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Category: Blog

Are Kids Affected by Technology?

Technology is a fact of life in modern culture, and there’s no question that devices, including cell phones and video game systems, affect our children. As with most things, there are pros and cons..

Technology Pros

Education and imagination have been positively influenced. Games, devices, and software have been developed to improve most areas of modern life including academics, physical skills, communication, health, and social skills. Teen drug use is down, and researchers suggest one of the factors may be the availability of devices for entertainment. As time passes, more and more parents grew up with video games, computers, Internet access, and cell phones. This means younger parents are more knowledgeable about controlling children’s exposure to media.

Technology Cons

The bad news is there are negative effects to any technology no matter how well intended. In this case, too much of a good thing can lead to disrupted sleep patterns, obesity, diminished social skills, and mood issues. Cyberbullying concerns parents and educators, and road safety experts grapple with the issues of distracted driving and walking which can lead to serious injuries or death. Internet access exposes your child to information, but some of that information may not be what you have in mind, and predators could pretend to be anyone. That’s why it’s important to monitor your child or teen’s devices and online activities, no matter how dictatorial it may seem.

What You Can Do

As a parent, it’s critical to understand the benefits and risks of any technology used by your child. The first step is to educate yourself. Is the content of a game age-appropriate? Is the device or game online or offline? Is the device connected to a private network, open Wi-Fi, or mobile networks? Are parental controls activated and effective? Are you and your child up to date on Internet safety? After that, it all comes down to balance.

Making and enforcing rules is easier said than done. If you have health concerns related to technology, consult with your pediatrician for the latest findings. Request an appointment at Pediatrix today.

Posted in Blog, Technology on April 13th, 2018

Children’s Eye Exams

For many children, their first vision screening happens at their elementary school. Studies show that these screenings are crucial for adolescents, but research is also finds that they’re not enough.

School Vision Screening Pros

Optometry students are encouraged to set up school vision screenings in their community. This is because the fourth most prevalent class of disability are vision problems, and 80% of what children learn comes through visual processing. Even though more than a third of American children between the ages of 12 and 17 are nearsighted, only 40% undergo vision screenings.

School vision screenings are a critical first step.

School Vision Screening Cons

Many optometrists stand behind school vision screenings, but they want parents to understand there’s only so much these screenings can do.

The Kirkwood Eye Institute finds that school vision screenings do not test for double vision, focus, tracking, perception, or dyslexia. VSP finds they also don’t test for farsightedness or color blindness. School vision screenings are sometimes facilitated by untrained staff, volunteers, or school nurses with inadequate equipment.

Professional Eye Exams

It is highly recommended that, after a school vision screening, your child undergoes a comprehensive eye and vision exam. At school, your child will receive a basic 20/20 vision test (how far can they see from 20 feet away). Here’s what an exam at an optometrist’s office includes:

  • Patient and family health history
  • Visual acuity measurement
  • Preliminary tests of visual function and eye health, including depth perception, color vision, peripheral (side) vision, and response of the pupils to light
  • Assessment of refractive status to determine the presence of nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism
  • Evaluation of eye focusing, eye teaming, and eye movement abilities
  • Eye health examination
  • Additional tests as needed

Schools should continue with vision screenings, but parents cannot rely on them solely. Whether your children attend a school with vision screenings or are home-schooled, yearly eye exams are necessary for your family.

