June 08, 2015
A study recently reported that melanoma rates have risen 250% in children and young adults since the 1970s. Another study found that between 1973 and 2009, pediatric melanomas (age 19 or younger) increased by 2% per year. As medical providers we are seeing an upward trend in skin cancers in all age groups – but predominantly among young women, which is thought to be due to tanning practices. We also know that even rare sunburns early in childhood can dramatically increase risk for melanoma later in life. There are lots of ways that parents can help protect children from sun exposure – here are some tips to help us do our best as summer approaches!
November 24, 2014
Do you know what an e-cigarette is? Does your child? You may be surprised. In 2012, 1.78 million U.S. students reported having used e-cigarettes. And that number has only continued to increase. Our communities have been slow to realize the impact of electronic cigarettes on our children, but this is an issue parents and pediatricians need to tackle head-on ...
September 01, 2014
For most parents, the newborn period is a time of profound joy, incredible challenges, and LOTS of questions. As pediatricians, some of the questions we are frequently asked are related to a simple blood test done on all infants in Washington State. Commonly referred to as the “newborn screen” or “NBS”, “PKU”, or “newborn metabolic testing”, this test checks for several congenital disorders that are rare but can be life-threatening.
Often parents want to know:
What does the test involve? The newborn screen is done by pricking the heel of the infant at around 24 hours of age, then collecting a few drops of blood onto a piece of test paper. This is dried and then sent to the state lab, where the testing is performed. Because some of the conditions may take several days to show up, the test is repeated at 7-14 days old (usually by your primary care doctor; it can also ...
February 28, 2014
Winter can seem like one long continuous “sick day” for families - kids pick up frequent infections at school or daycare and pass them around to everyone at home. Often it feels like by the time the illness has worked its way through the household, a new one has started! Even for physicians, it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish between viral and bacterial infections. Since antibiotics cannot treat viruses, they are often over-prescribed - which can lead to significant side effects in children and also contributes bacteria becoming resistant to existing medications. In November 2013, the American Academy of Pediatrics released an updated guidance regarding antibiotic treatment, helping answer the frequently asked question about when kids need antibiotics.
Here's what you should know about antibiotics in these situations:
December 30, 2013
In 2012, Washington passed legislation to legalize marijuana use for people 21 and over. While still illegal for those under 21, it is important to understand how this might affect adolescents and children.
Facts about marijuana and teens:
- In a 2009 national study, 32.8% of 12th graders had used marijuana in the last year, and 20.6% within the last month.
- One in eight adolescents who start using marijuana by age 14 become dependent.
- When prolonged marijuana use starts in the teen years it is linked to a significant drop in IQ points - and the decrease is irreparable.
- Marijuana can affect memory and concentration, cause or exacerbate depression/anxiety/hallucinations, and negatively affect asthma and other chronic lung diseases.
- Marijuana is much more potent now than in the past. In 2012 the average concentration of THC in marijuana was 15% (compared to just 4% in the 1980s).
- Harmful effects...
December 13, 2013
As the holidays approach, parents often wonder what toys are safe for their little ones. When making your list and checking it twice, here are some tips to ensure that toys are appropriate for the age and developmental stage of your giftees.
For younger children/infants:
- Make sure all parts are larger than the child’s mouth. Most children age 3 and under consistently put toys in their mouth, and some older children do as well. A small-parts tester, or “no-choke tube” is about the size of a small child’s airway and can be purchased to test parts if you are unsure. If a part or toy fits inside the tube, it’s too small to be safe.
- When buying stuffed toys, look for embroidered or secured parts rather than pieces (such as eyes or noses) that could be removed and swallowed. Remove all loose strings and ribbons. Avoid animals with stuffing made of small pellets or material that could cause ...