Author Archives: Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone

About Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone

At Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone, we understand that caring for infants, children, and teenagers is a special privilege. That’s why we partner with our young patients and their families to offer expert medical and surgical care. Our specialists treat children with conditions ranging from minor illnesses to complex, more serious issues at locations throughout the New York metropolitan area.

Picky Eating? There’s an App for That

Picky Eating App

From the real experts at Hassenfield Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone:

Researchers at NYU Langone Health have launched When to Wonder: Picky Eating, a new app that studies children’s food preferences and emotions to better understand picky eating in young children and provide real-time suggestions for parents.

Picky eating is common among children, and parents of picky eaters often find themselves lacking the knowledge they need to address their child’s distinct challenges and needs. The Picky Eating app, intended for use with children age 6 and under, employs questionnaires, a child-friendly food sort game, and video activities, all completed on a smartphone to gather information from both children and parents.

Participants are screened for eligibility and then prompted to give informed consent to be enrolled in the study after downloading the app. The data collected through the research study is anonymized and securely stored at NYU Langone Health to enable researchers to examine children’s emotions, behaviors, and development as well as the impact of social and demographic influences, parent–child interactions, and other risk factors on young children’s development and mental health.

The main feature of the app is a food sort game using high-quality images of foods; children and parents separately play the game, swiping through to indicate whether a food is “yummy” or “yucky.” Then parents play the same game answering the question “Will your child eat this?” Afterward, the parent and child can compare answers by viewing their matches. Another interactive feature enables children to watch short videos while the front-facing camera records a video of the child, allowing computer vision tools to characterize the child’s emotions and attention.

The app offers parents evidence-based advice on their child’s food preferences, eating behaviors, and emotions, and provides suggestions on how to support their child’s healthy eating. In some cases, families are encouraged to seek further consultation with their healthcare providers.

Interested in checking it out? When to Wonder: Picky Eating is available to download for free from the Apple and Google app stores.

Digital Strain: Screen Time and Overuse Injuries

screen time

From the real experts at Hassenfield Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone:

Screen time is a popular topic—from how long kids should be allowed to use devices each day to what age they should be allowed their own phones, tables, or other devices. Among the potential negative effects of too much screen time are what doctors have begun to refer to as “text neck” and “text thumb.”

Just like any repetitive activity, especially among children whose bodies are still developing, these overuse strains can occur when excessive time is spent using devices and when users engage in prolonged postures that tend to be awkward or stressful on the back, neck, shoulders, and extremities.

Orthopedic specialists and pediatricians have noticed an uptick in “text neck” and “text thumb” in recent years, especially among younger tech users—up to 50% of youth report symptoms of neck and shoulder pain, and up to 42% report symptoms of hand and wrist pain.

There are some ways that you and your kids can alleviate or prevent these types of digital overuse injuries:

  • Support the forearms while using a device, with an armrest, your thighs, or a table.
  • Type using both thumbs, to avoid overstraining one.
  • Position your device at a height to balance head, neck and upper extremity stress—if you hold it at eye level, that’s good for your neck but increases strain on your upper extremities. If you hold it in your lap, that can hurt your neck. Try to find a position in between.
  • Don’t text with high velocity—this can cause thumb inflammation and pain.
  • Avoid prolonged static postures by taking opportunities to move your body, head and neck, and upper extremity positions during use.

Not only can overuse of digital media cause these unique strains on growing bodies, but time spent on digital media also displaces other activities including physical activity and sleep. It’s important to help your child achieve a balance in those important areas of their health. Variety is the spice of life!

 

screen timeCordelia W. Carter, MD, is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone, where she serves as director of the Pediatric Sports Medicine Center. She is a clinical associate professor in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery.

Vascular Birthmarks in Babies: What Parents Need to Know Part 2 of 2

Vascular birthmark

From the real experts at Hassenfield Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone:

Last time, we learned about the most common type of vascular birthmark in babies, the infantile hemangioma. Read on to learn more about the other most common vascular birthmark in babies, capillary malformations.

