When your dad is a pediatrician, a Father’s Day tale

When your dad is a pediatrician, medicals school graduation is extra special.

Medical school graduation 1994: Dr. Julie Kardos with her pediatrician dad, Dr. Stephen Kardos

When your dad is a pediatrician

When your dad is a pediatrician, you never get to stay home from school for illness, feigned or real. Unless you are vomiting.

When your dad is a pediatrician, people call your home phone and ask you about symptoms of chickenpox, even when you are only ten years old.

When your dad is a pediatrician, you sit in booster seats long after your friends “outgrow” theirs.

When your dad is a pediatrician, you know to give that kid who feels like he is going to pass out in marching band at the 95 degree football game Gatorade or juice, not just plain water, because of “electrolytes.”

When your dad is a pediatrician, you do not have a curfew as a teen, because he is more concerned about you or your friend speeding to get home in time than about what time you get home.

When your dad is a pediatrician and you call home from college with an illness, he makes you go to Student Health because he knows it is very difficult to diagnose an illness on the phone. And he will NOT “just call in an antibiotic.”

When your dad is a pediatrician, you have extra security when leaving him to watch your own children, because not only will he show his grandchildren a grand time, but also he will know what to do if they get sick.

Thank you, Dad.
Happy Father’s Day!

Julie Kardos, MD
©2019 Two Peds in a Pod®

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How to treat eczema or atopic dermatitis

eczemaIt’s pretty annoying to be itchy. Dr. Lai fondly called her itchy oldest child with eczema “itchy, bitty, spider,”or some variant of that, for much of her daughter’s childhood. Fortunately, for your kids with sensitive skin, dermatologist Teresa S. Wright, MD  joins us today with tips for how to treat eczema or atopic dermatitis—Drs. Kardos and Lai

Has your child been diagnosed with eczema? Eczema is a general term that refers to a group of skin conditions characterized by itchy red rashes. The term “eczema” often refers to a skin condition known as atopic dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis may occur in association with allergies and/or asthma and the rash tends to come and go. Common triggers include illness, stress, and changes in the weather or temperature. The cause of atopic dermatitis is not well understood. However, most children with atopic dermatitis tend to have very dry, sensitive skin. Atopic dermatitis cannot be cured, but it can be controlled. Most children with atopic dermatitis gradually improve and many will outgrow it over time. In order to control the rash, a proper daily skin care regimen is extremely important.

Skin care regimen to treat eczema

A daily bath or shower is recommended. It is a common myth that daily bathing “dries out” the skin. This is not true. Bathing puts moisture in the skin and removes irritants and germs. However, the bath or shower should be short (less than 10 minutes) and not too hot. Cleanser should be gentle, fragrance-free, and dye-free. Dove™ for Sensitive Skin or Aveeno™ fragrance-free cleanser are good choices. After bathing, pat the skin dry with a soft cotton towel and apply a  heavy bland moisturizer to all skin to seal in the moisture. Continue Reading

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New national guidelines for water safety, and free swim lessons in Bucks County

 

water safety guidelines apply on beaches as well as pools

When one of Dr. Lai’s kids was around two years old, she deliberately let go of Dr. Lai’s hand when wading in waist high water. She exclaimed, “Look mommy, I can swim!” But she couldn’t, and as she started to sink, Dr. Lai scooped her up. What if she had taken swim lessons? Would that have been enough to prevent drowning? It may have helped, but that’s not enough. Kids need layers of protection to prevent tragedy in water.

Just in time for summer, we have new evidence about drowning prevention for both young kids and teens. Read on for updated swimming and water safety tips and an offer for free swim competency lessons for older kids.

 

Who is most at risk for drowning?

Children age 4 years and younger.

Most of these kids drown when parents do not realize kids have access to water. Think bathtubs, buckets, and toilets as well as ponds, puddles, and pools. Drowning is silent. Parents need to always watch their children around any body of water.

Adolescents aged 15-19.

Several factors contribute, including under-estimating risk (strong tides, swimming out too far), overestimation of skills, and substance use. Be sure to discuss rules of swimming with all of your children even if they are strong swimmers, and instruct them never to swim alone or without a lifeguard. Set an example yourself by wearing life jackets while boating and abstain from alcohol consumption. Alcohol contributes to half of all boating accidents in the United States.

Kids with autism.

Like children with other behavioral disabilities, they often wander away from adults without warning.

Children with seizure disorders.

Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in children with epilepsy. Like ALL children, kids who have seizures should never be left alone for even a second in pools or baths.

Kids with a predisposition to cardiac arrhythmias.

If your family has a history of heart arrhythmias (eg. Long QT, Brugada syndrome, Ventricular tachycardia), unexplained sudden death at a young age, or an unexplained drowning, bring it to your pediatrician’s attention. In your child, let your pediatrician know about any fainting/near fainting episodes, “funny” heart beats, or chest pain.

