Thursday, June 3, 2010

Ask a Nurse: Stomach or Back?

My mother insists that babies sleep better on their stomach, but my pediatrician says I should always place my baby on her back to sleep. Is this true? And what is the reason for this?

The American Academy of Pediatrics fully recommends always placing healthy infants on their backs to sleep. Although they don't understand the exact reason why, there is evidence to show that babies that sleep on their backs are at a lower risk of dying from SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). SIDS is the number-one cause of death in the United States for babies in the first year of life.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

In the News: Choking Hazard Labels on Food

Choking hazard labels on food now too? That's what the American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending. Just like toys have to be labeled if there are small parts that may be dangerous for small children, pediatricians recognize that certain foods also pose a huge risk and should have similar labels.

Choking injury and death is largely preventable. To read the entire article in the New York Times, click here. To learn more about choking prevention and safety for your kids, read our previous post.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

10 Ways to Promote a Healthy Self-Image

1. Lead by example—if a parent is always on a diet, it will affect the children
2. Provide healthy meals and snacks for your kids
3. Encourage activities that will keep children physically fit
4. Compliment your children regularly
5. Avoid placing an emphasis on people's weight, instead talk about being healthy
6. Never tell your child she/he is fat or ugly.
7. Limit exposure to negative media
8. Encourage communication with your kids—studies show that children that have healthy relationships with their parents tend to have better self-esteem and a more positive body image
9. Help your children see that beauty comes in all color, shapes, and sizes and that everyone can be attractive
10. If you begin to notice any signs of disordered eating, seek help

Types of Eating Disorders

Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder in which the child thinks she/he is fat and thus restricts eating to just a few hundred calories a day. These children have a fear of gaining weight, a very distorted body image, and often will sneak or hide food avoid eating it. They will appear extremely thin, their hair becomes dull and brittle, and girls will often stop menstruating.

Bulimia is another eating disorder characterized by periods of binging and purging. These children also have a distorted body image, but instead of starving themselves, they will engage in a junk food binge and then feel so guilty that they make themselves throw up. These children may not be super thin, so it is harder to detect.

Restrictive Eating is a less serious form of eating disorder in which children are obsessed with weighing themselves, trying fad diets, and losing weight.

Eating Disorders on the Rise

Did you know that 50 percent of girls between the ages of 11 and 13 see themselves as overweight?

We live in a society that has become obsessed with beauty and with having the perfect body. You are probably aware that the incidence of eating disorders has risen drastically over the past 20 years. But now studies are showing the kids as young preschool age are affected by disordered eating. It starts with a preoccupation with weight and being thin, that leads to dieting to try to lose weight—studies show that 80 percent of 13-year-olds have tried to lose weight. There are serious physical and psychological implications if this obsession continues.

This week I will focus on the different types of eating disorders and their signs and symptoms, as well as ways you, as parents, can promote healthy self-image in your children.

Some Sobering Statistics

42 percent of 1st to ­3rd grade girls want to be thinner.

Over one-­half of teenage girls and nearly one­-third of teenage boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting, and taking laxatives.

40 percent of newly identified cases of anorexia are in girls 15 to ­19 years old.

In the United States, as many as 10 million females and 1 million males are battling an eating disorder.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Ask a Nurse: Treating Minor Cuts and Scrapes

What is the best way to care for my child's minor cuts or scrapes?

The two most important things to remember when treating your child's minor cuts and scrapes is to 1.) stop the bleeding and 2.) prevent infection.

You should wash and rinse the area with warm water and an antiseptic soap to remove dirt and germs and cleanse the wound. Then use a clean cloth and direct pressure on the wound to stop the bleeding. Once the wound is clean and the bleeding has stopped, apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment (such as Neosporin) and cover the wound with a clean bandage.

Most minor injuries heal rather quickly. If, however, a wound does not heal or if you begin to notice signs of infection (redness, swelling, pus or watery discharge, and fever0,call your pediatrician.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Top 10 On-the-Go Breakfasts

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and unfortunately more than half of kids in the U.S. go to school each day without eating breakfast. I know how busy mornings can be trying to get everyone ready and out the door.

Here is my top ten list of ways to prepare a healthy breakfast for your kids that they can take on the go:

1. Yogurt and granola
2. Breakfast shakes
3. Bagel with peanut butter
4. Leftover pizza
5. Hard-boiled eggs
6. Portable fruits like bananas, apples, oranges, pears
7. Breakfast bars
8. Fruit and nut trail mixes
9. Sandwiches
10. Cinnamon raisin bread