Tag Archives: Boys Town Pediatrics

Camping with Kids

June 14, 2014 by

If you are looking for a way to create more family time, camping may be the perfect adventure. By turning off the daily routines and plugging into nature, your family can explore a whole new world that surrounds them. Throw a line in the pond, chase after a butterfly, toast marshmallows over the campfire—the things to do are endless. And best of all, you are creating family memories that will last a lifetime.

Preparing for Your Camping Adventure
Make preparing for your camping trip fun for the whole family. Boys Town Pediatrics recommends:

  • Reading a book about nature to help get your children familiar with insects, animals and plants they may see during the camping trip.
  • Having your children help pack the cooler and camping supplies. Younger children might like to pack a few toys from home.
  • Asking your children what they want to do on the trip, and write it down so you can make sure to do at least one thing from everyone’s list.
  • Doing a test-run sleeping under the stars in your own back yard. This will give you the opportunity to alleviate any fears before the trip.

Camping Safety Tips

The excitement of exploring nature is a big part of the camping experience. Boys Town Pediatrics would like to recommend a few safety tips to help you enjoy a fun-filled family trip.

  • Never go in the water alone and always wear a life vest.
  • Tell others where you are going.
  • If you get lost, stay put. Trying to retrace your steps can actually get you more turned around when your family will be out looking for you.
  • Do not pick or touch plants you do not know—they may be poisonous.
  • Make noise when you walk so you don’t sneak up on unexpected animals.

The joy of camping is that it can tie in something every family member enjoys; swimming, fishing, exploring, cooking, and just relaxing in the midst of nature. And don’t worry if everything doesn’t go just as planned—that’s what creates the best family stories!

Don’t forget! (Feature in a pull out box)

  • Sunscreen
  • Bug repellant
  • Rain gear
  • Extra clothes
  • Flashlight (extra batteries)
  • Blankets
  • First aid kitsmall

Does your family have a fire escape plan?

February 15, 2014 by

With the winter months upon us, families nestle in their homes trying to stay warm, spending time by the fireplace and preparing comfort foods. As the temperature drops, residential house fires occurrences rise. Several factors contribute to the increase, including the use of personal heating devices, candles, and unattended cooking equipment.

Knowing how to prevent household fires, along with what to do when a fire occurs, will be beneficial to your family when every minute matters.

Start with prevention

The National Fire Prevention Association suggests your family start with the basics by:

  • Checking your household smoke detectors monthly;
  • Replacing batteries in smoke detectors annually;
  • Ensuring that your house or building number is visible from the street;
  • Memorizing the emergency phone number to the fire department;
  • Ensuring all exits are properly working and free of obstructions, specifically windows;
  • Designing a home fire escape plan.

They also recommend that families conduct a fire safety walkthrough of their home monthly to eliminate any potential fire hazards such as overloaded electrical circuits or faulty wiring.

Have a basic plan

Boys Town Pediatrics knows that developing a plan is important for those times when seconds are critical. Making a family fire escape plan can be a great opportunity to remind children about the importance of safety. Designing a fire escape plan can be easy with the following steps:

  1. Make a map of your house’s layout, showing all windows and doors.
  2. On the plan, make note of two exits out of every room, including the quickest exit outside.
  3. Pick a meeting spot outside the house where the family will gather after an emergency happens.
  4. Go over the basics in fire safety such as staying low to keep out of the smoke, never opening doors that are hot to the touch, and how to find the most immediate and safest route out.

Test the plan

The best way to ensure your plan will work is to hold a fire drill. Inform the family that there will be a fire drill within the next week. Waking your child in the middle of the night may be alarming, but we advise planning a drill in both the evening when it is dark as well as during the day.

After the mock drill, tweak your plan as needed. Remember to revisit the family fire escape plan every six months or after a child has changed rooms.

For more information on fire prevention and safety, visit the U.S. Fire Administration website at www.usfa.fema.gov.

Don’t let motion sickness keep you from new activities

January 5, 2014 by

Motion sickness is very common. A simple swell of the sea, a bounce in the car, or the sway of a ride at the amusement park can make anyone’s stomach turn upside down.

