Wow- it’s hard to believe it is already July 2nd! Not that you can tell by the weather, but we have had some really nice days to enjoy outside. As I enter the summer months I am full of camp and school physicals. One of my favorite questions to ask the kids and teenagers is, ” so what do you like to do for fun?” You wouldn’t believe how many have a difficult time answering the question. Yes, I want to know what activities they are involved in, but I also want to hear what they think is fun. My face lights up when they say that they like to play in the creek, go for a bike ride, or sit and read a book. Our lives and our children’s lives are so filled with scheduled activities, that it is refreshing to hear about the not scheduled activities.
Summer is a great time to get out there and explore. Even if your children need to go to camp because you work during the day there is time on the weekend to check out everything around us. Going on hikes or bike rides as a family is great bonding time (oh yeah, don’t forget the helmet). Living in Wisconsin we have so many festivals to attend and see the different tastes and sounds of our community.
Try not to over-schedule though. During the year there is so much going on, take time to see where the day will take you. Allow your children to explore the outside without having to rush off and say you need to get to the next thing. Try something you haven’t done before. There are many triathlons that include kids now- this is so great because it encourages physical activity.
One thing, don’t get caught in the “I’m so bored” and then all they do is turn on the TV or get on the IPad. Let them be bored. Sooner or later they will figure out what to do. They might pick up a book and read for a little. They might explore the outside and discover they like to garden or just watch the worms in the garden. They might learn how to cook on a rainy day.
Give them a chance to be bored and see what they can do!
We all spend a lot of time baby proofing our houses, but one easy place to forget is the laundry room, or in my house “that corner of the basement.” Here are a couple of tips in case that area of your home was overlooked.
- Keep detergents and other cleaning products in their original packages.
- Store detergents or cleaning products in a cabinet with safety locks or an area that is out of reach. (Remember your kids can climb, so it may be safer to lock everything up.)
- Never let your children touch single use laundry packets (or dishwasher packets). They can dissolve quickly when in contact with saliva or wet hands.
- Use child-proof locks on front-loading washers and dryers.
- Keep irons and their cords out of reach.
- Make sure any laundry chutes and doors are child-proof.
A lot of houses don’t have laundry chutes, but I had one growing up and I remember really wanting to slide down into our hamper. Luckily I was too big to fit at the time. Don’t forget if your child does get into cleaning products or anything else you should call poison control. They are nice people and a great resource. The phone number is 1-800-222-1222. Don’t be embarrassed to call, we have had to call at my house (for me).
Now that the summer is finally in full swing, I think it is important to make sure that our children are getting enough fluids with the warmer weather approaching. We all lose body water throughout the day via various routes such as tears, urine and sweating. Water also evaporates off of our skin and vaporizes when we breathe. Most of our body fluid and salts can be replaced with the water and salts in our regular diet. However, during prolonged exercise during warm weather, we can lose even more, setting us up for dehydration.
Here are some signs of dehydration:
- dry or sticky mouth
- few or no tears when crying
- eyes that look sunken into the head
- soft spot (Fontanelle) on top of baby’s head that looks sunken
- lack of urine or wet diapers for 6 to 8 hours in an infant (less than 1-year-old)
- lack of urine for 12 hours in an older child
- dry, cool skin
- lethargy or irritability
- fatigue or dizziness in an older child
The best way to prevent dehydration is to make sure kids get plenty of fluids when they are physically active, especially in hot weather. They should consume more fluids than they are losing. If your child participates in strenuous exercise, they need to begin drinking extra fluid even before the activity starts. They should also continue drinking at intervals (about every 20 minutes) during the activity and after it ends. Keep in mind, too, that sugary drinks and soda are not good at keeping you hydrated. Water is best. Limit low-calorie sports drinks to episodes of extreme exercising.
Thirst is NOT a good sign of early dehydration. By the time a child feels thirsty, he or she may already be dehydrated. In addition, thirst can be quenched even before the necessary body fluids have been replaced.
Below is a weight-based chart regarding how much fluid your child should consume on a daily basis. This does not take into consideration exercise or hot weather. Parents always are amazed at how much fluid we all should be consuming.