Capillary Malformations

Capillary malformations are another very common vascular birthmark. More commonly called “port wine stains,” “angel’s kiss,” or “salmon spots,” they are the result of dilated capillary connections close to the surface of the skin. Unlike infantile hemangiomas, these vascular birthmarks are almost always clearly visible at birth. They start off pink, red, or salmon-colored, flat and flush with the skin, and usually stay flat for years. They are painless and do not bleed, and they do not follow their own growth cycle like infantile hemangiomas do. Depending on the type, they either fade early on, or grow with the patient and remain present for life.

When capillary malformations are located along the middle of a baby’s body, they are called medial capillary malformations. On the face, they appear in the middle of the forehead, and point downwards in a V shape that ends with the point of the V around the tip of the nose. The sides of the V can cross the skin of the eyelids. On the back of the neck, they spread from the bottom of the hairline to the upper neck. They can also be located at the base of the spine. While common, medial capillary malformations usually fade on their own by two to three years of age, and generally do not require treatment.

Capillary malformations that are closer to the sides of the body are less likely to disappear without treatment. If these more lateral birthmarks are left alone, they can continue to darken and begin to grow thicker. They tend to turn a rich purple color, and will go from flat and smooth, to raised, with areas that feel like nodules under the skin. When they get to this point, they become much more difficult to treat.

Which Capillary Malformations Need Treatment?

In general, if a capillary malformation appears to be growing or darkening, it should be evaluated by a specialist. This is not only because there can be cosmetic consequences to leaving it alone, but also because, similar to infantile hemangiomas, capillary malformations can be external signs of internal issues. If this is the case, your doctor may order an MRI to check your baby’s internal organs. In particular, the brain and eyes may need to be examined if there are extensive capillary malformations over the face.

In very rare cases, a capillary malformation birthmark can also be an early sign of more serious health issues that are not obvious until late childhood. Because of this, babies with capillary malformations that are not in the middle of the body and/or do not fade after birth should be followed by a vascular anomalies specialist.

Laser therapy is the mainstay of treatment for capillary malformations. If laser therapy is chosen for your baby, the treatments will be spaced out to allow time for healing in between sessions. Your doctor might also prescribe a cream that helps to shrink the blood vessels close to the skin’s surface, which helps to make the effects of laser treatment longer lasting. This cream is also available without laser therapy, but is more effective when combined.

Take Home Message for Parents

All in all, most vascular birthmarks are completely benign, and will not lead to any complications or necessitate any treatment. If any of your baby’s marks resemble what has been described here, and you have more questions, speak with your pediatrician about seeing a vascular anomalies specialist. And congratulations on your new baby!

hassenfield
Megan M. Gaffey, MD, is a pediatric otolaryngologist at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone. She specializes in the medical and surgical treatment of children with complex ENT issues. She has focused training in vascular malformation management.

Vascular Birthmarks in Babies: What Parents Need to Know Part 1 of 2

 

Vascular birthmark

From the real experts at Hassenfield Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone:

More babies than not are born with some sort of birthmark, and while many fade, some are here to stay. Birthmarks come in all shapes, colors, and sizes. Most of them are fine to leave alone, but there are a few kinds that can become problematic. For parents, it’s important to know which birthmarks are abnormal and should be seen by a physician.

What Are Vascular Birthmarks?

Vascular birthmarks fall under the category of vascular anomalies, which are the result of abnormal blood or lymphatic vessels. They can present anywhere on the body, including the skin, the scalp, on the inside of the mouth, or on the genitalia. They can also be present in internal organs. Depending on the vessel type, vascular birthmarks can vary in color from pink or red, to blue, purple, or gray. Some vascular birthmarks are close enough to the surface of the skin to be seen and/or felt immediately after birth, but others don’t appear until later in infancy or childhood.

What Are the Most Common Vascular Birthmarks?

Infantile hemangiomas and capillary malformations are the most common vascular birthmarks. Both are on the skin’s surface, or typically close enough to the surface to be noticed before a baby is one month old, and tend to be pink, red, or purple.

Infantile Hemangiomas

Infantile hemangiomas are the most common vascular birthmarks. They are commonly called “strawberry angiomas,” because they often look attached to the skin’s surface, and protrude in small, clustered red bumps. Parents tend to say that the marks started as a single, small, red spot right at birth.