Cause of Motion Sickness

Motion sickness occurs when the inner ear, eyes, and nerves in the extremities, which detect motion, send conflicting messages to the brain. One part of your body may sense that you are moving while another part does not see the motion. This leads to a disagreement between the senses and can result in motion sickness. Signs of motion sickness may include:

  • Pale appearance
  • Disorientation
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Complaints of feeling hot, although not warm to touch

Preventing and Treating Motion Sickness

Boys Town Pediatrics has several tips on how to prevent motion sickness:

  • Provide a very light snack before the activity.
  • Avoid strong smelling odors.
  • Wear layered clothing and adjust as needed.
  • Drink plenty of water and ensure the body is hydrated.
  • Make frequent stops.
  • Do not sit facing backward from the 
direction of travel.
  • Focus attention on listening to the radio and talking.
  • Open vent for a source of fresh air.
  • Avoid reading or games that cause constant focus.

If motion sickness occurs during your travels, the best way to treat it is try to stop the motion. If you cannot stop the motion, try laying your child down or having him sit in an area with the least amount of movement. Remind your child to take big, long breaths. You can also provide him or her with a damp towel applied to the forehead.

When to See a Doctor

If your child has motion sickness, and your family is planning an activity that may trigger the sickness, talk to your child’s pediatrician. Medication may be available to help prevent motion sickness. If your child is having motion sickness symptoms, but they are not involved with movement activities, schedule an appointment with your child’s doctor.

Prevent Hypothermia
 this Winter

November 30, 2013 by

A child’s normal core temperature ranges from 98-99 degrees. When playing outside in the cold and snow, however, a child’s body can lose heat quickly. That is when hypothermia becomes a concern.

Hypothermia Signs

Hypothermia occurs when the body’s core temperature drops below 95 degrees. Warning signs include:

  • Body shivers
  • Fingers and toes feel numb
  • Exposed skin may look puffy and blue
  • Lack of coordination
  • Muscle aches
  • Difficulty walking
  • Mental confusion
  • Slower breathing and heart rate
  • Irregular or erratic heart beat

Treating Hypothermia

Because severe hypothermia can be a life-threatening condition, a child with any level of hypothermia needs immediate attention. Below are quick steps for treating hypothermia:

  • Remove your child from the cold and remove any wet clothing.
  • Warm your child with blankets around the body, especially the neck and chest.
  • Offer a warm beverage, if your child is able to drink.
  • Share body heat by using skin-to-skin contact by lying next to your child.
  • Cover yourself and your child with a warm blanket.

If your child begins shaking violently or becomes confused, call 911. If breathing becomes very shallow or non-existent, begin CPR.

Winter Play Safety Tips

Boys Town Pediatrics encourages monitored outdoor play during the winter months. The best way to protect your child from hypothermia and other cold injuries is to prevent them from ever happening. Just follow these winter safety tips from Boys Town Pediatrics:

  • Stay covered by wearing a hat.
  • Keep dry by wearing waterproof gloves and boots.
  • Play smart and come inside every 30-60 minutes to warm up.
  • Wear layers to help stay comfortable during play.

If your child begins to complain of being cold or wet, make sure to take a break from play—go inside and grab a warm drink. Stay warm, have fun, and enjoy this winter season!

Same Day Pediatrics, a service of Boys Town Pediatrics, offers scheduled same-day sick visits for all Omaha children. Same Day Pediatrics is not an urgent care clinic, but a real pediatric clinic with scheduled appointment times, seven days a week. Call 402-334-SICK (7425) to schedule an appointment.

Rotavirus: Symptoms and Prevention

October 26, 2013 by

Rotavirus gastroenteritis is the most common cause of severe diarrhea in children less than 5 years of age. By age 3, most children have been infected by at least one strain of this virus.

Transmission

Rotavirus infection outbreaks occur most often during winter and spring months. The common mode of transmission is through the fecal-oral route. The virus is transmitted from hands or inanimate objects to the mouth after contact with infected feces.

Rotavirus Symptoms

Once a child has been exposed to the virus it takes about two days for symptoms to appear. Rotavirus symptoms may include:

  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Abdominal pain

Typically, children will experience 24-48 hours of vomiting followed by three to nine days of diarrhea. This virus is extremely contagious with an incubation period of two to four days.

Managing Hydration

There is no specific treatment for rotavirus gastroenteritis. Because severe diarrhea and vomiting can cause dehydration, Boys Town Pediatrics stresses the importance of maintaining proper hydration.

