Regulating Your Child’s Screen Time

More and more parents are reporting not seeing their child’s face enough as they are constantly hidden behind various electronic devices.  This is a concern that previous generations of parents did not have to deal with, leaving today’s mothers and fathers wondering how to regulate their child’s screen time activity.

First off, it’s important to note that not all forms of electronic media are created equal. There are many educational games, apps and videos that children can play and watch that support and benefit their development. Many experts actually suggest that it is not the quantity, but the quality of a child’s screen time that should be taken into consideration.

That being said, the American Academy of Pediatrics has offered guidelines for childhood screen usage. They discourage children younger than 18-24 months of age from participating in electronic media use, except for video chatting.  If parents wish to introduce digital media games or apps at these ages, they should make sure that it is done in a supervised setting and that the content is educational and interactive.  Parents of children from two to five years of age should limit their child’s screen time to one hour a day of high-quality programming.  As children grow, the content and amount of media they are exposed to is harder to determine and is not a “one size fits all” model. Parents should customize parameters based on the maturity level and social skills of their children.

It is also recommended that parents understand that they need to remain involved in their child’s online habits and enforce certain rules to ensure that screen time doesn’t affect other aspects of their lives. Parents are encouraged to carve out time for unplugged and unstructured play and create tech-free zone and times.  In addition digital media should be off limits at dinner time and while children are doing their homework. Another tip is for parents to limit their own screen time to set a good example for their children.

When making decisions about screen time, parents should be aware of the following issues that can result from too much screen time, including:

  • Obesity
  • Irregular sleep patterns
  • Behavioral problems
  • Lack of social skills
  • Violent behavior

It is also recommended that parents understand that they need remain involved in their child’s online habits and enforce certain rules to ensure that screen time doesn’t affect other aspects of their lives. Parents are encouraged to carve out time for unplugged and unstructured play and create tech-free zone and times.  In addition digital media should be off limits at dinner time and while children are doing their homework. Another tip is for parents to limit their own screen time to set a good example for their children.

Managing a child’s use of electronic devices will be an ongoing challenge for today’s parents. By staying active and engaged in their screen habits, you can avoid them falling into the traps associated with digital media and ensure they develop a well-rounded childhood experience.

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.

Teaching Your Children to Embrace Diversity

Our children are being introduced to so many more people than any other generation before them. Whether through school, outside activities, or on some form of electronic media, they have the opportunity to learn a great deal about people who come from diverse backgrounds, including those from different ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, and family dynamics. So, how can we, as parents make sure they are accepting of the differences in others?

Here are some tips parents can follow when trying to teach their children about diversity:

  • Set a good example – It might sound obvious but our children learn just as much from watching what we do as listening to what we say. As parents, we must recognize and address our own short-comings when it comes to accepting diversity if we want to teach our children correctly. Our actions cannot contradict the lessons we are trying to teach and we must lead by example if we do not want our children judge others based on stereotypes.
  • Get out of your comfort zone – While we all agree technology can make the world a much smaller place, the fact is most of us still spend our daily lives living in communities where the majority of our neighbors look like us and share the same values and traditions. Unfortunately, raising our children in a homogeneous environment is not conducive to truly teaching them about accepting diversity because they don’t get the opportunity to experience those who are “different.” Parents must make a deliberate effort to leave our familiar surroundings and experience and appreciate diversity.
  • Listen to what your child is saying – As much we would like to think we are the only influences in our children’s lives, we are not. They see and hear things from other adults, other children and other sources. Other influences can lead to the formation of inaccurate perceptions and beliefs. Take notice if your child is using hurtful or stereotypical language and take time to explain why something is inappropriate. Also encourage your children to ask questions. You can help provide explanations to things that might otherwise be confusing to them.
  • Don’t ignore differences – Many parents mistakenly want their children to be “difference blind.” This can only make the situation worse. There are many differences among us that should be embraced including how someone speaks, what they wear or eat, how their name is pronounced, or if they have two moms. These differences are bound to ignite curiosity and could lead to questions. Instead of ignoring diversity, teach your child to accept what makes us all unique and that our differences are only part of who we are, but they do not define us.

By following these tips, you can raise your children to be more accepting of others, which will go a long way in their development into adulthood.

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.

Dr’sTips for Choosing a Good Day Care and Keeping Your Kids Healthy Away From Home

For many parents, the decision of where to enroll their child in daycare is difficult. There are many factors to consider, such as ensuring that your child remains in a safe and healthy environment at all times.

