HPV-What you need to know

HPV-What you need to know

HPV, or human papillomavirus, is a very common virus that can lead to cancers later in life. HPV is spread through intimate skin-to-skin or sexual contact. It can cause various types of cancers, including cervical, vaginal, vulvar, penile, anal, and cancers of tonsils, base of tongue, and back of throat (oropharyngeal cancer), as well as anogenital warts. In the United States, nearly 42 million people are currently infected with HPV, and about 13 million people, including teens, acquire HPV each year. Almost 36,000 individuals are estimated to be affected by HPV-related cancers annually.

Why get vaccinated against HPV?

HPV vaccination can prevent infection with certain types of the virus. This is crucial because HPV infections are incredibly common, and most people will contract at least one type of HPV at some point. While many HPV infections resolve on their own within two years, some can persist and lead to cancers later in life.

Who should get the HPV vaccine?

The HPV vaccine is routinely recommended for adolescents at 11 or 12 years old to ensure protection before potential exposure to the virus. However, it can be administered as early as age 9 and is recommended for everyone through 26 years of age. 

How well do HPV vaccines work?

HPV vaccines are highly effective, preventing over 90% of HPV-attributable cancers. Since the vaccine’s introduction in 2006, infections with HPV types that cause most HPV cancers and genital warts have dropped 88% among teen girls and 81% among young adult women. Fewer teens and young adults are getting genital warts. HPV vaccination has also reduced the number of cases of precancers of the cervix in young women.

HPV is a prevalent virus with serious health implications, but vaccination offers a powerful defense against its associated cancers and complications. By ensuring vaccination for eligible individuals, we can reduce the burden of HPV-related diseases and work towards a healthier future for all.

If you have any questions about HPV or the HPV vaccine, contact the Pediatric Center. The Pediatric Center is your resource for information and healthcare treatment for infants, children, and teens in Idaho Falls and Rigby. Contact us at our Idaho Falls location at (208) 523-3060 or our Rigby location (208) 745-8927, to set up your appointment.

 

 

 

Check Your Car Seats!

Check Your Car Seats!

As parents, ensuring the safety of our children is a top priority, especially when it comes to travel. One crucial aspect of child safety on the road is the proper use of car seats. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends keeping children under 2 in a rear-facing car seat. This position provides optimal support for a child’s head, neck, and spine in the event of a crash. Many convertible car seats are designed to accommodate rear-facing for extended periods, providing a safer ride for your little one. Properly securing your child in the car seat is crucial.

Choose the Right Car Seat

The first step in ensuring your child’s safety is selecting the right car seat based on their age, weight, and height. There are different types of car seats, including rear-facing infant seats, convertible seats, and booster seats. Ensure that the harness straps lie flat against your child’s chest and shoulders, and the straps are snug enough that you can’t pinch any excess fabric. The chest clip should be positioned at armpit level to enhance safety. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure the seat is suitable for your child’s specific needs.

Stage 1: Rear-facing car seat for infants and toddlers

A rear-facing car seat has a harness and will protect your child’s head, neck and spine. A 5-point harness gives the best protection for your child. Keep your child in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible, until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their seat. Your child should continue to ride rear-facing in a convertible or all-in-one seat until they reach the rear-facing size limits for their seat.

Stage 2: Forward-facing car seat for toddlers and preschoolers

Your child will be ready for a forward-facing car seat with a harness when they reach their top height and weight limit allowed for their rear-facing car seat (check the manufacturer’s instructions). A 5-point harness gives the best protection for your child. Use a forward-facing car seat until they are at least 40 pounds. Many seats can be used for children up to 65 pounds.

Stage 3: Booster seat for school-aged children

Once your child outgrows their forward-facing car seat, it is the law that they use a booster seat with a lap and shoulder belt until they are 4 foot 9 inches tall. A booster will raise your child so their lap and shoulder belts fit properly – this will keep them as safe as possible until they are ready for a seat belt. Your child may need to use a booster for many years depending on how quickly they grow. Some children are not ready for a seat belt until they are 12 years old.

