Our Blog

Posts for category: Safety

By Westfield Pediatrics, PA
January 22, 2021
Category: Safety
Tags: Tetanus Shot  
Tetanus ShotAll children need to get a tetanus shot. When we think of tetanus we often think of rusty nails; however, this bacterium isn’t just found on rusty metal items, it also lives in soil and dirt. If bacteria come in contact with a wound or opening in the skin this can lead to a serious infection. If your child, like many, enjoys running around outside barefoot, they must be keeping up with their tetanus shots.
 
When should my child get their first tetanus shot?

While tetanus can cause some serious symptoms including “lockjaw," it is completely preventable with a vaccination. The DTaP vaccine is used to prevent tetanus (along with diphtheria and pertussis) and your child will get their first series of shots at 2, 4, and 6 months. Your child will also need another tetanus shot between the ages of 15 to 18 months old and between 4-6 years old.
 
Children should continue to get a tetanus shot during their annual pediatric checkup until they turn 18 years old. Instead of getting the DTap vaccine, which they got as a young child, they will get the Tdap booster shot that still protects against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis.
 
Once your child reaches adulthood, they will get a Td vaccination, which will protect them against tetanus and diphtheria.
 
What are the signs and symptoms of tetanus?

Most children will develop symptoms within two weeks of exposure to the bacteria. Symptoms of tetanus include,
  • Painful and severe muscle spasms
  • Shoulder, jaw, and neck stiffness
  • Difficulty breathing and swallowing
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Fever
If left untreated, tetanus can be life-threatening so it’s important to bring your child in right away if they develop any of these symptoms.
 
If it’s time for your child’s next tetanus shot, your pediatrician will be able to administer the vaccine either during their next routine checkup or at a separate important. You must be keeping up with your child’s vaccine schedule so that they are fully protected against potentially dangerous communicable diseases.
By Westfield Pediatrics, PA
June 04, 2019
Category: Safety
Tags: Sports Injuries  

Your child's sports injury can be treated just as your injury was. Or, can it? Your pediatrician knows that a child's body is still developing, responding differently to acute and overuse injuries from organized sports, gym class, and more. As such, he or she can help your child avoid injury and in the event of sprain, strain, laceration, dislocation, or head injury, will help your youngster recover and stay healthy.

Kids sports injuries

They're very common, says the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. Annually, 3.5 million American children under the age of 14 suffer significant sports injuries. Some injuries are related to poor conditioning. Others occur because of inadequate instruction or proper protective gear such as padding, eye wear, sneakers, dance shoes, skates, and cleats.

In addition, diligent supervision on the part of parents, coaches, teachers, and other well-informed adults is critical to safe play. Well-maintained game fields and indoor surfaces avoid foot, ankle, and knee injuries.

Finally, KidsHealth reports that Pre-participation Physicals review medical histories and spot possible weaknesses in children's physiology and anatomy. Most school and organized sports teams require these check-ups either with the school physician or the family pediatrician before the sports season commences.

Treating sports injuries

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that proper assessment and prompt treatment of kids' sports injuries prevent long-term problems, including pain and proper growth of areas of the body such as the long bones. Traditionally, coaches and parents have used the RICE protocol to stabilize and injury, relieve pain, and begin the healing process. It still works exceptionally well. RICE stands for:

  • Rest
  • Ice to the affected area
  • Compression with an elastic bandage
  • Elevation of the affected limb/injured area above heart level

Then, your pediatrician and other health care providers can devise a specific treatment plan to include physical therapy, strengthening exercises, over the counter analgesics, braces, and casts as needed. As a parent, you know your child well. So be sure to fully participate in your youngster's care plan.

Be safe, be well

Each child responds differently to athletic training depending on his or her gender, size, age, physical conditioning, underlying health issue,s and natural ability. You and your pediatrician can partner together in encouraging a safe sports season for your child. That's a win-win situation.

