National School Backpack Awareness Day

Backpacks are essential back-to- school items for kids.  They come in different colors, sizes and shapes and most importantly they help children to carry their belongings.  Backpacks are preferred by many in comparison to shoulder bags because when worn correctly, they evenly distribute weight across the body.  However, if worn incorrectly they can cause back pain or injuries and eventually lead to poor posture.

To prevent problems associated with improper backpack use, parents should first purchase a backpack that has the following features:

  • Lightweight
  • Wide and padded straps
  • Multiple compartments
  • Padded back
  • Waist belt
  • Correct size (A backpack should never be wider or longer than your child’s torso).

Practicing these safety tips will further reduce the chance of back pain or injuries caused by backpacks:

  • When packing, heavier items should be placed to the back and center of the backpack. Lighter items should be in front. Sharp objects such as scissors or pencils should be kept away from your child’s back.  Utilizing different compartments can help in distributing weight.
  • Do not over pack. Doctors recommend that children should not carry backpacks that weigh more than 10-15% of their body weight.
  • Ensure that children use both straps. Using a single strap can cause muscle strain.
  • Adjust the straps so that the backpack fits closely to your child’s back and sits two inches above the waist. This ensures comfort and proper weight distribution.
  • Encourage children to use their lockers or desks throughout the day to drop off heavy books.

The Pediatric Orthopedic Society of North America recommends that parents should always look for warning signs that indicate backpacks may be too heavy. If your child struggles to put on and take off the backpack, they are complaining of numbness or tingling or if there are red strap marks on their shoulders -It may be time for you to lighten their load.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Summer Weight Loss Tips For Kids

Is your child at risk of gaining weight this summer?

We consider summer to be a time when kids run around, go swimming and generally remain active. With all this physical activity, it is a common belief that children keep weight off or maybe even lose a few pounds in the summer, but that is not the case. There are many reasons why parents are now noticing that their children are actually gaining weight during the summer.

The rate of childhood obesity has tripled in America in recent decades. Now, one out of three children in this country is considered overweight or obese. When are children gaining the most weight?  Recent studies have revealed that during the summer, the rate of weight gain in children is double that of the rest of the year. Why?

One of the biggest contributing factors is that children today live a more sedentary lifestyle. During the school year, children participate in fitness programs, both during recess and in physical education classes. Without a regimented exercise program, children opt to spend their free time playing video games or watching television.

Another factor in summer weight gain is the foods children have access to in their home. In an effort to fight obesity and promote healthy eating habits, many schools provide healthy alternatives for lunches and snacks during the year. During the summer, however, kids have access to whatever snacks are in the home. Kids will often choose unhealthy snacks, such as cookies, chips, and soda if they are available to them.

In an effort to reverse this trend, Flushing Hospital offers the following summer healthy living tips for your kids:

• Stock your home with healthy food options like yogurt, carrots, or summer fruits like peaches, berries, or melons.

• Make water the beverage of choice. Juices and sodas are high in calories and low in nutrients. To make water more flavorful, consider adding fruit slices or berries.

• Limit TV and video game usage. It will force kids to become more physically active and prevent them from enticing junk food commercials.

• Walk more. Everyone can do it. Incorporate regular family walks to the park or around the neighborhood.

• Be inventive. Not every child is interested in formal team sports, but every kid loves to run around. Encourage activities like hopscotch, jump rope or a simple game of “tag.”

• Be a role model. Children often take cues from their parent’s eating habits so if you want your kids to eat healthier, you should eat healthier

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Thumb Sucking

Tsucking thumbhumb sucking is a habit that children may develop as a means to pacify or entertain themselves.  It is estimated that three-quarters of children will suck their thumb before reaching the age of one.  According to experts this behavior during infancy or preschool age is rarely something to be concerned about.  “Thumb-sucking in children younger than 4 is usually not a problem.” (WebMD)

If thumb sucking continues as children mature to school age, parents are advised to intervene as it may cause social or physical problems.  A child’s peers may tease or isolate them for sucking their thumb.  Children’s permanent teeth typically come in around age five and thumb sucking can cause dental problems such as overbites to develop.  Thumb sucking can also lead to complications in speech such as lisping or thrusting of the tongue.

There are several things parents can do help their child overcome this habit:

  • Talk to your child; explain to them how thumb sucking can affect them.
  • Offer motivation by creating a reward system, such as a sticker chart.
  • Build self-awareness, children are often unaware of thumb sucking.
  • Speak to your dentist who can offer a special mouth guard or dental appliance to deter sucking.

To speak with a pediatric dentist at Flushing Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-670-5521.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Mumps

Pediatrician examining lymph nodes

Are you concerned that your child may contract mumps?  First, we have to find out what mumps is!

Mumps is a viral infection that affects the parotid glands, which are located slightly below and in front of the ears.  If a child has contracted mumps, these glands can swell causing discomfort. Although rare, mumps can potentially cause hearing loss, meningitis, encephalitis and orchitis (in males).

