Helena Pediatric Clinic P.C.
1122 N. Montana Avenue
Helena, MT 59601
Tel: (406) 449-5563

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Posts for category: Child Safety

By Helena Pediatric Clinic P.C.
August 06, 2019
Category: Child Safety
Tags: Car Seats  

Kids may complain about being restrained in the car, but car seats and booster seats save lives. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that using a car or booster seat in a passenger car reduces the risk of fatal injury 71 percent in children younger than 1 and 54 percent in toddlers ages 1 to 4. The statistics are just as impressive for older kids.

What type of seat should I use for my child?

Infants and toddlers should ride in rear-facing seats until they reach the highest weight or height recommended by the manufacturer. In the past, children were routinely removed from rear-facing seats when they were 2, even if they didn't meet height or weight limits. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently changed their guidelines and now recommend that kids remain in the seats as long as possible.

Toddlers and pre-schoolers who have reached the maximum height or weight limits for rear-facing seats should use forward-facing car seats. Again, the seats should be used until the child reaches the maximum height and weight recommendations.

Once kids are too tall or heavy for car seats, they will transition to booster seats. Booster seats should be used until children are 4'9" tall and 8 to 12 years old. Older children can begin using seat belts at that point but should sit in the back seat when possible, particularly if they're younger than 13.

How can I tell if the car seat is installed correctly?

Both car and booster seats should be securely fashioned with a latch system or seat belt. If the seat moves back and forth freely, it's not installed correctly. Properly installed seats should move no more than an inch in any direction.

My child's legs seem too long for the car seat. What should I do?

You may wonder if your child should move up to the next seat or a booster seat if your child's feet touch the back of car seat. As long as your child is shorter than the maximum height for the seat, he or she should remain in the current seat.

Should my child use a secondhand car seat?

Passing a seat down to your next child can be a good idea if your children are only a few years apart in age. Before you reuse a seat for a younger child, make sure that it hasn't expired or been recalled since you bought it. Throw away car and booster seats after accidents, even minor ones. The seat may look perfectly fine but may be damaged internally.

Buying secondhand car seats online or at yard sales should be avoided. You won't necessarily know if the seat has been in an accident or if it has defective latches or restraints.

Using car seats consistently, whether you're going to the grocery store or taking a cross-country trip, can help your child avoid serious injuries due to traffic accidents. Talk to your child's pediatrician if you have questions about the seats.

By Helena Pediatric Clinic P.C.
June 04, 2019
Category: Child 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 Helena Pediatric Clinic
March 19, 2019
Category: Child Safety
The harder your children play, the harder they might fall. During childhood, fractures and broken bones are common for children playing or participating in sports. While falls are a common part of childhood,
Detecting a Broken Bone your pediatrician in shares important information to help you understand if your child has a broken bone. 
 
If your child breaks a bone, the classic signs might include swelling and deformity. However, if a break isn’t displaced, it may be harder to tell if the bone is broken or fractured. Some telltale signs that a bone is broken are:
  • You or your child hears a snap or grinding noise as the injury occurs
  • Your child experiences swelling, bruising or tenderness to the injured area
  • It is painful for your child to move it, touch it or press on it
  • The injured part looks deformed

What Happens Next?

If you suspect that your child has a broken bone, it is important that you seek medical care immediately. All breaks, whether mild or severe, require medical assistance. Keep in mind these quick first aid tips:
  • Call 911 - If your child has an 'open break' where the bone has punctured the skin, if they are unresponsive, if there is bleeding or if there have been any injuries to the spine, neck or head, call 911. Remember, better safe than sorry! If you do call 911, do not let the child eat or drink anything, as surgery may be required.
  • Stop the Bleeding - Use a sterile bandage or cloth and compression to stop or slow any bleeding.
  • Apply Ice - Particularly if the broken bone has remained under the skin, treat the swelling and pain with ice wrapped in a towel. As usual, remember to never place ice directly on the skin.
  • Don't Move the Bone - It may be tempting to try to set the bone yourself to put your child out of pain, particularly if the bone has broken through the skin, do not do this! You risk injuring your child further. Leave the bone in the position it is in.
Contact your pediatrician to learn more about broken bones, and how you can better understand the signs and symptoms so your child can receive the care they need right away. 
By Helena Pediatric Clinic
April 02, 2018
Category: Child Safety
Tags: Food Allergies   Allergies  

