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Back to School, Back to the Doctor
No matter what grade your child is about to enter, there's the yearly back-to-school checklist of to-dos: shopping for school supplies, filling out permission forms, and the pediatric checkup. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends an annual check-up for children from age two to 18. These provide a good opportunity for parents and doctors to talk about development and behavioral issues the children may be facing.
While it may not seem urgent, a yearly physical exam by your family's pediatrician is an important part of your child's health care. Children involved in school athletic programs often receive a sports-specific exam through the school. These exams are good at screening for potential athletic health problems but school sports physicals are not a substitute for a general physical performed by the pediatrician. Mass physicals are not as detailed or in-depth as a pediatrician's exam.
That detail includes immunization records. A school exam will generally include a check box asking whether all vaccinations are up-to-date, requiring the parents to remember whether or not they are. Our office will have accurate records as well as the most up to date information on required boosters or new vaccines available.
The annual pediatric exam also offers the doctor time to provide wellness guidance and advice. This has become critical as the nation wrestles with the childhood obesity epidemic. In addition to monitoring heart and blood pressure and testing for diabetes, pediatricians can use this annual visit with your child to discuss diet and exercise options. We can talk with the child and the parents about safe approaches to transitioning from little or no exercise to a sound, achievable exercise program. Whatever the child's interest � sports, academics, the arts � we want to be sure that the interest is a healthy one, and that it's balanced with the other aspects of the child's life. A healthy childhood and adolescence calls for balancing home life, school, social activities, sports, and extracurricular pursuits. This is not easy, especially during a time when the child is passing through the years of growth, learning, exploration, and emotional and physical development. Which is all the more reason to set aside one day during each of those years for your child to see the pediatrician.
Please call our office at (816) 941-6400 to schedule your child's well-child exam today!
The power lawn mower is one of the most dangerous tools around the home. Each year, approximately 68,000 persons with injuries caused by power mowers were treated in emergency departments. More than 9,000 of the people hurt were younger than 18 years. Older children and adolescents were most often hurt while cutting lawns as chores or as a way to earn money.
Lawn mower injuries include deep cuts, loss of fingers and toes, broken and dislocated bones, burns, and eye and other injuries. Some injuries are very serious. Both users of mowers and those who are nearby can be hurt. To prevent lawn mower injuries to children, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following:
Try to use a mower with a control that stops the mower from moving forward if the handle is let go.
Children younger than 16 years should not be allowed to use ride-on mowers. Children younger than 12 years should not use walk-behind mowers.
- Wear only sturdy shoes (not sandals or sneakers) while mowing.
- Prevent injuries from flying objects, such as stones or toys, by picking up objects from the lawn before mowing begins. Use a collection bag for grass clippings or a plate that covers the opening where cut grass is released. Anyone mowing should wear hearing and eye protection.
Make sure that children are indoors or at a safe distance well away from the area that you plan to mow.
- Start and refuel mowers outdoors, not in a garage or shed. Mowers should be refueled with the motor turned off and cool.
- Make sure that blade settings are done by an adult, with the mower off and the spark plug removed or disconnected.
- Do not pull the mower backward or mow in reverse unless absolutely necessary, and carefully look for children behind you when you mow.
- Always turn off the mower and wait for the blades to stop completely before removing the grass catcher, unclogging the discharge chute, or crossing gravel paths, roads, or other areas.
- Do not allow children to ride as passengers on ride-on mowers.
Last Updated 5/13/2011 Source TIPP�The Injury Prevention Program (Copyright © 1994 American Academy of Pediatrics, Updated 9/05)
Safety and Prevention
There are so many insect repellents out there. What kind is best for my children?
Insect repellents come in many forms including aerosols, sprays, liquids, creams, and sticks. Some are made from chemicals and some have natural ingredients.
Keep in mind that insect repellents prevent bites from biting insects but not stinging insects. Biting insects include mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, chiggers, and biting flies. Stinging insects include bees, hornets, and wasps.
- The following are types of repellents that are not effective:
- Wristbands soaked in chemical repellents
- Garlic or vitamin B1 taken by mouth
- Ultrasonic devices that give off sound waves designed to keep insects away
- Bird or bat houses
- Backyard bug zappers (Insects may actually be attracted to your yard.)
DEET is a chemical used in insect repellents. The amount of DEET varies from product to product, so it's important to read the label of any product you buy. The amount of DEET may range from less than 10% to more than 30%.
Studies show that products with higher amounts of DEET protect people longer. For example, products with amounts around 10% may repel pests for about 2 hours, while products with amounts of about 24% last an average of 5 hours. But studies also show that products with amounts of DEET greater than 30% don't offer any extra protection.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that repellents should contain no more than 30% DEET when used on children. Insect repellents also are not recommended for children younger than 2 months.
Tips for Using Repellents Safely
The following are guidelines on how to use insect repellents safely.
Read the label and follow all directions and precautions.
Only apply insect repellents on the outside of your child's clothing and on exposed skin.
- Spray repellents in open areas to avoid breathing them in.
- Use just enough repellent to cover your child's clothing and exposed skin. Using more doesn't make the repellent more effective. Avoid reapplying unless necessary.
Assist young children when applying insect repellents on their own. Older children also should be supervised when using these products.
Wash your children's skin with soap and water to remove any repellent when they return indoors, and wash their clothing before they wear it again.
- Never apply insect repellent to children younger than 2 months.
- Repellents should not be sprayed directly onto your child's face. Instead, spray a little on your hands first and then rub it on your child's face. Avoid the eyes and mouth.
- Insect repellents should not be applied on cuts, wounds, or irritated skin.
Don't buy products that combine DEET with sunscreen. The DEET may make the sun protection factor (SPF) less effective. These products can overexpose your child to DEET because the sunscreen needs to be reapplied often.
Last Updated 5/17/2011 Source A Parent's Guide to Insect Repellents (Copyright © 2005 American Academy of Pediatrics)