All About ADHD - Facts on attention deficit hyperactive disorder
Someone has just suggested that your child might have ADHD. You have heard this term in the media and on the playground. Perhaps you know other kids who have been diagnosed with it. Still, you wonder what ADHD really is. Is it something teachers and doctors invented to keep rambunctious kids under control? If it exists, is medication really necessary? Would you be dimming your child’s normal energy and spunk, just to manage challenging behaviour? When it comes to the health and happiness of our children, we all want to do what is best. Understanding this condition can help you and your child deal with a possible diagnosis of ADHD.
Amblyopia (Lazy Eye Blindness) - Why it's important to detect amblyopia early
Years ago when cartoonist Charles. M. Schulz put an eye patch on Peanuts character Lucy, he did an enormous service to parents. Millions of faithful readers checked in every day to see how Lucy was handling the eye patch treatment for ‘amblyopia ex anopsia’ – lazy eye blindness. Millions of parents wondered if their child might have the same problem.
Asthma and Your Child - steps to keep asthma under control
Asthma is a chronic condition affecting children as well as adults. It cannot be cured, only controlled. To understand what a severe asthma attack feels like, breathe in very deeply and hold for a second. Now, try to take another breath. This unpleasant sensation occurs when a trigger causes airways to the lungs narrow. Symptoms of asthma are wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and mucous production.
Attention Deficit Disorder - answers to common questions
Attention Deficit Disorder, also called Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, affects the way at least five per cent of North American children learn, behave and socialize. Parents and teachers often have the same questions about this common disorder.
Autism and Immunization - are they linked?
Children with autism have difficulty interacting and communicating with others. They often focus intensely on an interest or action, repeating the same thing over and over. Although the risk of autism is influenced by genetic factors and tends to run in families, we still don’t know much about what causes it. Some parents of children with autism believe that immunization plays a role. Other families wonder whether they should have their children vaccinated.
Bed Wetting - a common but rarely serious problem
Many kids, especially boys, continue to wet the bed until they are almost in their teens. At age five, between 15 to 25 per cent of children still wet the bed whether every night or only once in a while. By age 12, the amount of even occasional bedwetting drops to about eight per cent of boys and four per cent of girls. Many social problems are attached to bedwetting (nocturnal enuresis), so it is certainly a significant social concern. Fortunately, bedwetting is rarely due to a major medical concern.
Bow Legs, Knock Knees and Pigeon Toes
Infants are usually born with bow legs because of the position they are in before birth. During babies' early months, when most of their activity is in the lying and crawling positions, the bend is often not even noticeable. The bow becomes apparent when they stand and begin to walk. Everyone is familiar with the particular step and stride of the newly walking toddler.
Caring for Your Sick Toddler - Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of Common
As parents, few things are scarier than seeing your little one sick. It is a lonely experience when your toddler wakes up screaming and hot at three in the morning! No matter how relaxed you may be, seeing your little one suffer is likely to bring considerable anxiety and many questions. It would really help to know how worried you should be and how urgently you need to consult a health-care provider. Luckily, most acute illnesses for kids this age are caused by viral infections and tend to be mild. In such cases, time and tender loving care are the main essentials for recovery. Still, you need to be able to recognize certain red-flag signs and symptoms, even if it is three in the morning.
Evaluating Your Childcare Options - Finding the right fit for your family
Most families need some help caring for their children, whether the parents work, attend school, or stay at home. Finding quality childcare can be challenging. Several different childcare options may exist in your community. However, an arrangement that works well for your friend or neighbour may not suit your family.
Childhood Obesity - Not Just Baby Fat
Children love the simple joy of jumping, climbing, running and chasing. These activities are more than just plain fun – they help keep kids healthy. All children need at least one hour of moderate activity each day (such as playing outside or biking).
Childhood Pain & Fever - how to treat it and when to worry
As every parent knows, fevers are common in childhood. Fevers can also be
frightening. Understanding the causes, how to manage a childs fever
and when to seek a doctors help can make it less alarming.