Hemangiomas can also be on the flatter side, or located deep to the skin. When deep, they might look like a tinted, smooth protrusion of skin. Shortly after birth, they begin to grow rapidly; during this period, they usually darken and turn from red to purplish.

Infantile hemangiomas grow at their fastest rate when babies are around seven months old. By one year, they begin to shrink. One of the first signs of shrinkage is lightening of the involved skin to gray, which usually begins in the center of the hemangioma. The gray skin is a sign that the blood vessels are being replaced by fatty tissue, which may or may not be noticeable, depending on how big or how deep the infantile hemangioma was.

By age two, infantile hemangiomas usually go away on their own, leaving only a faint mark, if anything. This is why most infantile hemangiomas can be observed as your baby grows, and don’t require any medicine or surgery.

Which Infantile Hemangiomas Need Treatment?

If infantile hemangiomas grow too quickly or get too large, complications can arise. Rapid growth can lead to ulceration, forming cracks in the skin and bleeding. This can lead to infection and scarring.

The size of infantile hemangiomas can also become problematic when they compress or cover surrounding structures. For example, an infantile hemangioma blocking a nostril, or one causing an eyelid to droop and block vision, requires action from your doctor.

Very large infantile hemangiomas can also become aesthetically unappealing, especially if they are located on the face. Even though the birthmark most often goes away on its own, large infantile hemangiomas can leave behind some fatty tissue and distended skin when they fade. This left-behind skin has a pale, saggy appearance. Typically, the larger infantile hemangiomas are allowed to grow, the more saggy tissue they will leave behind.

The birthmark location is also important because it may signify a disorder in the underlying tissues or organs. For example, infantile hemangiomas under or around the chin might indicate that there are infantile hemangiomas in the mucosa of the upper airway, which can lead to breathing problems. If your pediatrician suspects internal organ involvement, your baby may need an airway evaluation by an airway specialist, or an MRI, which is a special imaging study that helps evaluate deep effects of vascular anomalies.

Besides size and location, the number of infantile hemangiomas can also be concerning. In particular, if a patient has more than five separate hemangiomas, that could indicate vascular anomalies of the liver. Make sure to tell your doctor if your baby has multiple infantile hemangiomas, so that imaging tests to check the liver and other internal organs can be ordered, if necessary.

If your baby’s hemangioma is changing and showing some concerning signs, you should see a vascular anomalies specialist—a pediatrician, dermatologist, or surgeon who has spent time dedicated to learning about the spectrum of vascular anomalies, and how to treat them. This specialist will take into account the factors discussed above, and help guide you towards further observation of the infantile hemangioma, or towards a treatment plan. He or she may want you to see a subspecialist, like an otolaryngologist, ophthalmologist, orthopedist, etc, for an opinion about the area potentially affected by the hemangioma.

After evaluating your baby’s infantile hemangioma, your doctor may encourage you to intervene to halt its growth. Treatment options for infantile hemangiomas can be divided into three main groups:

  1. Medical Therapy – Several medications exist that have been shown to help slow or halt hemangioma growth, and in some cases, speed up the regression process.
  2. Laser Therapy – There are advanced medical lasers that can be used to shrink the blood vessels specific to infantile hemangiomas.
  3. Surgical Therapy – Occasionally, removing the hemangioma is the best option. This is usually a decision that is made when it is evident that the hemangioma will cause functional, developmental, or aesthetic problems if left alone

Choosing if and when to perform surgery is a decision that should be made with the help of a vascular anomalies surgeon. It is important to remember that surgery will always leave a scar, no matter when it is performed, so surgery is only chosen if the scar is more favorable than the predicted “scar” left behind by the infantile hemangioma.

hassenfieldMegan M. Gaffey, MD, is a pediatric otolaryngologist at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone. She specializes in the medical and surgical treatment of children with complex ENT issues. She has focused training in vascular malformation management.

How to Support Your Child, and Cope with Anxiety During the Holidays

Holidanxiety? 

