Common Illnesses and Symptoms

We are exposed to numerous viruses and bacterium every day. Many of the diseases caused by these viruses and bacterium can be prevented through vaccination. In this section we discuss both vaccine preventable and non-preventable diseases.
It is important that we immunize our children against the diseases for which we have vaccines.
Chicken Pox
» An acute and highly contagious viral illness usually occurring in childhood
» Symptoms include a rash and blisters filled with fluid, mild fever, sore throat, and headache
» 
Chickenpox is transmitted through the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs.
» 
Contagious period is from 2 days before onset of the rash until all lesions have crusted
» 
Immunization will help prevent catching chickenpox in 70% to 90% of the cases
» Anyone having chickenpox as a child is at risk to develop shingles as an adult
Diphtheria
» 
A very contagious and potentially life-threatening bacterial disease
» Spread by sneezing, coughing, or discharges from an infected person’s nose, mouth, throat, or skin
» Symptoms include a sore throat, mild fever, and enlarged lymph glands on the neck
» Complications can include damage to heart muscles, paralysis of breathing muscles, blocked airway, or death
» Prevention can be attained by immunization which is normally given to children in combination with the tetanus and pertussis vaccines (DPT). Four shots are given before the age of 18 months, then a booster shot between the ages of four and six years
Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
» A bacterial illness that can cause a possible fatal brain infection
» 
Spread by sneezing or coughing of droplets from an infected person
» 
Symptoms include developing meningitis (fever, weakness, vomiting and a stiff neck)
» 
Complications include meningitis, infections to the lungs,
blood, bones, throat, and heart resulting in brain damage or death
» Prevention can be attained by immunization to children beginning at age 2 months
Hepatitis A
» 
A viral infection which affects the liver
» Spread by poor hygiene and ingestion of feces
» Symptoms may include fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea, fever and jaundice
» Complications include liver disease
» Prevention can be attained by immunization
Hepatitis B
» A viral infection which affects the liver
» Spred through sexual contact, exposure to infected blood, or from an infected mother to her baby at the time of birth
» 
Symptoms may include fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea, fever and jaundice
» 
Complications include cirrhosis (severe scarring) of the liver or liver cancer
» 
Prevention can be attained by immunization
Measles
» A highly contagious viral respiratory infection
» 
Spread through sneeze or cough droplets from an infected person
» 
Symptoms include a body rash, cough, runny nose, high fever and watery red eyes
» 
Complications may include bronchitis, pneumonia, conjunctivitis, encephalitis, or ear infections
» 
Prevention can be attained through immunization which is given to children in combination with a mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR) between 12 and 15 months of age and a booster between 4 and 6 years of age

Mumps
» A contagious viral disease
» 
Spread through sneezing or coughing droplets, or drinking after an infected person
» 
Symptoms may include fever, headache, loss of appetite, and swelling and pain of the parotid glands in the neck
» 
Complications are not common, but rare complications include encephalitis and meningitis
» 
Prevention can be attained through immunization which is given to children in combination with a measles and rubella vaccine (MMR) between 12 and 15 months of age and a booster between 4 and 6 years of age
Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
» 
A bacterial infection of the respiratory system
» 
Spread through sneezing or coughing droplets from an infected person
» 
Symptoms include runny nose, sneezing, fever, and coughing spells in which the child’s face may turn red or purple and may make a whooping sound
» 
Complications may include pneumonia, ear infection, seizures or dehydration and may be life-threatening for children under 6 months of age
» Prevention can be attained with the pertussis vaccine which is given in conjunction with the diphtheria and tetanus vaccine. Four shots are given before the age of 18 months, then a booster shot between the ages of four and six years
Pneumococcal disease
» 
An acute bacterial infection
» 
Spread through person-to-person contact via respiratory droplets
» 
Symptoms may include fever, cough, chest pain, chills, dyspnea (shortness of breath), tachypnea (rapid breathing), or hypoxia (poor oxygenation
» 
Complications my include pneumococcal pneumonia, pneumococcal bacteremia, or bacterial meningitis
» 
Prevention can be attained with a vaccination for children under two years of age – three doses at 2, 4, and 6 months of age and a fourth at 12-15 months of age
Polio
» 
A highly contagious viral disease that can damage the central nervous system and result in abortive polio (mild form), nonparalytic form or the most serious paralytic polio
» 
Spread through the mouth from hands contaminated with the stool of an infected person or contaminated objects such as eating utensils
» 
Symptoms may include headache, tiredness, fever, stiff neck and back, and muscle pain for abortive and nonparalytic polio. Symptoms for paralytic polio include muscle weakness, fever, stiffness, tremor, muscle pain and spasms, and difficulty swallowing
» 
Complications include paralysis of the legs, breathing muscles, and swallowing muscles. Can be fatal when involving the breathing and swallowing muscles
» Prevention is attained by injecting children with inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) at ages 2 and 4 months, then two doses of oral polio vaccine (OPV) at 12-18 months and 4-6 years
Respiratory Syncytial Virus
» The most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia among infants and children under 1 year of age
Symptoms include fever, runny nose, cough, and sometimes wheezing
» Spread through contact with infected persons or contaminated surfaces from sneezing or coughing
» There is no vaccine available yet
Rheumatic Fever
» An inflammatory disease which may develop after an infection with streptococcus bacteria, such as strep throat
» 
Common symptoms include fever, joint pain, joint swelling, abdominal pain, skin rash, shortness of breath, sore throat, headache, and muscle aches
» 
Treatment includes the use of anti-inflammatory medications and antibiotics.
» 
Complications may include heart valve damage, endocarditis, heart failure, arrhythmias, or pericarditis

Taking Care of Baby

Bathing Your Baby


Many parents worry about giving their baby her first bath. They may be afraid that they will drop or somehow hurt the baby. The baby may also be apprehensive and cry at first.

But, by applying the following instructions, bath time should turn into a safe and enjoyable experience. Parents will learn to be more confident and the baby will come to understand that it is not something to be afraid of but instead, something that is fun.

NEVER leave your baby alone in the bath!

It only takes a few inches of water for a baby to drown. If the phone rings or someone is at the door, always wrap your baby in a towel and take her with you. Do not leave the baby unattended in the bath.

ALWAYS test the water temperature first

Dip your elbow or wrist in the bath water to make sure it is not hot.

START with sponge baths

Most doctors recommend sponge baths until the baby’s naval has healed.

Place a water-proof cloth or pad on your lap, a bed, or a changing table.

» Start with the baby’s head. Wipe each eye with a ball of cotton. Wipe from the inside corner of the eye toward the outside.
» Use a washcloth to wipe around the face and neck, especially the mouth, nose, and ears.
» Do not poke anything into the baby’s ears or nose.
» To wash the baby’s scalp, reach under the baby’s back and hold the head in your hand so that it tilts backward just a bit. Squeeze a little water onto the scalp. Wipe in a circular motion.

USE soap sparingly

Use a mild or special baby soap once or twice a week. Rinse twice to get all of the soap off. Pat dry with a soft towel.

MOST of the rules are the same for tub baths

Follow the same basic washing procedures and safety rules as for sponge baths. Also,
» Fill the tub with approximately two inches of warm – not hot – water.
» Place a towel on the bottom of the tub to make it less slippery.
» When washing your baby’s back, lean the child forward across your arm. Do not turn your baby over.
» Never let go of your baby.

HOW you hold your baby is important

» Keep the baby’s body and face well above the water level. Pour warm water over the baby’s body frequently to keep her warm.
» Use one hand and reach behind your baby’s neck, gently grasp the top of the opposite shoulder with your thumb and the baby’s armpit and ribs with your fingers.• Let the baby’s head rest against your wrist.
» Hold your baby’s thigh with the other hand when you lift your baby into and out of the tub.

ALLOW for some play time

Give the baby some extra time to splash and play in the water.

Dental and Oral Health


Regular dental care needs to start at an early age in order to provide good oral health for your child. There are ways to help prevent cavities even when the baby is very young. Consult your dentist to determine when you should take your child in for her first appointment.

For Babies

» Do not put the baby to sleep with a bottle. Hold the baby while he drinks his formula or juice, then put him to bed after wiping his teeth and gums with a moist cloth.
» If you breastfeed your baby or there is little fluoride in the drinking water, your baby may need fluoride drops. Discuss this with the baby’s pediatrician.
» When multiple teeth appear, begin brushing your baby’s teeth using a soft toothbrush and a very small amount of toothpaste with fluoride.

