Posts for category: Children's Health

By Colts Neck Pediatrics
June 20, 2022
Category: Children's Health

Learn more about developmental and behavioral disorders in children.

A growing child can greatly benefit from visiting their pediatrician regularly for routine checkups. No, a child doesn’t have to be sick to visit the doctor. These regular wellness visits can help our pediatrician spot issues such as developmental delays and behavioral disorders that require special care and treatment. Here’s what you should know about common developmental and behavioral problems in kids and how a pediatrician can help,

Types of Developmental Disorders

Developmental disorders fall under the categories of,

  • Cognitive (e.g., mental retardation; learning disabilities)
  • Motor (e.g., cerebral palsy; muscular dystrophy; spinal atrophies)
  • Behavior (e.g., anxiety disorders; autism; ADHD)
  • Vision, hearing and speech (e.g., delayed language acquisition; hearing or vision impairments)

Some of the most common types of developmental disorders in children include,

  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Cerebral palsy
  • ADHD
  • Genetic disorders
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Spina bifida
  • Down syndrome

Signs of Developmental and Behavioral Disorders

Warning signs and when they appear seem to vary from child to child. Some parents notice developmental delays as early as infancy, while others may not notice these concerns until they start school. Some warning signs include,

  • Difficulty learning and academic troubles
  • Delayed speech, unclear speech or difficulties communicating with others
  • Social withdrawal
  • Delay in crawling, sitting up or walking
  • Has trouble completing everyday tasks such as grooming, washing hands or getting dressed
  • Has trouble focusing on an activity
  • Intense or extreme behaviors such as aggression, anxiety, irritability or frequent temper tantrums

When to See a Doctor

If you notice any of these delays, we understand how concerning this can be. The good news is that you don’t immediately need to run to a specialist for help. All you have to do is turn to your pediatrician for an evaluation. A pediatrician can perform a thorough assessment to determine if your child may be displaying signs of a developmental or behavioral disorder. Your pediatrician may recommend more in-depth testing, which may require turning to a mental health professional for an accurate diagnosis.

Suppose your child displays behavioral issues, or you notice that they aren’t reaching certain developmental milestones. In that case, it’s important to speak with your pediatrician at their next appointment or to call their office to find out if you should bring your child in for an evaluation.

By Colts Neck Pediatrics
May 13, 2022
Category: Children's Health
Tags: Anxiety  

Be able to spot the warning signs of anxiety in your child.

Anxiety is undoubtedly on the rise, not just for adults but for children. The pandemic has certainly left kids feeling uncertain and worried about the future. It’s important to pick up on the signs that your child might have anxiety so you can talk with their pediatrician about tips and strategies to help them better cope with the issues they’re facing.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms?

Children with anxiety may display these behaviors or motions,

  • Avoidance
  • Anger and aggression
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Nightmares
  • Headaches
  • Unexplained physical symptoms such as stomachaches
  • Nail-biting and other “nervous habits”
  • Bedwetting
  • Appetite changes
  • Insomnia
  • Social withdrawal and isolation
  • Issues focusing or concentrating

How Can I Help My Child?

It’s important to figure out the type of anxiety your child is dealing with to help them cope with these emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. There are certain habits you can start adopting now that can help your child better deal with their anxiety symptoms,

  • Don’t try to reason with your child when they are panicked or anxiety
  • Help them take deep belly breathes to help stabilize their sympathetic nervous system
  • Validate your child’s fears and listen to them; never dismiss them or tell them to “buck up”
  • Don’t avoid the fear, which can often make it worse, but help your child face the fear with baby steps (talk to your child’s pediatrician about the best ways to do this)

These are some helpful tips to get parents started when they notice their child’s “worry brain” taking over. Of course, if you suspect that they could have a true anxiety disorder, it’s important to speak with your pediatrician right away.

How Are Childhood Anxiety Disorders Treated?

In most cases, your pediatrician will provide a referral to a psychotherapist that works with children. The first appointment, or intake session, will allow the therapist to get to know your child and determine if they have an anxiety disorder. Cognitive-behavioral therapy tends to be the ideal treatment option to help children talk through their fears and discover effective coping strategies to help them face and overcome their fears. Sometimes medications are prescribed in conjunction with therapy and lifestyle changes.

Worried that your child might have an anxiety disorder? If so, this is the ideal time to speak with their pediatrician to find out if they could benefit from additional diagnostic testing or talking to a mental health professional who works with children. A pediatrician can provide resources, support, and referrals.

By Colts Neck Pediatrics
December 16, 2021
Category: Children's Health
Tags: Constipation  
Your Infant and ConstipationIt’s not typically common for infants to have issues with constipation; however, sometimes it happens. While many babies won’t deal with constipation they may have irregular bowel movements as their bodies naturally try to adjust to a set schedule. If you are concerned it’s always best to talk with your child’s pediatrician. Recognize the real signs of constipation in your infant.

Know the Warning Signs

For your child to truly be dealing with constipation, here are some of the warning signs:
  • Stools that are hard to pass
  • Infrequent stools
  • Excessive straining or straining more than normal
  • Swollen belly with gas
  • Painful stomach cramps
  • Stools that resemble small hard pellets, as well as stools that are too soft
  • Diarrhea-like stools
Treating Constipation in Infants

For an adult, they may simply take an over-the-counter laxative to help them go, but treating constipation in infants is different. You never want to give them an over-the-counter laxative or suppository unless otherwise told by your pediatrician. If your child is old enough to eat solid or strained foods, you may want to increase their fruits and vegetables to increase fiber intake.

