By Nicole Pelletiere
Diaper rash is one of the most common problems you’ll have to deal with during the first few years of your child’s life. Fortunately, diaper rash treatments (and prevention) are easy to come by.
Diaper rash occurs when your baby’s skin becomes irritated. Most commonly, that happens due to excessive moisture (more on that below), but it can also be the result of certain lotions, wipes, or diapers, says Bridget Boyd, M.D., Medical Director of the Newborn Nursery at Loyola University Medical Center and Assistant Professor of pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.
Usually, too-high moisture levels around your baby’s bum come from diapers that are left on too long, which prevent air exposure and leave his skin wet. With poopie diapers, it’s a combo of moisture plus potential rash-causing bacteria touching his skin. Ick.
Happily, protecting your baby’s skin isn’t complicated. Here’s the basic info every new parent should know about diaper rash treatment and prevention.
Change diapers often
It’s tough to be on top of them 24/7, but try to change wet diapers as soon as they happen (at least every 2 hours). If it’s a poopy diaper, change it right away: You’ll nix the combination of bacteria, moisture, and diaper chafing that most often produce a painful rash.
Pay attention to products
Diaper rash can also develop from a reaction to fragrances in products like diapers, wipes, or lotions. When possible, stick to natural, fragrance-free items, which are gentler on baby’s skin. And if a rash shows up after using a new product? Switch back to the old stuff for a few days before trying the new one again. If the rash comes back, you know the gear change was probably to blame.
Wash instead of wiping
Steer clear of baby wipes with alcohol or fragrances, which can irritate your baby’s skin. (Believe it or not, even wipes that are meant for sensitive skin can be problematic, since they can still contain the offending ingredients, Boyd says.) When you’re home, clean your baby’s bottom with squirt bottle filled with warm water, then dry off gently with a soft washcloth. Heading out for the day? Take a few cloth wipes in a Ziploc and moisten before using. We love the 100% unbleached cotton Flannel Baby Wipes from bumGenius ($12, Cottonbabies.com).
Let it all air out
When you’re home, make it a habit of letting your baby go au natural for a little while (we’re big fans of letting babies nap on a burpie or open cloth diaper). The air exposure will help keep his tush dry, which helps whether you’re trying to heal a rash faster or prevent one in the first place.
Give oatmeal baths
Oats have natural skin-protecting properties that help soothe skin pain and redness while protecting it from rashes down the road. A once- or twice-daily oatmeal bath will do the trick—we love this homemade oatmeal paste recipe from the Healthy Baby Beans blog.
Use a thick barrier cream
Rash or not, when it’s time to change your baby’s diaper, don’t forget the diaper cream—and the thicker the consistency, the better. It’ll act as a barrier against the moisture that usually causes rashes. When choosing a cream keep one thing in mind—the thicker the better.
More from New Parent: How to Survive Baby’s Stomach Bug
By Nicole Gregory
No one likes to see a baby or toddler struggling with cold symptoms—particularly a cough that can linger for weeks. But the FDA and American Academy of Pediatrics both say cough syrup is a bad choice for young kids, because the meds aren’t effective and too much could be dangerous.
“Cough syrups have ingredients such as dextrorphan, which can be harmful,” says Mona Patel, MD, attending physician in the Department of General Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “We’ve had children brought into the emergency room because parents kept giving [cough medicines] to them.”
That’s scary stuff, but the fact remains: You want to be able to do something for a sick child. Thankfully, there are plenty of effective and safe baby cough remedies to choose from. Here, three simple, medicine-free solutions to help your little one feel better fast:
Nasal suction bulb Often, coughing is a reflex in response to an irritation, such as mucus, says Mona Patel. When a child has a stuffy nose, some of that mucus drains down the back of the throat and causes a cough. “For a baby with a runny nose, you can use a nasal bulb [a small rubber bulb available at drugstores] for suction,” she says. Baby cough remedies like adding saline drops to your tot’s nostrils, one at a time, then clearing out the mucus with the bulb, are easy and effective.
Honey For children age 1 and older, Patel recommends giving ½ to 1 teaspoon of honey. “It works by thinning out mucus secretions and loosens the coughing,” she says. Buckwheat honey, in particular, has been shown to soothe young kids’ coughs better than dextromethorphan-containing cough medications. (Honey’s also packed with healthy antioxidants, and its antibacterial properties promote wound healing.) Remember, never give honey to children younger than age 1 because of the potential for infant botulism.
Cold-steam humidifier Adding moisture to the air can soothe coughing, offering children comfort for cold symptoms, especially at night. Cold-steam humidifiers (like Vick’s Starry Night Cool Mist Humidifier) work especially well for croup, an inflammation of the larynx and trachea (voice box and windpipe) that creates a high-pitched, barking cough. Another simple solution: Take your child for a stroll in the cool night air. Cold air opens the windpipe, allowing more air to pass through.