For Older Children

» Brush after every meal and before bedtime.
» Dental sealants can help prevent cavities. Discuss this option with your dentist.
» Using dental floss can help prevent cavities and gum disease.
» If a permanent tooth is knocked out, rinse it gently and put it back in the socket or in a glass of cold milk or water. See a dentist immediately.

Pacifiers and Thum-Sucking


Some babies suck their thumbs or fingers before they are born.  Should they be allowed to continue sucking their thumbs/fingers or be given a pacifier?
Regardless of the method, it is best that children quit sucking on their fingers, thumb, or pacifier by the time they are 4 years of age. 
Pacifier pros and cons

Pros

  • May help reduce Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
  • Offers a brief distraction while you are preparing her bottle or to nurse
  • May have a calming effect on a fussy baby
  • Easier to break the habit than thumb or finger sucking because the pacifier can be taken away

Cons

  • May interfere with breast-feeding if given before breast-feeding is well established
  • May increase middle ear infections
  • The baby may become dependent on it to fall asleep, waking when the pacifier falls out of his mouth

Tips for using a pacifier

  • See if your baby is hungry or needs changing before giving him a pacifier
  • Use a one piece pacifier that is dish washer safe. Until the baby is 6 months old, clean in the dishwasher. After that, wash in soap and water.
  • Never tie a pacifier around the baby’s neck or to the crib with a long ribbon or string. Instead, use special made pacifier clips with short ribbons.
  • Never dip the pacifier in sugar or honey. Honey can cause botulism and the sugar can damage the baby’s teeth.
  • Keep more than one pacifier of the same brand and type that your baby uses – many babies will refuse a different kind.

Stopping the use of a pacifier

  • Do not use past 12 months old
  • Limit the amount of time your child uses the pacifier
  • Give praises for not using the pacifier
  • Once it has been taken away for good, do not give in to the child’s requests or tantrums wanting it back again

Stopping thumb-sucking

    • If a child is still sucking his thumb after age 5, steps need to be taken to help him quit
    • Give praises for not sucking his thumb, do not nag or discipline for the behavior
    • Involve the child in deciding how to stop
    • A commercial product, that does not taste good, can be applied to the thumbnail
    • Be patient – some children may revert back to thumb-sucking after quitting if they are extremely tired, scared, or worried.  Support him in his efforts to quit again – do not ridicule or be upset about his setback.

Teething


Teething is the process of new teeth emerging from the gums. It can be a frustrating time for both the baby and the parents. Teething usually causes the baby to be fussy, have excessive drooling, and want to chew on everything. Teething may also cause a drool rash, diarrhea, cough, or fever.
Babies usually get their first tooth between 3 and 6 months.
Signs of teething:
Swollen gums, excessive drooling, acting fussy, tendency to chew on everything, low-grade fever, and sometimes diarrhea.

    • What to do:
      Swollen gums
      » allow the baby to chew on a cool, damp washcloth
      » use a topical anesthetic such as Ora-Gel, etc. on the gums
      » gently massage the baby’s gums with your finger
      Excessive drooling
      » use a petroleum-based ointment on chin
      Fussiness
      » occasionally give non-aspirin pain reliever
      Chewing
      » give the baby a teething ring or soft wash cloth
      Fever & Diarrhea
      » give a non-aspirin pain reliever for the fever
      » the diarrhea does not require treatment as long as it is only once or twice a day and does not occur every day
      Call the doctor:
      If the baby’s temperature is continually higher than 100º or if the diarrhea is more frequent than twice a day and/or occurs every day.

Infant Massage

Infant massage has many benefits for the baby and the parents.  Through touch, the baby learns the comfort and security of being loved.  It also promotes bonding between the parent and child.  Expectant parents should take an infant massage instruction course before the birth of their child so they will be prepared to start immediately.
Benefits for the Baby

  • Pain relief from the discomforts of teething, colic, gas, etc
  • Relaxation
  • Improves digestion
  • Improves sensory awareness
  • Helps induce sleep
  • Enhances the bonding process between parent and child
  • Boosts the immune system

Benefits for Parents

  • Helps increase the parent’s confidence
  • Provides quality time with the child
  • Promotes bonding between parent and child
  • Relaxing for the parent also

Babies learn security and love through touch.  Infant massage should not be performed immediately before or after the baby eats.  The best time to massage your baby is before naptime or bedtime.

