Are Pediatric Vitamins Necessary for My Child

One of the most important jobs for every parent is to make sure they give their children a healthy start in life. A big part of that includes making sure they receive their daily recommended vitamin intake. Many automatically assume this includes providing them with a chewable or gummy vitamin each day, but is this really necessary?

The answer is not necessarily. Most experts agree that children should get their vitamins from a healthy diet that includes dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt; fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables; proteins, such as meat, chicken, fish, and eggs; and a variety of whole grains.

However, given the busy lifestyles of most families, providing well-balanced meals isn’t always a realistic option. In these instances, because children may not be getting their vitamins through their daily diet, supplements should be considered . Other potential reasons to supplement your child’s diet with vitamins include:

  • If your child is a fussy eater
  • If your child has a delay in his or her physical development
  • If your child is living with a chronic medical condition such as asthma
  • If your child has digestive problems or food allergies
  • If you are raising your child as a vegetarian or vegan
  • If your child eats a lot of fast food or processed food or drinks a lot of soda

If you believe that vitamins are necessary for your child’s development, it is important to make sure they are receiving the right ones. The following vitamins are considered most critical for growing children.

  • Vitamin A– Promotes normal growth and development; tissue and bone repair; and healthy skin, eyes, and immune responses.
  • Vitamin B – The family of B Vitamins, including B2, B3, B6 and B12 aid metabolism and energy production. They also promote bone and tooth formation and development of healthy muscles and connective tissue.
  • Calcium – Essential for helping build strong bones as a child grows.
  • Iron – Builds muscle and is essential to healthy red blood cells. Iron deficiency is a risk in adolescence, especially for girls once they begin to menstruate.

If you do give vitamins to your children, follow these safety tips:

  • Put vitamins away, well out of reach of children, so they don’t treat them like candy.
  • Be sure not to exceed the daily recommended dosage as too many vitamins can be dangerous
  • If your child is taking any medication, be sure to ask your child’s doctor about any drug interactions with certain vitamins or minerals.
  • Try a chewable vitamin if your child won’t take a pill or liquid supplement.
  • Consider waiting until a child reaches age 4 to start giving a multivitamin supplement, unless your child’s doctor suggests otherwise.

There are many over-the-counter pediatric vitamins on the market today. Before you make a decision on which to buy for your child, consult with your pediatrician. They can advise you on what makes the most sense for your child.

To make an appointment at xx Hospital’s Pediatric Ambulatory Care Center, please call 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.

Benefits of Grandparents Who Help Raise Grandchildren

Studies have shown that raising grandchildren can be mutually beneficial.  Grandparents provide a stable, safe, loving and fun environment for their grandchildren and the closeness between grandchildren and grandparents may keep older adults sharp, ward off depression, boost social connections, and solidify an important family relationship.

Some positive results of grandparents caring for their grandchildren are:

  • Peace of mind – Parents know that their children are with those who love them and are giving them the time an attention their parents can’t while at work.
  • Financial – Childcare is expensive. Parents may be able to save in lieu of paying the high cost of childcare.
  • Flexibility – If the parents are called in to work on an off day, grandparents are generally ready, willing and able to take on whatever was planned for that day.
  • Health – Many grandparents feel that their grandchildren keep them fit and to a grandchild no one can fix a cut or scrape better than a grandparent.
  • Wisdom – Grandparents can impart great wisdom to your child in a way that is much more absorbable than if a parent tries to impart that same wisdom.

Having grandparents help raise your children is a mostly “pro” scenario, but no situation is a perfect one.  Always have a childcare plan “B” in place in case Grandma and Grandpa need a day off.

 

 

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.

Baby-Led Weaning is a New Way of Feeding Your Baby – Learn More About it

Every parent remembers when they first introduced their baby to solid foods. This momentous occasion of spoon-feeding them pureed food is considered a major milestone for babies and their parents.

Today however, more and more parents are opting to skip the applesauce and mashed sweet potatoes and instead are adopting a new feeding technique called “baby-led weaning” ( or BLW)  for their babies. This alternative approach to feeding, first introduced in the UK a decade ago, involves introducing solid chunks of foods much earlier on by placing them on the baby’s high chair and letting them grasp the food and feed themselves directly. As the name implies, feeding time is led by the baby as they determine the pace and the amount of food they consume; basically, baby-led weaning puts the baby in charge.

