Posts for category: Child Safety
By Odochi Nwagwu, MD
November 15, 2021
Diabetes is on the rise, and not just in adults. More and more children in the US are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes used to be referred to as adult-onset diabetes, but today children are more at risk for prediabetes and types 2 diabetes than ever before. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent your child from developing diabetes.
Why is prediabetes a concern?
Okay, so prediabetes isn’t considered full-blown diabetes, so why should parents be worried? Well, being prediabetic will eventually lead to diabetes if the issue isn’t addressed by a pediatrician. A pediatrician will be able to spot prediabetes through a simple blood test to check blood sugar levels. After all, blood sugar levels will be elevated even before your child develops type 2 diabetes. By catching elevated blood sugar levels early, your pediatrician can provide you and your child with simple lifestyle changes to see if that lowers their blood glucose naturally.
Are there warning signs?
The problem is that elevated blood sugar often doesn’t cause symptoms until a child develops type 2 diabetes. So, your child could be prediabetic and not even know it. That’s why it’s a good idea to speak with your pediatrician if your child has risk factors. Your pediatrician will decide if blood tests are necessary to check glucose levels. If prediabetes isn’t checked and your child develops type 2 diabetes you may begin to notice these symptoms,
- Wounds and injuries that are slow to heal
- Blurry vision
- Frequent urination
- Increased hunger or thirst
What are the risk factors?
It’s important to recognize whether your child may be at risk for prediabetes. Some risk factors include,
- A family history of type 2 diabetes
- Eating an ultra-processed diet
- A sedentary lifestyle/lack of exercise (children should get at least one hour of aerobic exercise a day)
- Obesity or being overweight
- A mother with gestational diabetes (diabetes that develops during pregnancy)
If you are concerned about your child’s risk for prediabetes or developing type 2 diabetes, it’s important that you speak to your pediatrician. A pediatrician will be able to provide screening tools to monitor your child’s blood glucose, as well as lifestyle recommendations
By Odochi Nwagwu, MD
November 04, 2021
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that occurs as a result of a blow to the head. Since concussions can be serious, it’s important that you’re able to recognize the telltale signs of a concussion so you can seek immediate treatment. While your pediatrician may be able to provide you with immediate treatment, any serious symptoms should be addressed right away at your nearest emergency room.
What can cause a concussion?
The majority of concussions in children occur while playing sports; however, a traumatic injury or accident such as a car accident or bad fall can also leave your child dealing with a head injury. Some concussions may lead to a loss of consciousness, but most of the time this isn’t the case.
What are the warning signs?
Some of the most common symptoms of a concussion include:
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Loss of balance or unsteadiness
- Trouble with cognition, particularly attention, focus, and memory
A child may look dazed or slur their speech. They may also be more irritable and fussy, as well as sensitive to certain lights or noises.
If your child is alert and responds and acts normally these are often signs that the head injury is mild and probably won’t require emergency care; however, even if your child doesn’t require urgent care you should schedule an appointment to see your child’s pediatrician within the next 48 hours.
When is a concussion considered an emergency?
You should take your child to the ER right away if they develop these symptoms after a head injury:
- Persistent nausea or vomiting
- Loss of consciousness for more than 30 seconds
- A worsening headache
- Fluid draining from the eyes or ears
- Vision problems including dilated pupils
- Persistent tinnitus
- Weakness in the arms or legs
- Changes in behavior
- Slurred speech
- Trouble with coordination such as stumbling or falling
- Persistent dizziness or lightheadedness
If your child is showing signs of a concussion, we understand how scary this can be. Don’t hesitate to call your pediatrician right away, who can advise you as to what next steps to take.
By Odochi Nwagwu, MD
October 18, 2021
Tags: Bike Safety
Just like responsible parents, our pediatricians are interested in keeping your children well – this includes helping your kids stay safe while riding their bikes. The National Safety Council reports a 6% increase in bike accidents in recent years, likely due to increased traffic, population density in urban areas, and a variety of other causes. There are 80 million bicyclists now sharing the road with motorized vehicles, and your children are among them.
How to Keep Kids Safe When Biking
There are a few ways that your pediatrician recommends for teaching bicycle safety to your children:
- Help your kids stay visible to drivers: There are a few factors that can cause a driver not to view your child on a road, aside from texting while driving. Children are usually lower in a driver's sightlines, and they are also vying for a driver’s attention among many other road distractions such as traffic signals, construction, and more. By clothing your children in bright colors, or even having them wear a brightly colored safety vest while riding, you can call a driver’s attention to their presence, thus avoiding an accident. Also, be sure that your child’s bike has reflectors on the rear and front of the pedals and possibly on the seat and handlebars.
