Scoliosis Awareness Month

Scoliosis is a spinal disorder that causes an abnormal spine curvature, in which the spine resembles the letters “S” or “C”.

The most common type of scoliosis is idiopathic scoliosis, which means the cause is unknown but is thought to be genetic. There are three types of idiopathic scoliosis:

  • Infantile idiopathic scoliosis- occurs from birth to three years old.
  • Juvenile idiopathic scoliosis- occurs from three to nine years old.
  • Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis- occurs from 10 to 18 years old.

Some other forms of scoliosis include:

  • Congenital scoliosis- when scoliosis is present at birth.
  • Neuromuscular scoliosis- when scoliosis is caused by an underlying systemic condition such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, spinal cord tumors, or paralysis.
  • Syndromic scoliosis- when a unique group of spine conditions causes scoliosis. The most common diseases that cause syndromic scoliosis are:
    • Marfan’s syndrome
    • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
    • Osteogenesis Imperfecta
    • Neurofibromatosis
    • Prader-Willi syndrome
    • Arthrogryposis
    • Riley-Day syndrome

There are a wide range of causes and ages for when scoliosis can occur. However, scoliosis may appear during the main growth years for children (years 10 to 12), which is the growth spurt period for children before puberty.

During this time, scoliosis will often present with the following symptoms:

  • One of the child’s shoulder blades is higher than the other.
  • The appearance of the child’s head is not centered with the rest of the body.
  • Uneven hips or one hip sticks out more than the other.
  • Pushed-out ribs
  • Difficulty breathing due to a reduced area for lung expansion.
  • Back pain and discomfort
  • When the child bends forward, it appears that the two sides of the back are different heights.

The main goal for patients with scoliosis is to get an early diagnosis. Scoliosis is diagnosed when a pediatric orthopedist uses a physical exam and X-rays to diagnose early-onset scoliosis.

Scoliosis can be treated non-surgically and surgically. Some non-surgical treatments for scoliosis include:

  • Observation
  • Bracing
  • The Risser cast

Some surgical treatments for scoliosis include:

  • Spinal fusion surgery
  • The growing rod technique

Scoliosis is treatable. The sooner a child is diagnosed, the less likely they will need surgery and the healthier they will be.

If you think your child may have an abnormal spine curvature, consult your pediatrician about an evaluation. To schedule an appointment with a pediatrician at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, 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.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Awareness Month

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of sudden unexpected infant death, typically affecting babies between one month and one year of age. The cause of SIDS is unknown, but it occurs most frequently in children aged between one and four months, typically while they’re sleeping.

It can be difficult to properly diagnose SIDS as a cause of death in many cases due to the fact that it’s often only determined once other potential causes of death have been ruled out. Although its frequency has drastically decreased in recent years, it still remains a serious threat to newborn children.

Most SIDS deaths occur in boys during the fall, winter, and early spring seasons. Babies that are most often affected are also premature or underweight, have a sibling that died due to SIDS, live in a household with people who smoke, and often sleep on their stomach or side on a sleeping surface that’s too soft. Many of these babies may also overheat during sleep.

Additionally, certain risk factors are linked to a child’s mother, including childbirth at under 20 years of age, smoking while pregnant, and receiving minimal prenatal care.

The best way to prevent SIDS is to eliminate as many of these risk factors as possible. You can:

  • Make sure the baby sleeps on their back
  • Remove soft surfaces, such as fluffy blankets and toys, from sleeping areas
  • Prevent smoking in the presence of the baby and the household in general
  • Breastfeed your baby or provide the closest possible alternative, such as donated milk or formula

If your baby becomes unresponsive during sleep, please dial 9-1-1 to get emergency medical assistance immediately.

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.

Talking To Your Child About Current Events

The last year has presented all of us with so much devastating news to process. While these difficult times can be challenging for adults to deal with, they can be even tougher to navigate for children.  Many parents and other child care providers may not be prepared to talk about these unprecedented recent events with their children.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) encourages parents, teachers, child care providers, and others who work closely with children to filter information about the event and present it in a way that their child can understand, adjust to, and cope with.

No matter what age or developmental stage the child is, parents can start by asking a child what they’ve already heard. After listening to them, you should ask them what questions they have. Older children, teens, and young adults might ask more questions and may request and benefit more from additional information. No matter what age the child is however, it’s best to keep the dialogue straightforward and direct.​

In general, it is recommended to provide basic information with children so they can understand what’s going on, but avoid sharing any graphic or unnecessary details about tragic circumstances. You may need to keep young children away from repetitive graphic images and sounds that may appear on television, radio, or on-line.  You may also need to monitor your child’s internet and social media activities.

In addition to monitoring what information your child consumes, it is also suggested that you are with them as they consume it. One tip is to record news programming and plan time to watch it with your children. By doing this, you can preview and evaluate the content ahead of time and take the opportunity to pause and discuss the information being shared and even potentially skip inappropriate content.

