willows want to remind parents and all caretakers about the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations for sleep safety. While tummy time is important for infants to develop strong muscles, tummy time is only for infants who are awake and being watched. And please remember, healthy babies are safest when sleeping on their backs at nighttime and during naps. Back to sleep, tummy to play!
Concussion Care for Active Children and Adolescents in Fairfield County
Despite taking precautions, active children and adolescents may experience head injuries, need to be evaluated, and appropriate return to school and play guidelines must be provided. Year round, Willows Pediatrics is committed to providing complete, consistent and comprehensive concussion management for our patients. However, with school starting and “Concussion Season” upon us, we want to review the services and expertise Willows Pediatrics can provide to children and adolescents who experience a head injury. Read More
Now that we’ve got a month of school under our belts here in Fairfield County, Willows Pediatrics thought it would be a good time to share some tips for school-travel safety with parents of school-aged children.
We love seeing kids in Westport, Fairfield and other local towns walking, biking and even skateboarding to school! It’s reminiscent of a simpler time, it’s a wonderful way to get the blood flowing (and get the “wiggles” out), and it’s great exercise too!
But here are a few things to remember if you get to school by foot. Read More
With the end of the school year just around the corner, many families are planning vacations and trips. Whether it’s a road trip to Vermont or a vacation to an exotic locale, Willows Pediatrics thinks there are some safety and health issues you should consider before you depart.
We’ve talked before on the blog about car seats and the importance of making sure your child is safely restrained in the car. But what about flying in an airplane? Are young passengers safe in a parent’s lap?
The Federal Aviation Administration just came out with some guidance. According to the FAA “not all safety seats are suitable for use in an aircraft,” so the website offers information about FAA-approved seats and safety devices like harnesses for traveling with kids. The FAA does not require, but strongly encourages the use of safety seats in children under 40 pounds. And we agree. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently wrote about its support of the FAA’s safety education efforts as well.
One of the questions we are asked fairly often here at Willows Pediatrics is, “when is it appropriate to leave my child home alone?” It’s an interesting topic, and one we will address today.
Most states, like Connecticut, do not have laws regarding a minimum age for a child to be left alone. Here’s what our state has to say about it:
Connecticut law does not specify at what age a child may be left home alone. When deciding whether or not to leave a child home alone, a parent should consider the child’s age. Many experts believe that children should be at least 12 years of age before they are allowed to stay home alone. Experts also believe that children should be over the age of 15 before caring for a younger sibling. Read More
Much of what we do at Willows Pediatrics concerns combating disease and maintaining physical health. Yet there is also a large behavioral and emotional component to being a pediatrician, and we do our best to counsel our patients and their parents as they go through developmental stages and experience life’s challenges.
We’ve read studies reporting that 20-30% of students in school are involved in bullying (either as the bully or the victim), making bullying an issue we would like to address.
Bullying is defined differently in different venues, but one accepted definition is that, “a person is bullied when he or she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons, and he or she has difficulty defending himself or herself.” The Westport Public Schools have a detailed bullying policy, which includes punishment for bullying behavior that takes place in school, on school property or at school-sponsored events.
Talking to your child is the most important part of keeping him or her safe. For young children you can play-act a bullying scenario and practice what he or she should say to a bully. It’s important to teach your child to use words like “Please do NOT talk to me like that” and actions like staying calm and knowing when to walk away. It is also important to let your child know that bullying is not his or her fault … and that he or she should not be afraid to ask an adult for help.
For older children, bullying can be more subtle and can also involve Cyberbullying. Since it can be harder to get teens and adolescents to open up, keep alert for changes in your child’s behavior such as frequent headaches, stomachaches, and frequently feeling down. Any of these could be a sign of bullying.
On the flipside, if your child is bullying others, we encourage you to take this very seriously. The AAP has noted that when bullies become adults they are much less successful in their work and family lives, and may even have trouble with the law. It’s best to treat these behaviors when children are young. Some things you can do include:
All of the doctors here at Willows are parents, and we’ve all experienced the jitters and uncertainty that can be part of becoming a parent for the first time. Taking care of newborns can be nerve-racking for sure. But with a little information and good parenting practices, we can help you ensure that your little one will be healthy and happy!
That said, one of new parents’ biggest fears is often sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). That term is applied to infant deaths that cannot be explained. Another term, sudden unexpected infant death (SUID) is used to describe any unexpected death from SIDS or causes such as suffocation, entrapment, arrhythmia and trauma. Today we want to address SIDS and the subset of SUIDs that occur during sleep.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently revised and updated its recommendations to reduce the risk of SIDS and sleep-related suffocation, asphyxia and entrapment in infants. Some, like getting regular prenatal care and voiding smoke, alcohol and drugs during pregnancy, are applicable before the baby is born. The remaining recommendations apply to infants up to one year of age and should be used consistently until your child turns one.
If you or your child has used the restroom during a visit here at our Westport office, you may have noticed that instead of soap and paper towels or air dryers, we have alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Why, with the press about the possible negative effects of over-using hand cleansers, would Willows Pediatrics have these in our office?
The first reason is a practical one. When we originally opened our offices at 1563 Post Road East we did in fact, stock the restrooms with soap and paper towels. Unfortunately, young children repeatedly dropped the towels into the toilets and we had clogs on a regular basis. We considered getting air dryers, but had to rule those out due to the fact that our hearing and vision testing rooms are located adjacent to the restrooms and the noise would interfere with the hearing tests.
Back in 2008, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended that over-the-counter (OTC) cough and coldmedication should not be used in infants and children under the age of two, and Willows Pediatrics agrees. The FDA found that these products could cause serious and potentially life-threatening side effects in young children including convulsions, rapid heart rates, decreased levels of consciousness and death. This recommendation led to a voluntary recall of these types of products marketed to children under two. Read More
Did you know that September is National Preparedness Month? With Fairfield County experiencing both a minor earthquake and a major tropical storm in August, it’s definitely a good time to take stock of our lives and make sure we’re prepared when the next weather event or other emergency situation occurs!
Like many people in the area, we at Willows Pediatrics lost power and dealt with issues ranging from flooding to downed tree limbs during Irene last month. That’s why we wanted to share with you some advice on preparing for emergencies. The three steps we recommend for emergency preparedness are (1) get a kit; (2) make a plan; and (3) be informed! Read More