- Encourage your child to wear a bike helmet. Helmets can protect the brain and reduce head injuries should they accidentally be hit by a driver. A properly fitting helmet should be buckled under the chin, and shouldn’t wiggle more than an inch when worn.
- Teach your kids to be proactive cyclists. When riding, teach your children to watch out for parked cars that might open their doors, road hazards, common traffic flows, and rules that motorists usually follow. This can be a precursor to their learning to drive and will equip them with a sense of what drivers are most likely to do so that they can act accordingly while bicycling.
You can talk to your pediatrician about additional ways to keep your children safe when out riding their bikes. There is nothing more important than keeping your children safe, and bicycle safety is an important way to do it.
By Odochi Nwagwu, MD
September 02, 2021
Hand, foot and mouth disease isn’t a childhood infection that’s often discussed but should be. After all, this communicable viral infection is more common in young children than most people realize. If you are concerned about hand, foot and mouth disease, or would simply like to know more, your pediatrician can certainly provide you with the information you need. In the meantime, here are some FAQS that can help you get the facts on this contagious infection.
Is hand, foot and mouth disease dangerous?
While the name might make this condition sound rather frightening, the truth is that many kids under the age of five develop this illness. This is because these viruses are quite contagious. Even though this most often impacts young children, this infection can also present in older children, teens, and even adults.
What are the symptoms?
The incubation period for hand, foot and mouth disease is about 3-6 days from exposure. At first, symptoms may appear mild and look similar to the common cold (e.g. runny nose, fever, and sore throat); however, blisters will then start to develop within the mouth and on the body (often the palms of the hands and soles of the feet).
How is it diagnosed?
A diagnosis is often made by a pediatrician through a simple physical evaluation. They will go through your child’s medical history, examine the blisters and ask questions about your child’s symptoms to determine whether this could be hand, foot and mouth disease. Some testing may be performed to rule out other conditions.
How is hand, foot and mouth disease treated?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a medication that will get rid of hand, foot and mouth disease. Like most viral infections, the infection just has to run its course; however, there are certain things your pediatrician may prescribe or recommend that you do to ease your child’s symptoms. For example, ibuprofen may be recommended to help ease the pain as well as your child’s fever. Of course, it’s always a good idea to speak with your pediatrician before you start your child on any medication, even over-the-counter medications.
If your child develops symptoms of hand, foot and mouth disease it’s important that you see your pediatrician as soon as possible for an evaluation, as they will want to make sure that this is truly what’s causing their symptoms.
By Odochi Nwagwu, MD
June 25, 2021
Climate change has certainly caused the temperatures to climb here in the US, especially during the summer. While we know that kids love to play outdoors, when temperatures are high this could increase your child’s risk for heat exhaustion and heatstroke. While we certainly don’t want to wreck your child’s fun, you must be keeping your child safe from the heat. If you do have any concerns about symptoms, don’t hesitate to call your pediatrician right away.
Any temperature over 90F poses a serious health risk, especially to kids. When temperatures are at or above 90F here’s what you can do to keep your little ones safe:
Find an air-conditioned environment: If you don’t have AC in your home, it’s important to find a space that does. Make an action plan for where you can go if the temperatures become so high that you cannot safely stay in your home. You may need to stay with someone who does have AC or find free spaces such as a public library, which should also have AC.
Drink (lots of) water: You and your children must be also drinking enough water, especially on those super-hot days. While kids should normally get eight 8-oz glasses of water if a child is particularly active or it’s hot out, they must be drinking even more water to replenish what’s being lost.
Infants who are still breastfeeding should also be given additional breast milk, especially if they are under 6 months old. It’s also important to recognize the warning signs of dehydration in kids. If your child or infant is showing these warning signs, you need to call your pediatrician right away.
Wear the appropriate clothes: Just as you need a coat and gloves to protect your skin during the cold winter months, you also need to wear the appropriate clothes for those brutally hot days. Make sure your child is wearing light-colored clothes made from lightweight, absorbent materials that will wick away sweat. Since kids are less likely to sweat than adults, it’s important to keep them in the coolest and lightest clothes possible.
Stay cool: Whether jumping through the sprinkler system or simply hopping in a cold shower, there are easy steps you can take to help your child cool down when they complain of being too hot! If there is a swimming pool nearby, this is also a great and fun way to keep cool.
Whether you have questions about keeping your child safe during the summer months or you simply need to schedule their next well-child visit, a pediatrician is going to be the first doctor you turn to for your child’s health and wellbeing. Keeping your child safe this summer doesn’t have to be difficult, but if you have questions or concerns don’t hesitate to call.