Posted in Blog, Vision on April 6th, 2018

Breastfeeding Myths VS Facts

“Don’t eat spicy food!” your grandmother may have screamed at you as you prepared to feed your newborn. Those who are older always seem wiser, so you may have asked yourself: “Will spicy food…make my milk spicy?” When you’ve just had a baby, you don’t have the time and energy to peruse through books and figure out what’s a myth and what’s a fact. There are a lot of myths out there about breastfeeding. This will help you dispel them.
Myth: The Baby Should Just Suck on the Bud
Fact: The reason women sometimes find breastfeeding painful is because they’re just putting the
bud of their nipple in the baby’s mouth. When breastfeeding, you need to put most of your areola
in as well.
Myth: Breastfeeding While Sick Passes Down Germs
Fact: As long as it’s nothing serious, being sick won’t affect breastfeeding.
Myth: Bigger is Always Better
Fact: The size of your breast tissue does not correlate with the amount of milk. Bigger breasts
don’t have more milk.
Myth: Plastic Breasts Can’t Feed
Fact: Silicone implants are inserted near the underarm, under the breast tissue, or under the chest
muscle. It shouldn’t affect breastfeeding unless your nipple was augmented. In that case, the
milk let down may be impaired.
Myth: Once You Breastfeed, You Can’t Bottle Feed
Fact: Babies may have a difficult time switching back and forth at the beginning, but there isn’t
anything harmful about using both methods.
Myth: Breastfeeding Causes Sagging
Fact: Pregnancy is what changes the appearance of breasts. The weight your breasts gain while
you’re pregnant adds stress on the ligaments.
Myth: Formula and Breastfeeding are Exactly the Same
Fact: Nope. Breast milk has 30 beneficial ingredients while breast milk has 300, including anti-bodies, anti-
Myth: Every Mother Can Easily Breast Feed
Fact: Breastfeeding can be incredibly difficult for women whose babies have a difficult time
latching onto the nipple. Using formula doesn’t make them bad moms.
Myth: Breastfeeding is a Guaranteed Birth Control
Fact: Breastfeeding is 98% effective as birth control. That’s only true if the baby isn’t drinking anything
but your milk, is 6 months old or younger, and you haven’t gotten your period.
Myth: You Can’t Breastfeed with Inverted Nipples
Fact: You can, the baby just might have a harder time latching on.
Question: Can I Eat Spicy Food and Breastfeed?
Answer: Yes. Go wild. Have a hot wing on us.
Motherhood should be beautiful, not frustrating. If you’re having difficulty breastfeeding, you’re
not alone. Request an appointment with Pediatrix and we’ll guide you through the process.

Posted in Baby Care, Blog on March 25th, 2018

Why is My Baby Spitting Up?

Your friend invites you out and you politely decline, explaining that your newborn is spitting up.
“Throwing up? Is she sick?”
“No, spitting up.”
You may be able to see the difference, but understanding why it’s happening can help you
prevent it.
What’s the Difference?
When a baby vomits, their abdominal muscles and diaphragm have contracted while their
stomach is relaxed. When a baby spits up, known as reflux, it’s because they’ve swallowed air
while feeding. The air comes back up, as well as the milk. Babies also tend to eat until their
overfilled, which is why milk sometimes comes back up.
The obvious difference would be the appearance of whatever’s coming up. Vomiting comes in
greater and forceful quantities. Spitting up, on the other hand, doesn’t faze babies at all. Spitting
up is also more common in half of babies under 12 months.
How to Prevent Spit Up
Spit up is common. It’s your baby’s way of getting used to bottle or breastfeeding. There are
some ways to prevent it, though.
• Hold your baby up right during feeding.
• Try not to put off feeding until the last minute. The hungrier a baby is while feeding, the
more air they’ll frantically take in, leading to spit up.
• Burp your baby after and even during feedings. Some babies naturally pause while
feeding. Use that as an opportunity to try and burp your baby. Getting some of it out now
means less spit up later.
• Don’t overfeed your baby.
• Avoid tight clothes around the stomach of your baby.
• If your baby spits up at night, try elevating their head.
If You Bottle Feed…
Try changing the nipple. Bottle nipples correspond to ages. A big hole leads to too much intake,
while a small hole causes the baby to suck harder and take more air in. Another recommendation
is to try different formulas.
If You Breast Feed…
Try a new diet. Mothers have found cutting back on dairy reduces spit up.
If you believe your baby is spitting or throwing up abnormally, see a doctor. You can
request an appointment at Pediatrix.

Posted in Baby Care, Blog on March 16th, 2018

Pollen Allergies VS Colds

Most in Phoenix are delighted when spring peaks its head around the corner. It’s our break from
the chilly winter and gives us time before the smoldering summer hit us hard. The weather is
perfect, and air is filled with…sneezes? While we may not notice it, the flowers are blooming
even in the Phoenix spring. If your child seems particularly stuffed up and squinty this time of
year, it may be due to pollen allergies.
What are Pollen Allergies?
Pollen allergies are an allergic reaction to the fine powder that comes from the stamen of
flowering plants. They’re also known as hay fever, caused when pollen hits the air.
Symptoms of Pollen Allergies
• Sneezing
• Nasal congestion
• Runny nose
• Watery eyes
• Itchy throat and eyes
• Wheezing
Differences Between Pollen Allergies and Colds
Surrounded by germy hands and uncovered coughs in classrooms, some children are particularly
prone to being sick. There are some key differences, though, between a pollen allergy and a cold.
What They Have in Common:
• Runny or Congested Nose
• Fatigue
• Cough
• Sore Throat
How to Tell Them Apart:
Pollen Allergies Cold
Duration Days to Months 3 Days to 2 Weeks
Time Seasonal Anytime
Fevers Never Rarely
Aches Never Sometimes
Itchy, watery eyes Often Never
What to do if Your Child Has Pollen Allergies
Nasal Steroids aka Nasal Spray
Common products include:
• Flonase
• Afrin
Antihistamines aka Over the Counter Drugs Common products include:
• Benadryl
• Claritin
• Allegra
• Zyrtec
These can come in pills, liquids, or sprays. Common products include:
• Sudafed
Allergy Shots
Small, gradual amounts of the pollen-causing symptom can be given to the child in something
called an allergy shot. This process usually takes 3-5 years.
Home Remedies
Common natural remedies include:
• Dehumidifiers
How to Fight Allergies Daily
Parents can see how their child’s allergies will act up that week by checking the pollen count.
Simply Google “pollen count” or visit a pollen forecast site.
Does your child need a pollen allergy consultation? Request an appointment at Pediatrix.