ANXIETY

The holiday season is often accompanied by stress, which can be particularly difficult for children and adolescents with elevated anxiety. Here are some tips about how parents can help.

  1. Maintain Structure. Late nights, holiday treats, and unscheduled days are what many children love most about the holiday season. At the same time, sufficient sleep, staying active, and a healthy diet set the foundation for adaptive coping. We are all more at-risk of feeling overwhelmed when tired, hungry, or sick! Encourage your child to enjoy the freedoms of their holiday break in moderation. Maintaining a (mostly) consistent bed-time and wake-time (ideally within 1-2 hours of when they need to go to sleep and wake up for school) will ease your child’s transition back to school, and ensure they are well rested during the break. Encouraging your child to eat complete meals, in addition to holiday sweets, provides them with the energy to take full advantage of their free time. Additionally, having a daily routine can help your child know what to expect, and lessen overall anxiety.
  2. Cope ahead. If your child experiences elevated anxiety that causes significant distress, they may benefit from working with a cognitive-behavioral therapist to learn how to identify and effectively cope with anxiety. If your child is already working with a therapist, collaborate with them on ways you can best support your child in generalizing skills learned in therapy to anxiety-provoking situations that arise during the holidays. This may involve developing a cope ahead plan, which includes identifying situations that induce anxiety (e.g., family gatherings, parties, sleepovers, etc.) and selecting coping skills to help your child approach rather than avoid these difficult situations.
  3. The same strategies that apply to supporting your anxious child during the school year also apply during holiday breaks.

    Below are tips on how to CARE for a child with anxiety (Swan, Kagan, Frank, Crawford & Kendall, 2016).

    1. Coping model: Children learn from parents, which means you play a key role in modeling for your child how to manage anxiety effectively. Notice your own reactions to holiday stress, and put the proverbial airplane oxygen mask on yourself first. Being a coping model is not about being ever calm and anxiety-free (good luck!); rather, it is about noticing your own anxiety, and modeling how to skillfully manage. Everyone experiences anxiety, we just don’t want anxiety to keep us from doing what we want or need to do.
    2. Accommodate less. Accommodating anxiety (helping your child avoid situations that cause distress) alleviates anxiety short-term, but maintains anxiety over time. In collaboration with your child’s therapist, work to gradually reduce current accommodations. Try not to anticipate that your child will be anxious and give them an out. Instead, support them in coping with (rather than avoiding) anxiety during the holidays, so that they become more comfortable with practice.
    3. Reinforce brave behavior. Exposures are a key component of cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxiety, and involve children gradually engaging in situations that cause anxiety in the context of a supportive, therapeutic environment. If your child is working with a therapist, collaborate on how they can practice being brave over the break, and provide reinforcement. Without the competing demands of school, the holidays present a golden opportunity for at-home exposure practice! Reinforcement can be social (praise), tangible (stickers, rewards), or activity-driven (extra screen time, picking the family movie). In general, notice and reinforce when your child bravely engages in situations that make them nervous.
    4. Empathize and validate. While we recommend against parents accommodating their child’s anxiety, we also do not want parents to become frustrated or punitive when their child expresses feeling scared, frightened, or nervous. It is completely natural to want to avoid situations that cause anxiety. Telling your child “just do it” or “don’t be nervous” is unlikely to help. Instead, express to your child that you understand how they are feeling, empathize with them, and encourage them to do it anyway. If “it” seems too hard, work together to find one small step your child can take to practice.

The holidays can be stressful for parents and children. Supporting your child by maintaining structure, coping ahead, and reinforcing brave behavior can help!

Anna J. Swan, PhD, is a licensed psychologist and clinical assistant professor in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU Langone Health. She sees patients for evaluations, individual cognitive-behavioral therapy, and group therapy as part of the Anxiety and Mood Disorders Service at the Manhattan and New Jersey locations of the Child Study Center, part of Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone.

A Developmental Pediatricians’ Tips for the Best Holiday Gifts for Children of Any Age

Best Holiday GiftsNow that the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers have been consumed, the holiday season is officially upon us and for many families this is a time when we begin to shop for holiday gifts for the children in our lives. Here are a few suggestions of some developmentally appropriate toys for the holidays.


