All pain relievers are not equal

Dr. Sally Robinson

Dr. Sally Robinson

Keeping Kids Healthy

Your child has a fever, cough and headache. You reach in the medicine cabinet and find several bottles of pills and liquid medicine. Brand names vary, but the generic names include ibuprofen, acetaminophen, naproxen and aspirin. How do you know what is right for your child’s discomfort? Is there any difference?

The answer depends on your child’s age, weight and symptoms. If you are not sure which medicine to give your child, check with your pediatrician or heath care provider according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Two main kinds of pain relievers are available for most children without prescription: acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). There are many brands of these two pain relievers/fever reducers. Most can be found in the children’s section of your drugstore. Adult pain relievers and fever reducers contain higher amounts of medicine and should be used only for the ages listed on the package. Continue reading

Smoking in the home can cause long-term medical problems

Dr. Sally Robinson

Dr. Sally Robinson

If you read these articles, in all likelihood you are the parent of young children. So we have a couple of questions to ask you that often remain unasked in polite society. Is there a smoker in your home? Do you smoke?

If so, according to an article in “Contemporary Pediatrics,” by Dr. Dana Best of George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and Dr. Sophie Balk of Albert Einstein College of Medicine, the smoke that wafts around the house is sufficiently toxic to be causing your children very serious and long-term medical problems, such as lifelong reduction in lung function, increased ear, throat and breathing infections, asthma, and more dangerous periods under anesthesia should your children require surgery.
The smoker really has to stop. If it is you, then you know that you really have to stop — for the welfare of your family, of your children.

Consider this: Continue reading

Tour your house to identify where you can remove toxins

Dr. Sally Robinson

Dr. Sally Robinson

Keeping Kids Healthy

It’s important for parents to remember that not all poisons are in the garage or basement. A number of poisons can be found throughout the house. Small children are both curious and fast, so parents have to exercise special care not to leave dangerous products open or within their reach.

Take a tour of your house or apartment to see if some of these dangerous conditions exist. Continue reading

Groups petition to ban baby walkers

Drs. Sally Robinson & Keith Bly

Drs. Sally Robinson & Keith Bly

The American Academy of Pediatrics, joined by other children’s advocacy groups, has petitioned the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to prohibit the manufacture and sale of baby walkers.

This petition is the result of the large number of injuries to children caused by baby walkers.

While considering the recommendation of the AAP to ban walkers, the CPSC suggest the following safety precautions for parents who chose to purchase a walker. Continue reading

No-calorie soft drinks, weight and your gut bacteria

Dr. Victor Sierpina

Dr. Victor Sierpina

Do you know anyone who drinks a lot of diet sodas and just cannot seem to lose weight? It has been known for some time that these artificial, no-calorie sweeteners not only do not encourage weight loss but may actually promote weight gain and even diabetes by continuously stimulating our desire to taste sweetness. When they were invented by the food industry, these new-to-nature molecules promised to offer a positive option to sugar. They seemed to be a healthier alternative that promised to change our habits and health risks from drinking the high fructose, sugary soft drinks that have defined American billboard culture since the 1950s. However, there are issues.

Sweet foods, it turns out, activate a set of digestive processes, enzymes and hormones like insulin that promote weight gain and diabetes. No-calorie sweet drinks do the same. This is very different from the gut and endocrine response to more bitter or alkaline foods such as vegetables, grains, legumes and other plant-based foods. So despite no calories, these sweeteners have not been so helpful in weight loss as a substitute for the sugary soft drinks. They also are not helpful to diabetics for these same reasons. There is now another reason to suspect that there are other problems with these beverages. It turns out that no-calorie soft drinks change the profile of bacteria in our gut, part of the so-called microbiome. These bacteria, which may in aggregate weigh three to six pounds, constitute one of the largest “organs” in the body. They actually contain about 150 times as much DNA as our human genome. The key issue for our diet is that they are essential to the process of healthy digestion. Many foods, especially plant materials, cannot be adequately metabolized and absorbed without a healthy gut bacterial population. When artificial sweeteners alter this profile, our ability to utilize our food effectively is impaired. We still feel hungry. Continue reading

Playing with others is important to a child’s development

Drs. Sally Robinson & Keith Bly

Drs. Sally Robinson & Keith Bly

The American Academy of Pediatrics in their healthychildren.org website discuss how important play is for children. Playing with others is important to a child’s development. Life skills are learned when children play that can help them to make and keep friends. As a parent you can encourage your child to take part in healthy playtime by taking your child to a park to play with other children or by joining an organized play group.

