Tips

The following are helpful tips related to topical pediatric health issues. Topics covered are listed in the table below. Links to other web sites on the Internet that have relative information are also provided. For more information about any of these topics, or to schedule an appointment, please call 410-367-2222.

NOTE: The web site links provided by Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital are neither a direct or implied endorsement of their sponsoring organizations, their missions or the recommendations, suggestions or courses of action they may suggest. These links are offered strictly as an avenue to obtain additional information on the specified topics.

Topics:

Antidepressants

Recently, the federal government has issued warnings regarding the health risks surrounding children taking antidepressants. However, this warning does not mean that these medications should not be used in children.

The Food and Drug Administration has only approved Prozac to alleviate pediatric depression, warning doctors to use great caution in prescribing other antidepressants to patients under the age of 18.

Parents and physicians need to look for symptoms of agitation, anxiety and hostility, which may signal trouble in young patients who may be vulnerable to currently prescribed medications. In most cases, the medications being prescribed today are an effective and safe method for treating depression.

If you have concerns about your child's medications, please contact your pediatrician.

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Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

A leading cause of some children’s poor school performance is Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Children who are impulsive, hyperactive, lack focus or have poor organizational skills may have this condition. Fortunately, this disorder can be effectively treated in many children.

The seriousness of these signs is often determined by the age of the child. However, there are other conditions that may mirror ADHD. Discussing your child’s behavioral patterns with his or her school and pediatrician is the best way to determine if a problem might exist. If you have concerns, speak to your pediatrician about obtaining a referral to a developmental pediatrician or neuropsychologist for an evaluation.

For more information, call Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital at 410-367-2222.

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Burn Prevention

Burns are among the most painful and devastating injuries children can sustain. Younger children, age 4 and under, have thinner skin that is more susceptible to injury. The most common burn injury in toddlers often results from scalding.

Like all child safety related issues, most burn injuries can be prevented. Here are some safety steps you can take to protect your child:

  • Set the temperature of your hot water heater to 120 degrees to prevent scalding burns.
  • Never leave your child alone in the bathroom or kitchen.
  • Do not allow your child near stoves, hot oven doors, heaters or other appliances - especially curling irons.
  • When cooking, use the back burners and turn pot handles inward.
  • Place covers over electrical outlets.
  • Do not use portable heaters.
  • Do not allow your children to play with matches or fireworks.

If a serious burn injury occurs, cool the burn with cold water, then cover it with a sterile pad and go to the nearest emergency medical facility.

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Child Identity Theft

Children are the #1 target of identity thieves. Kids’ identities are 35 times more likely to be stolen than adults. That’s because most don’t attempt to establish credit until their late teens, giving thieves years to work undetected. There has been a 300% increase in calls related to child identity theft in 2014 alone. It can take years to restore a child’s identity.

Maryland law allows parents to request a credit freeze on behalf of their children. Once their credit is frozen, creditors cannot access credit reports to verify an application, which makes them highly unlikely to approve any applicants who attempt to use it.

Visit kIDsafemaryland.org to learn how this crime works, how to tell if your child is at risk, and what steps you can take to safeguard your family.

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Child Safety Seats

Correctly using a child safety seat can greatly reduce the risk of injury. It's estimated that 85 percent of older children are improperly restrained in cars.

Provide your child with the best protection by following these rules:

  • Keep infants in the back seat, rear-facing, until they are one year old and weigh at least 20 pounds.
  • Place toddlers who are one year old and between 20-40 pounds in an upright, forward-facing child seat.
  • After your child’s weight reaches 40 pounds, place him or her in a booster seat using your car's lap and shoulder belts.
  • Keep school-age children in booster seats for as long as possible.
  • Keep safety seat instructions to use as your child grows.
  • Remember, the back seat is always the safest place for children.

For more information on correctly using a safety seat or booster seat, or to find a safety seat check near you, call Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital at 410-367-2222.

