Posts for category: Pediatric Health
Learn more about developmental and behavioral disorders in children.
A growing child can greatly benefit from visiting their pediatrician regularly for routine checkups. No, a child doesn’t have to be sick to visit the doctor. These regular wellness visits can help our pediatrician spot issues such as developmental delays and behavioral disorders that require special care and treatment. Here’s what you should know about common developmental and behavioral problems in kids and how a pediatrician can help,
Types of Developmental Disorders
Developmental disorders fall under the categories of,
- Cognitive (e.g., mental retardation; learning disabilities)
- Motor (e.g., cerebral palsy; muscular dystrophy; spinal atrophies)
- Behavior (e.g., anxiety disorders; autism; ADHD)
- Vision, hearing and speech (e.g., delayed language acquisition; hearing or vision impairments)
Some of the most common types of developmental disorders in children include,
- Autism spectrum disorders
- Cerebral palsy
- Genetic disorders
- Intellectual disabilities
- Spina bifida
- Down syndrome
Signs of Developmental and Behavioral Disorders
Warning signs and when they appear seem to vary from child to child. Some parents notice developmental delays as early as infancy, while others may not notice these concerns until they start school. Some warning signs include,
- Difficulty learning and academic troubles
- Delayed speech, unclear speech or difficulties communicating with others
- Social withdrawal
- Delay in crawling, sitting up or walking
- Has trouble completing everyday tasks such as grooming, washing hands or getting dressed
- Has trouble focusing on an activity
- Intense or extreme behaviors such as aggression, anxiety, irritability or frequent temper tantrums
When to See a Doctor
If you notice any of these delays, we understand how concerning this can be. The good news is that you don’t immediately need to run to a specialist for help. All you have to do is turn to your pediatrician for an evaluation. A pediatrician can perform a thorough assessment to determine if your child may be displaying signs of a developmental or behavioral disorder. Your pediatrician may recommend more in-depth testing, which may require turning to a mental health professional for an accurate diagnosis.
Suppose your child displays behavioral issues, or you notice that they aren’t reaching certain developmental milestones. In that case, it’s important to speak with your pediatrician at their next appointment or to call their office to find out if you should bring your child in for an evaluation.
Make sure your child is following a healthy, balanced diet.
One in 5 school children is considered obese in the US. So, how do we stop these statistics from getting any higher? It starts with proper nutrition, regular exercise, and a healthy lifestyle. Your child's pediatrician can always provide some helpful tips for ensuring your child is getting the vitamins and nutrients they need.
Daily Caloric Guidelines By Age
The number of calories your child consumes every day will depend on their age and their activity levels and gender. These are the caloric guidelines you should follow,
- 2-3 years old (both girls and boys): 1,000-1,400 calories
- 4-8 years old (boys): 1,200-2,000 calories
- 4-8 years old (girls): 1,200-1,800 calories
- 9-13 years old (boys): 1,600-2,600 calories
- 9-13 years old (girls): 1,400-2,200 calories
- 14-18 years old (boys): 2,000-3,200 calories
- 14-18 years old (girls): 1,800-2,400 calories
Incorporating the Right Foods into Your Child’s Diet
It’s important that your child is getting a variety of healthy foods to ensure that they get all the essential vitamins and nutrients they need to grow up strong and healthy. This includes,
Lean protein: This includes seafood, poultry, eggs, beans, and nuts
Vegetables: It’s important to incorporate many vegetables into your child’s diet every day. This can include everything from leafy greens to vibrant peppers to beans. If you do choose canned vegetables, make sure to check nutrition labels to ensure that there isn’t added sugar or sodium.
Fruits: Stay away from fruit juice, which can have a ton of added sugar, and opt for fresh or frozen fruit instead. Also, limit dried fruits, which can be high in calories.
Whole grains: Whole grains provide more benefits than refined grains (e.g., white bread and rice) and include whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, quinoa, and brown rice.
Dairy: Include some low-fat or fat-free dairy products such as yogurt, cheese, or milk into your child’s daily diet.
While sugar won’t cause harm in moderation, it is important to limit added sugars and trans and saturated fats (found in red meat, full-fat dairy, and poultry). Wonder if your child’s diet gives them all the nutrients they need? This is something that your pediatrician can discuss with you during their next well-child visit.
Are you having challenges helping your child maintain a healthy weight? Are you concerned about their health? If so, it’s time to turn to your child’s pediatrician. They can provide you with strategies to help your child eat healthier and maintain a healthy weight.
As soon as your baby is born but before they leave the hospital, they will need to undergo a hearing screening (most hospitals perform a hearing screening but it’s also a good idea to ask). Congenital hearing loss, which occurs at birth, affects less than 1 percent of newborns; however, it is also possible for hearing loss to develop later during a child’s life, which is why routine hearing screenings are necessary for all children.
