5 common topics parents and pediatricians discuss
Every stage of a child’s life brings new questions and concerns for parents and caregivers. We’re here to share some of the topics we routinely discuss during visits in our office.
- Temperature checks: A baby can’t tell you how they feel. Taking their temperature may inform you if they are getting sick. A fever is defined as a temperature of 100.4° F or higher. The best way to check a newborn’s temperature is with a rectal thermometer. As children grow, armpit or under-the-tongue readings work well. If your baby has a fever in the first three months of life, contact their pediatrician, as fevers can be an indication of a severe infection. Your child’s temperature, age and other signs of illness will help your doctor recommend the right treatment for your child.
- Safe sleep: The safest space for your baby to sleep is in a crib or bassinet with a firm mattress in the room with a parent. Avoid toys, pillows, bumpers or loose blankets in the bassinet, as this increases the risk of suffocation and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Decrease your baby’s risk for SIDS by making sure they always sleep alone and on their back. Co-sleeping with your infant is dangerous and should be avoided.
- Car seats: The huge variety of car seat models and brands can be overwhelming. The best car seat is one that fits your child’s size, is correctly installed, fits well in your vehicle and is fastened properly every time you drive. Avoid used car seats if you do not know their history. Do not use car seats with missing parts or labels, cracks or that have been in a car during a collision. Keep babies in rear-facing car seats until age 2 or until they reach the weight or height limit allowed by the car seat manufacturer. If you have questions or need help installing your car seat, find a certified child passenger safety technician or stop by your local fire department.
- Colic: Some babies go through a normal fussy period between 4-8 weeks of age, sometimes called colic. This is often defined as the rule of three: crying for greater than three hours per day, three or more days a week for three or more weeks. Colic can be very frustrating for parents, especially since fussy periods usually occur at night. We recommend the 5 S’s for soothing: swaddling, swinging, side-positioning, shushing and sucking (a pacifier or clean finger) while comforting your infant. If you think the fussiness is associated with gas pain, move your baby’s legs in a bicycling pattern or give them a gentle tummy massage. If your baby is crying inconsolably for more than four hours, is not stooling or feeding normally, contact your child’s pediatrician.
- Prevention: Childhood vaccination helps provide immunity before kids are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases. Most childhood vaccines are recommended during your baby’s first 12-18 months of life to prevent severe illness and hospitalization. Following a vaccine schedule helps children develop lasting immunity and protects others from serious diseases.
If you have questions, talk with your child’s pediatrician. We are here to partner with you to keep your child healthy and thriving.
Drs. Khin Khin Bremer, Rebecca Kirk and Emma Olivera are pediatricians with Advocate Children’s Medical Group.
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About the Author
Drs. Khin Khin Bremer, Rebecca Kirk and Emma Olivera are pediatricians with Advocate Children's Medical Group.