Common Childhood Skin Infections - Help is just a doctor’s visit away
Many skin infections are common in childhood. They are not necessarily a sign of illness or poor hygiene, but rather result from living and playing in the real world. With a little knowledge, you can identify some common, mild conditions and understand what to do. However, a skin outbreak of any kind needs immediate medical attention if your child is unwell (for example, with fever, difficulty breathing, or vomiting) or the rash spreads very rapidly.
Chickenpox - what parents should know
Chickenpox is a very contagious infection. It is caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV). Usually an itchy red rash appears all over the body, accompanied by a mild fever. Chickenpox is considered to be a childhood disease. Before routine immunization with the chickenpox vaccine, about nine of ten Canadians had chickenpox by age 12.
"Mommy, My Head Hurts!" - to watch for and how to help
Although it can be worrying when your child gets a headache, the condition is very common. Most kids have had some kind of headache by the time they reach the age of 18. However, serious causes such as a brain tumour are rare. Rest assured that you can watch for troubling signs, while helping your child feel better.
Children's Hearing Loss - can your child hear properly?
Children learn an amazing number of skills in the first few years of life. Their ability to form sounds, then words, is one of the most fascinating of these skills to observe. The critical period for acquiring spoken language is from birth to three years of age. To be successful, children must be able to hear.
Not Just Baby Fat - is extra weight affecting your child's health?
Our society is fattening up. Childhood obesity is becoming a global problem and Canadian children are not immune. In Canada, the number of obese children tripled over the last 15 years. Health professionals worry about this dramatic increase. Obesity poses serious health threats, and can lead to chronic disease even in childhood. As a parent, you can help your child stay healthy and active, keeping the pounds off.
Choosing A Babysitter - Tips and Tricks
Though choosing a good babysitter can be stressful, you can find the right person to care for your child. Taking the time to get to know your sitter and developing a professional relationship will help. You want to be able to trust your caregiver. Everyone involved – parent, sitter and child – should know the basic guidelines
Circumcision - changing attitudes about a difficult decision
For centuries newborn boys routinely underwent circumcision, or surgical removal of the foreskin of the penis. This is an important religious ritual for many and a social custom for others. Recently, we have begun to debate the pros and cons of routine, non-ritual circumcision of male babies. By contrast, circumcision for medical reasons causes almost no controversy.
Colds & Flu - dealing with a reality of childhood
As most parents know, children seem to pick up every virus that is making the rounds at day care or school. The most common ailments are flu and common colds.
Children's Speech - pinpointing problems early makes a big difference
Parents often wonder how well their child’s speech and language skills are developing. Communication skills are extremely important to a child’s future well-being. Discovering any problems early gives a child a better chance to learn how to communicate successfully. A child who has difficulties can work with a speech-language pathologist (SLP) who is specially trained to help people with communication problems.
Croup - advice for parents
Croup is a respiratory illness more common in young children. In croup, a virus triggers swelling of the windpipe around the voice box. This swelling can cause a barky, seal-like cough and a hoarse voice. Often a 'crowing' sound, called stridor, is heard as your child breathes in.
Daytime Wetting - help for a common problem
By age three and a half, only about three-quarters of children are dry both day and night. Others continue to struggle with this important milestone. About one out of five preschool children have problems with bladder and bowel control. One in ten children in grade one have a significant problem with day or nighttime wetting. These problems are ten times more common in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Wetting and soiling are embarrassing for children and time-consuming for daycare providers and school educators. Naturally, parents are affected too.
Is Your Child A Clutz? – Developmental Co-ordination Disorder may be the problem
Have you ever thought your son or daughter seems particularly awkward, sloppy or clumsy? Wonder why your child is unable to pour milk without spilling, and still needs help cutting food? Does your child look odd when running or seem overly awkward when throwing or kicking? Does learning to ride a bicycle or tie shoelaces seem impossible? Is your child slightly overweight compared to others the same age?
