Keeping your child well involves routine checkups, vaccines, a good diet, exercise, and staying safe.
It’s important for your child to have regularly scheduled checkups, often called well-child visits, beginning shortly after birth and lasting through the teen years.
Healthy Eating Habits for Your Child
Your child’s health care provider can evaluate your child’s weight and growth and let you know if your child needs to lose or gain weight or if any dietary changes need to be made.
Safety for Ages 2 to 5
Children in this age range are gaining many new skills and feel more and more independent. They may be curious, want to explore the world around them, and act without thinking. This can lead to dangerous situations.
Speech and Language Development, Ages 1 to 3 Years
Expressive language advances from primarily using gestures and babbling at age 1, to using words, simple phrases, and some early sentence structures between ages 2 and 3.
Speech and Language Development, Age 3 to 5 Years
A child’s speech and language development become more advanced beginning around age 3 through age 5.
Growth and Development, Ages 12 to 24 Months
Your child’s rapid brain development between the ages of 12 and 24 months causes amazing changes to happen-such as talking, walking, and remembering as he or she enters the toddler years.
Growth and Development, Ages 2 to 5 Years
The ages between 2 and 5 are often called the preschool years. During these years, children change from clumsy toddlers into lively explorers of their world.
For a parent, discovering that your child is entering puberty early can be alarming. Why is it happening? Can your child really handle the effects — both physical and psychological? Puberty starts on average in girls between ages 8-13 and in boys between ages 9-14.
Early Puberty Signs:
The signs of early puberty and puberty are usually the same. It’s the timing that’s different. Signs include:
- In girls
Breast development (which is often the first sign)
Menstruation (typically not until two to three years after the earlier symptoms start)
- In boys
Growth of the testicles, penis, and scrotum
Facial hair and underarm hair, and a deepening voice (usually late signs of puberty)
Growth spurts are another sign of early puberty in both boys and girls.
A learning disability is a problem that affects how a person receives and processes information
Detecting Learning Disabilities
Children with autism and related disorders often are confused in their thinking and generally have problems understanding the world around them.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and attention deficit disorder (ADD) have symptoms that may begin in childhood and continue into adulthood.
Runny noses. Stomachaches. An itchy rash. These are a few of the typical ailments that occasionally plague children everywhere. But what if something more serious develops, like an extremely high fever or a stiff neck? If your child looks very weak – sick as they’ve ever been – the parents need to reach their doctor.
High Fever in a Child Older Than 1
If your child is flushed and hot, your first instinct may be to see a doctor as quickly as possible, but this may not always be necessary. A fever is part of the body’s way of defending itself against infection. If a child has a fever, it means that his immune system is working. A fever, by definition, is 100.4 F, taken rectally. You may want to take a toddler’s temperature under his arm, but be sure to add one degree to it, to get a more accurate number. You can give your child medicine such as Paracetamol drops (Calpol ) to reduce his fever. But be sure that it’s truly necessary, and keep close tabs on the dosage of this or any medication in children, whether it’s from a prescription or not. Remember, fever reducers don’t fight the infection that’s causing the fever.
How can you tell whether your child’s headache is serious enough to warrant immediate medical attention, or if letting her skip school and sleep it off would help?
Minor headaches go away with over-the-counter pain relievers or rest,
If your child’s headache endures for several hours – or if the pain is so intense that she can’t eat, play, or even enjoy her favorite TV show – call the pediatrician.
Headaches can be commonly caused by tight muscles in the scalp, rather than a problem related to the brain, but a headache with neurological symptoms (such as confusion, blurred vision, and trouble walking) should be evaluated by an emergency room doctor. Headaches combined with fever, vomiting, confusion, or stiff neck should also be evaluated quickly as the child could have a serious infection or illness, such as meningitis, which is a medical emergency.
Don’t be too concerned about a rash on your child’s arm or feet; they’re generally harmless. If the rash covers her entire body, though, examine it to see whether you should get medical attention. If you touch the red rash and it blanches or turns white, then you let go and it turns red again, you usually don’t have to worry about it. Most of them are virus rashes and allergic reactions, A non-blanching rash -small red or purple spots on the skin that don’t change color when you press on them – can indicate a medical emergency such as meningitis or sepsis, particularly when accompanied by a fever. This type of rash can also appear on the face after violent bouts of coughing or vomiting, so it’s not always a sign of something serious.
Another widespread rash that can be a medical emergency is hives that appear with lip swelling. Hives should be immediately treated with diphenyhadramine (Benadryl). If there is lip or facial swelling, the child must see a doctor. If your child’s breathing is labored or your child complains about breathing, the symptoms suggest an anaphylactic reaction, which is a serious, life-threatening allergic reaction.