If your infant is too young for strained food, give them just a couple of ounces of prune or apple juice each day to see if that helps soften the stools. If the stools are too loose, lessen the amount of juice you’re giving them.

When to See a Pediatrician

It’s important that you call your pediatrician if you are ever concerned about your infant’s health. No question is a silly one, especially when it comes to your child. You should call your pediatrician if you notice blood in your baby’s stool, if home remedies do not improve their constipation, or if your baby is fussy due to stomach cramping or pain.

If your little one is having trouble going to the bathroom, a pediatrician will be able to provide you with the answers you need, as well as tips for how to best address the issue. A pediatrician is going to be invaluable, especially for new parents, as they navigate parenthood. Talk to your pediatrician today.
By Colts Neck Pediatrics
June 21, 2021
Category: Children's Health
Pediatric Urinary IncontinenceWhile children under 3 years old will not have control over their bladders, older kids that still have issues with bladder control may have something known as urinary incontinence or enuresis. As a pediatrician, we understand that this issue can be distressing for kids and their parents. Here’s what you should know if your child is dealing with daytime or bedtime enuresis.
 
When to See a Pediatrician

Accidents happen, but if bedwetting or daytime enuresis is becoming quite frequent in older children then it’s worth seeing your pediatrician for a closer evaluation. Girls happen to gain bladder control a little faster than boys. Girls are often diagnosed with enuresis if they continue to have bladder control issues past the age of 5, while it’s often diagnosed in boys after age 6.
 
The Causes of Enuresis

There are many reasons why your child might be dealing with enuresis, which is another reason to see a pediatrician for answers. Whether your child is dealing with nighttime or daytime enuresis, or both, gives us some idea of what the cause might be. Common causes of nighttime or daytime enuresis include:
  • Overactive bladder
  • Small bladder
  • Intense deep sleep
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Caffeine
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep disorders (often obstructive sleep apnea)
  • Structural issues within the urinary tract
  • Constipation
  • Diabetes
Treating Enuresis

Sometimes enuresis goes away on its own without treatment, while other causes may require treatment. For example, a urinary tract infection will require medication to treat the infection and alleviate the enuresis. Underlying health problems such as diabetes will also require proper treatment and long-term maintenance and care.
We will evaluate your child and ask a series of questions about their symptoms, including their fluid intake, whether they drink caffeine, issues with constipation, trouble or pain with urination, and stress levels. This is will give us clues as to what might be causing your child’s symptoms. From there, we can recommend the best course of action.
 
If you have any concerns about your child’s health, whether it’s bedwetting or immunizations, your pediatrician is the first person to turn to. If your child is wetting the bed or having issues with bladder control, don’t hesitate to talk with your child’s doctor to determine the cause.
By Colts Neck Pediatrics
May 17, 2021
Category: Children's Health
Children's NutritionWhen you turn to your pediatrician for nutritional advice or help, they will always take a personalized approach to help your child meet their nutritional goals, whether that’s losing weight, getting more regular activity, or eating a healthier diet. You may have questions about your child’s nutritional needs, particularly as they grow. We’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions regarding childhood nutrition.
 
Is fruit juice healthy?

Many people seem to think that juice is healthy, and while it does contain vitamin C, there are certainly better sources for ensuring your child gets enough of this important nutrient. Today, most fruit juices found at the grocery store are chock full of sugar and can contribute to weight gain and increase the risk for cavities. A better alternative is whole fruits since they provide more nutritional value than juice will.
 
How many calories should my child consume a day?

How many calories your child consumes will depend on their gender, age, and activity level. A recommended calorie range for kids between 6-12 years old is between 1600-2200 per day. Verywell Family provides a more detailed breakdown by age and gender.
 
I’m worried that might child might not be getting the nutrients they need. What should I do?

First, it’s important to keep in mind that kids don’t need to eat as much as we do, so their portions will be considerably smaller than ours. If your child is growing then chances are good that they are getting the nutrients they need; however, if you find that your child is refusing meals or isn’t eating it’s important to bring this up with your pediatrician as soon as possible.
 
How can I prevent my child from becoming overweight or obese?

To help your child maintain a healthy weight they must be eating a healthy, balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean sources of protein. Make sure that they are also getting at least one hour of physical activity every day. Limit sugar and processed foods.
 
Is snacking okay for my child?

Young children may seem voraciously hungry and may beg for snacks. How many are actually okay? It’s normal for little ones to want food every 3-4 hours. While snacking can be a great way to prevent kids from overeating during mealtimes you don’t want to ply them with treats (and you want to be sure you’re providing them with nutrient-rich snacks rather than sugary ones).

A snack mid-day between lunch and dinner is typically the best time. If it’s only going to be a couple of hours before a meal, then something small like a piece of fruit or a slice of cheese with crackers is good. If your child isn’t going to eat for more than four hours then you’ll want a snack that incorporates protein, fat, and carbs to satiate their appetite.
 
If you are concerned about your child’s health because they are “picky eaters” or are struggling with their weight, you must speak with their pediatrician to find out options that can help them lead a healthier lifestyle.