Developmental Milestones - Is your child developing normally?
Whether you are a first-time parent or have a house full of children, it is common to wonder if your child is developing normally. It can be hard to avoid comparing your child to others. Maybe your niece walked earlier than expected as a toddler, while Timmy down the block is two but still not talking. Once your child is in school, teachers’ reports can give you a better idea of how your child is developing compared to others her age. How can you know what is considered normal before kindergarten? Being aware of certain milestones will help you to monitor your child’s development, while watching for red flag warning signs.
Diaper Rash - the bottom line
Babies have such sensitive skin that diaper rash (diaper dermatitis) is a common and frustrating problem. Although diaper rash may seem like one condition, it can develop in several different ways. Fortunately, diaper dermatitis can be prevented and treated.
Your Child's Diarrhea - Dealing with a common problem
It is safe to say that at some stage in your young child’s life, you will find yourself faced with an episodea of diarrhea. Most cases last only a few days, clearing up without much effort from you or your doctor. However, you should know the signs that show your child needs medical care.
Discipline - the art of child rearing
Discipline is the process by which parents help children to grow up. Children begins as babies, unable to take care of themselves. The child develops into an adult who is a productive and functional member of society. This process can take 18 or more years of patience, dedication and love.
Your Child's Earache - Questions and Answers about Otitis Media
Many parents with young children are all too familiar with the signs of middle ear infection. Doctors call this condition otitis media. If treated properly, otitis media is not serious. When ignored, the infection can have far-reaching results including hearing loss. A child with poor hearing cannot learn as well. Speech development may be affected. Understanding this condition can help to know when to seek medical attention.
Eczema - helping your child cope
Atopic dermatitis, often called eczema, is very common in all parts of the world. It affects about 10 per cent of babies and three per cent of the total population. The exact cause of this itchy rash is not known. This disease can occur at any age but it is most common in infancy and can continue to young adulthood. Proper treatment can often control symptoms.
Is It An Emergency? Deciding when your child needs urgent care
It is 9:00 p.m. on a Saturday night and young Johnnie has just vomited his entire dinner. Should you rush off to the ER in pajamas and a coat?
Jane has cut her hand on a piece of broken glass. Do you call an ambulance?
Your newborn will not stop crying and you think she has a fever. What should you do?
Feeding Your Baby - Questions and Answers about foods for the first year
Breast milk is the best choice for babies. This statement rings loud, clear and true with very few exceptions*. Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for at least the first four months of life and breastfeeding may continue for up to two years of age or longer. Mothers are encouraged to try to combine breastfeeding with work or school.
Feeding Your Baby - Introducing healthy eating step by step
Feeding your baby can be an exciting and challenging experience. During the first 12 months of life, your baby is learning new skills, such as how to chew food with different textures and how to drink from a cup. As with other aspects of parenting, you will hear all sorts of advice. It can be hard to know the right thing to do. Do you start solids at two weeks, three months or six months?
Feeding Your Toddler - Healthy variety is key
What do you want first – the good news or the bad news? The bad news is that there is no simple, universal nutritional guide to feeding a child ‘properly.’ The good news is that most kids, offered a range of healthy foods, will eat enough to get the nutrition they need to grow well. Simply put, an energetic toddler who is meeting his individual growth pattern at regular check-ups is getting enough nutrition – even if his grandma complains that he never eats!
Head Lice - solutions for an itchy little problem
Do you shudder when you think of nits and lice? Are you convinced that your children will never have lice because you pay attention to their hygiene and keep them clean? If so, you may be one of many parents who have mistaken ideas. In fact, nits and lice do not respect socio-economic status or cleanliness. They are an easily treated nuisance many children experience as soon as they come in contact with other children.