 

When should I start swim lessons for my child? Continue Reading

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What do Rock ‘n Play and socks have in common? They’ve both been recalled this year. Predicting what’s up next:

child product recall

Whenever we look at the child product recall lists from The Consumer Protection Safety Commission (CPSC), it never fails to amaze us that even big brand names crop up in product recalls for children. Ironically, most are not new-fangled products. Bouncer seats, high chairs, rattles, and bicycle helmets are often amongst the recalls. We figure after decades of baby product manufacturing, designers and production managers would understand what constitutes a potential hazard for kids.

We urge you to scrutinize the kid merchandise in your house and identify the potential hazards before your child ends up as the reason a product is on the CPSC list. In fact, you might have already missed a recall on your older products. According to kidsindanger.org, child product recalls occur a couple of times a week, but when a baby product is recalled, only 10-30 percent are ever retrieved. Because recalls occur AFTER injury or death occurs, it is better if parents assess the safety of child products before a recall.

Here are some common reasons for recalls:

Products fail to adhere to the American Academy of Pediatrics safe sleep guidelines. We know parents of crying young infants are often desperate to get some sleep themselves, but many sleep products are not studied. If it seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t. Infants are not ready developmentally to sleep through the night, so any product that promises to help your infant sleep through the night is, by definition, problematic. An example is the Rock ‘n Play sleeper which was recently recalled. The soft squishy inclined cradles clearly did not adhere to the safe sleep guidelines, but often we heard a parent say, ”But that’s the only place they will sleep.” Unfortunately, this recall does not undo the deaths of the 32 reported babies who died in the sleeper. In the wake of the recall, other companies who make similar sleepers are also recalling their products.

We cringe every time a family tells us they are using a new fangled piece of wrap-around-baby sleep gear or sleeping contraption, because
most involve soft surfaces (not advised), inclined surfaces (not advised) or things-in-the-crib-other-than-your-baby (also not advised). Continue Reading

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Your mother was right! Health tips from mom

mom health advice
Do you ever wonder if some of the health advice your mom gave you growing up was actually correct?

On this Mother’s Day, we credit those moms who really do know a thing or two about child health.

1- Give your child chicken soup when she is sick.
There is merit to chicken soup. Children need to drink extra fluids when they are sick. Fevers, coughs, diarrhea, vomiting, and infections all can contribute to dehydration. Chicken soup is a great tasting fluid, has electrolytes (salt), and the vegetables that you cook in it leak all of their vitamins into the soup. Basically this is homemade “smart water” heated up. An added bonus: the chicken gives kids protein they need to fight infection.

If your child does not like chicken soup, you can hydrate them with water, apple juice, or milk (yes, kids can drink milk even if they have a cough or a fever).

2-Wear your gloves.
Moms do know how to dress kids for cold weather. Gloves are important because fingertips are at risk for frostbite. So are noses, but you can’t put gloves on that appendage.

3- Give honey for a cough.
We have written about this before- honey beats out placebo and even cough medicine in a few studies of parents’ perception of children’s sleep when sick with a cough. You can put it into tea, warm or cold milk, or give it straight off a spoon. Just be sure to brush their teeth afterward. And we remind you to NOT give honey to babies younger than one year of age because of concern for infant botulism.

4- Get some Vitamin D.
While we advise sunscreen for when your kids play outside, she is right that vitamin D , which comes from sun exposure and certain foods, is important. It not only contributes to bone health, but also modulates the immune system. Just focus on providing vitamin D-containing foods rather than tanning sessions. Continue Reading

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Talk to your teen

 

Take time to talk to your teenDo you wonder if any communication actually occurs when you talk to your teen? We invite you to read this post for some coaching on how to talk to your teen in ways that they will find palatable.

Julie Kardos, MD and Naline Lai, MD

©2019 Two Peds in a Pod®

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Tylenol or Advil?

a spoonful of sugar

A spoonful of sugar or a spoonful of stevia?

What’s better to give my child, Tylenol or Advil? Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen?

We really shouldn’t be using brand names, but this question comes up often, and just like Kleenex or Band-aid or Post-it, we more often hear parents refer to the brand names than the  generic names.

Tylenol is a brand name for acetaminophen. Sometimes on medicine labels it is listed as APAP.

Motrin and Advil are brand names for ibuprofen.

Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are the SAME in these two effects:

Both treat pain.
Both lower fever.

Here is how acetaminophen and ibuprofen are DIFFERENT: Continue Reading

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Toddler meal ideas

Time to start finger foods! Toddler meal ideas

Having trouble figuring out what to feed your toddler? Read our post for easy, healthy, and economical toddler meal ideas, featuring finger food suggestions. Spoiler alert: you can stay out of the “baby and toddler food aisle” of your local food market!

Julie Kardos, MD and Naline Lai, MD
©2019 Two Peds in a Pod®

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