Posts for category: Safety
By Belkis R. Cepero, MD
June 02, 2021
We understand that bringing your child in for a shot certainly isn’t fun for anyone, but keeping your child updated on vaccines is one of the most effective ways to protect them against serious and potentially life-threatening diseases. As soon as your child is born, they will begin to get a series of vaccines, which they will continue to get until they reach adulthood. Here’s everything you need to know about getting your child immunizations, including when to have them vaccinated and which vaccinations they will need at what age.
Getting Your Child Immunized
The CDC is your go-to for all accurate and updated information regarding childhood vaccines. They offer a variety of charts for kids 18 years old and younger that can easily help you determine what vaccines your child needs to get and at what age. Of course, your pediatrician also knows exactly what vaccines your kids need when they visit the office, so these charts are just for you to stay in the know. Of course, if you have any questions about upcoming vaccines for your child, don’t hesitate to talk with their pediatrician.
Throughout your child’s first 18 years of life, they will receive a series of vaccinations including:
- Hepatitis A & B
- DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough)
- Hib (meningitis, epiglottitis, and pneumonia)
- Meningococcal (for bacterial meningitis)
- MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella)
- Pneumococcal (pneumonia, ear infections, and meningitis)
- Varicella (chickenpox)
Your child may also want to get the influenza virus once a year to protect themselves and their family members from the flu.
The Safety and Efficacy of Childhood Immunizations
We understand that some parents may be on the fence about vaccines. In fact, this is a common concern that pediatricians hear, and it’s best to talk with your child’s doctor who is well-informed about childhood immunizations. There is a lot of misinformation out there and it can lead parents to avoid certain vaccines that could put their child at risk for more serious health problems. While some immunizations can cause minor side effects these are so minor compared to the repercussions of not having your child vaccinated.
Do you have questions about your child’s upcoming vaccine? Need to schedule your child’s next wellness visit? Keeping your little ones fully vaccinated is one of the best ways to protect them and keep them safe and healthy. A pediatrician can provide you with valuable information and insight into childhood vaccines.
By Belkis R. Cepero, MD
February 17, 2021
We all know how accident-prone kids can be. They get bruises, bumps, cuts, and scrapes from time and time. Most of the time, these boo-boos are nothing to worry about, but sometimes a cut or laceration may require turning to your pediatrician for stitches. Does your child need stitches? We know it isn’t always easy to tell. Here are some telltale signs that your child might need stitches,
- Apply pressure to the cut for five minutes. If it’s still bleeding after five minutes, it probably needs stitches
- The cut is more than ½-inch deep or longer
- The cut is around their eye
- The cut is on their face or neck and is longer than ¼ inch
- The cut is gaping open
- There is an object sticking out of it, including debris or glass
- The cut is spurting blood
Any cut that spurts blood could be a sign of a nicked artery. Immediately apply pressure to the area and head to your local ER for immediate medical attention.
When should I call the pediatrician?
If in doubt about whether or not your child may need stitches, call your pediatrician. With the introduction of telehealth visits, many pediatricians can now look at images of the injury or wound through a simple online appointment and determine whether the child or teen needs to come in for stitches. While the warning signs above are telltale indicators that your child may need stitches, even if the cut doesn’t need stitches, you should still see the doctor if:
- The cut was made by a rusty or metal object
- There is redness, swelling, pus, or other signs of infection
- The child has been bitten by an animal
- The cut hasn’t healed within 10 days
- There is still severe pain after a few hours
Cuts and wounds made by metal, rusty, or dirty objects may require your child to get a tetanus shot. This is why you should see your pediatrician right away, as it’s important for them to get this shot within 2-3 days after the injury.
If you still aren’t sure whether or not your child should get stitches, it doesn’t hurt to give your pediatrician a call. Let us know the symptoms your child is experiencing, and we can determine if their injury requires a closer look from our team. Call us today; we can deal with your child’s urgent medical matters.
By Belkis R. Cepero, MD
January 22, 2021
Tags: Tetanus Shot
All 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
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 Belkis R. Cepero, MD
January 08, 2021
Whether you’re simply taking a weekend trip to visit the grandparents, or you and the family are flying internationally, you must know how to keep everyone healthy and safe while on vacation. After all, the last thing you want to worry about is looking up local hospitals near your hotel in the middle of the night. Here are some tips for how to keep your little ones safe while traveling.
Bring all Medications with You…
And make sure you have enough. This is especially important if you are going to spend a couple of weeks on vacation. You will want to make sure that your child has access to their medications and that they don’t run out. If you’re flying, make sure to pack all medications in your carry-on, just in case the airline happens to lose your luggage.
Get the Appropriate Vaccinations
While travel throughout the US won’t typically require your child to get inoculated, traveling abroad may require certain vaccines ahead of time. You must schedule an appointment with your child’s pediatrician about a month in advance to make sure that they get all appropriate vaccinations before travel.
Depending on where you’re traveling, your pediatrician may recommend certain immunizations against typhoid, yellow fever, meningitis, or rabies. Your child may also require antimalarial drugs to protect against malaria.
Get Travel Insurance
While we never want to imagine a medical emergency happening while abroad, it is important to be prepared just in case your child breaks their arm or gets sick. In this case, having travel insurance can be a major stress-reliever and lifesaver. Most travel insurance covers kids under 17 years of age and also provides emergency care and 24/7 assistance.
Traveling During COVID-19
Of course, during the pandemic, medical officials highly recommend avoiding any travel unless essential. While we understand everyone’s desire to travel again and for life to return to normal, we must be doing our part to keep everyone safe during this time. If you do need to travel make sure to wear a mask, practice good hygiene and social distancing, and choose outdoor places such as parks where you can avoid crowds and other people.
If you do have questions about traveling with your child, or about getting them the proper vaccines before travel, talk with your child’s pediatrician. It’s important to talk with a pediatrician a month or more before your trip so that you can ensure that your child has everything they need before traveling.
By Belkis R. Cepero, MD
November 16, 2020
You may be surprised to learn that many car seats are not used properly. In fact, around 46 percent of car and booster seats are improperly used, which greatly impacts their efficacy. With car accidents being the leading cause of death in children in the US, parents must know how to keep their children safe while riding in the car. If you have questions about keeping your child safe, your pediatrician is here to answer all of your questions.
Types of Car Seats
Before your child can just start buckling up like a big kid, they need to use car seats. Children from birth until 3 years old will use a rear-facing car seat. From 3-7 years old children will upgrade to the forward-facing car seat. Then the booster seat is typically used anywhere from 5-12 years, depending on their height and manufacturer’s guidelines. Children should be at least five years old, weigh at least 40 pounds and be over the height and weight requirements for their forward-facing car seat to be ready to upgrade to a booster seat.
Choosing the Right Car Seat
When it comes to choosing a car seat, we know that it can be difficult to narrow it down. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides useful information to help you find the right car seat by comparing different ones on the market. You can also talk to your pediatrician, who can provide you with a wellspring of information and advice on choosing the right car seat for your little one.
Installing Your Child’s Car Seat
Before starting, it’s important to read the manufacturer’s installation guide so that you can better understand the car seat and how it should be installed. Along with following the installation guide that comes with the car seat, the NHTSA also provides some helpful safety tips for a successful installation.
Did you know that once you have your car seat in-place that you can have it inspected to make sure that it’s properly installed? This can provide families with the peace of mind that they need to know that their child is safe every time they buckle up.
From booster seats to booster shots, you must be doing everything possible to keep your child healthy and safe. This also means finding quality pediatricians that you trust to provide you with the tips, advice, and care to support your child’s health.