0-12 months: Babies are attracted to bright colors and objects with high-contrast patterns. Their play involves watching and exploring their own bodies. Look for multisensory toys with a variety of textures and toys that are soft, lightweight, easily grasped, washable, and safe to go in the mouth. Good toys in this category include activity mats and gyms, mobiles, and plush toys. Mirrors help develop self-awareness and identity. In the later end of this age children become interested in cause and effect and container play so consider pop-up toys, stacking and sorting toys such as nesting cups and boxes, and squeeze and squeak toys.

1-2 years: Children in this age-group are increasingly interested in cause and effect activities such as dumping and filling, building and knocking down, and pushing and pulling. Building play starts to emerge towards the later portion of this age range so lightweight blocks or building materials are good options. Blocks are also a great example of open-ended play items that can encourage creativity and language development. Other suggestions include shape sorters, cars with handles or short cords, or simple trains. A riding horse can also be introduced at this age provided the child’s feet touch the floor or base of the horse when they are seated. Musical instruments such as xylophones and small tambourines are also fun.

2-3 years: Pretend play is now emerging and building play becomes more sophisticated as a child’s fine motor skills become more developed. Realistic props help enhance pretend play. Additional building blocks and materials and push-pull toys that resemble real life objects such as strollers, shopping carts, and vacuum cleaners are very popular at this age. Straddle ride-on toys and slow-moving three-wheeled scooters with wide standing platforms are fun and encourage physical development and self-esteem. Additional suggestions include easels and non-toxic finger paints. Play with simple insert puzzles may enhance attention span and visual discrimination.

3-4 years: Pretend play is at its peak in the preschool years and there are a variety of toys to encourage this sort of creative play such as action figures and dolls, playhouses, doll houses and thematic play scenes, dress up materials, and tools and props that resemble real items such as medical kits, cash registers, and cooking/kitchen sets.

4-6 years: Game play emerges more in elementary school as attention span increases and turn-taking behavior emerges. Many children begin to enjoy traditional board and card games at this age such as ‘Go Fish,’ and ‘Uno’ as well as matching or memory games. Train and car sets with multiple cars that detach and tracks are popular at this age along with more simple sewing and craft kits, water colors, and stamps with ink pads. Two-wheeled scooters and bicycles with training wheels (with the appropriate protective gear such as helmets) are popular gift ideas.

6-9 years: Children now have the ability to work on multi-step sequences and have the fine motor dexterity to begin complex model kits and more complex craft kits such as beading, jewelry kits, and yarn looms. Other ideas include jigsaw puzzles with 100-500 pieces and strategy games such as checkers. Skateboards, two-wheeled bicycles without training wheels and equipment based on your child’s interests such as cameras, roller skates and sports equipment are additional options.

9-12 years: Children in this age range are developing their skills from the sports and activities of their earlier years. Tailor your gifts based on your child’s interests and abilities. Examples include more advanced jigsaw puzzles, trivia games, and sports or recreational equipment such as camping gear.


Manage expectations

Children do not require a large amount of gifts or toys to have a magical holiday experience. In fact, too many toys and gifts can overwhelm young children and there is evidence to show that fewer toys may help young children focus better and play more creatively with the toys they have. Set your own limits ahead of time on the right number of gifts that makes sense for your family and consider including extended family members in the conversation.

Safety

Of utmost importance is ensuring whichever toy you select is safe for the age of your child. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers a variety of tips to aid in safe toy selection.

Catherine Workman, MD, is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics and a developmental pediatrician at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone.

Giving Thanks at Thanksgiving: Practicing Gratitude with Your Kids

thank-youThanksgiving and the holiday season that follows are a wonderful opportunity to instill a sense of gratitude in your children and teens. We often think about gratitude as a way to show others we appreciate them or that we are thankful for the things we have when others are less fortunate. But, did you know that practicing gratitude can also help the giver?