Stage 4: Seat belts for older children

Your child can safely ride without a booster seat once all of these steps are met:

  • Child’s back rests against the vehicle seat
  • Child’s knees bend at the edge of the seat
  • Lap belt rests on top of thighs (not the belly)
  • Shoulder belt lies between the neck and shoulder
  • Child does not slouch or play with the seat belt

Correct installation of the car seat is paramount. Whether using the LATCH system or the vehicle’s seat belt, follow the manufacturer’s instructions diligently. Make sure the seat is securely fastened with minimal wiggle room. Car seat safety doesn’t end after installation. Regularly inspect the car seat for any wear and tear, and ensure that it hasn’t expired. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for cleaning and maintenance to keep the seat in optimal condition.

If your child is younger than 13, they should continue to sit in the back seat. Wearing a seat belt is the law. Set a good example for your children. Your child will be more likely to wear their seat belt during every ride if they see that you and others in the car wear one too. Children learn by observing their parents. Buckle up every time you get in the car, and make it a non-negotiable rule for your family. Instilling good habits from an early age will contribute to a lifetime of safe driving practices.

Investing time and effort into understanding and implementing proper car seat safety measures is a small but significant step in ensuring your child’s well-being on the road. By choosing the right seat, securing your child correctly, and maintaining the seat properly, you play a vital role in creating a safe and secure environment for your little ones during every journey.

If you have any questions about car seat safety, contact the Pediatric Center. The Pediatric Center has been providing comprehensive care for infants, children, and teens in Idaho Falls and Rigby for over 55 years. Contact us at our Idaho Falls location at (208) 523-3060 or our Rigby location (208) 745-8927, to set up your appointment.

 

 

 

Swim Safely this Summer!

Swim Safely this Summer!

Swimming is an enjoyable and beneficial activity for children, offering numerous physical and mental health benefits. However, it’s crucial for parents and guardians to prioritize safety when their children are in or around water. By implementing essential precautions and educating both themselves and their children, families can create a safe and secure environment for swimming.

Supervision is Paramount for Swimming Safety

Never underestimate the importance of constant adult supervision when children are swimming. Even if a lifeguard is present, responsible adults should maintain a watchful eye on their children at all times. Remember the following:

  • Be in close proximity to the water, preferably within arm’s reach.
  • Avoid distractions such as cell phones or engaging in lengthy conversations.
  • Designate a water watcher who focuses solely on supervising children while others take breaks.
  • Keep rescue equipment, such as life jackets, lifebuoys, and a reaching pole, readily available.

Teach Water Competency

Enroll children in swimming lessons at an early age to develop their water competency. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Start with age-appropriate swimming lessons taught by certified instructors.
  • Ensure children are comfortable in the water, can float and tread water, and are capable of basic water rescue techniques.
  • Encourage the development of strong swimming skills as they grow older.

Establish and Enforce Pool Safety Rules

Setting clear rules for pool or water-related activities helps create a safer environment. Make sure children understand and follow these guidelines:

  • No running or pushing around the pool area.
  • No diving into shallow water or unfamiliar areas.
  • No swimming alone without adult supervision.
  • No horseplay or dangerous games in or around the pool.

Swimming & Water Safety Education

Educating children about water safety empowers them to make informed decisions. Teach them the following:

  • The importance of asking for permission before entering the water.
  • How to identify and avoid dangerous water conditions, such as strong currents or deep water.
  • The significance of respecting pool rules and following instructions from lifeguards or adults.

Be Prepared for Emergencies when Swimming

Despite taking preventive measures, it’s crucial to be prepared for unforeseen circumstances. Consider the following:

  • Learn basic CPR and first aid techniques.
  • Keep emergency contact numbers and relevant information readily accessible.
  • Teach children how to call for help in case of an emergency.