Choose a room that is warm and use a natural vegetable, nut, or fruit oil to prevent friction.

Massage Positions

  • Place the baby on your lap, knees bent and baby supported on your stomach and thighs
  • Sit on the floor with both legs straight out or one leg bent at the knee and your foot tucked into your groin with the baby on the floor in front of you
  • Kneel on a cushion and sit back on your heels with baby on the floor in front of youInfant Massage
    Infant massage has many benefits for the baby and the parents.  Through touch, the baby learns the comfort and security of being loved.  It also promotes bonding between the parent and child.  Expectant parents should take an infant massage instruction course before the birth of their child so they will be prepared to start immediately.

    Benefits for the Baby

    • Pain relief from the discomforts of teething, colic, gas, etc
    • Relaxation
    • Improves digestion
    • Improves sensory awareness
    • Helps induce sleep
    • Enhances the bonding process between parent and child
    • Boosts the immune system

    Benefits for Parents

    • Helps increase the parent’s confidence
    • Provides quality time with the child
    • Promotes bonding between parent and child
    • Relaxing for the parent also

    Babies learn security and love through touch.  Infant massage should not be performed immediately before or after the baby eats.  The best time to massage your baby is before naptime or bedtime.

    Choose a room that is warm and use a natural vegetable, nut, or fruit oil to prevent friction.

    Massage Positions

    • Place the baby on your lap, knees bent and baby supported on your stomach and thighs
    • Sit on the floor with both legs straight out or one leg bent at the knee and your foot tucked into your groin with the baby on the floor in front of you
    • Kneel on a cushion and sit back on your heels with baby on the floor in front of you
    • Massage Strokes
      • Legs and Feet

      Starting with one leg, gently grasp the baby’s ankle with your left hand.  With the right hand, grasp the inside of the thigh and stroke (or milk) down to the foot.  Now grasp the baby’s ankle with the right hand and stroke with the left.  Repeat several times on each leg.

      Using both hands, gently squeeze and twist all the way down the leg.  Repeat several times on each leg.

      Stroke your thumbs from the heel to the toes several times on each foot.

      • Stomach and Chest

      Massage the stomach using a circular motion with one hand and then the other.

      Place both hands together at the center of the chest and then sweep out to each side following the ribcage.

      With both hands, sweep down from the chest to the stomach.

      • Arms and Hands

      Gently stroke the armpits several times

      Form a circle around the top of the baby’s arm with your fingers and thumb.  Stoke down the arm towards the wrist.

      Roll the arm between your hands beginning at the shoulder and moving down to the wrist.

      Stroke the top of the hand moving from the wrist to the fingers.

      Gently rotate each of the baby’s fingers between your index finger and your thumb

      • Back

      Sit the baby up on your lap or lay them on their tummy on your lap with your legs extended

      Gently stroke down from the shoulders to the lower back.  Mold your entire hand to their back.

      Make little circles all over their back with your fingertips.

      • Face

      With both thumbs, softly stoke from the middle of their forehead out towards the temples.

      From the side of their nose, stroke diagonally down across the cheeks.

      Starting at the top of the forehead, use your fingertips to stroke down over the ears, behind the ears, and under the chin.

Your Child’s Safety

Car Seat Safety

All children under 12 should be securely fastened in the back seat when traveling by car. Never place a child or a child safety seat in the front seat of the vehicle. Air bags can cause death or serious injury to young children.

If the vehicle has rear side-impact air bags, check with the vehicle manufacturer for the safest way to install the car seat.

The safest car seat is the one that fits your child’s size, is properly installed, and is used every time. The back seat is the safest place for any child under 12 years of age.

» Rear-facing seats should be used until the age of one and weighs up to 20 pounds. Even if the baby weighs more than 20 pounds before age one, the rear-facing seat should still be used until his/her first birthday.