Positive psychology finds that gratitude benefits our mental health, our friendships and connections to others, and our daily mood. What is important is feeling positive and noticing what we have and appreciate, so do not roll your eyes if your teen is grateful for his video games! Here are some ways you can practice gratitude with your child:

•Try sharing 3 things you are grateful for from your day, or have everyone say something they love about another family member at the dinner table.

•Make a Gratitude Jar or Box. Decorate the outside however you’d like with paper, paint, or stickers. Every day, write down at least three things you are grateful for on little slips of paper and add them to the jar. The jar will fill up, and you or your child can revisit the slips of paper when you need a mood lift.

•Help your child write a letter to a person they are thankful for and have them personally deliver it. They will get a boost seeing how happy that gift of gratitude makes the recipient.

•If you want to make gratefulness more of an activity at the Thanksgiving table, combine it with a fun craft. Make colorful leaves or turkey feathers out of construction paper with a prompt for everyone to write (or draw) something they are thankful for, then share answers around the table and put the leaves/feathers in the centerpiece or on a central picture of a tree or turkey. You can hang up the final project and create a nice memento of the shared meal.

While Thanksgiving is a great time to talk with your family about gratitude, it’s a practice that would benefit the family to continue year-round.

Lauren Knickerbocker, PhD, is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU Langone Health. Dr. Knickerbocker specializes in treating selective mutism and anxiety in young children, ADHD and difficulties with organization and time management, disruptive behaviors, and parent management training. She is also the co-director of Early Childhood Service at NYU Langone’s Child Study Center, a part of Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital.

Back to School with Diabetes Management

diabetes managementAdapting Your Child’s Diabetes Management for a New School Year

With a new school year just around the corner, many parents are strategizing for their children to receive the medical care they need in their new classroom environments. The goal for families of children with diabetes is for their kids to have access to appropriate diabetes management while having the same school experience as children without diabetes. Here are some aspects of care at school that parents of children with diabetes should consider in order to meet that goal:

  • Is there a nurse at school? If not, who can take responsibility for helping to assist with the day-to-day management of diabetes? There should be a medical plan in place and parents should discuss that with the school administration.
  • If your child is involved with after-school activities or field trips, will there be care available at those places?
  • What supplies does your child need at school? Think about the amount of supplies they will need, whether they will be centrally located for the child, or whether they will be carrying their own testing equipment to treat hypoglycemia.
  • If your child is involved with after school sports, make sure the school administration is aware of their condition. Parents should also talk to the child’s coaches so they can assist if needed.
  • Make sure your child always has something on them to fix a low—and coaches, teachers, and other staff should be aware so they can help if necessary.
  • Some school systems, like New York City public schools, have carb count menus for school meals up online. If your child is buying their lunch at school, check the menu ahead of time and review it with your child. Kids dose insulin according to carb counts, so it’s very important to plan for that. If your school doesn’t have a menu with a carb count, work with the school cafeteria and school administration to come up with carb counts for the menu.
  • Your child’s schedule will change when they go back to school, sometimes going from a schedule where they are more active during the day to being more sedentary during the day and active in the evening. If you notice your child’s blood sugar levels are out of range, be in touch with your diabetes care team so they can adjust insulin doses to the new school schedule.

You should go to your child’s diabetes care team with any questions. Other great resources for Safe at School information can be found at the American Diabetes Association, JDRF, and Children with Diabetes websites.

 

Christine Lally, RN, CDE, is a registered nurse and certified diabetes educator at the Robert I. Grossman, MD, and Elisabeth J. Cohen, MD, Pediatric Diabetes Center at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital of New York at NYU Langone. She provides education and support to patients, families, and caregivers, and helps them fit diabetes management into their lives in a healthful way.

Splish Splash Safety: Tips for Keeping Your Child Safe Around Water This Summer

swimWater activities are a great way to enjoy the outdoors during the hot summer months. Whether it’s time spent at the pool, a lake, or a fun day at the beach, there are many opportunities for children of all ages to enjoy water activities. It is important, however, to remember that water can be dangerous, and drowning is preventable. Here are some important tips on how to keep children safe around water.

Supervision: Watch children when they are in or around water – even if there is a lifeguard around. If many adults are present, choose one designated person to supervise without distractions. This will assure that an adult is watching at all times without assuming that someone else is watching.