Swimming can be a fun and healthy activity for children when proper safety measures are in place. By maintaining constant supervision, providing swimming lessons, setting rules, and educating children about water safety, parents can minimize the risks associated with swimming. Remember, a vigilant and informed approach is key to ensuring a safe and enjoyable swimming experience for children. 

If you have any questions about swimming safety for children or about your child’s health, contact the Pediatric Center. We are here for you and your family when you need us with extended hours on nights and weekends as well as in-house labs and x-rays to help get your family back to the activities they love as soon as possible. Contact us at our Idaho Falls location at (208) 523-3060 or our Rigby location (208) 745-8927, to set up your appointment.

 

 

 

ATV Safety Tips for Kids

ATV Safety Tips for Kids

All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) can provide exhilarating outdoor experiences for both adults and children. However, it is crucial to prioritize safety when children are involved. With their powerful engines and potential for high speeds, ATVs can pose significant risks if not operated responsibly. There are guidelines you can follow to help to ensure the safety of your children while enjoying their ATV adventures.

Appropriate Age and Size Restrictions for ATV safety:

The first step in ATV safety for children is ensuring they are of an appropriate age and size to operate or ride as a passenger. Follow the recommendations of the manufacturer regarding age limits and weight capacities for specific models. It is essential to adhere to these guidelines to prevent accidents and injuries.

ATV Protective Gear:

Always equip children with proper safety gear before allowing them to ride an ATV. This includes:

a) Helmet: A well-fitting helmet is crucial for protecting the head in case of a fall or collision. Choose helmets specifically designed for off-road use and ensure they meet safety standards.

b) Eye Protection: Goggles or a face shield will shield the eyes from dust, debris, and insects, enhancing visibility and preventing injuries.

c) Appropriate Clothing: Encourage children to wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, sturdy boots, and gloves to protect their limbs and enhance grip while riding.

ATV Training and Supervision:

Children should receive comprehensive training on ATV operation and safety before riding independently. Consider enrolling them in an ATV safety course or training program. These courses educate riders about proper handling, turning, braking techniques, and how to navigate various terrains safely. Always supervise children while they ride and maintain constant visual contact to ensure they follow all safety guidelines and rules. Younger children should never ride without adult supervision.

Size-Appropriate ATVs:

Ensure that the ATV your child operates is appropriate for their size and ability. An ATV that is too large or powerful can be challenging to control, increasing the risk of accidents. Select models specifically designed for children, considering their age, weight, and experience level.

ATV Safe Riding Practices:

Teaching children safe riding practices is essential for their well-being. Emphasize the following guidelines:

1. Riding within Designated Areas: Encourage children to ride in designated ATV parks or areas, away from roadways and pedestrians. These areas are specifically designed to ensure rider safety and minimize potential hazards.

2. Obeying Speed Limits: Teach children to ride at appropriate speeds for the terrain and their skill level. Excessive speed can lead to loss of control and accidents.

3. Avoiding Risky Maneuvers: Discourage children from attempting stunts, jumps, or riding on uneven or unstable terrain that may exceed their ability.

4. Maintaining Safe Distances: Teach children to maintain a safe distance from other ATVs or vehicles to prevent collisions.

Regular Maintenance for your ATV:

Proper maintenance is crucial for ensuring the safe operation of ATVs. Regularly inspect the vehicle for any signs of wear or damage, such as worn tires, loose bolts, or malfunctioning brakes. Adhere to the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule and promptly address any issues.

ATVs can provide thrilling experiences for children, but their safe operation requires careful attention to guidelines and precautions. By following these guidelines, parents can significantly reduce the risks associated with ATV use. Prioritizing safety ensures that children can enjoy the adventure while minimizing the potential for accidents and injuries.

If you have any questions about ATV safety for children or have any other questions about your child’s health, contact the Pediatric Center. We are here for you and your family when you need us with extended hours on nights and weekends as well as in-house labs and x-rays to help get your family back to the activities they love as soon as possible. Contact us at our Idaho Falls location at (208) 523-3060 or our Rigby location (208) 745-8927, to set up your appointment.