By Westfield Pediatrics, PA
October 19, 2018
Category: Safety
Tags: Sports Injuries  

Even though you try as hard as possible to keep your child safe while they are playing sports, accidents still happen. At these moments, it’s important that you know whether these are injuries that can easily be treated from the comfort of your own home or whether you need to turn to a pediatrician for proper medical attention.

Pediatricians have seen a lot of sports-related injuries over the years and while we also focus as much of our attention on prevention, we know the importance of being able to get immediate and comprehensive care when your child does sustain an injury.

Common sports-related injuries include:

  • Dislocations (particularly in the shoulder)
  • Traumatic injuries (this includes cuts, sprains and strains, and broken bones)
  • Stress fractures
  • Tendinitis (often in the hand or wrist)
  • Concussion

When a dislocation happens many times it is accompanied by an audible popping sound at the moment that the injury occurred. This unnerving sound is often followed by sudden and intense pain. It’s important that you turn to a pediatrician who can put the shoulder or any other area of the body back in place. The joints of a child’s body are looser than adults, so it makes shoulders and other areas more prone to dislocations.

Minor cuts, sprains, and strains can often be handled with at-home care. In most cases, the RICE method is a great way to ensure that your child gets the rest they need to heal properly and to stay off of the injury until it fully heals. Icing and elevating the injured area can also reduce pain and swelling. Of course, if you suspect that your child has a broken bone, this will need to be evaluated by a medical professional right away.

Children who are serious or long-term athletes are more likely to experience overuse injuries. These injuries occur over time rather than suddenly and they are often the result of performing repetitive movements. Overuse injuries include stress fractures and tendinitis. If your child feels pain whenever they move a certain area of the body or if they notice pain or swelling in a certain area it’s important that they get checked out.

Wearing a helmet is crucial for protecting your child’s head while playing sports. Of course, if your child has received a blow to the head and is experiencing dizziness, fatigue, frequent or severe headaches or just seems out of sorts it’s crucial that you bring them in right away to see if they’ve incurred a concussion.

When in doubt, pick up the phone and talk to a pediatrician about your child’s injuries and symptoms. They will be able to determine whether or not they should come in for proper care.

By Westfield Pediatrics, PA
March 30, 2018
Category: Safety
When you are not able to watch your child closely, many moms or dads will place their child in a playpen. While you might think this is a safe place for your child, think again. A playpen can also pose risks
playpen safety for your child and be dangerous under certain circumstances. With the guidance of your pediatrician, lets take a look at ways you can prevent mishaps from occurring with your child while they are in a playpen. According to your pediatrician, make sure that:
  • Netting has a small weave without any tears.
  • The drop side is up and securely locked.
  • The rails and padding are in good condition.
  • Toys are not strung from the playpen
  • You don’t use an accordion-style fence as a play yard.
Playpens are popular because they allow parents to put their baby down with the knowledge that their little one can’t wander off. By understanding how to protect your baby, playpens can remain a safe place. Your pediatrician offers helpful tips to help keep your baby safe at all times. 
By Westfield Pediatrics, PA
August 15, 2017
Category: Safety
Tags: Safety   Infant   Baby Care  
Your child’s safety is your responsibility, even when your baby is sleeping.Your pediatrician is available to provide you with helpful tips to keep your baby safe while he or she is sleeping.

While you may find relief when your baby is asleep, it is still important to practice safety to ensure your baby’s health. Some helpful tips offered from your pediatrician include:
  • All infants should be put down for sleep on their back to reduce the risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • Avoid soft bedding that might suffocate your baby, such as pillows, blankets, plush toys, and bumpers.
  • Crib slats should be 2 3/8 inches apart or less so that your baby’s head cannot get trapped.
  • Keep your baby’s room at a moderate temperature and dress them in a way that will prevent them from overheating to also reduce the risk for SIDS.
  • Share a bedroom with your newborn—but not a bed.
  • Avoid devices marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS, such as sleep positioners.

Nursing your baby and making sure that your baby gets all of the recommended vaccines can help protect against SIDS. Your pediatrician is available to provide you with the right information to protect your baby and keep him or her healthy and that includes proper care while they are sleeping.