Pool Safety:
• Fence: Install a fence around home pools. The fence should be at least 4 feet high with gates that are self-closing and self-latching. The latch should be placed as high as possible so that young children cannot reach it, and the gate should completely surround the pool, separating it from the house.
• Access: Whether you have an inflatable or above ground pool, make sure to remove any access to the pool (such as a ladder) when not in use. Additionally, remove any furniture that can be used to climb into the pool.
• Toys: When toys are not in use, be sure to remove them from the pool, as they can attract small children.
• Cover: Keep the pool covered when not in use. Make sure the pool cover is on securely to avoid danger of a child falling into the pool and being trapped underneath the cover.

Swimming lessons: The American Academy of Pediatrics supports swimming lessons for most children age 4 years or older. In younger children (ages 1-4) swimming classes may reduce the risk of drowning, but as children develop at different rates, no age specific recommendations are made.

Swimming partner: For adolescents that know how to swim, make sure that they always have a swimming partner with them, whether at the pool, lake or the ocean. Never allow them to swim (even with a partner) without a lifeguard around.

Know what to do in the case of an Emergency. If a child is missing, check the water first and call 911 if needed. Parents, caregivers and pool owners would benefit from learning CPR, as it may help save a child’s life.

When it comes to water safety, prevention is key! Be safe, and have fun in the water!

hassFrom the Real Experts at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone:

Doreen Benary, MD, is a pediatric emergency medicine physician and clinical instructor in the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Emergency Medicine and the Department of Pediatrics at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone.

Beat the Heat: Tips to Keep Your Child Safe from Heat Related Illness This Summer

heatAs temperatures rise and we find ourselves spending more time outdoors with children this summer, it’s important to remember that high temperatures and too much time in the heat can have negative effects on your child’s body. Here are some tips on preventing heat related illness in children.

HYDRATION:  Staying hydrated is one of the most important things we can do to prevent heat related illness. It is essential to give your child water frequently while they are outside on a hot day. Many children may not ask for water while they are playing outdoors, but it’s important to provide children with water even if they don’t ask for it. Additional and frequent hydration with water or sports beverages is especially crucial while children are playing sports or exercising. Infants less than 6 months of age should not be given water, but they can be given extra breastmilk or formula to keep them hydrated.

SUN PROTECTION: Protecting your children from the harmful effects of the sun’s rays is also important. Dress your child in lightweight and light-colored clothing. A wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses can offer additional protection. Keep children in the shade as much as possible and try to avoid exposure to direct sunlight on very hot days, especially during the sun’s most intense hours (between 10 AM and 4 PM).

Apply sunscreen that is at least SPF 15 to any areas of your child’s skin that are not protected by clothing. Using sunscreen that says “broad spectrum” or UVA/UVB protection is ideal. Sunscreen should be applied at least 30 minutes before going outdoors.  Don’t forget to apply sunscreen on cloudy days as well, as the sun’s rays are still present.

Infants less than 6 months of age should be kept out of direct sunlight as much as possible. If you do take young infants outdoors, be sure to keep their skin protected with lightweight clothing and a hat and to keep them in the shade. You can apply a small amount of sunscreen to your infant’s exposed skin if needed.

STAY COOL: Staying indoors in a location with air conditioning is a great way to beat the heat on days when temperatures are extremely high. If you do not have air conditioning available in your home, think about going to a public location such as a library, museum, or mall. This is a great way to engage in a fun activity for the day while still staying cool. Additionally, a cool bath or shower may help cool your child down on a hot day.

MONITOR: While prevention is the key, it is also important to recognize the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. If your child exhibits any of these signs or symptoms, speak to your child’s pediatrician or take them to be evaluated by a physician immediately.

•Dizziness
•Nausea
•Vomiting
•Headache
•Weakness
•Fatigue
•Confusion
•High body temperature
•Muscle Cramps

Following these tips will ensure a fun and healthy summer and will help you beat the heat!

hassFrom the Real Experts at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone:

Kavita Patel, MD, is a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone.