Be Safe During Summer Fun
Thu, 5/24/2012 3:07 PM
It's Memorial Day weekend and that means the official start of summer, and pools across the region are opening up to offer a break from the heat. In the summer, fun is number one – but keeping your children safe from accidental injury is a top priority too. Parents and caregivers who emphasize summer safety are rubbing on more than just sunscreen; they are applying a healthy dose of safe habits for kids.
“Children rely on parents and adults to supervise their participation in summer activities, even if those activities are in your own backyard,” said Susan A. Helms, director Injury Prevention and Safe Kids at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.
A former director of the intensive care unit at Le Bonheur, Helms shares practical ways for parents to practice active safety habits.
Be a Water Watcher
At or Near the Water
Spot the Tot
The bottom line: be an active supervisor.
“As parents and caregivers, children are relying on us to show them good, active safety habits," Helms said. “They really are depending on us to keep them safe.”
Summer is a time for kids to be out and about and free. In all that fun, it is quite easy to forget or ignore safety. It’s our job to remind them.
Give The Kids a Compliment
Wed, 5/23/2012 1:37 PM
It’s very rewarding when your child makes the right choices. Children want to please their parents – and thrive on positive feedback from their parents. We talked to Thomas Hobson, director of the Child Life Department at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital about how parents can take advantage of positive reinforcement. Here’s what he had to say.
“Think back to some of the proudest moments in your life. Did they involve someone telling you that you did a good job? Perhaps they were proud of you? Chances are many of those moments involve situations like those.
The truth is that everyone likes to be told that they’re doing a good job. To put it in more technical terms, everyone likes positive reinforcement. When we are rewarded for doing the right thing, trying harder or just generally doing what we’re suppose to do it makes us want to do it more often. This is true for work, home, friends and our children.
As the parent, we should all remember that our children love when we provide them with positive reinforcement. It makes them realize that they are doing the right thing and helps to shape expected behaviors. Here are three simple pointers on giving solid positive reinforcement to children:
You will be amazed how well positive reinforcement works with children (and adults). It’s as simple as focusing on the positive things your child is doing, instead of talking/screaming about the negative things. If you take this to heart and practice it, you will find you are more relaxed and your children will be happy too. Parenting is a job - you are the supervisor and your child is the employee.”
What to do during tantrums
Thu, 5/17/2012 4:01 PM
Every parent has dealt with their child's tantrum. It’s never easy to deal with - most times, you're not sure how. We talked to Thomas Hobson, director of the Child Life Department at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. Here’s what he had to say.
“It doesn’t matter where it happens or whether there’s build up to it or not, a child’s temper tantrum is a thing of parents’ nightmares. They can be embarrassing. They can be frustrating. They can (and will) test your patience.
During the big blow out temper tantrums, it is tough to keep your composure and not get sucked into your child’s whirlwind of emotion. You find yourself being pulled in, and before long, the whole situation is a screaming match. Each side continues to escalate until it’s nothing but chaos.
How do I know all of this? Well, my confession is that despite all of my “kid smarts”, I’ve been pulled into these same situations. Then again, haven’t we all been roped into our children’s temper tantrums. Here are a few tips to help keep you cool when your child is losing it:
Autism: One in 88 Kids Affected
Mon, 5/14/2012 4:10 PM
Autism affects one in 88 children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And a recently published study suggests one in three autistic adults lack a job or education. As the number of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnoses increase, experts says early intervention and therapy are key.
Dr. Kathryn McVicar, a Le Bonheur neurologist, weighs in on ASDs below.
There are many theories, but no great answers as to why autism spectrum disorder diagnoses have increased. Here are some of the possible contributors:
Early signs of an autism spectrum disorder (but also of other developmental and psychiatric disorders) include:
There are theories proposed to explain why boys are more likely to have an ASD, but no definite answer. Some investigators think it might be due to neuroendocrine influences on the developing brain. For example, some scientists believe that an ASD could occur as a result of testosterone acting in vulnerable developing brains or stress during critical times in brain development.
Sandboxes: Is Your Sand Safe?
Fri, 5/11/2012 1:08 PM
Popular DIY bloggers Sherry and John Petersik of Young House Love recently posed a question about the safety of some sandboxes. Their concerns were over certain types of sand -- commonly found in playgrounds or sandboxes -- that contain crystalline silica and asbestos tremiline-- both known to potentially put children at risk for developing cancer, says Susan Helms, Le Bonheur director of Injury Prevention and Safe Kids Mid-South.
Helms says the kind of play sand that can have both of these carcinogens is made from crushed rock, so look for river or beach sand for your child’s sandbox. These can usually be found at landscape or gardening stores. Though slightly more expensive, Safe Sand sells carcinogen-free sand for sandboxes.
Helms also recommends following these guidelines from the National Health and Safety Performance:
Snake Bites: How to Treat
Thu, 5/10/2012 2:40 PM
The outdoors is exactly where children should be during the long days of summer. Running and playing in open fields and grass is what just about every child loves to do. But, those are also the same places where snakes inhabit, and if a child steps on or startles one, it might bite.
In the event you ever find yourself in a situation where a child has been bitten, Dr. Barry Gilmore, director of Emergency Services at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, tells exactly what you should do.
“Most importantly, parents should know that snakes are not usually agressive and won't strike unless startled, stepped on or feel threatened. In most cases, children who are bitten have been playing outdoors, hiking or walking in fields or near water. The most common area bitten are the limbs.
