Children's Health

Children's Health Articles

Emergencies and First Aid - Childbirth

Birth of the Placenta If you are called on to help deliver a baby, remember that childbirth is a natural process and that your role is to assist the woman and offer encouragement. If a woman's contractions are very strong and 2 to 3 minutes apart or the water bag (amniotic sac) has broken, birth is very near. If the woman tells you that the birth will happen very soon, believe her. You will see quite a bit of blood, which is normal. You may see bloody fluid coming from the vagina before and during the birth; this is also normal. More »

Children’s Fears and Anxieties

A child's world is full of dangers, real and imaginary, that many adults forget they ever experienced. Most childhood fears are normal, temporary, and eventually outgrown, but studies still show that anxiety disorders are among the most common childhood psychiatric conditions. In a high proportion of cases, it turns out that the symptoms of an adult anxiety disorder first appeared in childhood, so treatment of abnormal childhood anxiety is not only important for its own sake but may help prevent adult disorders. Children's minds and emotions are constantly changing and developing, and they do not all develop at the same rate, so it is not always easy to distinguish normal fears from those that require special attention. Newborns typically fear falling and loud noises. Fear of strangers begins as early as six months and persists until the age of two or three. Preschool children usually fear being separated from their parents; they may also be afraid of large animals, dark places, masks, and supernatural creatures. Older children may worry about death in the family, failure in school, and events in the news such as wars, terrorist attacks, and kidnappings. Adolescents have sexual and social anxieties and concerns about their own and the world's future. These anxieties become a problem only if they persist and cause serious distress, destroy family harmony, or interfere with a child's development or education. Generalized anxiety disorder. Formerly called overanxious disorder of childhood, these days generalized anxiety in children is recognized as the same disorder of uncontrolled worry that occurs in adults. Children with this disorder are self-conscious, self-doubting, and excessively concerned about meeting other people's expectations. They need constant reassurance and approval from adults. They may worry about school grades, storms, burglary, hurting themselves while playing, or the amount of gas in the tank. They often feel restless and tense and complain of headaches, stomachaches, and other physical symptoms. More »

Treating ear infections in children

If your child is rubbing his ear, should you run to the doctor's office to demand antibiotics? Probably not. Your child may simply have fluid in the ear and not the classic ear infection that parents and children dread. Over 2 million American children experience fluid in the middle ear each year, often following a cold or an acute ear infection. The condition is also called a silent ear infection because many children have no symptoms. Some children, though, may rub their ear or experience mild pain, sleep disturbances, unexplained clumsiness, muffled hearing, or delays in language and speech development. The condition may be diagnosed during a routine well-child visit with the use of a pneumatic otoscope, which allows the doctor to see how easily the eardrum moves. Billions of dollars are spent in the U.S. for diagnosing and treating fluid in the ear each year. However, the fluid most often disappears of its own accord and does not lead to acute ear infections. Also, antihistamines and antibiotics have little effect on the condition and do not help prevent delays in learning or language and speech development. More »

Possible suicide risk in children treated with SSRI’s—TheFamily Health Guide

No one wants his or her child to be unhappy, let alone clinically depressed. So when a diagnosis of childhood depression surfaces parents may be tempted to go along with a doctor's suggestion or even ask the doctor for a prescription of antidepressants for the child. But what is supposed to help may actually end up causing harm. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning of a possible suicide risk in children and adolescents treated with a certain class of antidepressants that includes Prozac and Paxil. The available data from clinical trials suggest selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may be associated with an increase in suicidal behaviors and attempts shortly after the start of treatment. Although Prozac is the only SSRI known to have a benefit in children and approved for such use by the FDA, other drugs in this class may be prescribed "off-label" at a physician's discretion. Already the British counterpart of the FDA recommends against using SSRIs in children. And recently, a review in the British journal The Lancet showed Prozac is the only SSRI not associated with negative outcomes in children. The review involved an analysis of data from published and unpublished studies. When comparing data from studies published in medical journals, all the SSRIs offered a greater benefit than risk. But when unpublished studies, which tend to have negative results, were also included they showed that the risks outweighed the benefits for all the SSRIs except Prozac. More »

Bad backs and backpacks

While going to and from school many kids these days look like they have the weight of the world on their shoulders. Although it might not be quite so heavy, some kids actually do carry around a lot of weight in their backpacks. These heavy loads place stress on the spine and shoulders of children, causing muscle strain and fatigue. For some kids the aches and pains are bad enough to seek medical attention. Too much weight can also lead to bad habits such as poor posture and excessive slouching. Unfortunately, doing homework and being prepared in class means carrying books back and forth between school and home. You can help your child lighten the load by teaching him or her organizational skills. By using folders for individual subjects your child can bring home just the work he needs for the day as opposed to lugging everything home. At school, encourage your child to take frequent trips in between classes to his or her locker to replace books. You can also buy a suitable backpack and follow guidelines for proper use: More »