Aggressive behavior between children is normal, but as a parent and supervisor there are a number of steps you can take to keep aggressive behavior to a minimum.

Playing with others is Important Child’s Work Continue reading

Hearing loss in children on the rise

Drs. Sally Robinson & Keith Bly

Drs. Sally Robinson & Keith Bly

Keeping Kids Healthy

The latest song is blasting through the earphones of the teen’s iPod. It’s so loud the other kids can hear it, even though they’re a good 10 feet away. We’ve all heard the noise: Whether it’s coming from a car radio, a concert, or yes, even those personal music players that are so popular, it seems the volume on life is cranked up and the knob ripped off.

Can you hear your mother’s words ring in the back of your mind? “Turn that down, you’re going to go deaf!” Nearly 27 million Americans age 3 and older suffer from some sort of hearing loss. That’s double the number 30 years ago.

In children, three main culprits make up the majority of causes of hearing loss. They are otitis media, hearing loss at birth, and other acquired causes, like complications from the measles, mumps, or a head injury. Continue reading

Tips to help families improve fitness, eating habits

Drs. Sally Robinson & Keith Bly

Drs. Sally Robinson & Keith Bly

In the last two to three decades, the number of overweight children has doubled. Almost one child in five is considered overweight. Obesity can lead to risk factors for heart disease, such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure, sleep apnea, orthopedic problems, liver disease, asthma, as well as low self-esteem and depression. The likely cause of the increase in the amount of overweight children is more than likely the same reason that adult obesity is on the rise: overeating and lack of physical activity.

Because of these findings new guidelines have been developed by the Expert Panel on Integrated Guidelines for Cardiovascular Health and Risk Reduction in Children and Adolescents appointed by the National Health, Lung and Blood Institute and endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The recommendations are regardless of family history all children between the age of 9 and 11 years undergo lipid screening for nonfasting non-HDH-cholesterol levels or a fasting lipid panel. This is to be repeated with another full lipid screen between 18 and 21 years of age. It is unclear in children what the treatment should be when an elevated LDL-cholesterol is found. However there is strong evidence that healthy eating and increased activity is associated with a healthy heart.

The following are a few suggestions to help your family start a program to improve eating habits and increase physical activity. Continue reading

Set healthy goals for children in 2015

Drs. Sally Robinson & Keith Bly

Drs. Sally Robinson & Keith Bly

Now that the magic of Christmas is complete, there’s a new year to look forward to. It’s a new beginning. We can all wipe the slate clean and start over once again!

Your children can be part of that optimistic time of year when we swear off the chocolate, vow to drink more water, and sign up for the gym in droves. And, while as adults, we saddle ourselves with major pressure, the goals you and your child can set are much more manageable.

The goals for your child are totally attainable. For example, (this is the part where you grab your child, curl up on the couch with this column, and have them repeat after you):

1. I will clean up my toys
2. I will brush my teeth at least twice a day
3. I will wash my hands after going to the bathroom and before eating
4. I will share with my sisters, brothers, and friends Continue reading

Select toys that are safe, age appropriate for children

Drs. Sally Robinson & Keith Bly

Drs. Sally Robinson & Keith Bly

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission was created in 1973 to develop safety regulations for all consumer products. The CPSC spends more than half of its budget every year testing children’s toys, as well as other items on the market for children.

When buying presents for your child, select toys that are age-appropriate. No matter how mature you think that your child is, he or she should not play with toys that are meant for an older age group. Age-appropriate levels for toys are determined by safety factors rather than by intellectual and developmental factors. Continue reading