 

 

 

Help your kids bike safely this summer!

Help your kids bike safely this summer!

As children hop on their bicycles with all the excitement the summer brings, it becomes crucial to prioritize their safety. Whether riding around the neighborhood or on a trail while camping in the mountains, teaching children about bike safety is essential to protect them from potential accidents. We want to share some tips to help keep your children safe on their bike riding adventures this summer!

ALWAYS WEAR HELMETS!

The first and foremost rule of bike safety is wearing a properly fitted helmet. Bike helmets act as a first line of defense, significantly reducing the risk of head injuries in case of falls or collisions. By providing a cushioning effect and absorbing the impact, helmets can mitigate the severity of head trauma, including concussions, skull fractures, and other potentially life-altering injuries.

Emphasize the significance of protecting their heads and make it a non-negotiable rule. Ensure that the helmet meets safety standards and covers the forehead, leaving only two fingers’ width between the eyebrows and the helmet’s rim. Teach your child how to secure the straps snugly, ensuring a secure fit. Set a good example for your children by consistently wearing your own helmet when cycling.

RULES OF THE ROAD

Teaching children about road rules when riding a bike is vital for their safety. Explain basic traffic signs and signals, the importance of stopping at intersections, and looking both ways before crossing. Encourage them to use hand signals when turning and teach them to ride in the same direction as traffic, on the right side of the road.

INSPECT BIKES REGULARLY

Regularly inspecting and maintaining the bicycle ensures its optimal performance and reduces the risk of mechanical failures. Teach your child to check the brakes, tires, and chain before every ride. Explain the importance of properly inflated tires, functioning brakes, and a securely fastened chain.

DRESS FOR THE ACTIVITY

Wearing appropriate clothing while riding a bike enhances visibility and minimizes potential hazards. Encourage your child to wear bright-colored or reflective clothing to improve visibility, especially during low-light conditions. Closed-toe shoes and well-fitting clothes can help to prevent entanglement with the bike’s moving parts.

STAY AWARE AND ALERT

Teach your child to stay alert and aware of their surroundings while riding their bikes. Remind them to look out for pedestrians, vehicles, and other cyclists. Instruct them to avoid distractions such as using mobile devices or wearing headphones while riding. Encourage them to listen and watch for approaching vehicles or other potential hazards.

TWO IS BETTER THAN ONE!

Riding bikes with a friend adds an extra layer of safety. Encourage your child to ride with a friend or a family member whenever possible. They can look out for each other, navigate together, and provide assistance if needed.

WATCH OUT!

Teach your children to anticipate potential dangers, such as opening car doors, sudden stops, cars backing out of garages or driveways, and erratic driving behavior from motorists. Encourage them to maintain a safe distance from parked cars and stay out of blind spots.

USE SIDEWALKS AND CROSSWALKS

Instruct your child on the proper use of sidewalks and crosswalks. Explain that pedestrians have the right of way, and cyclists should yield when crossing intersections or sharing the sidewalk with pedestrians. Remind them to walk their bicycles when using crosswalks.

PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!

Practice riding bikes with your children in various settings, including residential areas, bike paths, and busier streets, to improve their skills and confidence. Be vigilant during their rides, providing guidance and feedback as needed.

Bike safety is a crucial aspect of children’s lives and provides a great way to get exercise and enjoy time with friends. By teaching children to follow these safety tips, they will have the necessary tools to navigate their cycling adventures safely. 

If you have any questions about bike safety or other activities, contact the Pediatric Center. We have been providing comprehensive care for infants, children, and teens in Idaho Falls and Rigby for over 55 years. We offer extended hours on nights and weekends as well as in-house labs and x-rays to help get your family back to the activities they love as soon as possible. Contact us at our Idaho Falls location at (208) 523-3060 or our Rigby location (208) 745-8927, to set up your appointment.