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Parents Need to Know is a newsletter written by Craig Collison, MD, pediatrician with Mount Nittany Physician Group.
 
Broken bone or just a sprain? How does a parent know?
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
 

Unless you were blessed with the powers of Superman and his x-ray vision, you won't be able to determine whether an injury to your child involves a broken bone or just a sprain. That being said, there are many clues that can help steer you towards a probable diagnosis.

  1. Location: Pain and swelling that occurs in the middle region of a bone - away from either joint - are more likely to be some sort of break or fracture. Pain and swelling at a joint can be either a fracture or a soft tissue sprain.
  2. Deformity: Any sign of deviation from the normal anatomic structure of a body part is a clear sign of fracture or dislocation. Swelling at a joint that doesn't alter the normal anatomic structure of a body part can be a fracture, dislocation or a soft tissue sprain.
  3. Mechanism of Injury: Injuries occur from several different mechanisms, most commonly a direct impact or a twisting injury. Fractures are more likely from a direct impact, and twisting injuries are more commonly soft tissue sprains or tears. But, keep in mind; fractures can occur from twisting action also.
  4. Weight Bearing and Use of Injured Body Part: If the child is unable to bear weight on the injured leg or unable to have any use of an upper body part, that increases the likelihood of a fracture. If they can bear weight or use a body part - even with pain - it lowers the chance of a fracture.
 
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The challenges of an emergency department visit
 
 
Natalie Morales of NBC's The Today Show recently shared her account of taking her child to the emergency department in this story. The long-and-short of it is that it's a story of a young child going to the emergency department (ED) for some stitches.

A trip to the ED is never in your plans. It's a major disruption to your day and very stressful for all involved. Taking your children to the ED adds another layer of stress as you watch them endure difficult and often painful tests, all while hoping to make them better.

It is good to mentally prepare for the ED before you get there. It is usually going to be a long stay, so try to get yourself in a good frame of find to be patient and comforting for your child. If you are outwardly stressed it will add to your child's stress as well, so do your best to be calm and supportive - at least on the outside.
 
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Ask the pediatrician: Children sneaking food
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
 

Dr. Collison,

At what age should I be worried that my child is still sneaking food? I know young children will "sneak a cookie from the cookie jar," but my 9-year-old daughter who has always struggled with weight issues is still sneaking food when I am not looking. I struggle with not wanting to push a complex on her when we discuss it. I keep healthy snack options in the house but portions are a problem. She wants lots of snacks, etc.


You are right in that this is a very challenging issue and one that is facing a big percentage of kids and parents these days. You want them to eat right and maintain a healthy weight but you don't want them obsessing about food, their weight, or to lose self esteem. You don't want them so worried about it that it leads to anorexia or bulimia or depression or eating to the point of obesity and all the issues that brings.

My opinion would be to openly talk about food and food choices and focus on aspects of health other than weight, such as a healthy heart, healthy immune system, and healthy growing (height). I believe that kids should be able to have treats once in a while but that snacks and meals should be as healthy as possible, with the treat coming after eating healthy. This both promotes eating healthy meals and snacks and has the less healthy foods coming when the child is already somewhat full. This will hopefully keep them satisfied with a smaller portion of the treat.

 
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Potty training on-the-go
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
 

Potty training 'incidents' have made the national news lately: One report of a woman potty training in the middle of a restaurant and the other of a woman who was cited when her toddler urinated in public.

I've certainly seen lots of interesting ideas when it comes to strategies for potty training toddlers, but the "public potty" one is new to me. In my opinion, potty training in the middle of a restaurant is wrong, unsanitary, and, arguably most importantly, doesn't accomplish what potty training is: Teaching a toddler to control when and where they use the potty. I don't see how keeping them on a potty, as described in the first story, or urinating in public, as described in the second story, helps potty training one bit. It would prevent accidents on the way to the potty but doesn't serve the right purpose in helping the child learn to control their bathroom needs.

 
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Recent recalls announced by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
 

Here are just a few recent product recalls as announced by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. For the most up-to-date recall information, please visit www.cpsc.gov and click on the Recalls tab from the home page.

Name of Product: Range Rider Ride-On Toy Cars

Hazard: The battery can overheat, smoke, melt and catch on fire, posing fire and burn hazards to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: Bluestem has received nine reports of incidents in which batteries smoked or caught on fire and melted the battery's connections or scorched the plastic in the ride-on car. No injuries have been reported.

Description: This recall involves battery-powered Range Rider ride-on toy cars with an off-road vehicle body style and plastic tires. The ride-on cars were sold in pink and tan colors. The recalled Range Riders can be identified by their product code and model number. The model number is on the back of the seat of the ride-on toy car. The product code does not appear on the ride-on toy cars but can be found on the product carton. The recalled models include:

  • Model: 90407B/Product Code: NI374/Product: Tan Range Rider
  • Model: 90407G/Product Code: NU640/Product: Pink Range Rider

Sold by: Fingerhut catalogs and online at Fingerhut.com and Gettington.com from September 2010 through May 2012 for between $200 and $230.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled ride-on toy cars and remove the battery and contact Bluestem for a full refund of the purchase price plus reimbursement for shipping and handling. The firm is directly contacting those who purchased the recalled ride-on toy cars.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Bluestem tollfree at 866.931.5417 between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm (CT), Monday through Friday, or visit the firm's website at www.fingerhut.com or www.gettington.com and click on Product Recall.

 
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Please submit your question to parentsNTK@yahoo.com and look for the answer in future months for Parents Need To Know.
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