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Child Safety Tips

Child safety should be an important part of every household. Establishing safety rules early is the first step to avoiding injury. Taking a few minutes to talk with your child about safety issues can create a household environment with minimal child safety hazards.

Basic safety tips include:

  • Wear a helmet when bicycling, skating and scootering
  • Store household toxins, pesticides and cleaning solutions out of reach of children
  • Keep firearms locked, unloaded and away from children
  • Teach your child that matches and lighters are not toys
  • Teach your child to dial 911 in an emergency
  • Help your child practice learning his or her address and phone number

Remember, talking to children about safety now is the best protection for their future. For more information, call Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital at 410-367-2222.

Additional resources on the Internet:

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Depression

Childhood depression is a very real problem, not a sign of weakness. Clinical depression is a disease, which if left untreated in children, can have severe and lasting implications into adulthood. Fortunately, there is good news, depression is a treatable illness.

Warning signs that a child is struggling with depression may include:

  • Lack of interest in play
  • Frequent irritability, crying
  • Lack of social interaction or withdrawal
  • Boredom, low energy and poor concentration
  • Sudden drop in school performance
  • Excessive concern with failure
  • Reckless behavior, including thoughts of suicide or self destructive behavior

If you think your child is at risk, talk to your pediatrician. For more information, call Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital at 410-367-2222.

Additional resources on the Internet:

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Germs

Keeping healthy this winter means avoiding colds and the flu. It is estimated that 80 percent of disease-causing germs are passed by human contact. Here are some tips to keep the whole family healthy this season:

  • Wash your hands regularly and completely. That means you should wash for 20 seconds with regular soap and warm to hot water.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes. Most of us tend to do this more than 20 times a day.
  • Take good care of yourself. Get enough sleep, drink plenty of water and eat a healthy diet that includes fruits and vegetables to keep your defenses up.
  • Carry alcohol-based hand sanitizers for times when hand-washing is not available.

Staying healthy doesn't require a degree in Microbiology, just a little knowledge, thought and common sense.

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Healthy Sleeping Habits In Children

If your child is not getting enough sleep it will affect his or her learning ability and behavior. However, even if your child is getting 8 - 10 hours of sleep, it may not be the quality sleep he or she needs.

Things to look for include:

  • Snoring
  • Unprovoked irritability or hyperactivity
  • Change in behavioral patterns
  • Waking up during the night
  • Mouth breathing during the day

These symptoms could be signs of sleep apnea, which can deprive your child of quality sleep and may disrupt his or her school and home life. If you notice any of these symptoms, inform you pediatrician.

For more information, call Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital at 410-367-2222.

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Obesity

Childhood obesity is now an epidemic in the United States. Currently, one child in five is overweight. Obese children and adolescents have an alarming incidence of diabetes and are at risk of having high cholesterol, high blood pressure and sleep apnea. Equally devastating is the teasing and social discrimination many overweight children endure on a daily basis.

The main culprit of obesity is eating too much while getting too little exercise. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Be supportive and sensitive
  • Reduce the amount of TV watching and video game playing
  • Be a good role model
  • Plan family activities that involve exercise
  • Don't use food as a reward or punishment
  • Keep healthy snacks on-hand

If you think your child is overweight, talk to your pediatrician. For more information, call Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital at 410-367-2222.

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Playground Safety

Although playgrounds can provide children with fresh air and exercise, they can also pose some serious safety hazards. Faulty equipment and careless behavior are dangers that often result in playground injuries.

You can keep the playground fun and enjoyable by following some simple safety guidelines:

  • Surfaces around equipment should be filled with at least 12 inches of loose fill, such as wood chips.
  • Stationary equipment should have at least a 6 foot clearance in all directions.
  • Check for sharp edges and dangerous hardware, like open "S" hooks or protruding bolts.
  • Make sure your child plays on age-appropriate equipment.
  • Remove hoods or drawstrings that can get caught on equipment
  • Always supervise children while they play.

Remember, taking these precautions will make sure that the playground remains fun for your child.

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