While it is important to understand that every child, regardless of their age or abilities be spoken to, it is also important to tailor the message you deliver to your child based their comprehension level. Children as young as four years old are entitled are entitled to accurate information, but might not require as many details as school-aged children or teens.  Parents of children with developmental delays should understand that they might have specialized needs.

Signs of your child not coping well with certain current events may include problems sleeping or sudden changes in behavior including sadness, depression, or social regression. Younger children might experience separation anxiety while teens might start experiment with tobacco, alcohol, or other substances.

The most important thing to do when talking with your child is to reinforce that you are there for them and encourage them to come to you if they have any questions or concerns.  They need to know that you will make it through these difficult times together.

If you feel your child may need professional help getting through recent events, Jamaica Hospital’s Psychiatry Department offers outpatient child and adolescent services.  To make a virtual appointment with a member of our team, 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.

How to Treat Your Baby’s Diaper Rash

Ask any new mom or dad what their least favorite part about becoming a parent is and the answer you will most often get is changing their baby’s diaper. It is a task that no one loves, but it is important because parents must be aware of the development of diaper rash.

Diaper rash occurs when the skin on your baby’s bottom, thighs, or genital area becomes inflamed. The result is the appearance of a patchwork of bright red skin or scales. While diaper rash can be alarming to parents, it is actually fairly common among babies.

In addition to the physical signs of diaper rash, your baby may also display a change in their disposition. Babies with diaper rash are uncomfortable and will generally seem fussier. They will also most likely cry more during diaper changes.

Diaper rash grows in warm, moist places and the most common cause for its development is when a baby’s diaper isn’t changed frequently enough. When a diaper isn’t changed often, the exposure to stool or urine can cause irritation.

Other causes of diaper rash can include:

  • Sensitive skin
  • Allergic reaction to the diaper
  • Introduction of new foods
  • Diaper being placed on too tight, resulting in chaffing
  • Bacterial or yeast infection

Diaper rash is more likely to develop when babies get older (9-12 months old) and are more mobile and begin a diet of solid foods. Sleeping in dirty diapers can increase your baby’s chances of developing diaper rash.  Taking antibiotics and having diarrhea can also be contributing factors.

If your baby develops diaper rash, be sure to change their diaper frequently. Try dressing them in loose, breathable clothing and even allow them go diaper free for as long as possible.  When cleaning your child, gently pat the infected area and avoid wiping or rubbing. Use water when changing, but if a more thorough cleaning is required, only use mild soaps and avoid any products with fragrances or alcohol.  Parents can also use paste or barrier creams that contain zinc to soothe the skin and prevent contact with feces or other irritants. Avoid using baby powder as it can harm a baby’s lungs.

In most cases diaper rash will clear up on its own when the above techniques are followed, but you should contact your pediatrician if the rash fails to improve or gets worse within 2-3 days, if you notice yellow, fluid-filled bumps, or your baby develops a fever. These may be signs of an infection.

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.

DANGERS OF INFANT WALKERS

The American Association of Pediatrics’ (AAP), has recommended a ban on infant walkers as a result of a recent study that revealed over  230,000- children less than 15 months old were treated for infant walker related injuries in U.S. emergency departments from 1990 to 2014. The majority of injuries were to the head or neck noting that the injuries were sustained by falling down stairs in their infant walker.

states that most walker injuries happen while an adult is watching.  Even the most attentive parent or caregiver cannot respond quickly enough to prevent a child from falling since a child in a walker can move more than 3 feet in 1 second.  That is why walkers are never safe to use, even with an adult close by.

The AAP recommends that instead of infant walkers, parents choose:

  • Stationary activity centers – They resemble walkers without wheels.  They often  have seats that rotate, tip and bounce.
  • Play yards or playpens – These can be used as safety zones for children as they learn to sit, crawl or walk.
  • High chairs – As your child grows, they can enjoy sitting in a high chair to play with toys on the tray.

Before 1997, there weren’t any standards for baby walkers in place.  These standards caused manufacturers to make the base of a walker wider so as to not fit through most door ways and having brakes that stop them at the edge of a step.  Although necessary, these improvements cannot and have not prevented all injuries from walkers.

Research has shown that walkers do not provide any advantage to accelerating a child’s development.  In fact, they may hinder development because they do not teach infants to walk.  A better practice is to allow your baby the freedom in a safe environment that allows them the opportunity for pulling themselves up, creeping and crawling.

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 Back Pack Safety Month

September is National School Backpack Safety Month and Jamaica 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.

Jamaica Hospital Offers Information to Parents About Sports-Related Concussions

This fall, millions of children and teens across America will be returning to school and many of them will be trying out and playing for their school’s various sports teams.

While the health benefits, exercise and comradery associated with youth sports is undeniable, parents must also educate themselves and their children about the potential dangers of sports-related concussions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) a concussion is “a type of traumatic brain injury—or TBI—caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. This fast movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging the brain cells.”

