Constipation is never an emergency. In fact most “constipation” is not constipation at all. Some babies have one stool every 6-7 days. This is perfectly normal. If your child does become constipated (hard, dry stools which come infrequently and sometimes cause pain and bleeding) try the following:
Infants 0-2 months
- Try using a well-lubricated thermometer to stimulate the rectum.
- Give one to two oz. of pedialyte 1-2 times a day in a bottle.
- If these steps do not work, call for further consultation during office hours
- Over 2 months
- Increase water intake.
- Use half strength prune, peach, or pear juice (4 ounces total).
- If the child has a hard stool that cannot be passed, a Glycerin Suppository should be tried once or twice.
- If these steps do not work, call for further consultation during office hours.
If you suspect that your child has ingested a poison, or taken an overdose of a medicine call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222.
If your child appears critically ill, call 911. Try to determine what he has taken and how much. Please call your doctor for further instructions.
Please keep medicines and poisons out of the reach of children. Use a locked cupboard or metal box.
Fight the urge to panic. The bleeding almost always makes the wound look worse than it actually is, especially on the head. Stop the bleeding by applying firm pressure on the cut for 5 minutes with a clean compress.
If the cut is small and the sides are together, wash it and put on a loose Band-Aid and antibiotic ointment.
If the cut is large, or the sides are gaping, your child may need stitches. Call our office for further advice. Cuts in the mouth almost never need stitches unless they are very deep.
Most cuts will not require a tetanus shot if your child is up to date with the standard immunizations. Call our office to check your child’s status.
Ear Pain is miserable for both children and parents because it often starts at night.
To help relieve the pain:
- Give Acetaminophen or ibuprofen – doses on Dosage Chart.
- Put a heating pad or hot water bottle on the ear if the child is over 1 year old.
- If the earache persists, call for an appointment.
- Ear pain does not always indicate an ear infection.
Children take many spills as they grow and more often than not they seem to land on their heads. Fortunately, a child’s hard skull protects them from injury most of the time. If your child’s fall seemed dangerous, follow the instructions below.
If your child was NOT knocked unconscious:
- Apply cold compress if a bruise or “goose egg” appears.
- Give Acetaminophen or ibuprofen for headache.
- Observe child and notify your doctor if any of the following are present:
- If the child becomes disoriented,confused or dizzy.
- If the child begins vomiting repeatedly. (an upset stomach right after the fall is perfectly OK) If vomiting is prolonged, after one hour, call your doctor.
- Severe headache that persists.
- All children become drowsy after a head injury. Allow them to sleep but check them every hour or two for several hours to make sure they are rousable.
Remember to always wear a helmet for biking, skateboarding and skiing. If your child was knocked unconscious, or looks critically ill, call 911.
Colds are the most frequent infections of childhood. In fact, the average child has 8 colds per year. Thus, every parent will spend many days and nights trying to quiet coughs and runny noses. When this happens to you, try the following:
- Use a cool mist humidifier to moisturize the child’s secretions. (Clean the humidifier with white vinegar and distilled water daily.)
- Have the child sleep at a 45 degree angle by either raising one end of the bed or propping the mattress (an infant may sleep in a car seat). This will help the mucus run out of the nose.
- Offer plenty of water.
- You may place the child in a steamy bathroom for 20-25 minutes.
- Cold medicines do not cure colds, but they may quiet symptoms for a few hours. This is NOT recommended for children under 6.
- A teaspoon of honey can also be effective (only for children above 12 months).
- Cough is one of the body’s own ways of getting rid of mucus, so unless it is painful or keeping the child awake, do not give cough or cold medication.
Viruses cause most diarrhea and vomiting. This is a common illness and is rarely dangerous, although the smaller the child, the more concerned we are. If you think your child has something more dangerous than the stomach virus or if your child is less than 3 months old, call your doctor. If not, try the following list.
- Rest the stomach by giving nothing for 2 hours.
- Then give clear liquids such as Pedialyte, Gingerale or Gatorade. If you are breast feeding, continue.
- Follow this process with the liquids: give the child 1 teaspoon every 15 minutes (repeat 3 more times). If the liquid is retained, you may increase the liquid by small amounts, i.e. 2-3 teaspoons every 15 minutes ( repeat 3 more times). If this is retained, continue to increase the amount slowly until the child is taking 2-4 ounces and keeping it down. If vomiting resumes, stop, wait about 2 hours and repeat the process.
- Return slowly to a regular diet-i.e. formula, soft bland foods, crackers, toast, diluted fruit juices.
- For Diarrhea:
- If vomiting is also occurring, just follow the above instructions.
- If there is no vomiting, give clear liquids (i.e. Pedialyte, water) plus the BRAT diet- Bananas (fresh), Rice Cereal, Applesauce and dry White Toast.
- Do not give milk or fruit juices, as they may make diarrhea worse.
- Despite the above steps, diarrhea may last days after the illness seems over. If the child seems othewise well, there is nothing to worry about.
- There is no danger from the stomach virus other than not keeping enough fluid in the body. This is why it is very important to keep liquids (even in small amounts) going in. If the above measures fail and your child shows signs of dehydration (dry sunken eyes, no urine, dry sticky mouth), then call the office for an appointment to evaluate your child.
Fever does not cause brain damage.Few things are so frightening to parents as high fever in their children. This fear is needless since in reality, fever is a friend. It tells us that an infection is present and more importantly, the fever helps the body fight infection.
The temperature should be taken rectally in infants and may be taken orally in older children.
For a fever above 100.4° F, keep the following in mind:
- Fever is often higher in the evening and lower in the morning. This does not indicate that your child is sicker in the evening.
- Fever causes evaporation from the body. This should be replaces by having your child drink more fluids.
- Keep your child lightly dressed. Bundling will raise the fever even higher.
- You may give acetaminophen (Tylenol) for comfort, every four hours if the fever continues. If acetaminophen is not effective, you may give ibuprofen (Children’s Advil/Motrin), if your child is at least 6 months old, every six hours.
- For a fever above 103.0° F: Bathe your child in lukewarm water for 1/2 hour. (Alcohol sponging is not recommended) If you can lower the temperature by a degree or two, your child will feel better.
Do not panic when the fever rises. Children with a high fever look and feel terrible, but usually improve when the temperature is reduced. Just follow the above instructions and attempt to determine what illness is causing the fever. This is more important than how high the fever is. A high fever is very common in children, and often indicates a viral infection of no danger. Call if your child is under two months of age and had a temperature of above 100.4°, is difficult to arouse, or does not interact with you.