Dr. Rosa Tajian, Pediatric ER Physician is sharing a few tips to help parents with asking the right questions and making certain the best practices are used:

Safety

  1. Require proof that the facility and staff are fully licensed and trained– Asking for proof of licensing for the facility and staff is a must. Daycares should be able to provide official documents demonstrating their facility is upholding health and safety requirements. Training on safety policies and emergency measures such as CPR should be ongoing for staff.  It is also important to learn how the staff is screened before hire; does the facility conduct a complete health and background check?
  2. Make sure that the staff to child ratio is adequate– There is safety in numbers. When choosing a daycare knowing how many adults are caring for groups of children is important. There are regulations that stipulate the maximum amount of children allowed per staff member in a daycare setting. To learn the appropriate numbers, a parent can always obtain that information from the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, Division of Childcare Services. It is always good to confirm from time to time that the ratio remains adequate because facilities can lose staff members and not replace them.
  3. Check for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors as well as fire extinguishers –Ensuring that these devices are present and functional reduces the risk for hazards. Each mechanism should be inspected as recommended and documentation of inspection should be presented if required.
  4. Medications and hazardous materials are out of reach– Ask the daycare provider to show you where hazardous substances are kept. They should be locked away and out of reach.

Health

  1. Hand washing policy– Daycares should reinforce strict handwashing policies. Staff should be required to wash hands after changing diapers, before preparing food, after wiping spit up, drool or runny noses.
  2. Sick policy –Find out if there is a strict, written policy for sick kids that all parents must abide by. Organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics provide general guidelines of when children should stay home from daycare or school.  Equally as important is a sick policy for staff. Adults should be asked to go home if they are feeling sick or presenting symptoms that can jeopardize a child’s health.
  3. Cleanliness –The cleanliness of the daycare is extremely important. Ensure that play areas are properly sanitized as well as toys. Areas such as bathrooms and kitchens should be exceptionally clean at all times.   Daycares should exercise a strict cross –contamination policy that prohibits actions such as washing or preparing bottles in the same sink used to wash hands after changing diapers.
  4. Immunization policy –Daycares often require immunization records when a child first enrolls. However, they should also follow up with parents to ensure that subsequent vaccinations are up to date. It is very important for the staff to receive vaccinations for diseases such as pertussis which can be harmful to children’s health.

The Department of Pediatrics at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center provides comprehensive care for children in our community.  Our physicians are highly trained in a wide variety of specialties needed to help children overcome illnesses.  To schedule an appointment with a pediatrician at Jamaica Hospital, please call, 718-206-7001.

 

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.

The ABC’s of Safe Sleep for Infants

Sweet Newborn Baby Girl Asleep in Crib

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center and the New York State Department of Health, Office of Children and Family Services urge new parents to follow the ABC’s of how to keep your baby safe while sleeping.

“A” is for ALONE – make sure that your baby sleeps ALONE

“B” is for BACK – Be sure to place your baby on their BACK

“C” is for CRIB – Always place your baby in a safe CRIB

Although the rate of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) related deaths in infants between 28 days and 4 months old has decreased significantly; the incidence of sleep related deaths due to injury and the infant’s sleep position and environment are on the rise. Studies have shown that at least 80% of these infant deaths could have been prevented.

Some guidelines that new parents should follow are:

  • Purchase a safety-approved crib for your infant and keep it near your bed.
  • Sleeping in the same room as your baby is recommended.
  • Sleeping on the same surface as your baby (sometime referred to as bed-sharing) is NOT RECOMMENDED.
  • Breastfeeding mothers ought to place their baby back into their crib before going to sleep.
  • Do not place pillows, blankets, bumpers or other soft objects into the crib with your baby.
  • Purchase a firm mattress and fitted sheets for your baby’s crib.
  • Do not rely on your baby monitor.
  • Never use a car seat, baby swing, carriage or carrier without fully fastening the straps. Partially fastened straps can become a hazard for the baby.
  • Smoking with your baby present puts them at a higher risk for SIDS.
  • Do not have your baby sleep on a couch or chair. This will pose a risk of blocking airways and may trap the baby in a position that may cause them to suffocate.

For these and additional tips on how to keep your baby safe, visit – http://www.safebabiesny.com/

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.

How to Help Your Child Cope with Stress from School Exams and Standardized Tests

teen test examPreparing for school exams or standardized tests is part of every child’s educational experience.   Stress levels in children can elevate during this time as they become anxious about earning satisfactory scores.

High levels of stress can affect academic performance but it becomes a real concern for young students when it takes a toll on their health.  Kids may develop symptoms of stress such as sleeplessness, mental blocks or irregular eating habits.