The first thing you should do if a child is bitten is stay calm. Allow the bite area to bleed freely for about 15 to 20 seconds, and then thoroughly cleanse the bite with antibacterial soap and water. Applying Betadine (Povidone – Iodine), an antiseptic, is ideal, however not necessary if you don’t have it on hand.
Keep the limb that has been bitten at or slightly below the heart.If it is elevated too high it could cause the poison to travel faster, and if it is too low it can cause swelling problems. Many times, parents put hot or cold packs on the area. This is not necessary and provides no benefit to the child or to the wound. There are some wives’ tales that say to suck the poison out of the fang marks by mouth or cut an incision on the site so that the poison can drain. Do not do this. Also, using a tourniquet, applying pressure or wrapping the area with bandages offer no benefit either.
After the first three steps of allowing it bleed, cleaning and keeping it at or below the heart, the next most critical thing is to get to an emergency room. The smaller the child, the worse the reaction to the poison can be, so it is very important to seek medical attention. Usually, a life-threatening reaction doesn’t immediately occur in most cases. I also encourage parents not to waste any time killing or catching the snake.It’s more important to have the bite medically assessed.
Snake bites in our area are not uncommon. Iin summer months, we can see about one per week in the Emergency Department. The most common bites come from copperhead or water moccasin snakes. The only treatment is anti-venom, and this would be administered if the complications from the bite became life-threatening.
As we get into the full swing of summer, parents need to be mindful of snakes’ presence. Around boat docks, sheds, in fields and wooded areas are all ideal places for snakes to be. The best advice is to teach your children the importance of being careful and watching for snakes while they play. They also need to understand that the best thing to do if they see one is simply back up and walk away.”
Teens and Hand-Sanitizers
Fri, 5/04/2012 1:38 PM
Hospitals around the country have noticed a startling issue: teens drinking ethanol hand sanitizers to get drunk. It is a dangerous trend, and we found some great information worth sharing from the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
Safe Kids Mid-South supports the following tips for parents:
Watch Out For Ticks
Thu, 5/03/2012 4:31 PM
What are ticks?
How can I be harmed by a tick?
What should I do if I am bitten by a tick?
Use tweezers to grasp the part of the tick that is closest to the skin. Apply steady upward pressure to pull the tick’s mouthparts from your skin. If you pull too hard, the mouth parts may break off. If this happens, you need to use the tweezers to pull out the remaining parts of the tick if possible.
Once the tick is removed, clean your hands and the area well with soap and water or rubbing alcohol. The saliva from the tick can be irritating and cause some redness and discomfort at the site. However, this does not necessarily mean the site is infected. Some diseases transmitted by ticks will result in a lesion or rash at the site of the tick bite but some do not. If you develop an abnormality of your skin in the area from which you removed the tick, consult your child’s pediatrician.
What illnesses can I get from a tick in this region?
Of note, Lyme disease is not transmitted in this region. The tick that could carry the disease, (Black Legged tick) is found in this region, but its feeding habits make it unlikely to transmit Lyme disease. The “bull’s-eye” rash at the site of the tick bite that occurs with Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness (STARI) is very similar to that seen with Lyme disease - these can be easily confused. This rash may be accompanied by fatigue, headache, fever and muscle pains. The cause of STARI is unknown. As it appears very similar to Lyme Disease, most physicians will treat this infection with antibiotics.
Ehrlichiosis is transmitted by the Lone Star tick in this region. The symptoms of Ehrlichiosis usually develop within 1-2 weeks after being bitten by an infected tick. There are many symptoms associated with Ehrlichiosis. These are similar to symptoms of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Patients with Ehrlichiosis have fever, chills, headache, malaise, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, red eyes, confusion and rash (not at the site of the tick bite).
These diseases can be difficult for physicians to diagnose because the symptoms overlap with many common, self-resolving, viral illnesses. It is important to note that not all patients have all symptoms and some people have very mild or no symptoms. Unfortunately, there is no test that your doctor can do to easily diagnose these infections so treatment must be started based on suspicion. The infection may be confirmed by doing a blood test 10-14 days after the diagnosis but this will not influence the decision to treat.
Treatment should never be withheld pending the results of a blood test. Severe Ehrlichiosis or RMSF infection can be fatal if not treated appropriately. Prompt treatment is associated with rapid resolution of symptoms. The appropriate treatment for Ehrlichiosis and RMSF is doxycycline for children of all ages. This is the drug recommended by both the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics. No other drug should be used to treat these infections.
Tularemia is a disease that can be transmitted by both the Lone Star tick and the Dog Tick. This disease is much less common than the others. While tick borne Tularemia can present in many ways, it may be associated with an ulcerated lesion at the site of the tick bite with or without a swollen lymph node nearby. If this occurs, you should see your child’s doctor.
How can I prevent myself from being exposed to these illnesses?
You can keep ticks off yourself and your family by avoiding wooded areas with tall grasses and staying on trails when hiking. Use insect repellents with DEET (20% or more) on exposed skin and Permethrin on clothing and gear. Wear long sleeve shirts and long pants tucked into socks to avoid contact of skin with ticks.
You should also do regular tick checks after coming in from outdoors. Particular areas to check include:
Also check your gear and pets because ticks can come into the home then attach to you later.
Please consult the CDC website for more information.
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Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center is a leading children's hospital in the Mid South, providing pediatric care to children from 95 counties in six states.
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