Mumps was common in the United States until a mumps vaccination became available.  After the vaccination, health officials saw the number of cases drop significantly.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms of mumps usually appear within two weeks of exposure to the virus. Flu-like symptoms may be the first to appear, including:

  • fatigue
  • body aches
  • headache
  • loss of appetite
  • low-grade fever

A high fever (up to 103 degrees Fahrenheit) and swelling of the salivary glands follow over the next few days. The glands may not all swell initially. More commonly, they swell and become painful. The mumps virus is most contagious to another person from the time you come into contact with the virus to when your parotid glands swell.

There isn’t a course of treatment for mumps, so applying warm or cold packs to the swollen glands that are tender can be helpful.  Additionally, health professionals encourage children between the ages of 12 through 15 months of age to receive their first measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination and their second dose at 4 through 6 years of age.

Although mumps is no longer very common in the United States. From year to year, mumps cases can range from roughly a couple hundred to a couple thousand. For more information on how to track mumps outbreaks state, you can visit the CDC site –     https://www.cdc.gov/mumps/outbreaks.html

If you are interested in making an appointment with a pediatrician at Flushing Hospital Medical Center, you can schedule an appointment at our Ambulatory Care Center at 718-670-5486.

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Can Fidget Toys Help Your Child’s Ability To Focus?

We all fidget – some of us more than others, but when the subject of fidgeting and children is raised, you might be surprised at what many experts are saying.

Stress Cube

Fidgeting is our body’s way of releasing restless energy. Common types of fidgeting include foot tapping, hair twirling or nail biting. While many consider these activities counterproductive to learning, many experts state that if these fidgeting behaviors can be re-directed, they can actually enhance learning.

Enter “Fidget Toys.” Fidget toys are self-regulation tools to help with focus, attention, calming, and active listening. There are many different types of fidget toys, ranging from squeezable stress balls to bendable sticks to malleable putty. In recent months however, fidget spinners and fidget cubes have become very popular items among not only children but adults as well.

Regardless of the type of toy used, the goal is the same – to help focus attention and improve learning ability. In fact, research indicates that most children learn better when their hands are active and funneling expandable energy in this manner allows them to better focus on what they are trying to learn. In addition, experts have concluded that movement is essential for learning because the learner is required to use both the left and right sides of their brain.

In a recent case study, the positive effects of fidget toys were observed. The result was a 10% increase in certain academic scores among students who used fidget toys. Even more impressive was that students diagnosed with ADHD saw an increase of 27% in the academic scores. The study concludes that the use of fidget toys can benefit the learning process in all students but especially in those with learning disabilities.

In addition to the improved learning benefits, fidget toys can also reduce anxiety and stress, enhance dexterity, improve coordination and fine motor skills and assist in the development of muscles of small hands.

Fidget toys are appropriate for all ages and genders and most developmental abilities. Many parents will learn that the effectiveness of these objects can diminish over time, so it is suggested to alternate toys. It is also recommended that parents speak to their child’s teacher or principal before they consider bringing fidget toys to school.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Potty Training Tips – Is my child ready?

potty training-506287066If you are wondering, “how will I know when my child is ready to begin potty training?”  You should know there are several signs you can look for that can help with gauging your toddler’s readiness.

The first step in determining if your child should begin potty training is making certain they are physically and emotionally ready. Beginning training before your toddler is ready can result in frustration and delay.

Most children show an interest in potty training between 18- 24 months; however, it is important to keep in mind that not all children are ready to begin training around this age.  Some toddlers are ready to train earlier and others later.  Paying attention to the following signs can serve as a better indicator than age:

  • Dry periods (going without urinating) of at least two hours.
  • Regular bowel movements at relatively predictable times.
  • Telling you when their diaper is dirty and wanting to be changed.
  • Understanding and using “potty” language such as “poo” or “pee”.
  • Being able to sit down and get up from the potty.
  • Having the ability to understand and follow basic directions.
  • Being able to pull pants up and down.
  • Being able to tell you that they need to go or have gone.

If you feel that your child is ready and you decide to begin training, you should prepare yourself for the journey ahead by keeping in mind; patience is the key to successful potty training.  This process will take time so do not have unrealistic expectations and timeframes. Prepare your child by talking to them about potty training- reading them storybooks can also be helpful. Teaching them the names of their body parts and how they eliminate waste is essential. This will help your toddler to understand body function and pay attention to cues that signal it’s time to use the potty.

Speaking to your pediatrician about what to expect is a very important part of your preparation.   Your child’s doctor can offer advice and helpful tips to ensure a positive experience for you and your toddler.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Choosing Safe Toys for Toddlers

toys toddlers -156930341The holiday season is the best time of the year to buy toys for children. However, parents are often overwhelmed by a larger selection and choosing the best toy can become challenging.  The most important thing to remember when choosing toys for toddlers is picking toys that are safe and appropriate for their age.