Posted in Blog on March 12th, 2018

Heat Rash

What are those smallbumps you see on your baby or child’s skin? They’re from a common
condition called heat rash, or prickly heat. It’s normally harmless, easily treatable, and shouldn’t
cause any panic. However, it can be bothersome for the child and possibly a sign of something
more serious.
What Does it Look Like?
Heat rash happens on clothed parts of the body–abdomen, neck, upper chest, groin, and armpits.
This is because these areas are the least ventilated. Heat rash takes the form of tiny bumps,
usually in the folds, surrounded by red skin.
Why Does it Happen?
The reason for heat rash is in its name—hot weather. When the ducts from your child’s sweat
glands become blocked, the skin becomes irritated and red. The child may feel an itchy, stinging
Dos and Don’ts
There are several methods parents can use to treat their child’s heat rash. Most involve cooling
the skin.
• Remove your child from the heat
• Run a cool bath or shower for the child
• Move your child to an airconditioned or chilly room
• Fan the affected area
• Use baby powder the soothe the rash. Be careful not to overdo it and block the pores.
• Ointment or cream may irritate the skin even more
• Scratching the skin could cause an infection
Your child’s clothes are adorable, but they could be the reason for heat rashes in Phoenix
• Don’t overdress your child. Keep layering to a minimum.
• Avoid heavy, unbreathable, or tight fabrics.
• Make sure you’re not covering your child in too many blankets.
When it’s More Than a Heat Rash
You need to call a physician if:
• The rash pursues after 3 or more days
• The rash takes on a purple or bruise like appearance
• Your child has a fever or chills
• The rash creates blisters or scabs
• Pus is draining from rash
• Your child had swollen lymph nodes in the armpit, neck, or groin
If you have concerns about your child’s skin, request an appointment here at Pediatrix.

Posted in Blog on March 9th, 2018

Why Are Teenagers Eating Tide Pods?

Recently, the Tide Pod Challenge and coverage thereof went viral. The Tide Pod Challenge is a particularly tragic episode in the series of dumb, dangerous things teenagers do to show off. It vexes the responsible parent, who childproofed their home for babies, toddlers, and young children, but thinks that teenagers ought to know better. 

What Goes On In The Teenage Brain? 

Fortunately, the vast majority of teenagers do know better than to gobble up detergent pods. For the most part, the laundry pod meme exists as a joke. People who are in on the joke stage photos of laundry pods on pizzas or in cereal bowls. The punchline: you can’t eat this, even though it looks appealing. Teens discover in this way that products are designed to appeal to all of our senses so that we’re more likely to buy them; this discovery doesn’t necessarily mean they are actually inclined to eat them. 

Yet the American Association of Poison Control Centers reports 86 cases of teens poisoning themselves with laundry pods in the first three weeks of January alone. Clearly, something is going on.  

“Teenagers are not as readily able to access their frontal lobe to say, oh, I’d better not do this.” 

Dr. Frances Jensen, a neurologist who literally wrote the book on the teenage brain, reports that teenagers lag behind adults when it comes to executive functioning. One reason for this is the lack of development when it comes to the connections between different areas of the brain. In other words, teenagers feel fast and think slow — a phenomenon that sums up the plot of Romeo and Juliet just as well as it explains the “Tide Pod challenge.”

Risk Factors for Poor Impulse Control 

One of the crucial aspects of this dangerous behavior is its social factor. Reported cases of teenagers eating Tide pods involve posting videos on social media, not ingesting poison in private. Does your teen have a healthy social life? Being involved in activities that encourage healthy social behavior can reduce the risk of teens seeking unhealthy social connections. 

