Fun in the Sun- Summer Safety Tips for Children

Fun in the Sun- Summer Safety Tips for Children

As summer approaches, it’s time for families to enjoy the warm weather and outdoor activities. While summer is a season of fun and adventure, it’s essential to prioritize safety to ensure that children have a healthy and injury-free season. At the Pediatric Center, we care deeply about the well-being of your children. Here are some crucial summer safety tips to keep in mind.

1. Sun Protection

The summer sun can be harsh, and protecting your child’s skin is paramount.

  • Use Sunscreen: Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 on your child’s skin 15-30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours, or more often if swimming or sweating. For infants under six months, it’s best to avoid direct sun exposure. If unavoidable, apply a small amount of sunscreen with at least SPF 15 to small areas like the face and back of the hands.
  • Choose Child-Friendly Sunscreen: Look for sunscreens specially formulated for children. These are often free from harmful chemicals and are less likely to irritate sensitive skin. Mineral-based sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are excellent choices as they sit on top of the skin and provide a physical barrier against UV rays.
  • Wear Protective Clothing: Dress your child in lightweight, long-sleeved shirts, pants, and wide-brimmed hats to shield their skin from harmful UV rays. Rash guards are great for additional protection during water activities.
  • Seek Shade: Encourage your children to play in shaded areas, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun’s rays are strongest. Use umbrellas, tents, or canopies to create shade when at the beach or park.
  • Educate Older Children: Teach older children about the importance of sun protection and how to apply sunscreen themselves. Make it a routine part of their outdoor activities.

2. Hydration

Keeping your child hydrated is crucial, especially during hot summer days.

  • Encourage Regular Water Intake: Make sure your child drinks water regularly, even if they don’t feel thirsty. Dehydration can happen quickly in the heat.
  • Avoid Sugary Drinks: Limit the intake of sugary drinks and caffeine, as they can contribute to dehydration.
  • Eat Hydrating Foods: Include water-rich fruits and vegetables like watermelon, cucumber, and oranges in their diet.

3. Water Safety

Whether it’s a pool, lake, or ocean, water safety is vital.

  • Supervise at All Times: Always keep a close eye on children when they are near or in the water. Drowning can occur in just a few minutes and in shallow water.
  • Learn to Swim: Enroll your child in swimming lessons. Knowing how to swim can be a lifesaving skill.
  • Use Life Jackets: Ensure children wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets when boating or participating in water sports.
  • Teach Water Rules: Educate your children about the dangers of water, including the importance of not running near pools and not diving in shallow areas.

4. Insect Protection

Summer is prime time for insects, including mosquitoes and ticks, which can carry diseases.

  • Use Insect Repellent: Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus to your child’s exposed skin and clothing. Avoid applying repellent to infants younger than two months.
  • Avoid Peak Insect Hours: Try to avoid outdoor activities during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Check for Ticks: After playing outside, especially in wooded or grassy areas, check your child for ticks. Remove any ticks promptly and carefully.

5. Playground Safety

Playgrounds are a great place for children to burn off energy, but safety is key.

  • Inspect Playground Equipment: Ensure the equipment is in good condition and that the surfaces are safe and soft, like wood chips or rubber mats.
  • Dress Appropriately: Remove drawstrings and other cords from clothing that can get caught on equipment.
  • Follow Playground Rules: Teach children to use equipment properly and to wait their turn to avoid accidents.

6. Heat-Related Illness Prevention

Heat exhaustion and heatstroke are serious risks during the summer months.

  • Know the Signs: Symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, weakness, cold, pale and clammy skin, and fainting. Heatstroke symptoms include a high body temperature, hot, dry skin, rapid pulse, and possible unconsciousness.
  • Take Breaks: Ensure your child takes regular breaks in the shade or indoors to cool down.
  • Dress Appropriately: Light-colored, loose-fitting clothing helps keep the body cool.

7. Travel Safety

Summer often means road trips and vacations.

  • Use Car Seats: Ensure that your child is in the appropriate car seat or booster seat for their age, weight, and height.
  • Never Leave Children in Cars: Never leave your child unattended in a car, even for a short period. Cars can heat up rapidly, leading to heatstroke.
  • Plan Ahead: Keep snacks, water, and entertainment on hand to make travel more enjoyable and safer.

At the Pediatric Center, we believe that a little preparation can go a long way in ensuring a safe and enjoyable summer for your children. Follow these tips to keep your kids healthy and happy all season long. If you have any questions or need further guidance, don’t hesitate to 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 your family get healthy and stay healthy. Contact us at our Idaho Falls location at (208) 523-3060 or our Rigby location (208) 745-8927, to set up your appointment. Have a safe and happy summer!




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.




All About Asthma

All About Asthma

As parents, caregivers, and educators, ensuring the well-being of our children is our top priority. One aspect of their health that requires special attention is respiratory health, and one common respiratory condition affecting children is asthma. Asthma can be a daunting prospect for both children and their guardians, but with the right knowledge and management, it can be effectively controlled.