Recline at a 45 degree angle, harness slots at or below baby’s shoulders and the harness chest clip at armpit level.
If the infant is not one year old yet, but weighs over 20 pounds, use a rear-facing convertible seat.

» Forward-facing seats can be used for a child that is at least 1 year old and weighs at least 20 pounds. This seat should be used until the child weighs 40 pounds and is at least 4 years of age.

Harness straps should be at or above the child’s shoulders (use the top harness slots) and the harness chest clip should be at child’s armpit level.

» 
Booster seats can be used after your child weighs more than 40 pounds. Use with the adult lap and shoulder belt, never use with lap belt only.

The shoulder belt should cross the chest, resting snugly on the shoulder, and the lap belt should rest low across the upper thighs. Never have the lap belt high across the child’s stomach.

Car Seat Safety Checks

» Is the seat belt attached properly to the car seat?

» 
Make sure the harnesses are snug and flat

» 
Check to assure that the correct harness slots are being used

» 
Place baby blankets around the baby AFTER adjusting the harnesses

» 
Never leave a child unattended in a car seat !!

Finding Good Child Care

Choosing a day care or babysitter is an important decision. There are different kinds of child care providers to choose from and you must decide which is best for you and your child’s needs. Make sure you get recommendations or references from someone you know. After making your selection, follow up and keep a close eye on any signs of a potential problem.

If you know ahead of time that you will need child care, start looking before the baby is born. This will give you plenty of time to find the right place.

Types of child care include:

» Child Care Centers – commercial child care facilities
» Family Child Care – child care within an individual’s home
» In-Home Caregivers – child care in the child’s home
» Care Provided by Relatives, Friends, or Neighbors

If you are considering a Child Care Center or a Family Child Care, visit the site and ask plenty of questions.

» What is the ratio of children to caregiver? Babies should have a ratio of 1:4 (one adult for every four babies). Older children will be okay with a 1:10 ratio.

» How many children are at the facility and what are their age groups?

» What are the caregivers’ credentials (education, training, etc.)?

» What is the turnover of employees working as caregivers?

» Are drop-in visits welcome?

» Is the facility clean and well kept?

» Do you agree with the discipline procedures?

» Do they have references you can call?
If you are considering an in-home caregiver or care provided by relatives, friends, or neighbors, make sure the caregiver has the experience and training (example: CPR or first aid training) necessary to care for your child.

After you have made a decision, continue to be vigilant in watching for signs that may indicate a problem or a change in the care of your child.

Safe Home Environment


A safe home environment is essential to your child’s safety and well-being. More than 4.5 million children are injured in their homes each year. Also, injuries from accidents are the leading cause of death in children today.

THE NURSERY

» DO NOT place the crib next to a window, heater vent, or electrical outlet
» DO NOT place stuffed animals or pillows in the baby’s crib

» DO use a crib with slats that are no more than 2 and 3/8 inches apart and has a solid headboard and footboard
» DO make sure the mattress fits snugly in the crib
» DO remove mobiles from the crib once your child can reach them

OTHER ROOMS

» Keep plastic bags away from the baby or child
» Place safety gates at the tops and bottoms of staircases
» Remove furniture with sharp edges
» Do not place furniture under a window
» Shorten cords on drapes or blinds
» Place poisonous products on upper shelves and install safety latches on the doors
» Place trash can/waste baskets in a locked cabinet or outside
» Put “child proof” covers on all electrical outlets
» Cook on back burners of stove

» DO use a crib with slats that are no more than 2 and 3/8 inches apart and has a solid headboard and footboard
» DO make sure the mattress fits snugly in the crib
» DO remove mobiles from the crib once your child can reach them

OTHER ROOMS

» Keep plastic bags away from the baby or child
» Place safety gates at the tops and bottoms of staircases
» Remove furniture with sharp edges
» Do not place furniture under a window
» Shorten cords on drapes or blinds
» Place poisonous products on upper shelves and install safety latches on the doors
» Place trash can/waste baskets in a locked cabinet or outside
» Put “child proof” covers on all electrical outlets
» Cook on back burners of stove

DO:

• Place your baby on her back in a crib with a firm mattress
• Use tight fitting sheets
• Tuck the baby’s blanket in on the bottom and sides of the crib