How Well Does Your Child Hear? - Early testing is important
Children learn an amazing amount in the first few years of life. Their ability to form sounds, and then words, is fascinating to observe. The critical period for learning language is from birth to three years of age. To be successful, children must be able to hear.
Hips and Clicks in Infants - early diagnosis prevents problems later
Shortly after birth, each newborn receives a thorough physical exam. This exam is likely to be repeated at least once while the baby is in hospital, and several times over the first year of life. These exams are often done by the family doctor, but may be done by other health professionals such as nurses and medical specialists. An important part of the exam is a check of the hips. This check is done to ensure that both hips are solid, and that the joint cannot be easily dislocated.
Hearing issues in newborns - How Well Does Your Baby Hear?
A baby has arrived in your family and you are thrilled. Of course, you want to take the best possible care of your little one. Checking your baby’s hearing is part of providing that care.
Does your baby respond to loud noise? Does your three-month-old coo, and quiet when you speak? Does your six-month-old baby gurgle and babble, and respond to changes in the tone of your voice? Does your one-year-old child try to imitate speech sounds, testing words like dada or mama?
Heart Murmurs in Children - are they a problem?
As many as 50 per cent of children have heart murmurs that do not indicate heart disease. These murmurs, called innocent, functional or vibratory are heard with a stethoscope and come from a a normal heart. They are most common in children between the ages of two and five.
How Children Grow
All parents take great pride in watching their children develop. Although it is a complex process, growth seems so natural that it is often taken for granted. Sometimes, the pattern of a child’s growth may alert a doctor or nurse to an illness or medical problem that parents may not suspect. By understanding key stages of growth in children, parents may be more able to know if and when they should be concerned.
Influenza - what to do when your kids have the flu
Most Canadian parents have concerns about the approach of ‘flu season.’ The influenza virus causes this illness, commonly known as flu. Outbreaks usually begin abruptly. As influenza spreads, the number of cases peaks in about three weeks, dropping after another month. Twenty to 50 per cent of the population may be affected, with the highest rate of illness in five to 14 year olds.
Injuries to Children's Teeth - your dentist can help
As babies start to crawl and explore the world, they meet many obstacles where they might be hurt. Through the active years of childhood and adolescence, these obstacles become even more common. Injuries causing damage to the teeth, bone, gums, cheeks and lips are common. Childhood dental injuries can have a long lasting and serious effect. They may lead to discomfort, discolouration, altered tooth development, infection (if left untreated) or tooth loss.
Introducing Solid Foods - A step-by-step guide
Few things in life are more exciting than having a baby. Along with the delight, many parents question whether they are making the right decisions for their child. Health care providers are often asked when and how to introduce solid foods into a baby’s diet. Many well-meaning people have opinions, from grandmas and aunties to neighbours and even strangers. The guidelines outlined here are based on the latest evidence, and are flexible enough that most families can follow them.
Iron - The importance of iron for infants and preschoolers
Iron is a mineral that infants and children need for growth, health and development. Most iron in the body is found in hemoglobin, the part of red blood cells which carries oxygen, but some is located elsewhere in body tissues.
Kids and Medical Laboratory Tests - preparation makes a big difference
Even adults get nervous when faced with a medical laboratory test. Naturally children are afraid when they do not understand what is going to happen. Helping your child to be ready is well worth the effort. Love, support and accurate information greatly reduce anxiety and encourage co-operation. You help your child best by explaining the test, meeting pre-test requirements, and offering support during the procedure itself.
Kids and Sports Injuries - What you need to know
Many of us have had injuries related to sports or exercise. Some injuries may be acute, stemming from a specific event like a twisted ankle. Others are chronic, developing over time from overuse of certain joints, muscle or tendons. Just like adults, children can injure themselves during sports and exercise. However, children are not just miniature copies of adults when it comes to sports injuries. Adults and children have the same anatomy of ligaments attaching bone to bone and tendons attaching muscle to bone. The difference is that children are growing. In particular, their bones are still growing. New bone is laid down over time in specific areas called growth plates. This process makes bones longer and bigger. By late adolescence and early adulthood, growth plates fuse closed as the bones finish growing.
