Reach Out and Read!

Reach Out and Read!

As parents, we often find ourselves navigating a sea of advice and recommendations on how to give our children the best start in life. Amidst this whirlwind, one timeless practice stands out as both simple and profound: reading to our children from a young age. The importance of this act cannot be overstated, as it serves as a cornerstone for their development and sets the stage for a lifetime of learning and exploration.

Stimulating Imagination and Language Development Through Reading

From the earliest days of infancy, reading to your child holds immense benefits. It stimulates their  imagination and lays the groundwork for language development. Even though they may not yet understand the words being spoken, infants benefit from the soothing cadence and rhythm of language, helping them become familiar with its nuances. Remarkably, even the seemingly simple act of handling books contributes to building school readiness in infants.

Reading Together Strengthens Bonds

As children grow, reading together strengthens the bond between parent and child. It provides precious moments of connection and communication, fostering a sense of closeness and security. Through shared stories, parents can open the door to meaningful conversations, encouraging their child’s curiosity about the world around them.

Academic Success and Literacy Skills 

Moreover, the benefits extend far beyond the emotional realm. Studies have shown that children who are read to regularly tend to perform better in school and develop stronger literacy skills. Reading stimulates various areas of brain development, including critical thinking, problem-solving, and comprehension. By immersing themselves in stories, children gain exposure to different perspectives and experiences, fostering empathy and social understanding.

Lasting Impact: Reading Helps Foster Skills for Success

Engaging in language-rich interactions with children is pivotal for their overall development, teaching essential skills such as communication, patience, and literacy. These foundational skills form the bedrock for success in academic pursuits and beyond. 

Additional positive effects of reading together include:

  • Better recognition of sounds and letters
  • Knowledge of a wider range of vocabulary
  • Increased listening skills
  • A deeper understanding of how stories work

When we immerse ourselves in reading with our young ones, we embark on a journey of discovery and growth together. Stories serve as portals to new worlds, sparking curiosity and expanding their understanding of the world around them. The warmth of shared reading moments also provides comfort and security, helping children navigate moments of anxiety while instilling a lifelong love for reading.

Empowering Through Reach Out and Read

At The Pediatric Center, we recognize the profound impact that reading can have on a child’s development. That’s why we’ve embraced the Reach Out and Read program, ensuring that every well-child check from 6 months to 5 years includes the gift of a book. We believe that by instilling a love of reading early on, we can empower children to embrace a future filled with endless possibilities.

Cultivating a Culture of Reading

So, whether it’s a beloved bedtime story or a quiet afternoon spent with a picture book, make reading a cherished part of your daily routine. By sharing the magic of storytelling with your child, you’re not just teaching them to read – you’re giving them the gift of a brighter future. Together, let’s nurture young minds and pave the way for a world where every child has the opportunity to thrive.

If you have any questions about our “Reach Out and Read” program or your child’s health, contact the Pediatric Center for an appointment. At the Pediatric Center, we strive to help children and parents with an exceptional healthcare experience. We offer in-house x-rays as well as extended hours on nights and weekends so we can give you the treatment you need, when you need it. Contact us at our Idaho Falls location at (208) 523-3060 or our Rigby location (208) 745-8927, to set up your appointment. We have a wonderful team of providers available for all of your children’s needs! 




Spring is here and so are allergies!

Spring is here and so are allergies!

Spring has sprung! The arrival of spring brings joy to many, but for some children, it also marks the onset of seasonal allergies. As flowers bloom and trees sprout new leaves, allergens like pollen fill the air, triggering allergic reactions in susceptible individuals. Understanding and managing spring allergies in children is crucial for their well-being and enjoyment of the season.

Understanding Spring Allergies

Spring allergies, also known as hay fever or allergic rhinitis, occur when the immune system overreacts to airborne allergens such as pollen from grass, trees, and flowers. When these allergens enter the body, the immune system perceives them as harmful invaders, leading to the release of histamines and other chemicals that cause allergy symptoms.