DO NOT:

• Allow your baby to sleep in your bed
• Allow your baby to sleep on a sofa or waterbed
• Put stuffed animals or pillows in the baby’s crib
• Put loose quilts or blankets on the baby

If you want to be close to your baby at night, put her crib next to your bed and place her in the crib. Do not place her in your bed. Placing a baby in an adult bed may result in the baby rolling off the bed, suffocation from the comforter or pillows, or suffocation from the adult rolling on top of the baby.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of death for infants younger than 1 year of age.  SIDS has no specific symptoms and is usually diagnosed after all other causes have been ruled out.

There is no single risk factor, but instead several risk factors combined that may increase the risk of SIDS occurring.

Although the cause is unknown, statistics reveal that more incidences occur in colder weather; more boys than girls are affected, twice as many African-American babies and three times as many Native American infants are affected than Caucasian infants.

Reducing Risks

» Place the baby on her back to sleep

» Use a firm mattress and do not leave pillows, blankets, or stuffed animals in the baby’s crib

» Avoid overheating the baby while she is sleeping by using light blankets; keep the baby’s face and head uncovered

» Do not sleep with your infant in your bed

» Do not expose the baby to secondhand smoke

» Breastfeed when possible. Breast-fed babies have a lower SIDS rate than formula-fed babies

» The use of pacifiers have been associated with decreased SIDS rates

Choosing a Pediatrician

Some time during your pregnancy, make an appointment to meet with one or more pediatricians in their offices. Ask you friends, relations or obstetrician to identify individuals they know and respect. The prenatal pediatric visit gives you a chance to get an impression of the office setting, including the waiting area, to learn about the availability of the individual doctor or the group in an emergency, to ask about their philosophy and support for certain feeding and child care practices, to discover the doctor’s (and the staff’s) special medical interests and expertise in child behavior and development, and to see how the doctor blends with your own style and personality.

During a 15-20 minutes interview, plan to ask the doctor the following questions:

  • When are your office hours? (Do they fit with my own schedule?)
  • Whom can we see after office hours?
  • When can I reach you and your staff by telephone?
  • How much time do you schedule for office visits?
  • What hospital do you use when children need urgent or complex care?
  • How frequently do you schedule well child visits in the first year?
  • How do you support breast feeding efforts and difficulties?
  • How much developmental guidance do you provide at each visit?
  • How comfortable are you in helping us with any behavioral problems that may arise?
  • What’s your advice about working and parenting?
  • How well do you know the infant and toddler programs in the community?

While you’re visiting, observe if the waiting area is clean, bright, colorful, playful, safe and calm. Get a sense for how much the staff enjoy their work with children. Note, also how interested the doctor is to ask you questions about yourselves, your health, your pregnancy and your expectations about your child.

Having already started a comfortable relationship with your pediatrician, you will feel more relaxed and confident about approaching childbirth and the life-long devotion of parenting. Best wishes.
Courtesy of Peter A. Gorski, M.D., M.P.A., Director of Program Impact and Innovation at the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County and Professor of Public Health, Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

When your Child Gets Sick

When your child is sick, remain calm and try to assess whether you need to take her to the doctor or not.  Below are guidelines on what to do and not do when your child is sick.

If you are not sure whether you need to take your child to the doctor, do not worry about looking silly or over-reactive.  It is better to take her and it not be necessary, than to not take her and have something emergent overlooked.

Remain calm and positive

  • Your child will react to your emotions regarding their illness.  Try to stay calm and have a positive attitude so that your child does not become scared or worried.

Explanation and Reassurance

  • Give age appropriate explanations as to why they are sick, what is causing their symptoms, etc. and reassure them that they will feel better soon.

Medicine

  • Do not tell your child the medicine is candy.  Children may mistakenly overdose on medications when the parents are out of the room, if they think it is candy.
  • If your child has trouble swallowing pills, consult with the doctor as to whether the medication can be crushed and mixed with food such as applesauce.
  • Never tell your child that the medicine does not taste bad, if it really does.
  • Never give any medications without consulting a doctor.