Learning disabled people are different in the way their brains take in, organize and send out messages. They see, hear, feel and move just like everyone else. The difference is a "gap" between what they could do (potential) and what they are doing (performance). The learning disabled have great difficulty doing certain things in a set pattern. They must learn to work around their problems or to compensate to reach their goals.
A Parent's Guide to Children's Legs
Parents and grandparents often notice that the legs and feet of the new baby in the family seem to be less than perfectly straight.
Recognizing Learning Disabilities
Very few children appear to have special learning needs during preschool years, as most parents naturally adjust to their child's learning style and pattern. Once a child reaches school, however, problems that exist may become obvious.
RSV - Understanding this childhood respiratory virus
RSV stands for respiratory syncytial (sin-SIH-shul) virus. It infects half of all children by the time they are a year old, and almost all by the age of two. RSV is the most common cause of lower respiratory tract infections, including pneumonia and bronchiolitis, in children. About 10,000 children are hospitalized in Canada each year with RSV infection. Infections mainly occur from November to April.
Childhood Rashes - How to deal with the spots on your tot
Almost everyone will have a rash at some point in their life. Most rashes occur in childhood and many of these concern parents. Sometimes the cause of the rash is obvious, but many times it is difficult to determine. Fortunately, most rashes that affect children are self-limited - that is, they will go away without any specific treatment.
Safe Summer Fun - enjoy the season, but play safe too
It’s vacation time again. School is out. Time for the family, especially the children, to have fun. Safe fun is not an oxymoron. Let’s review how you can make it happen, while enjoying the summer.
Scoliosis - identifying and correcting a disfiguring condition
Scoliosis is a potentially serious spinal disorder that affects many children especially those between ages eight and 18.
School Readiness - helping your child back to school
Summer is half over. As the beginning of the school year approaches, you start making lists: school clothes, supplies, sports clothes and shoes, books... But have you forgotten something? What about the person who is going to use these things? Is your child ready, not so much with books and clothes, but physically and emotionally?
Sleep Struggles - Does your child have disrupted sleep?
Once a healthy bedtime routine is established for your child, it can feel like the sleep ‘work’ is done. Then you hear a scream in the night or awaken with your child standing at the end of your bed, confused. As children grow, their sleep patterns change. Most people can recall the feeling of nightmares, which are more common for children than adults. In addition to nightmares other normal sleep behaviours, called parasomnias, may not be as familiar to parents and even seem frightening.
Sniffles & Fevers, Rashes & Coughs - Recognizing common childhood illnesses
Does it seem that once September hits, your child just goes from one cold to another? Have your plans been turned upside down yet again because your child cannot go to school or daycare? You may wonder if something is wrong with your child’s ability to fight off infection. Is this normal?.
Sore Throats - help for a common complaint
Sore throats are one of the most common reasons why parents take their children to see the family doctor. It may be the only complaint or one of a group of symptoms. Although some think of any sore throat as ‘Strep throat,’ only a few cases are actually caused by the Streptococcus bacteria. A wide range of diseases, most relatively harmless, can be produced by Streptococcus. However, the type known as Group A (GAS) causes a few serious illnesses.
Strep Throat - a sore throat that needs medical attention
Strep throat is a red, swollen throat common in school-age children. Children under two years of age and adults not exposed to children are much less likely to get strep throat. It is caused by strep infection, usually a Group A type. It is spread from person to person by droplets of saliva (spit) or nasal secretions.
Thumbsucking - what to do if it is a problem
Most babies find comfort from sucking on something such as a thumb or a soother. This type of sucking also satisfies the baby's inborn need to suck. While most children stop without any interference from parents by age four, some continue the habit until nursery school age or even the preteen years. There are even a few adults who still indulge in thumbsucking.
