Category: Willows Pediatrics
Willows Talks About The Family Bed & Co-Sleeping
Many families spend their days together. Others stay together at night too! The “family bed,” or co-sleeping is a common practice in many societies, and there are advocates for it here in the U.S. too. However, there are child safety concerns related to having adults and children share a bed. So, is it an acceptable practice?
A recent blog posted on CT Now (and written by former local mom Sarah Cody), asked the same question. She’d heard about the possible benefits of co-sleeping—better nursing and enhanced emotional security—but worried about the dangers to newborns and infants, including injury and suffocation.
She turned to Willows Pediatric Group physician Dr. Jeff Owens for his take on the issue. Dr. Owens rightly pointed out that ‘”The American Academy of Pediatrics still doesn’t recommend it.” He also noted that the dangers stem from two major concerns: soft bedding and impaired judgment. A baby should never sleep on a futon, couch or waterbed, and a parent should not drink, smoke or use drugs with the infant nearby. Moreover, twenty-four hour bonding can challenge a couple’s need for a healthy physical relationship and leave a mother drained and exhausted.
However, Dr. Owens did allow for some wiggle room. “If it’s a stark, firm [bed] and the baby is on his back, the baby is probably safe.” Dr. Owens believes we should also respect different cultures, some of which believe “the family bed” is the answer to peaceful nights and strong attachments.
In other words, “do what works for your family as long as it’s a safe situation.”
Recently Time magazine featured a brief article about early detection of autism. The column correctly noted that because autism’s behavioral symptoms don’t become obvious until about age 3, pediatricians have been challenged to find ways to pick up indicators of the condition at an earlier age.
“But,” as the article stated, “researchers say it may be possible to detect subtle warnings of the developmental disorder as early as 12 months—and all it takes is a simple 24-item questionnaire that parents can complete in the pediatrician’s waiting room.”
Good news for patients at Willows Pediatric Group: we routinely offer the M-CHAT, a screening test like the one referred to above, to children at their 15-month checkup. M-CHAT, which stands for Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, is widely recognized and recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The M-CHAT does not provide a diagnosis, but it can indicate if a child is at risk and should receive further evaluation.
In terms of insurance coverage, we submit this service to your insurance company, but as is with all services provided in this office, we do not know or guarantee that your insurance company will pay for the service. At Willows we strive to provide the best care to your child without regard to reimbursement. If you have any questions about reimbursement please feel free to call us and we will help to guide you through the insurance maze.
At Willows, we are always available to discuss your child’s health and any behavioral issues that may be of concern. Child development is an integral part of child health and we are here to answer any questions you have about your child’s speech and language or social skills. If you have any questions about M-CHAT or other child development issues, please don’t hesitate to contact us!
Willows Pediatric Group is proud and excited to announce that Connecticut Magazine has included two of our physicians, Dr. Peter Czuczka and Dr. Jeffrey Owens, on their list of “Top Doctors” for 2011. This is Dr. Czuczka’s fifth year as a “Top Doc,” and this is Dr. Owens’ first year to receive the honor. (Dr. Czuczka was previously recognized in 2001, 2008, 2009 and 2010.)
The April 2011 issue of Connecticut Magazine includes its annual “Top Docs” feature, a listing of specialists in a variety of medical fields who have been selected based on the results of a survey of Connecticut physicians. Five thousand questionnaires were sent throughout the state asking doctors to recommend a physician (other than themselves) “to whom they would send a loved one for expert medical care.”
We congratulate Dr. Czuczka and Dr. Owens for being recognized by their peers. Willows Pediatrics takes pride in knowing that all six of our physicians—and our entire medical team—are at the top of their field and are providing compassionate, expert pediatric care to hundreds of local families.
In November 2010, the AAP issued new age-based recommendations for iron intake in infants and toddlers. Because iron deficiency can have irreversible long-term effects on children’s cognitive and behavioral development, the AAP Committee on Nutrition stated that, “It is critical to children’s health that we improve their iron intake status starting in infancy.”
Babies born healthy at full term are born with sufficient iron stores for the first 4 months of life. Therefore, full-term babies do not need iron supplements prior to four months of age. However, if the infant is breast-fed, the AAP now recommends a 1-mg/kg daily dose of oral iron starting at four months, and continuing until an infant begins eating solid iron-rich foods – typically around six months of age. (Formula-fed infants will receive sufficient iron in their formula and do not need a supplement between four and six months of age.)
There is one caveat: Preterm infants do require iron during the first four months. If they are bottle-fed, the iron-fortified formula will provide the proper amount for these infants. However, according to the AAP, preterm infants who are breast-fed should take a 2-mg/kg daily dose of iron starting at one month of age.
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
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.)
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