If It Were My Child

All Articles in the Category ‘If It Were My Child’

If It Were My Child: No Teething Tablets

On Saturday, the FDA released a recall of Hyland’s teething tablets. The recall stems from concerns for increased and varying amounts of belladonna, a toxic substance that could cause serious systemic effects to babies. It’s unclear how much belladonna is found in these tablets normally although it is well known it’s in them. Recently, infants have developed symptoms consistent with belladonna toxicity after using the tablets (change in consciousness, constipation, skin flushing, dry mouth). Homeopathic supplements and medications are unregulated and therefore it’s hard to know what is in them, how consistent one bottle is from the next, and how different brands of the same products compare. Local and national poison control previously deemed teething tablets safe even though it is known that they have trace amounts of belladonna (and possible caffeine). The FDA states it is “unaware of any proven clinical benefit from the product.” Because of safety concerns and no known benefit, I’ve always recommended against using teething tablets. If it were my child, I didn’t, and would not use teething tablets. If you have these at home, throw them out. Here’s some FDA tips of safe disposal of unwanted medications. If your child has had these tablets in the past, there is no reason to worry. Ill effects would have been seen soon after using them.

Some Teething Truths:

If It Were My Child: No Feeding The Dog

“If it were my child: No kids feeding the dog.” Don’t allow kids to play, handle, or touch the dog bowls, dog treats, or supplements, either. You have to be vigilant and organized. I’m not always both, or either, for that matter. I have found my boys basically bathing in dog water, and dipping their hands/face/sippy cup into our dog food bin many times. News today informed me to change the rules around here.

Pet owners, be aware. Not, “beware.” I’m not trying to scare. A study published yesterday in Pediatrics found that a large number of salmonella infections between 2006-2008 were linked to contaminated dry dog/cat food.  Salmonella infections cause abdominal cramping, bloody stools, and in some (often the very young), more severe infections. I read about dog food as a possible cause of infection back in 2007 when my son (4 months at the time) came down with Salmonella gastroenteritis. Yes, it’s a real story. Bloody diarrhea, cramping pain, lots and lots of crying–poor little guy. I felt it was all my fault. He was an infant and I was controlling everything he ate, after all.

But F didn’t get Salmonella from dog food, he got it from a more predictable route. Read full post »

If It Were My Child: No Tylenol Before Shots

Earlier this year there was a massive Tylenol recall. The recall included Infant Tylenol drops, Children’s Tylenol, as well as many other children’s medications. I’m not exaggerating when I say massive, but generic medications (liquid acetaminophen made by Walgreens or CVS, for example) were not included. The recall was a great reminder that generics are just as good as brand-name medications.

The recall also serves as a great reminder that giving medications to children is never risk-free. Recalls like this remind us to use medications only when absolutely necessary. There is always risk when you intervene.

Tylenol (acetaminophen) is a great medication. It has a place in our medicine cabinets and in keeping children comfortable in the face of fever or pain. Teething, viral infections, ear infections, and minor injuries are great times to use Tylenol. But prior to shots is not. Or afterward, as it turns out. After shots, Tylenol will help prevent fever, but may also prevent the desired immune response. There is new data to support this that has changed the way I think and counsel families about Tylenol. Now when parents ask, I say,“If it were my child, no Tylenol before shots.”

Fever is a “normal” immune response to a trigger (medical school and residency taught me this). But being a mom has certainly shown me that fevers in my babies don’t feel “normal.” When we pediatricians say it’s “normal,”we neglect to connect with the experience of parenting a feverish child. I understand why so many parents reach for the Tylenol. I did; after F’s 2 month shots, he developed a low-grade fever and cried his little face off. I gave him Tylenol twice that night. I wouldn’t have, had I known this: Read full post »

If It Were My Child: No MMRV Shot

A study published in Pediatrics today confirms a slightly elevated risk in febrile seizures in children who receive the combo MMRV (Measles-Mumps-Rubella-Varicella) shot between 1 and 2 years of age. If it were my child, I would NOT get the combo MMRV shot, even if the elevated risk of seizure is extremely low. The American Academy of Pediatrics will likely recommend the same. None of us ever want our child to be put at increased risk. Or to be part of a statistic.