By Stacy Whitman
Concern over not having enough milk is one of the main reasons that breastfeeding mothers quit nursing. But two prescription drugs being used by some to boost production are a bad idea, top experts warn. Reglan, a heartburn medication, is sometimes used off-label to increase a mom’s milk supply, but there’s no proof that it works, says Richard Schanler, MD, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ section on breastfeeding. Plus, it comes with side effects, including depression, that are risky for postpartum women. Likewise, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cautions against taking domperidone, another gastric drug that isn’t approved for any use in the United States. If you’re worried that you’re making inadequate milk, see a lactation consultant ASAP to check your technique. Since breast stimulation increases milk, also try feeding your baby more frequently or using your hand or a breast pump to extract a little milk before nursing.
By Nancy Gottesman
Turns out, potty hygiene can play an important role in helping your family stay healthy during cold and flu season–and all year long. “Teaching good toilet habits is very specific to this age group,” says Kyran Quinlan, MD, MPH, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Chicago. Girls especially need to learn to wipe from front to back. Quinlan says he sees a quite a few cases of vulvovaginitis and other types of vaginal irritation caused by wrong-way wipes. More basic hygiene habits to help stave off cold-weather sniffles:
Wash those hands Encourage your child to suds up before eating, and after using the toilet, blowing her nose or playing outside both at home and at school. This is the simplest—and best—way to prevent illness. Germs can spread via toys, doorknobs, phones, keyboards, swings, slides and stair rails. So soap up and rub hands together under warmish water as you both sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” or the Happy Birthday song—the amount of time it takes to wash away germs.
Get help from hand sanitizer You might even want to give your child a little bottle of it to take to school. New research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine has found that hand sanitizers containing ethanol (such as Purell) may be more effective at removing rhinovirus (the germ that causes many common colds) from hands than washing with plain soap and water. The jury is still out on that debate, but hand sanitizer is definitely a smart option when washing isn’t possible. Keep disinfecting wipes strategically placed at home, and help out the teacher by donating enough for the entire classroom to use.
Make a no-sharing rule That means water bottles, snacks, cups or anything else that’s been in your or any child’s mouth. And stress the importance of keeping pencils, markers and other classroom objects away from the mouth, too!
Always have a tissue Remind your child that sneezes and coughs carry germs. When anyone at home or school coughs or sneezes, kids (and adults) nearby inhale the infected droplets, and pretty soon the entire family or classroom is sick. Encourage your child to cover his nose and mouth with a tissue. No tissue around? Teach him to cough or sneeze into the crook of his elbow in that case—and to keep his hands away from his eyes and out of his mouth.
Disinfect! Rhinoviruses can live up to three hours on skin and on common household objects. The influenza virus can also survive on surfaces—for up to eight hours! Flu.gov recommends that you wash all surfaces with a general household cleaner every day when someone in the home is ill.
Most parents know that sinking feeling and the nagging doubt that comes creeping along with it: Your baby seems like, well, maybe he’s sick. Or your toddler bumped her head, has a weird rash or is running a fever. It used to be that pediatricians were bombarded with calls from parents unable to distinguish between a minor symptom in their child and a more serious one. But now an increasing number of those calls may be getting diverted as parents turn to the Internet. An October 2011 study at the University of Louisville in Kentucky found that one in eight parents goes online for medical information before taking a child to the emergency room.
“It’s great that parents are empowering themselves and trying to problem-solve on their own,” says Mark Zonfrillo, MD, a pediatric emergency medicine doctor at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, “but I caution against trusting all sources.” Zonfrillo says parents sometimes get confused or unnecessarily alarmed by inaccurate health information found online. “Always validate anything you learn online with your primary care provider,” he recommends.
To help, we’ve done some vetting for you: Based on advice from top pediatricians about common childhood symptoms, the following guide will tell you how to identify a minor condition, one that merits a call to a professional and one that warrants hightailing it to the nearest ER.
There’s something about a fever that freaks out even the most experienced parents. But an increase in temperature is a valuable indicator. “Fever is the body’s way of responding to an infection. It may even help your child get rid of the infection faster,” says Janice E. Sullivan, MD, a critical care physician at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. Most fevers are mild and may not require professional attention; their seriousness depends on the age of the child and accompanying symptoms. However, even a mild fever (100.4 degrees F or greater) in a newborn to 4-month-old warrants an immediate call to your pediatrician or a trip to the ER. It could indicate a serious infection that needs to be treated promptly.
What to Do:
Start by getting an accurate reading. In infants and young children, the best way to do this is to take their temperature rectally. For a mild fever without additional symptoms in kids older than 3 months, you may not need to do anything. “If your child seems cranky or uncomfortable, though, you can give a pain reliever such as acetaminophen,” says Sullivan, “but always make sure you follow the dosing directions on the box, use the measuring instrument that comes with the product and don’t combine several products that contain pain relievers.” If you’re ever confused about the correct dose, call your pediatrician. It’s far from a silly question; the American Association of Poison Control Centers says accidental overdose of analgesics (including acetaminophen) for children up to age 5 is one of their top calls. And, in fact, acetaminophen poisoning can lead to liver damage or failure.