Understanding Asthma:

Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition characterized by inflammation of the airways, leading to symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. While the exact cause of asthma remains unknown, a combination of genetic and environmental factors is believed to contribute to its development.

Recognizing Asthma Symptoms:

Identifying asthma symptoms in children can be challenging, as they might not always articulate their discomfort. Common signs include:

  1. Frequent Coughing: A persistent cough, especially at night or during physical activity, could be an early indication of asthma.
  2. Wheezing: A high-pitched whistling sound when breathing, particularly exhaling, may suggest airway constriction.
  3. Shortness of Breath: Children with asthma may experience difficulty breathing or complain of feeling breathless.
  4. Chest Tightness: Some children describe a sensation of pressure or tightness in the chest during an asthma episode.

Common Triggers:

Understanding and avoiding triggers can help manage asthma effectively. Common triggers for asthma in kids include:

  1. Allergens: Pollen, dust mites, mold, and pet dander are common allergens that can exacerbate asthma symptoms.
  2. Respiratory Infections: Colds, flu, and other respiratory infections can trigger asthma episodes.
  3. Exercise: While exercise is crucial for overall health, physical activity can sometimes trigger asthma symptoms.
  4. Environmental Factors: Changes in weather, exposure to smoke, and air pollution can contribute to asthma symptoms.

Managing Asthma in Kids:

  1. Create an Asthma Action Plan: Work with your child’s Pediatric Center provider to develop a personalized asthma action plan that includes information on medications, symptoms, and emergency procedures.
  2. Medication Adherence: Ensure your child takes prescribed medications consistently, both daily controller medications and quick-relief medications as needed.
  3. Identify and Minimize Triggers: Take steps to reduce exposure to common triggers, such as using air purifiers, keeping living spaces clean, and avoiding known allergens.
  4. Promote Healthy Habits: Encourage a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep to strengthen overall respiratory health.
  5. Open Communication: Foster open communication with your child about their symptoms, feelings, and concerns related to asthma. This helps them actively participate in their own care.

While asthma in kids can be challenging, proactive management strategies can significantly improve their quality of life. By understanding the condition, recognizing symptoms, identifying triggers, and implementing effective management techniques, parents and caregivers can empower their children to lead active, healthy lives despite asthma. If you have any questions about asthma or your child’s symptoms, 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.




Down Syndrome Awareness Month

Down Syndrome Awareness Month

Down Syndrome, also known as Trisomy 21, is a genetic condition that occurs in about 1 in every 700 children born worldwide. Children with Down Syndrome are unique individuals with their own personalities, strengths, and challenges. Since October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, we want to discuss what Down Syndrome is, how it affects children, and how we can support and celebrate their extraordinary abilities.

What Is Down Syndrome?

Down Syndrome is a chromosomal disorder in which an individual has an extra copy of chromosome 21. This additional genetic material leads to various physical and cognitive differences. While it can affect individuals in different ways, there are some common features associated with Down Syndrome, such as distinct facial characteristics, muscle hypotonia (low muscle tone), and intellectual and developmental delays.

Challenges Faced by Children with Down Syndrome

  1. Intellectual and Developmental Delays: Children with Down Syndrome often experience delays in their cognitive and physical development. However, it’s essential to recognize that these delays do not define their potential or limit their ability to learn and grow.
  2. Health Concerns: Individuals with Down Syndrome may be more prone to certain medical conditions, such as heart defects, respiratory issues, and gastrointestinal problems. Regular medical check-ups and early interventions are critical for their well-being.
  3. Speech and Communication: Many children with Down Syndrome may have speech and language difficulties, but with the right support and therapy, they can make significant progress in communication.
  4. Social and Emotional Challenges: Some children with Down Syndrome may struggle with social interactions and managing their emotions. Encouraging them to engage in social activities and providing emotional support can help them thrive.

Celebrating the Extraordinary Abilities

Children with Down Syndrome are more than just their challenges; they possess extraordinary abilities and qualities that make them unique and endearing:

  1. Resilience: They often exhibit remarkable resilience, facing challenges with determination and a positive outlook.
  2. Kindness and Empathy: Children with Down Syndrome are known for their loving and caring nature, fostering empathy and strong bonds with others.
  3. Unique Talents: Many individuals with Down Syndrome have unique talents and passions, whether it’s art, music, or sports. These talents should be celebrated and encouraged.
  4. Building Inclusivity: Inclusive environments and educational opportunities are crucial for children with Down Syndrome to thrive and reach their full potential.

Support and Resources

There are numerous resources available for families and caregivers of children with Down Syndrome, including early intervention services, speech and occupational therapy, and support groups. It’s essential to seek out these resources to provide the best possible care and support for your child.

In Conclusion

Children with Down Syndrome may have unique challenges, but they also possess remarkable abilities and qualities that enrich the lives of those around them. By promoting inclusivity, offering support, and celebrating their individuality, we can help these extraordinary children reach their full potential and lead fulfilling lives. In doing so, we create a more inclusive and compassionate society where everyone, regardless of their abilities, can shine.

If you have any questions about Down Syndrome, 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.