Though it may have been the crib you spent time in as a child—and you did just fine—your old crib is most likely not suitable for your new baby. It’s tempting to purchase a used crib from a tag sale or to accept one from kindhearted family or friends whose children have grown up, but Willows Pediatrics recommends avoiding cribs that are more than 10 years old. (This means avoiding them at home, and also at day care centers and grandma’s house too!)
Here are just some of the dangers of older cribs:
It has been quite a winter so far here in southeastern Connecticut! Snow, slush, sleet … and more snow! With all of the winter weather and school closings, families have had more opportunities than ever to enjoy some favorite winter activities such as ice skating, skiing and snowman-building! Another activity that seems to be on everyone’s snow-day “to do” list is sledding. And while we know that sledding is a quintessential New England activity, we would be remiss if we didn’t point out that sledding-related injuries are more common than one might think.
According to a recent article in Pediatrics, more than 20,000 children annually are treated in hospital emergency rooms for sledding injuries. Some other noteworthy statistics include:
- Children 10 to 14 years of age sustained 42.5% of sledding-related injuries;
- Boys represented 59.8% of all cases
- The head was the most commonly injured body part (34.1%), and injuries to the head were twice as likely to occur during collisions as through other mechanisms.
- The most frequent injury diagnoses were fractures (26.3%), followed by contusions and abrasions (25.0%).
- Traumatic brain injuries were more likely to occur with snow tubes than with other sled types. Read More
Infants have been swaddled for hundreds of years to promote sleep, keep them warm and decrease crying. Recently, however, the popularity of the practice has increased, and the pediatric and orthopedic communities are concerned that swaddling may influence the rate of developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH). An increase in DDH in infancy would lead to an increase in early arthritis in young adults.
If you are swaddling your infant, the most important thing to remember is that there should still be room for flexion in the legs. As the AAP stated, “Allowing even tightly swaddled infants to still have this flexion and abduction in their hips would allow for safe development of their hips.” Hip-safe swaddling is not difficult, and the International Hip Dysplasia Institute even has an online video, which demonstrates for new parents the safe swaddling technique. Read More
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
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.)
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