 Temperature

  • Under 5 or 6 years, take the child’s temperature in the arm pit.  This usually takes four minutes.
  • After 5 or 6 years of age, the child should be able to hold the thermometer under their tongues for two minutes.  They should not talk or open their mouths while their temperature is being taken.

Fever

  • Fever is the body’s sign that it is fighting an infection.
  • Make sure your child drinks plenty of liquids to prevent dehydration.
  • Never give your child aspirin to reduce the fever.  Use a non-aspirin medicine such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
  • If the child’s temperature is over 103° and you cannot get it down; the fever is accompanied by a stiff neck, headache and vomiting; the child is having difficulty breathing, or the child is vomiting and/or has diarrhea, contact his doctor.

Hunger

  • Many times children are not hungry when they are sick.  Do not force them to eat, but make sure they get plenty of liquids to prevent dehydration.  If they are not eating or drinking, consult with your doctor.

Watch Me Grow

Gross and Fine Motor Skills
Children’s bodies are constantly changing.  This complex process continues throughout their childhood.  No two children progress at the same rate.
If your child seems to be developing a little more slowly than other children, do not worry.  If there is a large disparity between your child development and others her age, you may want to consult with your child’s doctor.

The first year

1-2 Months
         Lift their heads when lying on their stomach

2-3 Months
Grasp objects that are placed in their hands

4-6 Months
May roll over onto their sides; can sit propped up

7-9 Months
Pull themselves up to a standing position while holding on to things; begin crawling; increased finger and thumb dexterity

10-12 Months
Can stand without support; begin walking with help
One to two years

  • Walk without support
  • Take off their clothing
  • Walk backwards without support
  • Kick a ball
  • Stack blocks

Two to three years

  • Jump, climb and run
  • Turn doorknobs
  • Increased finger dexterity
  • Draw basic pictures

Three to six years

  • Improved coordination
  • Hop and skip
  • Ride a bicycle
  • Draw pictures and color inside the lines
  • Print letters of the alphabet

Social and Emotional Development
Social and emotional achievements are often harder to distinguish than signs of physical development. Differences result from a child’s temperament, disabilities, cultural influences, and opportunities provided for social interaction.
Some children are cheerful and adaptable while others are not. This difference in temperament will affect how a child responds to new situations and changes, thereby affecting his social and emotional growth.
0-3 MONTHS
» 
Looks at faces and listens to voices
» Cries, smiles
» Quiets when picked up
3-6 MONTHS
» Smiles and laughs
» Cries when upset
» Waves arms and legs when excited

6-9 MONTHS
» Unsure of strangers
» Plays simple games
» May get upset when separated from caregiver
» Responds to his/her name
9-12 MONTHS
» Expresses feelings such as happy, sad, mad, etc.
» Emotionally attached to parent or caregiver
» Enjoys being read to and looking at books
» Imitates others’ actions
12-18 MONTHS
» Likes to explore
» Says simple words such as “mama and dada”
» Is confident, but does not like changes in routine
18-24 MONTHS
» Plays with other children
» Enjoys stories and songs
» Says “NO”!
» Demonstrates loving feelings toward others
24-30 MONTHS
» Uses words to communicate
» Likes people but may be shy in unfamiliar places
» Enjoys games
30-36 MONTHS
» Plays independently
» Begins to share with others
» Separates from caregiver without difficulty in familiar places

Shaken Baby Syndrome

Shaken baby syndrome – a medical term used to describe the violent shaking of an infant resulting in head and/or brain injuries. Symptoms may include changes in behavior, irritability, lethargy, vomiting, and convulsions. If you know or suspect that your baby has been violently shaken, seek medical treatment for the baby immediately.
The muscles in a baby’s neck are weak and not fully developed. Any sudden shaking motion can cause brain damage or death.

Shaking your baby may cause:
» Severe injury or death
» Irreversible brain damage
» Blindness or seizures
» Broken bones
A crying baby is the major cause of Shaken Baby Syndrome:
» Make sure the baby has been fed and her diaper changed
» Gently rock the baby
» Check to see if the baby has a fever
» Take the baby for a walk or a ride in the car
If the crying continues:
» Place the baby in her crib and walk away for a few minutes
» Try to relax and count to ten
» Call a friend or relative – ask them to come over to help you
» Call the doctor – explain any symptoms in addition to the crying

Literacy

Foundation For Reading

The foundation for reading begins at birth.  Talking or singing to your baby teaches sounds and tones which they will want to imitate.  Read to your baby while holding or cuddling her.