Severe Stomach Bug
When your child has food poisoning or gastroenteritis (the so-called “stomach flu,” though it has nothing to do with influenza), monitor how often they’re throwing up or having diarrhea. Vomiting and diarrhea can lead to dehydration. If it is mild dehydration, your doctor may recommend giving electrolyte solutions at home, though treatment depends in part on the child’s age. If your child seems to be getting worse (not voiding enough or acting sick), you should see your doctor. Vomiting three times in an afternoon may not lead to dehydration, but eight bouts of diarrhea in eight hours probably will, as will a combination of vomiting with diarrhea. Dehydration needs to be closely monitored and sometimes needs emergency treatment.
A stiff neck can indicate meningitis, a true medical emergency, so parents may panic if they see their child standing rigidly, refusing to look left or right. But a stiff neck by itself is rarely anything more than sore muscles. A stiff neck alone might mean you slept funny. Meningitis is a combination of fever with a stiff neck, light sensitivity, and headache. A stiff neck with a fever might be tonsil inflammation, not meningitis; calling the pediatrician could ease your fears. Of course, if trauma caused a hurt neck, that’s a clear reason to head to the ER.
Whooping Cough (Pertussis)
Pertussis, or “whooping cough,” is a contagious bacterial infection. Adults and children can get the disease, but infants tend to become more severely ill with it. It’s called whooping cough because it can cause a child to cough so hard and so rapidly that he runs out of breath and must inhale deeply, making a “whooping” sound. That may be because immunity to whooping cough wears off five to 10 years after getting vaccinated, so some adults who were vaccinated during childhood are no longer protected from the disease. Adults who catch whooping cough may not have severe symptoms, and they may pass the infection to young children.
Although you can’t magically make the flu go away, you can make your child more comfortable while her body fights the virus.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common childhood illness that causes some of the same symptoms as cold and flu, such as fever, runny nose, and cough.
Not all children have the same asthma symptoms, and these symptoms can vary from episode to episode in the same child.
Children tend to get diarrhea much more often than adults. You can help soothe your child’s diarrhea and discomfort with these tips about causes and home treatments.
Diarrhea is the body’s way of ridding itself of germs, and most episodes last a few days to a week. Diarrhea often occurs with fever, nausea, vomiting, cramps, and dehydration. Some of the most common reasons kids get diarrhea include.
- Infection from viruses like rotavirus, bacteria like salmonella, and, rarely, parasites like giardia. Viruses are usually the cause of a child’s diarrhea. Along with loose stool, symptoms of a viral gastroenteritis infection often include vomiting, stomach ache, headache, and fever. When treating viral gastroenteritis — which can last 5-14 days — it’s important to prevent fluid loss. Offer additional breast milk or an oral rehydration solution (ORS) to infants and young children. Water alone doesn’t have enough sodium, potassium, and other nutrients to safely rehydrate very young children. Be sure to talk to your doctor about the best way to get fluids back into your child. Older children with diarrhea can drink anything they like to stay hydrated, including ORS and brand-name products (their names usually end in “lyte”). Popsicles can also be a good way to get fluids into a child who’s been vomiting and needs to rehydrate slowly. Be sure to consult with a doctor if you have traveled outside of the country recently. Your child may need medical care.
- Medications like laxatives or antibiotics can also lead to diarrhea in children as well as adults. For mild diarrhea caused by medication, keep your child safely hydrated. If a course of antibiotics is causing your child’s diarrhea, be sure to continue the medication and call your doctor. Your doctor may recommend reducing the dose or switching to a different antibiotic. Studies show that yogurt with live cultures or probiotics can help ease diarrhea caused by antibiotics. Cultures and probiotics help replenish healthy gut bacteria killed by antibiotics.
- Food poisoning can also cause diarrhea in kids. Symptoms usually come on quickly, may include vomiting, and tend to go away within 24 hours. Treatment for food poisoning-related diarrhea is the same as for diarrhea caused by infection: Keep your child hydrated and call your doctor with any questions.
- Other causes of diarrhea include irritable bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, food allergies, and celiac disease.
Dizziness and light-headedness
- Dry, sticky mouth.
- Dark yellow urine, or very little or no urine.
- Few or no tears when crying.
- Cool, dry skin.
- Lack of energy.
- Hair Loss in Children
The majority of children 26 months or older suffering hair loss.
- Rumination Disorder
Rumination disorder is an eating disorder in which a person — usually an infant or young child — brings back up and re-chews partially digested food that has already been swallowed.
- Cerebral Palsy
It isn’t easy to have a child with cerebral palsy, but that doesn’t mean you are helpless. You can be your child’s best advocate in the months and years to come, ensuring that he or she gets the care that’s needed.
- Down Syndrome
Down syndrome is one of the most common birth defects. Usually, children born with the condition have some degree of mental retardation, as well as characteristic physical features.
- Cystic Fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis is an incurable genetic disease that affects the glands that produce mucus and sweat. It causes mucus to become thick and sticky.
- Visually Impaired Children
If you’ve just learned that your child is visually impaired, you are probably trying to sort out how serious the problem is, where to get help, and what this means for your child’s future. In many cases, visual impairments can be corrected.
- Sleep Disorders in Children
We all know that restful sleep is necessary to heal and repair the body. But recent health reports suggest that many children are chronically sleep-deprived as a disorder.