While children all develop at different paces, advocates of baby-led weaning agree that this method of eating shouldn’t be introduced until the baby is ready. Cues to begin BLW include making sure that your baby can sit up straight unassisted, have good neck strength and be able move food to the back of their mouth with up and down jaw movements. Most babies develop these skills by the sixth month, but some babies may not fully develop them until they are nine months old.

Proponents of BLW believe that it holds many benefits, including enhancing baby’s hand-eye coordination and other fine motor skills, including using their thumb and index finger to grasp their food. They also feel that it will produce healthier eaters than spoon-fed babies because BLW eaters get to choose how much they eat as opposed to traditional feeding methods, which sometimes results in force feeding.  Other advantages that BLW supporters claim to be true is that it creates a more enjoyable feeding experience for babies and less stress on their parents.

Detractors of baby-led weaning feeders point out that these babies are generally underweight as compared to spoon-fed babies because they simply do not ingest that much when they are first introduced to this way of eating due to difficulties grabbing food.  BLW babies also tend to be iron-deficient because they aren’t consuming the iron-fortified cereals that spoon–fed babies typically eat. Lastly, a big concern for many parents is the increased choking hazards associated with BLW, and while the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t have opinion of BLW, they do state that babies are ready for solid food once they are ready to sit up on their own and bring their hand to their mouth.

If you are considering baby led weaning for your child, here are a few tips:

  • Continue breast feeding and / or formula feeding as this will continue to be your baby’s biggest source of nutrition until they are 12 months old.
  • Begin BLW feedings with softer foods, such as ripe fruits, cooked egg yolks, and shredded meats, poultry and fish.
  • Avoid foods that can pose as choking hazards, such as nuts, grapes, popcorn, or foods cut into coin shapes, like hot dogs.
  • Do not leave your child unattended during BLW feeding times. Continue to supervise and socialize with them while they eat and to have them eat when the rest of the family does.
  • Don’t panic if your baby gags as it is a safe a natural reflex. Instead of overreacting, prepare for a choking event by familiarizing yourself with the infant-specific Heimlich maneuver.
  • Introduce new foods one at a time to pinpoint potential food allergies. A recommended length of time is three to four days between foods.
  • The goal of BLW is to let your baby explore eating at their own pace. This may include the smashing, smearing, or dropping of food, so prepare for a mess.

Before you decide to adopt BLW to your child, it is a good idea to discuss with your child’s pediatrician as it may not be a good idea for all babies, especially those babies with known developmental delays or neurological issues.

To make an appointment with a pediatrician at Flushing Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center, please call 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.

National School Backpack Safety Monthy

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September is National School Backpack Safety Month and Flushing Hospital Medical Center is sharing information on how you can help your child avoid the pain and injury that is associated with carrying heavy backpacks.  These simple tips can help protect your child from having chronic back pain throughout their lives.

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.

Back To School – Time To Reestablish Your Child’s Sleep Schedule

Summer vacation is an opportunity for children to extend their bedtimes at night and sleep a little later in the morning. While most parents tend to be a bit more flexible with their kid’s sleeping habits during this time of the year, it’s important to remember that back to school is just around the corner and now is the time to reestablish a proper sleeping routine for your children.

After a relaxing summer, children might need some time to adjust to a regular schedule. Here are some tips to help your child ease into his or her school-time sleep pattern and to maintain healthy sleep habits throughout the year:

  • Every night, beginning 1-2 weeks before school begins, set an incrementally earlier bedtime and wake-up time.
  • Once your child’s sleep schedule is established, stick with it! Don’t use the weekend to “catch up on sleep.”
  • Establish a relaxing bedtime routine to allow your child to unwind including a bath and a bed-time story (for young children) or a reading time (for older children).
  • Limit television, video games, and other electronic distractions before and during bedtime.
  • Avoid big meals and caffeinated beverages close to bedtime as they may prevent your child from falling asleep.
  • Maintain a peaceful bedroom environment which includes a comfy bed, appropriate room temperature and lights turned off, or with a night light if your child needs one.
  • Be a role model by setting a good example for your child. Establish your own regular sleep schedulec and maintain a home that promotes healthy sleep.