Parents are encouraged to watch for signs of dehydration, which may include decreased urination (less than three times per 24 hours), lack of tears, and/or dry lips and mouth. If you notice these signs, seek medical attention.

Prevention

The best way to prevent rotavirus is to get vaccinated. This vaccine is given orally to infants at the two- and four-month or the two-, four-, and six-month well-check visits, depending on which vaccine is used. This vaccine can significantly reduce the severity of the rotaviral infection. Make sure to discuss this vaccine with your pediatrician.

Boys Town Pediatrics offers access to care 24 hours a day, seven days a week through extended evening and Saturday hours, Same Day Pediatrics clinics, and a 24-hour nurse helpline to answer your questions when your child is ill—any time of day or night. Call 402-498-1234 to schedule an appointment at any one of our convenient locations.

Why Kids Need Sleep

September 24, 2013 by

Sleep is as necessary to your child’s overall health as proper nutrition and plenty of exercise. Sleep gives the body a chance to rest. It is a time in which the events we experience during waking hours are integrated into our memories, as well as a time for our bodies to make repairs from daily wear and tear.

Children who do not sleep well do not learn as well and have a higher rate of behavior problems. Additionally, they may experience more illness because their immune system is not as effective.

How Much Sleep Does Your Child Need?

So how much sleep is enough for your child? Well, it depends on your child. Some kids need more sleep than others. Boys Town Pediatrics recommends:

  • Kids 5-12 years of age get between 10 and 11 hours of sleep each night
  • Teens 13-14 years of age get between 8 and 9 hours of sleep each night
  • Teens 15 and older get around 8 hours of sleep each night

You will know when your child is not getting enough sleep if he or she is tired or cranky, has difficulty following directions, is unable to concentrate on school work, or is abnormally clumsy when participating in activities in which he or she normally excels.

Tips for Helping Your Child Sleep

The best way to help your child get enough sleep is to develop a regular sleep routine and a consistent schedule for bedtime and waking. Stick to this schedule during the week and on weekends.

Other ways to make sure your child gets the right amount of sleep include:

  • Spending 20-30 minutes before bedtime relaxing. Have your child take a warm bath or read during this time.
  • Not keeping a television in your child’s bedroom. Watching television before going to bed can make it harder to fall asleep.
  • Keeping caffeine to a minimum (i.e., soda, chocolate, coffee).
  • Monitoring your child’s television viewing. Scary or disturbing programs can interfere with his or her ability to fall asleep.
  • Not exercising before bedtime.
  • Designating your child’s bed a “sleep only” area. Reading, doing homework, playing games and talking on the phone should be done in a separate location.

When to Call a Doctor About Your Child’s Sleep Problems

If your child is having trouble sleeping, there may be an underlying cause. It is possible that a more serious condition is the cause for your child’s lack of sleep. Such problems include depression, substance abuse, or sleep apnea. If you suspect that your child is suffering from something more serious than simply not being able to go to sleep, schedule a visit with his or her physician.

Boys Town Pediatrics has offices in four locations throughout Omaha that offer weekday hours as well as extended evening and Saturday hours in some locations. Visit boystownpediatrics.org for a full physician directory where you can watch introduction videos and meet a pediatrician before you visit.

Help For Behavioral Health Issues is Just a Few Doors Away

August 16, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Getting help for a child with behavioral health problems is just a few doors away at your pediatrician’s office at Boys Town Pediatrics clinics. All of the Omaha-area clinics staff one to two psychologists who are available to work closely with your child’s pediatrician to provide a comprehensive, seamless plan of care.

“Working in the same clinic allows us to communicate more closely with the on-site psychologist so that we both understand each other’s perspectives and can work together to develop a game plan for each child,” says Nancy Vandersluis, M.D., pediatrician at Boys Town Pediatrics. “It also allows us to stay up-to-date with the child’s progress and readily provide input when appropriate. In the end, we think it results in better outcomes for the patient.”

More importantly, the parents and children love the setup, notes Dr. Vandersluis. “It’s been a very successful arrangement for us and the family,” she says. “Families love to be able to come to their pediatrician’s office for counseling because it’s familiar, more comfortable, and less stressful for the child.”

“Working in the same clinic allows us to communicate more closely with the on-site psychologist so that [we] can work together to develop a game plan for each child.” – Nancy Vandersluis, M.D., pediatrician at Boys Town Pediatrics.