Food AllergyEspecially during the younger years, adequate food and nutrition is vital for a child’s growth and development. But for some children, a snack or meal as simple as a peanut butter sandwich or a cup of milk can cause serious health problems. So, what’s a parent to do when they suspect their child is allergic to a certain food?

A food allergy is the abnormal response of the immune system to a food. It’s possible to be allergic to any food, but these particular foods are responsible for the majority of allergies: milk, eggs, wheat, soy, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, and peanuts. Food allergies should not be confused with food intolerance, or food sensitivity, which is more common and less severe.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction typically occur within just moments to an hour after the child ingests a food. They can range from uncomfortable to life-threatening, so it’s important for parents to understand what to do if they suspect their child is having an allergic reaction to food. Symptoms will vary for each child, but the most common telltale signs include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hives
  • Eczema
  • Trouble breathing
  • Itching or swelling of the lips, tongue, mouth or throat
  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing
  • Light-headedness or loss of consciousness

Food allergy symptoms often resemble other medical conditions, so always contact your pediatrician for a proper diagnosis. If you suspect your child has a food allergy, remove that particular food from your child’s diet immediately. If the allergic reaction is severe, seek medical care right away.

The good news is that food allergies are often outgrown during early childhood. Your pediatrician or allergist can perform tests to pinpoint and track your child's food allergies They can also work with you to modify and manage your child’s diet to ensure they are receiving adequate nutrition for growth and development without putting them at risk for additional allergic reactions.

By Helena Pediatric Clinic
January 15, 2018
Category: Child Safety
Tags: Playground Safety  

Playground SafetyWhether it’s at the park, school or in your own backyard, kids of all ages enjoy climbing on the monkey bars, going down the slide and swinging.  Playgrounds are a great place for kids to exercise, take in fresh air and socialize with friends.   Unfortunately, it’s also a place many kids get injured every year as a result of faulty equipment and improper use.  In fact, each year more than 200,000 kids under the age of 15 are treated in hospital emergency rooms for playground-related injuries.

While there are some inevitable dangers, the good news is that many of these injuries can easily be prevented with proper supervision. Do you know what to look for to make sure your playground is safe?

Play it Safe: What to Look for at Your Playground

Risks linked with playground safety may not be as apparent as those associated with swimming or biking; you just have to know what to look for. You can make the playground safe and fun for your kids by checking equipment and surfacing for potential hazards and following some simple safety guidelines. These include:

  • Always supervise your child to ensure playground equipment is used properly.  
  • Regularly check playground equipment for loose, sharp or broken parts. 
  • Know which surfacing is most appropriate. Sand, wood chips and rubberized matting are the safest surfaces for playgrounds, while concrete or asphalt could lead to a serious injury if a child falls.
  • Make sure playground equipment is age and size appropriate for your child.
  • Minimize injuries by teaching your kids basic playground rules.
  • Play areas for younger children should be separated from those for older kids.
  • Don’t let children wear drawstrings, purses, necklaces or other items that could get caught on equipment.
  • Report dangerous playgrounds to responsible parties.
  • Ask your pediatrician about other tips for playground safety.

Don’t let careless behavior or a faulty apparatus ruin playground fun.  To minimize injuries, always be on the lookout for faulty equipment, improper surfaces, and careless behavior.  Play is an essential part of a child’s physical, social, intellectual, and emotional development. Following these playground safety tips will help your kids play as safely as possible.