There are several things parents can do to help alleviate test stress and anxiety:

  • Teach Calming Techniques such as taking deep breaths and muscle relaxation.
  • Help with test preparation; educate yourself about the subject so that you can provide assistance if this is not possible explore hiring a tutor or suggest a study group.
  • Practice Time Management by giving mock exams with time limits. This will bolster confidence and reduce panic on the day of the test.
  • Provide a Positive Environment by ensuring that their daily activities remain as routine as possible. This means normal bedtimes, meal times or hobbies.

While a certain amount of stress or anxiety may motivate some students to perform better for others it creates the opposite effect.  It is important for parents to observe how their child reacts to stressful situations and help them to cope. If your child displays symptoms of stress for an extended period of time, communicate with them and if the assistance of a mental health professional is needed, the school counselor or family doctor can be a good place to start.

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry offers group therapy, individual therapy, medicine management, and other specialty groups to children, adolescents, and adults. For additional information, please call 718-206-5575.

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.

Why It’s Important For Your Child To Get The Flu Shot This Year

Flu season is coming and once again, many parents wonder if they should get their children vaccinated. Below is some information about the flu vaccine that parents should know.

Vaccination

The flu is more serious than the common cold for kids. Young children often require medical care after getting the flu. In fact, each year, an average of 20,000 children under the age of five are hospitalized due to complications from the flu, and for some, the illness can even result in death.

The best way to protect your children from the flu is to get them vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends all children six months and older get a seasonal flu vaccine. Ideally, the best time to get the flu vaccine is as soon as it becomes available as it usually takes up to two weeks before your child is fully protected.

Flu shots can be administered either by injection or by a nasal spray. The nasal spray flu vaccine can be given to children between two and eight years old. Side effects can include runny nose, cough, fever, wheezing, and head or muscle aches. The flu shot can be given to children ages six months and over. Side effects of the flu shot include soreness, redness, or swelling at the injection site or a low-grade fever.

Children under six months old are too young to be vaccinated. The best defense for them is to make sure those around them are vaccinated.

Some children who get the flu shot may require two doses. If your child is under nine years old and has never gotten the shot before, two separate doses will be necessary. These doses must be administered at least four weeks apart.  If your child has gotten the seasonal flu vaccine before or is over nine years old, only one dose is required.

Please speak with your pediatrician before getting your child vaccinated if:

  • If your child isn’t feeling well
  • If your child recently had other vaccines
  • If your child has any medical conditions
  • If your child is allergic to eggs
  • If your child had a severe reaction to a previous flu vaccine

Please call your pediatrician now to schedule you child’s flu shot. If you do not have a pediatrician, please call Jamaica Hospital’s Pediatric Clinic at 718-206-7001 to make an appointment with one of our qualified pediatric specialists.

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.

Tips for Dealing with a Whining Child

Baby's Mouth Screaming

 

Parents of a whining child often ask themselves and others, “Why does my child whine?”  Children can whine for various reasons, but in most cases, it is because we let them.

Like adults, children have two basic emotional needs, attention and power.  Children only continue behaviors that get results.  When a child whines and the parent gives in, they realize that whining gets them what they want.  If you do not address this behavior, it could continue into your child’s teenage years.

When a child whines, it may seem annoying and irritating to the parent, but the child is often just looking for attention.

Some quick tips to help parents cope with a whining child are :

  1. Take control of the situation – Refuse to let it bother you to the point of giving in to the behavior.
  2. Speak with your child – Pick a quiet time and tell your child that there’s a new rule – If he/she whines, you will not respond.
  3. Revisit politeness – Remind your child that “asking nicely” will get them a much more positive response to their request.
  4. Praise – Give your child positive reinforcement for not whining.

Most of all, remind yourself that there is no crisis when your child is whining.  This will allow you to deal rationally with the matter at hand.

 

 

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.