The easy accessibility of the psychologists relieves some of the apprehension and stigma of seeing a psychologist, notes Tom Reimers, Ph.D., director of Boys Town Behavioral Health Clinic with the Center for Behavioral Health. “We’re seeing a greater willingness among families to reach out for our services.”

Parents often discuss their child’s behavioral concerns with their pediatrician, says Dr. Reimers. That makes the close relationship we have with the pediatrician’s and medical clinics so important. The Behavioral Health Clinic treats a wide variety of behavioral health problems in children, from infants to adults. Some of the problems treated include defiance, tantrums, toilet training, learning problems, anxiety and depression, bedtime problems and sleep disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), peer relationships, phobias, habits, and eating disorders.

Determining when it’s time to seek help is something that should be discussed with your pediatrician. A good rule of thumb, notes Dr. Vandersluis: If there is a disruption of your family’s ability to function on a normal basis due to your child’s behavioral health problems, or it is affecting your child’s ability to be successful in his or her daily activities, it may be time to seek help.

“If you’re concerned with your child, whether it’s academics or behavioral problems at home, don’t be afraid to seek help.” – Tom Reimers, Ph.D., director of Boys Town Behavioral Health Clinic with the Center for Behavioral Health

“By the time they come to us, parents have likely been concerned about a problem for some time. They’ve reached out to family and friends and exhausted most of their accessible resources,” notes Dr. Reimers. “In some cases, waiting can make the problem worse. We encourage parents to seek advice early rather than later.

“We use evidence-based interventions with the goal of providing the most effective treatment in the shortest amount of time possible,” says Dr. Reimers. “If you’re concerned with your child, whether it’s academics or behavioral problems at home, don’t be afraid to seek help. In many cases, we can provide help easily and readily and get your child back on the right track.”

The Boys Town Center for Behavioral Health offers three services, which include the Behavioral Health Clinic, Chemical Use Program, and Assessment Program. Children may be seen in their doctor’s office or at the Center for Behavioral Health’s main office at 13460 Walsh Drive on the Boys Town campus. For more information, visit boystownpediatrics.org or call 402-498-3358.

Starting a New School

Starting a new school can be both exciting and scary. From kindergarten to high school, we all want to feel accepted and fit in with our peers. Boys Town Pediatrics offers parents advice on how to help relieve some of their child’s anxieties and prepare him/her for a successful school year.

Talk with Your Child

When you are ready to tell your child about starting a new school, keep it positive. Do your homework and find out what sporting activities, clubs, or field trips are available at the new school. If your child seems nervous, talk it through. Once you know what worries your child, such as a bus ride, transitioning to classrooms, or trying out for a new team, you can offer helpful ideas and suggestions.

Time the Move

Whether you are moving to a new state or starting a new school down the street, timing can have a big impact on your child’s emotions and social behavior. Try to start the new school in fall with the new school year. Chances are your child may not be the only new student. Plus, your child will get to know the school’s routine from day one with the rest of his or her classmates, making the transition a little easier.

If you are moving to a new community, try to plan your move as early as possible, before school starts. This way, your child can adjust to the new surroundings and make a few neighborhood friends before the first day of school.

Take a Tour

Call ahead and schedule a tour of the new school. Some schools will offer an open house. This will give your child a chance to meet the teacher(s) and explore the cafeteria, gymnasium, music room, computer lab, and other areas of interest. For older children, ask to see an example of a daily class schedule and a list of extracurricular activities offered by the school.

Allow Time to Adjust

Some children can jump right into a new schedule and start making new friends right away. For others, the change is more difficult. If you feel your child is not adjusting well to the new school, you may consider talking to the school counselor. Find activities at school and outside of school that your child likes. Arrange play dates with school, church, and other friends. And most importantly, keep your communication open and allow your child to talk about his or her feelings.

Making Friends

Your child may worry about fitting in and making new friends at his new school. You can help ease the worries by:

  • Making your child realize his/her own strengths
  • Keeping a sense of humor about yourself and your shortcomings
  • Listening without criticism
  • Being kind, giving compliments, waving to a friend, and opening the door for someone
  • Showing understanding and empathy to others

During this transition period, continue to encourage your child and offer support. Over time, your child will begin to adjust to his/her surroundings and gain positive memories and new friends.