Drinking alcohol and using drugs obviously affects impulse control. Pretty much everyone becomes more likely to endanger themselves and others while under the influence. This holds true for teenagers. Avoiding drugs and alcohol, getting a healthy amount of sleep, eating a healthy diet and staying active all contribute to heightened executive functioning.  

If your teen has a condition that affects impulse control, such as ADHD or bipolar disorder, they may be more likely to take serious risks. And the stereotype that boys tend to be bigger risk-takers is supported by research, though your child’s individual temperament regardless of gender has an effect too. 

The High Cost of Internet Fame 

Many teenage content creators aspire to Internet fame. Some achieve their viral moment in the spotlight by posting a silly picture of laundry pods posed as food. Others, clearly, make really poor decisions for likes and comments. This was true even before the Internet age: when you look back at your own teenage years, you probably remember someone (or remember being that someone) who sauntered into homeroom and bragged about doing something that made them sick, could have gotten them arrested, or otherwise compromised their safety. Even if that person’s peers all agreed that the behavior was stupid, for a moment all of them were paying attention. 

Likes and comments trigger the reward-seeking part of our brain. Teens (and for that matter, adults) can become addicted to the dopamine rush of getting these social rewards. It’s possible that teenagers do stupid, risky, even criminal things on social media for the same reason drug addicts do: they’re focused on getting their next fix. This doesn’t mean you should delete all of your children’s accounts immediately, but it does mean you should set ground rules and enforce limits on screen time 

Keep Poison Control Information Close 

Save this number in your phone and stick it on your refrigerator: 

24/7 Poison Help hotline: 800-222-1222.  

During an emergency, call 911. The effects of poison spread quickly, and every second counts. 

Posted in Blog on January 23rd, 2018

What All Parents Should Know About Gun Safety

If you own a firearm, you know it’s a constitutional right that comes with a good deal of responsibility. Even if you don’t own a firearm, your child may visit relatives or friends who do. Learn how to practice gun safety at all times, and how to properly secure guns in the home.

Younger Children and Guns 

Of all age groups, toddlers with their boundless curiosity are the most likely to find hiding spots and play with the guns they find. However, children of all ages are at risk. 

A recent study of children aged 8 to 12 found that after watching a PG-rated movie containing scenes of gun violence, children were more likely to use a real gun as a toy. Children who watched the movie with guns played with the real gun for about 53 seconds and pulled the trigger 2-3 times, while children who watched the same movie without the gun scenes picked up the real gun for about 11 seconds and mostly did not pull the trigger. It’s only natural for children to act out what they see on TV and video games. This doesn’t prove that violence in media turns children into violent adults, but it does illustrate that kids will be kids. Simply telling them not to touch something dangerous isn’t enough to prevent dangerous behavior. 

Preventing Teen Suicide 

Your teen may enjoy hunting or going to the shooting range, and be well-versed in safe handling of firearms. However, you still need to store guns in a location inaccessible to your teens. Adolescence is a difficult time. Mood disorders may develop faster than coping skills. Teenagers are known to take risks and not always think through the consequences of their actions – even sensitive, intelligent teenagers. It is always better to be safe than sorry. 

Keeping Guns Away From Criminals 

Most gun owners keep firearms for home defense. Criminals who obtain guns illegally often steal them from the vehicles or homes of legal gun owners. Keep guns off the street by securing them discreetly in your home and vehicle so as not to attract the attention of thieves. This will help make your family and your community safer. 

It is also worth considering that not all crimes are committed by “bad guys.” Mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, and other impulse control issues can lead otherwise good people to commit violence. If these risk factors exist in your home, consider removing guns entirely. 

How to Properly Store Guns 

Guns need to be locked and stored separate from the ammunition. If you worry that storing guns this way will make it too hard for you to access the gun in the event that you need to defend yourself, consider alternative forms of self-defense. Or, practice accessing and re-assembling the weapon, safety on, when your children are not at home so that you feel confident you can do it quickly enough. 

To learn more about preventing child gun deaths, visit the Be Smart campaign. Take the quiz to test your knowledge, and don’t be afraid to ask about gun safety in any home where your child is going to spend time. 

Posted in Blog on January 16th, 2018

Why Kids Need Vitamin D Supplementation

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for people of all ages. It helps us absorb calcium in order to grow strong bones. Since most of this growth takes place when we’re young, it’s important that children receive sufficient amounts of Vitamin D. Without it, children may develop rickets (soft bones) or be at risk for having brittle bones when they’re adults.  