At around 4 to 6 months, hold the book so the baby can see the pictures in it while you are reading.  Use books that have high contrast images such as dots, stripes, etc.  Point to the pictures as you read the story.

Around 12 months, use touch and feel books that have different textures, flaps, openings, sounds, etc.

When the child becomes a toddler:

  • Keep books on a lower shelf where the toddler can access them
  • Read to your child at the same time every day
  • Let the toddler choose his favorite book
  • Talk about the pictures, colors, or shapes in the book8.

Ages 3 – 5:

  • Read her favorite book over and over
  • Follow the text with your finger while reading
  • Read together every day

Ages 6 – 8:

  • Read books with your child every day for at least 30 minutes a day
  • Take turns reading and listening
  • Do not hurry or criticize if the child is having a difficult time pronouncing a word
  • Discuss the story immediately after reading

Ages 8 and above:

  • Let your child select what they prefer to read
  • Subscribe to a magazine of their choice
  • Provide a quiet, well lit place for him to read
  • Give her a dictionary to look up unfamiliar words

Learning to Feed Myself

Babies start picking up small objects using their index finger and thumb around 9 months of age.
If your baby can sit up well without support, it is a good time to introduce finger foods and encourage him to feed himself.

After 9 months of age, start letting the baby feed himself:

  • Dry cheerios
  • Toast
  • Diced cooked vegetables
  • Crackers
  • Pieces of soft ripe fruit
  • Cooked pasta
  • Other foods diced in small pieces.

Avoid giving him cookies, candy, or other sweets until he has time to acquire a taste for other foods.

Alway monitor your child while he is eating.  Choking on a piece of food can happen fast.  Not responding to a choking incident in time can result in brain damage or even death.
Do not 
give a baby or young child:

  • Nuts
  • Peanut butter or other sticky food
  • Popcorn
  • Hot dogs cut in round slices (cut them in lengthwise and dice them instead)
  • Raisins
  • Hard candy

Make eating enjoyable for your child.  Be consistent in the time, place, and limits in behavior for your child when he eats his meals.  This will help him to know what is expected of him when mealtimes occur and make his introduction to new foods a pleasant experience.

When to Start Solid Foods

During the first year, babies learn to trust those who provide them with the comfort and security of food. If the parents are sensitive to their baby’s nutritional needs, the child will develop sound eating habits. However, introducing babies to solid foods before the age of 4 months may cause them to develop allergies later on.
4-6 Months
» Introduce solid foods slowly
» Make sure your baby is alert and sitting upright
» Use a small spoon with a rubber coating
» Start with rice cereal, then oatmeal or barley (wheat cereal may cause allergies if given before the baby is 1 year old)
» Check the temperature of the food before feeding your baby
» Do not put cereal into a bottle
6-8 Months
» Introduce strained or pureed vegetables and fruits

» Wait 3 to 5 days before introducing a new food – watch for any allergic reactions
» Later introduce strained meat
8-10 Months
» Add finger foods such as bananas, dry cereal, or soft cooked vegetables to your baby’s diet
» Cut food into small pieces
» Do not give nuts, popcorn, whole grapes or uncooked vegetables
» Offer a sip-cup with handles for small amounts of water, formula, or juice
10-12 Months
» Give healthy snacks such as fruit and vegetables
» Offer new foods in small portions at mealtimes that the rest of the family is eating
» Allow the baby to begin using a spoon
Never feed a baby directly from the jar – bacteria from the baby’s mouth can contaminate the food. Throw away opened jars within a day or two.
Never microwave a baby’s food – microwaved food can develop hot spots that will burn the baby’s mouth
Avoid overfeeding or underfeeding by allowing the baby to decide how much he/she wants to eat.
Never give a child under one year of age – honey, corn syrup, or egg whites. Honey and corn syrup may contain Botulinus spores which can cause serious and sometimes fatal results. Egg whites may increase the baby’s chances of being allergic to eggs later in life.