Getting your child back on track at bedtime will allow for a smooth transition for the first day of school and will help your children reach their full learning potential.

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.

All About Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease

 

Summer gives us a break from the flu and many other viruses prevalent during the winter months, but there is one contagious virus that your child is at risk of contracting during the summer.

Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is a common illness in the summer months, predominantly found in infants and children under the age of 10, but one that can also affect teens and adults. It is caused by a family of viruses known as the Coxsackie virus. There are multiple types of Coxsackie virus, but the A16 strain causes HFMD.

HFMD can produce a wide variety of symptoms, including mild flu-like symptoms such as fever, head and muscle aches, sore throat, fatigue, and poor appetite. The fever usually lasts anywhere from 24 hours to 2-3 days. One or two days after the fever begins, small red spots begin to appear in the mouth, throat, palms of the hands, and soles of the feet. These spots develop into blisters and eventually into painful ulcers, which resolve within a few days without any scarring.

These blisters give the illness its name, but it should not be confused with the similarly named foot (or hoof) and mouth disease, which is found in cattle.

HFMD is spread between children either hand to hand or through tiny air droplets that are released when they sneeze, cough, or blow their nose.  The illness can also be spread when a person is exposed to an infected child’s stool or the fluid from their blisters.

HFMD is contagious and tends to spread most easily in settings where many young children are together, such as day care centers.  In tropical parts of the world, HFMD is present throughout the year, but in cooler climates, such as New York, outbreaks take place only in the summer or fall. Some people incorrectly believe that the illness is spread in swimming pools, but a properly chlorinated pool should kill the virus.

Proper hand washing is considered the best protection against the virus, especially after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before eating or preparing food. The virus can live on contaminated surfaces for several days. Therefore, parents should clean shared toys and all surfaces potentially contaminated with disinfectant cleaners to protect against the spread of HFMD.

There are lab tests to confirm HFMD, but doctors usually can diagnose the virus based on a physical examination. There is no specific treatment for HFMD. Doctors often recommend over-the-counter pain and fever reducing medications to make your child feel more comfortable. Salt water rinses might also provide relief.

If you think your child has hand, foot and mouth disease, you should see a pediatrician or call Flushing Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center at 718-670-5486 to make an appointment.

 

 

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.

Flushing Hospital Medical Center Designated Baby-Friendly

Flushing Hospital Medical Center (FHMC) has received the prestigious international recognition as a Designated Baby-Friendly birth facility. Baby-Friendly USA, Inc is the U.S. authority for the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The initiative encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. Based on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, this prestigious international award recognizes birth facilities that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.

FHMC offers  the following classes free of charge at FHMC:
  • Childbirth education classes on Saturday monthly. Call 718-670-3020
  • Infant feeding classes weekly on Tuesday at 10am Ob/Gyn Ambulatory Care Center on the 5th floor
  • Breastfeeding Support Group weekly, Wednesdays, 1pm 5 West conference room, by appointment 718-670-5201
  • Free tours of the Perinatal area by calling 718-670-5239
  • Women Infants and Children (WIC) office on the 5th floor 718-670-5277

Robert Levine, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at FHMC, congratulated the entire OB/GYN team for their hard work.

 

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.

Children’s Vitamins

Ideally, most children should receive their daily recommended vitamins and minerals from the food they eat. However, for parents who are challenged for time and aren’t able to prepare well-balanced meals throughout the day; children who are picky eaters or those with certain chronic illnesses, supplements are essential for providing nutrients needed.

There are many types of children’s vitamins available for purchase, but before doing so, it is highly recommended that you speak to your child’s pediatrician.  They can help you to determine what kinds of vitamins and minerals are needed as well as the appropriate daily dose.  This is important because overdosing can lead to symptoms such as headaches, rashes, nausea or even more severe adverse reactions.