Symptoms of Spring Allergies in Children

Recognizing the signs of spring allergies in children is essential for early intervention. Common symptoms include:

  1. Sneezing
  2. Runny or stuffy nose
  3. Itchy or watery eyes
  4. Nasal congestion
  5. Coughing
  6. Sore throat
  7. Fatigue

Tips for Managing Spring Allergies in Children

  1. Consult with a Pediatrician at the Pediatric Center: If you suspect your child has spring allergies, consult with one of our Pediatric Center pediatricians for proper diagnosis and treatment recommendations. They can help identify specific allergens triggering your child’s symptoms and suggest appropriate medications or allergy testing if necessary.
  2. Minimize Exposure to Allergens:
    • Monitor Pollen Counts: Stay informed about daily pollen forecasts in your area and try to limit outdoor activities on high pollen days.
    • Keep Windows Closed: Keep windows and doors closed, especially during peak pollen times like early morning and evening, to prevent pollen from entering your home.
    • Use Air Purifiers: Consider using HEPA air purifiers in your child’s bedroom and other frequently used areas to reduce indoor allergens.
    • Encourage Indoor Play: It is helpful to stay indoors on windy days because pollen counts are much higher when it is dry and windy! On high pollen days, engage children in indoor activities to minimize exposure to outdoor allergens.
  3. Practice Good Hygiene:
    • Encourage Handwashing: Encourage regular handwashing, especially after outdoor activities, to remove pollen and other allergens from the skin.
    • Have your child shower before bedtime to remove the pollen from the hair and skin.
    • Bathe Pets: If you have pets that spend time outdoors, bathe them frequently to prevent them from bringing pollen indoors.
  4. Nasal Irrigation:
    • Saline nose drops or spray can help with seasonal allergies and are available at any drugstore without a prescription. This treatment helps to wash out pollen or to loosen up dried mucus. Put 3 drops in each nostril, blow each nostril out while closing off the other nostril, then repeat on the other side. Repeat nose drops and blowing until the discharge is clear.Use nasal washes when your child can’t breathe through the nose or their nose is very itchy. Saline nose drops can also be made at home. Use ½ teaspoon of table salt, and stir the salt into 1 cup (8 ounces) of warm distilled or boiled water. A warm shower can also be effective to loosen mucus. Have your child breathe in the moist air, then blow each nostril.
  5. Allergy Medications:
      • Allergy medicines are called antihistamines. They are the drug of choice for nasal allergies to help control symptoms such as runny nose, nasal itching, and sneezing.
      • You can give a short-acting allergy over-the-counter medicine such as Benadryl every 6-8 hours.
      • The bedtime dosage is especially important for healing the lining of the nose.The key to controlling allergies is to give allergy medication every day during pollen season. You can also use a long-acting over-the-counter allergy medicine such as Zyrtec. This medicine usually lasts up to 24 hours and may cause less drowsiness than Benadryl.
  6. Allergen Immunotherapy:
    • Allergy Shots: In cases of severe allergies that do not respond to medication or other treatments, allergen immunotherapy (allergy shots) may be recommended. This treatment involves gradually exposing the child to increasing doses of allergens to desensitize their immune system over time.

Spring allergies can be a source of discomfort for children, but with proper management and support from parents and a Pediatric Center Pediatrician, they can enjoy the season to the fullest. By minimizing exposure to allergens, practicing good hygiene, using appropriate medications, and considering advanced treatments when necessary, parents can help their children thrive despite seasonal allergies. Remember, early intervention and proactive measures are key to managing spring allergies and ensuring a happy and healthy springtime for your child.

If you have any questions about allergies and your child or your child’s symptoms are not better in 2 days after starting an allergy medicine, contact the Pediatric Center for an appointment. At the Pediatric Center, we want to give you and your child the best information and treatment you can get. If your child becomes worse or you are concerned about your child’s health for any reason, please don’t hesitate to call the Pediatric Center. You can contact us at our Idaho Falls location at (208) 523-3060 or our Rigby location (208) 745-8927, to set up your appointment. We have a wonderful team of providers available for all of your children’s needs! 




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.




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.