Teaching a Baby to Walk

Father teaching a baby to walk in bedroom

Father teaching a baby to walk in bedroom

One of the major milestones in a child’s life is the day they take those first steps. Every child is different and though most children take their first steps around the time of their first birthday, it can occur as early as nine months or as late as 18 months. Babies are so busy learning all kinds of skills, and they develop at different times, but usually before their 18th month they show signs of being able to walk.
Some early signs of getting ready to walk are:
• Crawling
• Rolling around
• Standing
• Using arms and legs to move around
By placing a baby on their tummy regularly, they should begin to lift their heads and begin to strengthen their back muscles. This is also important for preparing the body to stand upright and to begin walking.
Teaching a baby to walk requires a lot of patience, and every child will learn at their own pace. Walking requires learning to balance, becoming coordinated, building confidence, and strengthening the muscles in the arms and legs. Every baby learns differently.  One way to start is by holding the baby under their arms and allowing them to bounce either on your lap or against a hard surface. This will help to strengthen their leg muscles and also teach them how to bend their knees. You can arrange furniture in a way that they can hold on to something as they go across a room.
Once a baby is able to stand upright, let them hold on to a low table and move around on their own slowly. You can hold both of their hands and let them take steps, and after some practice, you can let go of one hand so they feel a little independence.
It is recommended that you not put the baby in a walker. Many people over the years have used them because they are relatively easy and their children turned out just fine but child development experts don’t recommend them.  They have been banned in Canada and the American Academy of Pediatrics in the United States is trying to have them banned as well because of the high incidence of injuries that they are responsible for.
It is important to take safety precautions when there is a baby learning to walk in the house. These include:
• Remove tables and objects with sharp edges
• Cover electric outlets
• Remove objects from table tops that can be grabbed
• Child proof cabinets and doors
• Be careful of electric cords
• Remove rugs that they can slip on
Get a toddler toy that the child can push or pull that will make walking something fun to do. As they gain confidence, they will want to walk at every opportunity they can get.
Word to the wise, once a baby learns to walk, you will need to keep a close eye on their every movement because they tend to look at this new freedom as a game to keep you on your toes.
If your child doesn’t show any signs of trying to move themselves around by the first birthday, speak to your pediatrician about these important milestones. To schedule an appointment with a pediatrician at Jamaica Hospital please call 718-206-7001.

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.

Zika

According to the Centers for Disease, Control and Prevention, the Zika virus is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito.  The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis.

Most recently, the Zika virus has been linked to microcephaly in babies of mother’s who contracted the virus during pregnancy. Microcephaly is a condition where a baby’s brain with microcephaly does not develop properly during the pregnancy or has stopped growing after birth, this results in a smaller sized head.

What we DO know:

  • Zika virus can be passed from pregnant women to their fetus during pregnancy or at delivery.
  • Pregnant women can be infected with the Zika virus through the bite of an infected mosquito
  • You can become infected by a male sex partner
  • Pregnant women should not travel to areas affected by Zika
  • Based on available evidence, the Zika virus infection in a woman who is not pregnant would not pose a risk for birth defects in future pregnancies after the virus has cleared from her blood.

What we DO NOT know:

  • How likely a pregnant woman who has been exposed to Zika will get the virus
  • How the virus will affect her pregnancy or how likely it is that Zika will pass to her fetus
  • If the infected fetus will develop other birth defects or when in the pregnancy the infection might cause harm to the fetus
  • If sexual transmission of Zika virus poses a different risk of birth defects that mosquito-borne transmission

If you must travel to Zika areas affected by Zika, speak with your healthcare provider about the risks of Zika Virus before you travel.  Learn how to protect yourself from mosquito bites and try to avoid regions where Zika is present.

If you have traveled to a region where Zika is present and are pregnant, talk to your health care provider about Zika symptoms. If you would like to speak with a physician, you can make an appointment at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Women’s Health Center, call 718-291-3276.

For more FAQ’s on Zika Virus you will find the following websites helpful –www.health.ny.gov/diseases/zika_virus/

http://www.cdc.gov/zika/

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 Social Media Making Me Fat?

Have you ever wondered why when you see postings of food on social media that are pleasing to your eyes, you immediately begin to desire that food or think, “Gee, I’m hungry?

The human mind is divided into two parts, the conscious and subconscious mind.  The conscious mind works while we are awake, while the subconscious mind is always activated.  The subconscious mind regulates everything in our body, our character, our speech and receives and processes information. The food and beverage postings on social media speak directly to our conscious and subconscious mind.

According to researchers, 70 percent of household meals in America are influenced by digital media.  Pictures of food and beverages show up on news feeds 63 percent of the time.  One popular social media site noted that a widely used food hashtag marked photos of snacks and meals 54 million times on their site alone.

In addition to subliminally causing you to want to eat more food, studies have shown that people who spent two hours or more using a device with LED display, such as a smart phone or tablet, had a corresponding dip in melatonin levels.  Melatonin is the chemical that prepares your body for sleep. When we lose sleep, we can pack on extra pounds because there is a link between sleep loss and weight gain.  If you are awake for longer periods of time, you may be more inclined to reach for a late night snack or bag of chips.

Some steps you can take to curb your hunger and promote good health are:

  • Choose fresh, whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean meats.
  • Prepare your meals at home and limit dining out and processed on-the-go meals.
  • Try to avoid being distracted by TV, work, driving or surfing on your computer, phone or tablet while eating.
  • Regulate your social media feed, especially if the pictures of food and beverages make your stomach moan.

Obesity is on the rise because many factors, but keep in mind that you are in control and can make healthy choices to live a healthy life. It’s better to eat with your stomach and not with your eyes.

 

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.