This study found children receiving the combo MMRV had double the risk of febrile seizure compared with those children who got the MMR and Varicella (Chicken Pox) shots individually. Data shows 1 in 2300 children could have a febrile seizure after the combo shot. So, like journalist Madonna Behen reported today, I do not recommend the combo.

From the way I see it, both as a mom and as a pediatrician, if the risk is increased, it is meaningful. And, because children who get the 2 shots separately are equally protected against Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Chicken Pox (Varicella) I recommend the safer route of 2 shots. Read full post »

If It Were My Child: Use the Buddy System and Make a 3-Day Disaster Kit

Doctor Suzan Mazor driving a carThese earthquakes (Haiti, Chile, California, China) are freaking me out. So did reading this article. Later this month, you get to see my complete video blog of my effort to make a 3-day disaster kit, a disaster packet for my F’s preschool, my interpretation of what you need particularly for kids, and watch me ready my family for the worst of the worst. I partnered up with my friend, Dr Suzan Mazor because she’s scared, too. Meet Suzan. She’s smart and very funny.

I’m finally doing it—preparing my home and family for the unthinkable. If it were my child, I’d make a 3-day disaster kit. I’ve procrastinated for years. Every time I have perused the sites on how to prepare for a disaster, I have gotten so freaked out and scared about disaster-death-dilapidation that I’ve become paralyzed in my effort. Subsequently, I had never assembled anything for the kit. Really, I’m one of those people who until last week didn’t have water stored in the basement. Are you? Read full post »

If It Were My Child: Infant Swimming Lessons

It turns out, I don’t think you do have to be careful what you wait for when it comes to swimming. A study published a few weeks ago suggested that children under the age of 2 were at higher risk for bronchiolitis, a common pediatric lung infection, if they swam in chlorinated pools when they were babies. I’ve mulled this over and done additional reading. If it were my child, I’d sign up for infant swimming lessons. Believe me, I’m not getting off any swim/pool wait list any time soon! Yet, I do think the study offers a chance to re-frame how we think about protecting our kids around the water.

Although O will be well over 2 years old when he gets off the decade long wait list for the pools in our area, he’ll be swimming in chlorinated pools before then. From how I see it, chlorine exposure is only one side of the story when it comes to infant swimming and safety. It’s okay, maybe even wonderful if I dare say, to swim with an infant. The video we have from F swimming in the first time is hilarious. I am far more ecstatic than any normal human should be in a pool. It’s true; most babies simply love the water. So do plenty of adults (read: me).

Swimming if not only delightful, it is also dangerous. Worldwide, drowning while swimming is the 2nd most common injury that kills children under age of 14. Therefore how our infants and children come to know the water may be as important as how we think about using car seats. Read full post »

If It Were My Child: H1N1 Shots, Yes!

O H1N1 shotI heard about the recall of about 800,000 doses of H1N1 shots intended for children 6-35 months today. The news doesn’t scare me at all. Zilch-o. Zippo. Zero. And I scare easily. I jump in the seat in the movie theater when it’s loud or dark or someone does something scary.  Really.

This recall does not affect how I will continue to encourage families to get their children immunized. This is not a recall due to safety concerns.  I strongly remain in support of immunizing all children against H1N1, especially those with infant siblings, those under age 2 years, or those with underlying health conditions.
I heard about the Canadian reports of fever in children after the second dose of H1N1, too. None of this makes me hesitate. The H1N1 shot is produced in the same way that the seasonal flu shot has been produced for 60 years.  Read full post »

If It Were My Child: No Benadryl For The Plane

Plane windowThe holidays are here.  Someone just plopped thanksgiving in my to-do list. I like it. Celebrating with family and friends is one yummy thing in life even in the face of family dynamics-drama.  I know it doesn’t feel yummy for everyone.  I’m not trying to sound Pollyanna-ey.  I’ve had the dark years of holidays, too.  When the being together made me feel lonelier than truly connected.  But, that’s not where I find myself now, fortunately.  The people in my life who are less than 3 feet tall also decorate these times together and make it better and better.  Who knew you could get so excited about a little, “gobble, gobble.”

The smallest in our family also make holidays more complicated though.  It’s the over the river and through the woods part that can be really tough. Read full post »