Toddler Safety - vigilance is key
If you have a toddler, you already know about the independence and curiosity of children of this age. Toddlers want to know what is in the bottle, beyond the fence or on top of the fridge. They explore their surroundings, watching and imitating adults. Toddlers are quick and can disappear in a flash. They have not learned to tell the difference between reality and fantasy. Their attention span is short and they are easily distracted. Danger is a concept they do not understand.
Travelling with Children - plan for success
Whether you want to see the sights in Canada or prefer to cross borders, the idea of travelling with
children can be daunting. Although parents may hesitate to plan a family holiday, the experience can
be enjoyable. Taking a little extra care before you leave helps to make your vacation with kids a success.
My Tummy Hurts! - What parents should know about children's abdominal pain
Children often complain of a stomach ache. This symptom can puzzle doctors as much as it does parents. A recent study of kids taken to a hospital emergency department with abdominal pain showed half were sent home without any certain diagnosis being made! Often the doctor’s role is to reassure both child and parents that nothing serious can be found.
Urinary Tract Infections - Identifying a common childhood problem
Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are a relatively common cause of acute illness in children. Some studies report that up to eight per cent of girls and two per cent of boys will have a urinary tract infection before they turn seven years old.
When Should Your Child Go to the Doctor? Signs that parents need to know
Young kids find it hard to explain how they are feeling. It can be difficult for parents to know what to do with a child who is cranky, sick, or behaving out of the ordinary. In some ways, looking after a small child is like looking after a pet. An animal who has a limp or is acting unusual cannot tell you why - you have to figure it out. It can be much the same with children.
Whooping Cough - Immunization makes a difference
It can be difficult to watch as your small baby or child receives an immunization. However, the illness and complications such vaccinations protect against are much harder to tolerate. Whooping cough (pertussis) is one disease we take the trouble to immunize against during the first six months of life. It is the most frequently reported, vaccine-preventable disease in Canada.
Vaccinations - a safe way to guard against serious illness
Vaccination has long been proven to prevent disease. This old medical practice has been expanded greatly in recent years. The famous English doctor, Edward Jenner, developed the first vaccine in the late 18th century. Jenner noticed that milkmaids who caught cowpox did not catch smallpox, a common and very terrible disease in those days. From that observation, he went on to develop a method of vaccinating people against smallpox using cowpox materials.
Winning the Bedtime Battle - Healthy sleep habits for children
Life is so busy that it can be hard to make sure children get the sleep they need. For some families, bedtime is a real battle. Although quality sleep is important for all of us, it is critical for your child’s developing brain. Attention span, behavior, learning and memory all improve with adequate sleep. In contrast, too little sleep increases the risk of accident and injury, as well as high blood pressure, obesity and type 2 diabetes. For older children and teens, lack of sleep is thought to contribute to self-harm and suicidal thoughts.
Worried Sick - A look at children and anxiety
We all have periods of worry and anxiety in our lives, even children. Usually, worry is related to specific events – an upcoming exam, an important performance, or a sick family member. More often than not, these feelings lessen once the event is over. However, sometimes the worry and anxiety do not go away. What if the worry is there most of the time? What if daily life has become too difficult to handle for the child and the family? If your child seems to worry excessively, it may signal a type of anxiety disorder.
Yeast Infection in Children - a problem for mothers and babies
Yeast infection is a common and uncomfortable condition that is seen most often in women of child-bearing age and in infants. This problem is caused by a fungus called Candida. It is found in the mouth, vagina and stool of most people.
Your Child's Diarrhea - How to treat symptoms and recognize the signs of danger
It is safe to say that at some stage in your young child's life, you will find yourself faced with an episode of diarrhea. Most cases will last only a few days and will be taken care of without much effort from you or your doctor. However, it is important that you understand the signs that show the need for medical care
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