Weight in Pounds Fluids per day
- 10 pounds 16 ounces (2 cups)
- 20 pounds 30 ounces (3-3/4 cups)
- 30 pounds 40 ounces (5 cups)
- 40 pounds 48 ounces (6 cups)
- 50 pounds 52 ounces (6 ½ cups)
- 60 pounds 55 ounces (7 cups)
- 80 pounds 60 ounces (7 ½ cups)
- 100 pounds 70 ounces (8 ¼ cups)
- 120 pounds 75 ounces (9 cups)
- 140 pounds 80 ounces (10 cups)
- 150 pounds 85 ounces (10 ¼ cups)
I created a document for a Mom’s group that I spoke at 2 years ago. I just found the original in my files. Hope this helps!
When to Call the Doctor (Part 1)
Fevers commonly occur at the beginning of illnesses. Viruses can cause fevers up to 5 days. Typically, the highest fevers are in the first 48 hours of illness. There is no “emergency” fever level – though most physicians want you to call if it is above 105 F.
The goal in the treatment of fevers is to provide COMFORT- not to bring the temperature back to normal.
Fevers that start further into the course of illness are more likely to be due to bacterial infections. Commonly, ear infections, pneumonias, sinus infections are the “second” infection after first having a viral infection (like a common cold, upper respiratory infection or a stomach bug).
High fevers themselves do not cause seizures. It is the rapid change from normal temperature to high fever that causes febrile seizures.
Before you call the doctor, try:
Tylenol and ibuprofen (ok to alternate every 3 hours). Encourage fluids. Try a warm (not cool) bath to bring down the temperature, remembering that if the water is too cold, the child will shiver (and raise their temperature higher).
Give it time!
Call the doctor with concern of a fever when:
- You are unsure if you need to seek medical care because it does not follow the rules of a virus or because it is accompanied by other concerning symptoms.
- Your child is less than two months of age and has any temperature >/= 100.5° F. (And yes, the only accurate temperature in a small child is a rectal temperature.)
- Fever along with a stiff neck (not a sore neck).
- Fever greater than 105° F.
Remember a fever is the body’s way of showing you it is fighting the infection.
How many times a day do you say these words or something similar to your kids. It seems like their lives have been overtaken by electronics. Studies vary and state that kids today spend anywhere from 7-10 hours a day on entertainment media; phones, TV, computer, and whatever else they may have.
As adults we see how easy it is to say, just one more second I just want to read this story. The kids are getting pulled in every direction because their life seems to revolve around electronics. It is how they receive information about the day. It is how they get their school work done. It is how they communicate. All of this electronic time is having an impact on our kids. We are seeing more kids with attention issues and sleep disorders. More kids are becoming overweight due to lack of exercise. While electronics are not causing all of this, they are definitely contributing.
While we can’t stop the electronic age, we can slow it down. It is important to have “electronic free” time. I know it sounds impossible. I am as much at fault as other parents. I give in when my youngest looks at me, she has been running around all day and finished all her homework and says, “Just one TV show please.” I start making dinner and then it’s 2 shows later and 25 texts and 2 new posts on instagram. It would have been much better for me to have her help me make dinner. Or if she is so tired, just sitting in the kitchen and telling me about her day.
Recently, a friend, who also brings her kids to see me, told me that they were electronic free during the week. She thought it would be one of the hardest things for her family to do, but for the past 3-4 months her kids are not watching TV during the week. They are not playing on their I-Touch or I-Pad. Rather they have learned how to use their imagination again, they have gotten outside to run around, and they have re-engaged as a family.
I challenge each of you to find a way to decrease the electronic use in your family. Start small. Make sure the phones are off during the dinner hour or put away. Keep phones, TVs, and computers out of your child’s/teen’s bedroom. Set a maximum number of hours during the day they can be on electronics - of any type. (remember – older kids will have homework they need to do on the computer so you have to be reasonable with this.) This is a great time of year to try this challenge. It can be hard to do in our Wisconsin winters, but now there is no reason to not be outside running around and enjoying the outdoors.
Parents, set the example and put your phone time and enjoy your children and all that is around you.
According to a recent report from the CDC vaccines given to infants and children over the past 20 years will prevent 322 million diseases, 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths over the course of their lifetimes. No matter what I do over the course of my career nothing will be more important to the future health of my patients than giving vaccines. Here is a link to the article from the USA today about the CDC report for those of you interested in reading it.