Largely associated with football, concussions are actually prevalent in many major sports including soccer, gymnastics, hockey and lacrosse and they can occur while participating in any physical activity.

To minimize the chances of sustaining a concussion, it is important for coaches and parents to create a culture of safety in youth athletics. This includes teaching proper safety techniques on the field of play and making sure that children follow those rules.  Another key to reduce the chances of a child or teen suffering complications from a concussion is to educate them on their signs and symptoms. If children are aware of not only the symptoms, but the dangers of not reporting a concussion, they are more likely to inform a coach or parent when they experience one.

Symptoms of a concussion can include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Headache or “pressure” in head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Balance problems or dizziness, or double or blurry vision.
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
  • Confusion, or concentration or memory problems
  • Just not “feeling right,” or “feeling down.”

It is important to understand that not all concussions are created equal. Those who suffer one many experience some, but not all symptoms and the severity of those symptoms may vary from person to person.

If you believe that your child has suffered a concussion, you should remove them from play immediately and have them seen by their healthcare provider who can assess the severity of his or her injury via an examination and conduct additional tests if necessary. Typically, treatment for a concussion involves rest and restricting the patient from activity.

If your child does not have a healthcare provider, or they are unavailable when they sustain a concussion, you should take your child to a nearby hospital emergency department, such as the one at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.

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 schedule 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.

When is it Time to Address Your Child’s Lisp?

Most of us find it adorable when our children mispronounce different words and sounds when they are young and first learning to speak. While in most cases, these miscommunications are something they outgrow as they develop, certain distortions, such as lisps, may eventually require intervention.

A lisp is a term used to describe the mispronunciation of words.  The most common form of lisp occurs when a child makes a “th” sound when trying to make an “s” sound. This typically takes place when the child pushes their tongue out when making these sounds instead of keeping it behind their top teeth.

There are four types of lips:

  • A palatal lisp means that when your child tries to make an “s” or a “z” sound, his tongue contacts the soft palate.
  • A lateral lisp means that air travels out of either side of the tongue. Children with a lateral lisp produce “s” and “z” sounds that sound “slushy.”
  • A dentalized lisp means that your child’s tongue makes contact with his teeth while producing the “s” and “z” sounds.
  • An interdental lisp, sometimes called a frontal lisp, means that the tongue pushes forward through the teeth, creating a “th” sound instead of an “s” or “z” sound.

Lisps are very common in children and there are many reasons why they develop. While they are normal in early childhood development, if a child continues to have a lisp by the age of seven, you should seek professional assistance as the longer you wait to treat one, the harder they are to correct.  Your pediatrician, dentist, or school speech therapist can refer you to a speech language pathologist who can assess and treat your child for their lisp. These professionals offer a variety of techniques to correct a lisp and treatment can last anywhere from a couple of months to years of therapy.

In addition to having a speech language pathologist treat your child, parents can do a few things at home to help correct a lisp, such as:

  • Treating any existing allergy or sinus problems so your child can breathe through their nose as open-mouth breathing can cause the tongue to lie flat and protrude.
  • Keeping your child’s fingers out of their mouth as much as possible since thumb-sucking can contribute to a lisp.
  • Having your child use a straw in their drinks. This kind of sucking motion promotes good oral-motor strength, which is so important in language development.
  • Encouraging fun activities that can improve oral-motor strength such as having your child blow bubbles or playing with a toy horn.
  • Having your child look in a mirror and practice putting his teeth together while he makes an “s” This exercise can help him remember to keep his tongue behind his teeth

Most importantly, make sure that while you are supportive of correcting your child’s lisp, you do not point it out to them repeatedly or publicly as this can affect their self-esteem and result in them speaking less.

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.

Heat Stroke vs. Heat Exhaustion

With the mercury rising, you have to think about what you can do to keep cool.  Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are common maladies during the summer months. The main symptoms of both heat stroke and heat exhaustion are an altered mental state or behavior, nausea, vomiting, flushed skin, rapid breathing, and a racing heart rate.  The main difference is, when you are experiencing heat exhaustion you will experience profuse sweating.  Conversely, when you are experiencing heat stroke, there will be a lack of sweat.

The best way to combat heat stroke and heat exhaustion is by hydrating with cool water when it is hot and humid; this will help you stay clear of dehydration. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends drinking 16 – 20 ounces of water before moderate intensity summer exercise (8 – 12 ounces of water 10 – 15 minutes before going out into the heat and 3 – 8 ounces every 15 – 20 minutes during activity when active for less than one hour).

Some the most common signs of dehydration are:

  • General  fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Increased body temperature
  • Weakness
  • Muscle cramps

Other means of keeping cool during the summer months is to wear lighter, breathable fabrics, slow down your pace, exercise indoors, and by using common sense when planning your day outdoors.

Please speak with your physician to determine your specific needs to avoid dehydration since it can vary from person to person.

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.