My Blog

Posts for category: Pediatrics

By Blaine E. Tolby, MD
October 07, 2019
Category: Pediatrics
Tags: Appendicitis  

Truth is, anyone with an appendix can get appendicitis—even our children. Appendicitis is a painful inflammation of the hollow, finger-shaped organ attached to the end of the large intestine. If left untreated, an inflamed appendix can rupture, leading to a lengthy hospital stay for complications including abdominal infection and bowel obstruction.  

When your child complains of stomach pain, consult your pediatrician for proper diagnosis and to ensure the health of your child. Since appendicitis is potentially life-threatening, it is important to understand the symptoms so that you can spot appendicitis in your child. In order of appearance, the symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain

  • Vomiting

  • Loss of appetite

  • Fever

Unfortunately, symptoms of appendicitis might also be hidden by a viral or bacterial infection that preceded it. Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and fever may appear before the typical pain of appendicitis, which makes the diagnosis much more difficult.

Your child’s discomfort might also disappear, which will persuade you that they are better. However, this disappearance of pain could also mean that the appendix has just broken open or ruptured. The pain might leave for several hours, but this is the moment when appendicitis becomes dangerous, making it more important than ever to visit your pediatrician for immediate care for your child.

Treatment

When your pediatrician diagnoses your child with appendicitis, surgery is usually needed as soon as possible. Surgically removing the appendix is usually the treatment of choice, as it is important to eliminate the inflamed appendix before it bursts.  

While most children with abdominal pain do not have appendicitis, you can never be too safe when it comes to the health of your child. Visit your pediatrician for further diagnosis of this serious problem and to take the next steps toward a healthy child.

By Blaine E. Tolby, MD
August 30, 2019
Category: Pediatrics
Tags: Concussions  

Child's ConcussionA hit to the head during a soccer game or a hard fall from skateboarding may result in a serious head injury and even a concussion. The American Academy of Pediatrics describes a concussion as any injury to the brain that disrupts normal brain function on a temporary or permanent basis. These injuries are typically caused by a blow to the head, most often occurring while playing contact sports such as football, hockey, soccer, wrestling or skateboarding.

For some children, concussions only last for a short while. Other times, a person can have symptoms of a concussion that last for several days or weeks following the injury. Not all symptoms of concussions will be obvious, and in some cases take several hours to set in. Look for these signs of a concussion if your child suffers a head injury:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or loss of balance
  • Memory loss or confusion
  • Poor concentration
  • Vision problems
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability or changes in mood
  • Sensitivity to light or noise

Seek Medical Attention

If your child injures his head or you believe he may have a concussion, it is important that the child discontinues play immediately and visits a healthcare provider for an evaluation. All concussions are serious and should be monitored right away. A pediatrician can properly diagnose the concussion and its severity, and then make appropriate treatment recommendations.

Rest from all activities is the best treatment for concussions. Your pediatrician can make appropriate recommendations for when the child should return to future play. Recovery time depends on the child and the severity of the concussion.

Preventing Head Injuries

Not all head injuries can be avoided, but you can do a few important things to prevent them.

  • Buckle Up. Make sure your child is properly buckled up in a seat belt, car seat or booster seat.  
  • Safety Gear. If your child plays sports, make sure he wears appropriate headgear and other safety equipment.
  • Awareness. Children should be taught how to play safe and understand the importance of reporting any type of head injury to their parent or coach.

All head injuries should be taken seriously.  Early detection and treatment is the best way to prevent serious complications. It’s never a bad idea to contact your pediatrician when you have questions or concerns about your child’s head injury.

By Blaine E. Tolby, MD
July 31, 2019
Category: Pediatrics
Tags: Car Seats  

Kids may complain about being restrained in the car, but car seats and booster seats save lives. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that using a car or booster seat in a passenger car reduces the risk of fatal injury 71 percent in children younger than 1 and 54 percent in toddlers ages 1 to 4. The statistics are just as impressive for older kids.

What type of seat should I use for my child?

Infants and toddlers should ride in rear-facing seats until they reach the highest weight or height recommended by the manufacturer. In the past, children were routinely removed from rear-facing seats when they were 2, even if they didn't meet height or weight limits. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently changed their guidelines and now recommend that kids remain in the seats as long as possible.

Toddlers and pre-schoolers who have reached the maximum height or weight limits for rear-facing seats should use forward-facing car seats. Again, the seats should be used until the child reaches the maximum height and weight recommendations.

Once kids are too tall or heavy for car seats, they will transition to booster seats. Booster seats should be used until children are 4'9" tall and 8 to 12 years old. Older children can begin using seat belts at that point but should sit in the back seat when possible, particularly if they're younger than 13.

How can I tell if the car seat is installed correctly?

Both car and booster seats should be securely fashioned with a latch system or seat belt. If the seat moves back and forth freely, it's not installed correctly. Properly installed seats should move no more than an inch in any direction.

My child's legs seem too long for the car seat. What should I do?

You may wonder if your child should move up to the next seat or a booster seat if your child's feet touch the back of car seat. As long as your child is shorter than the maximum height for the seat, he or she should remain in the current seat.

Should my child use a secondhand car seat?

Passing a seat down to your next child can be a good idea if your children are only a few years apart in age. Before you reuse a seat for a younger child, make sure that it hasn't expired or been recalled since you bought it. Throw away car and booster seats after accidents, even minor ones. The seat may look perfectly fine but may be damaged internally.

Buying secondhand car seats online or at yard sales should be avoided. You won't necessarily know if the seat has been in an accident or if it has defective latches or restraints.

Using car seats consistently, whether you're going to the grocery store or taking a cross-country trip, can help your child avoid serious injuries due to traffic accidents. Talk to your child's pediatrician if you have questions about the seats.