Some of the essential vitamins children need to grow healthy and strong include:

  • Iron– Prevents anemia and helps build muscles  and healthy red blood cells
  • Vitamin D– Most children do not receive enough Vitamin D. It is needed to help with bone growth and development
  • Vitamin A-Promotes normal growth and development, as well as healthy eyes and skin. It also aids in repairing bones and tissues
  • Calcium-Helps to build strong bones as children grow

Remember to keep in mind that children’s vitamins are supplements and should not replace healthy, well- balanced meals.  Try to provide your child with foods that are nutrient-rich and those that are low in calories and sugar. Encourage them to eat as much whole fruits and vegetables as possible. If their diet allows for meat, include meats that are lean and avoid or limit frying as a method of preparation.

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 Fruit Juice Healthy For Kids?

Although many parents perceive fruit juices, including boxed juices as healthy, the reality is most are not. Typically, packaged juices often contain large amounts of added sugar and are of no comparison to 100% fresh juice or whole fruit which offers several nutritional benefits.

According to an article published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, when served with a well-balanced meal in children over the age of one, 100% fresh or reconstituted juice in moderation can be a healthy part of a child’s diet.  It is important that the amount of juice consumed is moderated as studies have found that drinking too much can result in obesity and compromise dental health.

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers the following recommendations to help parents with making better health decisions for their children and moderating their juice intake:

  • Juice should not be given to children under the age of one because it offers no nutritional benefit.
  • If juice is given, intake should be limited to, at most, 4 ounces daily for toddlers age 1-3. For children age 4-6, fruit juice should be restricted to 4 to 6 ounces daily; and for children ages 7-18, juice intake should be limited to 8 ounces or 1 cup of the recommended 2 to 2 ½ cups of fruit servings per day.
  • Toddlers should not be given juice from bottles or easily transportable “sippy cups” that allow them to consume juice easily throughout the day. The excessive exposure of the teeth to carbohydrates can lead to tooth decay, as well. Toddlers should not be given juice at bedtime.
  • Consumption of unpasteurized juice products should be strongly discouraged for children of all ages.
  • Children who take specific forms of medication should not be given grapefruit juice, which can interfere with the medication’s effectiveness. In addition, fruit juice is not appropriate in the treatment of dehydration or management of diarrhea.
  • Children should be encouraged to eat whole fruits and be educated about the benefits of the fruit as compared with juice, which lacks dietary fiber and may contribute to excessive weight gain.

The best options for children’s health are water and fresh fruit.  Fruit juice offers no nutritional advantages when compared to whole fruit.  Water is ideal for hydration and offers more benefits. To speak with a doctor at Flushing Hospital Medical Center about your child’s nutrition, please call 718-670-5406.

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.

Understanding Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a language-based, learning disability that affects approximately 15% of the population living in the United States.  It is the most common learning disability in the country.

People who are dyslexic find it difficult to read because they are unable to properly identify speech sounds and learn how they relate to letters and words.  They often have difficulty with writing, math and comprehension as well.

Dyslexia is a lifelong disability that cannot be cured. However, an individual can overcome its many challenges when early intervention and specialized education approaches are applied.

The exact cause of dyslexia is unknown; however, the condition tends to run in families.  In addition to genetics, there are other factors attributed to dyslexia; they include:

  • Premature birth or a low birth weight
  • Exposure to substances such as nicotine, alcohol or illegal drugs during pregnancy

Symptoms and signs of dyslexia vary with each individual. They may experience the following:

  • Difficulty forming words correctly –they may reverse the sound in words or confuse words that sound alike
  • Late speech
  • Difficulty remembering or naming  colors , letters and numbers
  • Reading well below average
  • Difficulty playing rhyming games or learning rhyming songs
  • Problems with math or spelling
  • Difficulty following directions
  • Disinterest in books
  • Difficulty remembering details
  • Trouble understanding puns and idioms
  • Difficulty telling right from left
  • Difficulty understanding the concept of time

A significant number of children with dyslexia go undiagnosed because symptoms are not recognized. Many children who are undiagnosed, struggle in school and grow up to be adults who are unaware that they have dyslexia; therefore, it is very important for parents to note warning signs and seek assistance from a specialist.  In most cases, a diagnosis of dyslexia is determined by a licensed educational psychologist after completing a series of evaluations.

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.