Button Batteries

July 22, 2013 by

Button batteries can be found in a variety of electronic devices. Things like wristwatches, calculators, toys, and even recorded birthday cards all use button batteries. Unfortunately, their small size means that they can be easily swallowed by children.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) have singled out button batteries as the most harmful type of battery for young children if swallowed. They can get stuck in the esophagus, leading to serious injury, and are the leading cause of death by ingestion. Poison control centers across the United States report that about 3,500 button batteries are swallowed each year.

The symptoms of battery ingestion include vomiting, abdominal pain, fever, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, and swallowing.

Many times, swallowed batteries pass through the intestines and safely exit the body. This is not always the case, however, as they can easily get lodged in the esophagus. Batteries stuck in the throat cause an electric current and can leak corrosive chemicals, like alkaline electrolyte, that can cause internal damage.

When this happens, a buildup of the chemical hydroxide may occur, causing dangerous burns within a couple of hours. Unfortunately, the damage caused can remain long after the battery is removed.

If your child ingests a battery, Boys Town Pediatrics recommends:

  • Calling the 24-hour National Battery Ingestion Hotline at 1-202-625-3333 or contacting the poison center at 1-800-222-1222.
  • Gathering the battery identification number, if you have it, found on the package or from a matching battery.
  • Contacting the child’s doctor. An x-ray may be needed to be sure that the battery has gone through the esophagus into the stomach. If the battery remains in the esophagus, it must be removed. Most batteries move on to the stomach and can be allowed to pass by themselves.
  • Watching for fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, or blood in the stool or vomit.
  • Checking the stools until the battery has passed.
  • Don’t induce vomiting and don’t allow your child to eat or drink until the x-ray shows the battery is beyond the esophagus.
  • Swallowing batteries is dangerous. Search your home for devices that may contain button batteries. Secure button battery-controlled devices out of reach of children, and keep loose batteries locked away.

Family Vacation Tips

June 20, 2013 by

Family vacation is a great opportunity to spend quality time together and create long-lasting memories. Get the most from your family vacation with a couple of quick tips from Boys Town Pediatrics.

Packing 

Make a list a couple of weeks before your vacation. Add to it as you remember items your family will need. Make sure to include:

  • Essential paperwork—pack plane tickets, health insurance cards, passports, and identification cards in a watertight baggie.
  • First-aid kit—include Ibuprofen, sunscreen, bug spray, prescription medications, band-aids, contact solution, antiseptic, Pepto-Bismol, sewing kit, disposable wipes, etc.
  • Back-up luggage—take precaution in case of lost luggage by packing a set of clothing, toiletries, and essentials in your carry-on.

Traveling

Discuss the travel arrangements and planned activities with your family. The anticipation of riding in an airplane or stopping to see the waterfall will keep them focused on what is to come instead of long travel times. Other travel tips include:

  • Bringing a reading or activity book or audio book.
  • Playing a game. See who can spot the most license plates from different states or bring cards for the plane ride.
  • Watching a movie. Have each child pick from a pre-selected group of movies.
  • Planning stops along the way. Sightseeing can prevent restlessness and unnecessary stopping.
  • Keeping busy during long layovers. Try to find the children’s play area or watch planes ascend and descend through the windows.

If you are traveling abroad, make sure to check the United States Embassy website for the country you are visiting. On the site, you will find information about required immunizations, travel advisories, and how to register your trip. It is also suggested to leave a copy of your passport back in the United States, so if your passport is lost, the information can be retrieved.

Meal Time

All the activities your family will do will keep everyone busy but also hungry. By pre-planning your family’s meals, you will save money and keep everyone going for the whole vacation. Fuel your family’s hunger by:

  • Carrying along pre-packed, filling snacks.
  • Bringing bottled water or a refillable drink container.
  • Planning a picnic instead of eating out every meal.
  • Picking out a few local treats to prevent too many sweets.

Making Memories

Make the most of your family vacation budget by booking tickets, excursions, and rentals in advance. Choose a few larger activities and leave room for free time, exploring, and relaxation. Consider free activities that include:

  • Hiking a trail or walking the beach.
  • Swimming at the hotel pool.
  • Bringing bikes and pedaling around town.
  • Checking out local events and activities.

Most of all, enjoy your vacation, relax, and make memories that your family will remember for a lifetime.