Once they leave the hospital, it’s now your pediatrician’s responsibility to provide hearing screenings and other tests and treatments that your child will need until they turn 18 years old. Your pediatrician will be an asset to your child’s health and you will work closely with them, so it’s important that you choose a pediatrician that you trust and value.
Why are hearing screenings necessary for newborns?
As soon as your child is born one of the ways in which they will receive and interpret information is through what they hear; therefore, if they have problems hearing then they may also deal with other problems including delays in language development and speech problems.
By detecting hearing problems early on your pediatrician can provide early interventions including hearing aids or other treatment options to ensure that your child reaches these important and necessary developmental milestones.
Of course, if your child responds to your voice or responds to noises then you may think that their hearing is fine, but this isn’t always the case. There may still be certain noises that they can’t hear properly and sometimes even these minor hearing issues can still affect language and speech.
Should my child’s hearing be assessed regularly?
Even if your baby passes their first hearing screening it’s still important that you turn to a pediatrician for routine checkups. Most hearing screenings usually don’t warrant a separate trip to the office, which means that your child’s hearing will be assessed during regular wellness visits.
Of course, if your newborn has certain risk factors that could affect their hearing it’s important that you share these factors with your pediatrician. These factors include:
- A family history of hearing loss
- Facial deformities
- Postnatal infections
- Premature birth
Finding a knowledgeable and trustworthy pediatrician before your baby is born is one of the most important things soon-to-be parents can do. Let our team provide your little one with the quality care they need to grow up healthy and strong.
When To Take Your Child To Urgent Care
As a parent, you want to always do everything you can when your child is sick, but sometimes it’s hard to tell exactly how sick your child is, especially when they’re very young and can’t communicate what is bothering them. Urgent care or a trip to the hospital isn’t always needed for simple problems such as a cold, mild diarrhea, or mild fevers. So, when is it necessary to take your child to urgent care?
Not all illnesses need an immediate visit with your pediatrician and it’s important for you to know what symptoms to look out for. Some symptoms that may require urgent care are:
Vomiting and diarrhea that lasts more than a few hours
Rash, especially with a fever
A cough or cold that lasts several days
Large cuts or gashes
Limping or the inability to move an arm or leg
Ear pain with fever
A severe sore throat or swallowing problems
Sharp and persistent stomach or abdomen pain
Blood in urine
Blood in stool
Not being able to drink for more than 12 hours
Rectal temperature of 100.4 F or higher in a baby younger than 2 months old
Fever and vomiting
Any pain that gets worse and doesn’t go away after several hours
While many illnesses may go away with love and nurturing after a few days, there are times when it is necessary to see your pediatrician as soon as possible. If your child has any of the symptoms listed above, be sure to call your pediatrician right away to find out if it is necessary for your child to go in for an appointment so that your child can get well as soon as possible.
Childhood asthma is more common than you might think. In fact, it is the most common chronic disorder in children, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Asthma is a long-term respiratory condition that causes swelling within the airways, making it different for your little one to breathe. How do you know if your child might have asthma? The telltale signs include:
- Trouble or difficulty breathing
- Wheezing or whistling when breathing in
- Tightness in the chest
- Coughing that often gets worse at night
- Fatigue, especially with exercise or play
If your child is experiencing or complaining about any of these symptoms it’s important that you schedule an appointment with a pediatrician as soon as possible. It’s important to write down the exact symptoms your little one has been experiencing, particularly because their symptoms may not be present during their evaluation. If you have a family history of asthma, this is something that your child’s pediatrician will want to know.
During the evaluation your doctor will also perform a physical exam, taking time to listen to both the heart and the lungs for signs of asthma. Sometimes a test known as spirometry will be used to test the lung function (this is most common in children over the age of 6 years old). This test is used to measure how much air is in the lungs and how quickly your child can exhale. Other tests may also be performed to check for other health issues that could be exacerbating your child’s asthma symptoms such as a sinus infection.
Asthma is serious and requires medication to keep this problem under control. While there is no cure for asthma, your pediatrician’s goal for asthma treatment is to prevent the severity and frequency of asthma attacks. We want to prevent your little one from having to rush to the hospital for a severe attack. Luckily, there are medications that your children’s doctor can prescribe to lessen asthma symptoms.
The type of asthma medication your child receives will depend on several factors including age. Infants and toddlers may require inhaled steroids to control asthma symptoms. The dosage will also change depending on your child’s age. Along with long-term medications that will be taken every day to help control symptoms and keep inflammation down there are fasting-acting medications that your child will also be prescribed (e.g. albuterol), which is only used when your little one feels an attack coming on. Before any medication is given to your child, your pediatrician will talk to both you and your little one about how to use asthma medication properly.