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Helpful Pediatric Information

What is an emergency?

If your child is ill or injured, the following signs may suggest the need for immediate attention:

  • Fainting or loss of consciousness or if your child seems confused or disoriented
  • Unexplained seizure
  • Trouble breathing
  • A stiff neck and/or a rash with high fever
  • Loss of consciousness, confusion, headache or vomiting as the result of a head injury
  • A cut that is large or deep
  • Bleeding that won’t stop
  • A large burn, especially if it includes the chest, face, feet, groin or hands
  • Pain that is persistent and/or increases in intensity
  • Fever greater than 100.4 in a baby less than 6 weeks old

Should you call 911?

If your child is unconscious, a bone is sticking out or the situation seems critical, dial 9-1-1 immediately for an ambulance. When your child’s condition is life threatening or might cause permanent harm, it is safer for your child to be transported via ambulance. If you are calling 911 from a cell phone be prepared to tell them your location and address.

Injuries or accidents that may result in a trip to the emergency room:

  • Accidental poisoning including medicines, household cleaners, liquor (this includes beer and wine)
  • Choking, drooling, difficulty breathing
  • Electrical shocks
  • Falls
  • Guns, knives, and other weapons
  • Near drownings

What to do in an emergency

  • Remain calm and call 9-1-1
  • Begin CPR, if the child is not breathing
  • In the case of a seizure, place the child on the floor
  • If your child is bleeding, apply a clean cloth and constant pressure to the wound
  • Never move a child who is injured unless there is an immediate danger, like smoke inhalation  or a fire
  • If you suspect a poisoning, gather up any poisons, medications, etc., that you suspect your child has swallowed and take them with you to the emergency department. Tell the hospital if you suspect your child may have swallowed an item, like a small toy, marble, magnet, etc.

Teach kids to avoid getting sick during cold and flu season

Remind kids to:

  • Avoid anyone who has a cold or smokes (secondhand smoke increases kids’ risk of getting sick)
  • Wash hands well and often, especially after nose-blowing and playing with other kids
  • Sneeze and cough into shirtsleeves or tissues – not hands

How to treat a cold

Since kids can get 8-10 colds per year, here is some advice on how to treat a cold.

Make them feel more comfortable with:

  • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen as needed (check package for correct amount)
  • A cool-mist humidifier or steamy bathroom
  • Saline (or saltwater) drops for the nostrils
  • Gentle suction of nasal mucus using a bulb syringe when necessary
  • Offer lots of fluids (breast milk or formula for babies; water and Gatorade for older kids – but no caffeinated beverages.
  • Never give cough or cold medicine to children under 2 years old. Call a doctor first for older kids.
  • Never give aspirin to a child

Seek medical care if the child has:

  • Cold symptoms that get worse or last more than a week
  • Cough and congestion triggered by pollen, dust, pets, etc.
  • A barking cough or a cough that is severe and occurs in spasms
  • Difficulty breathing
  • A high fever and appears ill; or any fever in a baby 3 months and younger
  • A sore throat that makes eating and drinking difficult
  • A bad headache

Cough/cold/allergy medications

Recently the FDA has been reviewing the safety and efficacy of antihistamine/decongestant medications (Cough/Cough/Allergy medications) in children under 2 years of age. It has been proven that these medicines have harmful side effects and that they don’t work to relieve cold and flu symptoms. The major manufacturers of these products have voluntarily withdrawn them from stores and have changed labeling on products for patients older than 2 to read: under 2 years – DO NOT USE.

Starting solid foods

Our recommendation is to start solid foods between 4 and 6 months of age. If your baby can sit independently on your lap or in a highchair, he/she is likely ready to start solids. It’s best not to feed your baby in a bouncy chair.

Most families start with rice cereal because it is iron rich. Mix the cereal with breast milk, formula, or water. We recommend starting with a midday meal. Once your baby has tolerated the cereal for 2-3 days, you may start to introduce single ingredient purees (fruits/vegetables). You will want to introduce a new puree every 2-3 days. At 6 to 7 months, your baby should be eating twice daily. At 7 months, your baby should be eating three times per day.

The meal does not replace a milk feed. It supplements the nursing and/or formula feeding that your baby already enjoys.

At your 6 month visit, you can discuss the introduction of table foods that will occur over the next 2-3 months. This will include lentils, beans, tofu, meats and other protein sources. We recommend not introducing dairy products like yogurt and cheese until 12 months of age. Cow’s milk and soy milk are not recommended as a beverage until one year of age.

How much juice should children drink?

One of the most common questions parents ask pediatricians is how much 100% fruit juice they should give their children. A new AAP policy recommends some children should be consuming less juice than previously advised. Read more from AAP News & Journals »

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