Each year hospital E.R.’s are visited by over 200,000 young children, typically under the age of three, who have incurred toy-related injuries.   These injuries can be avoided if parents keep these guidelines in mind when buying toys:

  • Carefully read warning labels
  • Do not buy toys with small and removable parts
  • Check to see if toys are on a recall list by visiting sites such as recalls.gov or cpsc.gov.
  • Avoid buying toys with parts that launches or projects
  • Do not purchase toys with sharp edges or points
  • Make certain that cords or strings are shorter that seven inches
  • Avoid buying toys that make extremely loud noises
  • Check to see if toys have been tested for lead-based paint by visiting websites such as www.ecocenter.org

Most toys come with warning labels that advise parents of potential choking hazards and compatibility by age group. Parents should pay close attention to these labels and also do due diligence by researching toys and inspecting them for further dangers.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Your Child and the Battle Against Junk Food

C187539116-kid-and-junk-foodhildhood obesity has become a common health concern for parents. It is estimated that one in every five children is overweight.  A child is defined as obese when they are well above the normal weight for their age.

One of the contributing factors in obesity is unhealthy eating habits. It is recommended that parents introduce healthy eating to children as early as possible.  For some, this may be easier said than done, because children are so easily attracted to the appeal of junk food.

What makes junk food enticing to children is sugar, high sodium, the taste of fat; commonly hydrogenated oils, in addition to bright, colorful packaging, fun shapes and unnatural food coloring. Parents can win the fight against junk food by making healthy food more appealing to children’s senses.

Here are a few tips on converting kid favorites into healthier choices:

  • Hot dogs- Instead of regular beef and pork hot dogs, purchase turkey franks with low sodium and without added nitrates. Decorate the hot dog with colorful vegetables such as cucumbers, carrots, red and yellow peppers.
  • Salty cheese snacks- Make plain cheese fun by cutting it into quirky shapes or adding bright and sweet fruit. You can make cheese and fruit shish kebabs.
  • French fries- Opt for baked sweet potato fries and sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin C, B6, and D. They are a source of Iron, magnesium and potassium.
  • Ice cream- Frozen yogurt is just as tasty and contains less sugar and fat. Adding toppings such as fruit and granola is a plus.
  • Popsicles- Freeze real fruit juices with bits of fruit into bars.
  • Potato chips- Kale chips are rich in vitamin A and easy to make at home. Make them delicious by adding herbs and spices.
  • Candy- Healthy alternatives to candy include raisins or strawberries and bananas lightly drizzled with chocolate.
  • Milkshakes- Smoothies made with fresh fruit and low-fat yogurt are a healthier option.
  • Meat lasagna- Load lasagna with vegetables instead of meat, choose low-fat cheese and whole-grain pasta.
  • Macaroni and cheese-Use low-fat cheese, add Greek yogurt to make it creamy and spinach to make it nutritious.

The battle against junk food is not lost. Keep food exciting and nutritious for your family by sourcing healthy recipe websites or visiting FlushingHospital’s Facebook and Twitter pages for suggestions. In addition to healthy eating, keep your family physically active and also make an appointment with your family doctor to ensure that everyone is at their recommended weight. Feel free to share these tips with friend and family.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Pokemon Go Safety Tips

The mobile game, Pokemon Go has become a craze with millions of Americans addicted to playing. Because of the widespread play, the NYPD has issued a list of safety tips for.  They are as follows:

PokemonGO_Long

By following these rules, you will have a better, safer experience when playing the game.

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Is There a Connection Between Sugar Consumption and Childhood Hyperactivity?

“He’s going be up all night after eating all that sugar” It’s a common phrase that all parents say while they watch their children run around at a birthday party. We have long believed that there is a direct correlation with sugar intake and hyperactivity in children, but is it true?

Portrait of a young girl holding a slice of cake

The fact is sugar consumption doesn’t change a child’s behavior. Multiple studies have been conducted and found that a sugary diet doesn’t affect mood or cognitive abilities. Using double blind studies, researchers observed two groups of children, one group was given sugary substances; the other group was given a placebo. The findings concluded that no noticeable changes in behavior were observed between the two groups.

So why do parents believe there is a connection? A separate study suggests that often, a parent’s expectations can affect their perceptions. It was observed that parents who believed their child’s behavior is affected by sugar consumption noticed hyperactive behaviors when they were led to believe the child had a sugary drink – even if they hadn’t.

Another reason why some parents think there child becomes hyperactive after having a high-sugar diet is the resulting “crash” that sometimes follows. Internally, when blood sugar levels rise quickly, the body produces a large amount of insulin to sweep the sugar out of the blood stream, which can result in a child becoming sluggish. The low blood sugar levels can then trigger a craving for more sweets, creating a “roller coaster” effect that can be misconstrued as hyperactivity.

This by no means suggests that a high sugar diet is good for children. Most experts will agree to choose healthy options and reserve sugary snacks as once in a while treats. A high sugar diet can lead to childhood obesity, diabetes, and oral problems.

Parents looking for reasons why their child might be hyperactive can look to other factors such as, sleep problems, emotional disturbances, learning disorders (such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), or general temperament.

Consult with your pediatrician if you think your child is hyperactive. If you do not have a pediatrician, Flushing Hospital’s Pediatric Ambulatory Care Center has many qualified doctors who can help. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 718-670-3007.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.