How We Get Vitamin D 

Exposing our skin to the sun causes our bodies to produce vitamin D. This is the primary means of obtaining vitamin D, but be careful to limit sun exposure and protect yourself with sunscreen. Food contains vitamin D, but unless it is fortified, the amount of vitamin D in foods and beverages is small. Vitamins and supplements can make up for a lack of vitamin D in our diet. 

Breastfeeding and Vitamin D 

Breastfeeding is an incredibly beneficial way to feed your newborn. It helps the mother recover and bond with her baby, and breastmilk contains a host of nutrients and immunity-boosting goodness. However, unlike formula, breast milk is not fortified with Vitamin D. That’s why we often recommend an over-the-counter vitamin D supplement for babies who are breastfed. 

Vitamin D Fortified Milk 

Babies need the nutrients present in breast milk or formula during the first year of life. After 12 months, you may introduce cow’s milk. Milk naturally contains calcium and is fortified with Vitamin D. In fact, many juices are also fortified with Vitamin D, but since juices contain a lot of sugar, try to get it from milk instead.  

How Skin Color Affects Vitamin D 

People with darker skin have more natural protection against UV rays than people with pale skin. This is no excuse to not wear sunscreen, because you can still get burned or develop skin cancer from too much sun exposure, regardless of skin color. When it comes to Vitamin D, darker skin’s ability to block UV rays prevents the body from producing vitamin D via sunlight absorption. So, children with darker skin are more likely to have a vitamin D deficiency than children with lighter skin. 

How Vitamin D Affects Obesity 

Researchers have discovered a correlation between childhood obesity and vitamin D deficiency. The cause of this link is unknown and still under investigation. Children with a higher BMI may need additional supplementation.  

Ask your pediatrician about vitamins that are safe for kids, and right for your child’s individual needs. 

Posted in Blog on January 9th, 2018

How to Help Your Kids with Goal-Setting

January 1st marks the annual tradition of setting new year’s resolutions. Taking the opportunity to adopt a healthier lifestyle sets a great example for your kids. But the act of setting goals itself is a healthy life skill you can teach them.

Goals for Self-Esteem

Think about your own experiences with goal setting. When you set unrealistic goals, you’re less likely to succeed, and that can make you feel bad about yourself. Setting realistic goals makes you more likely to succeed and feel good about yourself.

Think about your experiences with failure, too. We all want our children to succeed, but everybody faces setbacks. Practice pursuing goals, and you learn how to deal with failure without feeling bad about yourself.

Children need to develop resilience, perseverance, flexibility, and ambition. These life skills arise from participating in activities that are both challenging and enjoyable. Whether it’s cooking, dance, sports, art, invention, programming, or building that insane Lego set they got for Christmas, encourage your kids to set resolutions and teach them ways to stick with it!

Setting Healthy Resolutions

One of the most popular new year’s resolutions is to lose weight or get in shape. Children learn from their parents and older relatives. Because of this, it’s important to keep a healthy perspective when setting goals about dieting and exercise. Avoid fad diets, respect your limits, and know that healthy bodies come in many shapes and sizes.

Adults often set self-improvement goals, such as being more mindful, getting organized, reading more, or becoming more involved in the community. You might want to include your whole family in some resolutions. For example, you can encourage everyone in your family to eat healthier. But don’t forget to let kids choose their own goals, too.

Keeping Expectations Real (And Dealing With Quitters)

Parents, it’s okay if your children frequently change their minds about what they want to do in their free time. Yes, it can be frustrating to switch from soccer to dance to karate in the course of a semester, but it doesn’t mean your child lacks motivation or commitment. They’re growing fast and exploring different interests.

If they want to quit, ask why. Let them know you want to hear if someone is hurting them or making them feel uncomfortable. If those aren’t the reasons they want to quit, the conversation can turn to either problem-solving (“You want to quit because it’s too hard? What about if you try a more beginner level?”) or simply understanding that they’ve moved on. When you invest in an activity for your child, hold them accountable to attending a certain number of lessons, or responsible for finishing out one season.

When it comes to long-term, difficult goals, encourage your kids to dream big and work one day at a time. Break long-term goals into measurable short-term gains to keep the momentum going. Remind them that good is better than perfect. The pressure to be the best at something (or everything!) can create stress, which results in a range of health issues; but a healthy drive to succeed relies on good self-esteem. So, when setting goals, encourage children to be specific, realistic, and accountable. Keep that shining goal in mind when dealing with stress and setbacks along the way, and let them know you’re proud of them.

Have a happy, healthy new year!

Posted in Blog on December 27th, 2017