Take cues from your feverish child’s behavior and any other symptoms, Zonfrillo urges. If your tot has a fever and isn’t eating, drinking or playing—or if, in addition to the higher-than-normal temperature, she’s vomiting, has diarrhea or a rash, is pulling at her ears, or is very sleepy or hard to wake up—call your pediatrician. Your little one could have a bacterial infection that requires antibiotics, or may need to be checked for dehydration. “It’s important to be observant as a parent. It will help your pediatrician diagnose and treat your child if you can offer a complete health history—all of the symptoms, how long they’ve lasted and any over-the-counter medication you’ve given her,” says Sullivan.
If your child’s fever persists for more than a few days, does not come down with anti-fever medication or prompts a febrile seizure, call your doctor or take your little one to the ER to get checked out.
Coughs & sniffles
This may come as a surprise to parents who grew up downing spoonfuls of cough syrup, but doctors now rarely recommend over-the-counter cough and cold remedies. “Cold products haven’t been shown to be helpful,” says Sullivan. “And you can overdose your child very easily.”
What to do:
Sullivan recommends saline nose drops, staying hydrated and even using a cool-mist humidifier in the child’s room to make him more comfortable. If a cough and sniffles are accompanied by other symptoms—for example, not eating or drinking, lethargy or chills—call your doctor. Your child may need to be treated for a bacterial infection. Also, if a cough persists, is uncontrollable or sounds like a barking seal, call the doctor. Your little one could have bronchitis or pertussis (whooping cough). Shortness of breath constitutes a true emergency. If your tot seems to be breathing abnormally, call your pediatrician immediately and/or take your child to the nearest emergency room.
Young children are vulnerable to skin rashes. Most are harmless, but some require treatment if accompanied by a fever.
What to do:
Call your doctor for an appointment. Rashes can be associated with a wide range of conditions—from the measles or strep throat to poison ivy. “You always want to keep the skin cool and comfortable,” says Sullivan. “But don’t treat a rash with special creams or lotions until you have it checked out by a physician.” Hand, foot and mouth disease, for example, is a common virus in children under age 5; while it may alarm parents, there’s no treatment but time. Eczema, a red, itchy skin condition, may benefit from over-the-counter or prescription treatment. At its worst, eczema could create a secondary infection and require an antibiotic. Let your doctor decide.
Slips & Falls
Taking a tumble can be a routine occurrence for tots who are still mastering motor skills. “If you see them fall and they gently hit their head on something soft, that’s not a big deal,” says Zonfrillo. If the baby acts normal, he’s probably okay. Falls are serious if the child hits something hard, gets knocked out, vomits, has a seizure or behaves strangely afterward.
What to do:
For very minor bumps, apply an ice pack to reduce any swelling (if your child will allow it; often they merely shake off these spills and move on to play more). Small scrapes can be handled with an over-the-counter antibiotic cream and a bandage. For serious falls, call your doctor and/or get to the ER, says Zonfrillo. Don’t be surprised, however, if you bring your child to the ER and little beyond observation is done. “There’s a movement to do fewer CT scans and X-rays to avoid unnecessary radiation,” says Zonfrillo. “Even if little testing is done, the visit is still useful.” ER docs will rule out conditions such as concussion, skull fracture or bleeding in the brain.
“When kids are learning to walk, even learning to crawl, mouth injuries are quite common,” says Rhea Haugseth, DMD, a pediatric dentist in Marietta, Ga., and president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. “The great majority of the injuries are to the upper teeth, lips and gum—the areas that tend to hit first when kids fall forward.”
What to do:
Your dentist or pediatric dentist should have a 24-hour emergency number. Haugseth advises calling right away. Note: If the mouth injury is on the outside of the face, you may be referred to ER for stitches in that area first. However, your dentist will handle inner mouth and tooth issues.
Injuries can range from tiny or significant tears in the frenulum (the tissue inside the mouth that attaches the lip to the gum) to tooth and gum damage. For suspected frenulum tears: Apply direct pressure on the outside of the lip to stop bleeding, then pull up the lip and check the injury. Sometimes you can hardly see the tear. Other times it’s large and needs sutures. “It’s rare that this needs sutures, but when it does, they’re absolutely needed,” says Haugseth. Even if the tear doesn’t require stitches, there’s aftercare: Using a Q-tip or gauze dipped in a solution of half water and half peroxide, swab the injury at least a couple of times a day for a week or so. Also keep brushing teeth daily. To reduce pain and swelling immediately, you can also apply ice or allow your child to have a popsicle.
When a tooth is pushed up, knocked out or chipped—even a baby tooth—see your dentist promptly. “Sometimes parents just leave these injuries to heal on their own, but if [the child is treated] right away, often the healing will be a lot better,” says Haugseth. Without treatment, there could be a permanent defect around the tooth, which could impact tooth health or the appearance or color of teeth and gums later.
Ingesting Hazardous Items
Sullivan says that she sees a child in the ER almost daily because he or she got into medication that a parent left sitting around. “Medications are supposed to come with safety caps, but don’t trust those. Kids can sometimes manipulate them and open them,” she warns. The caps on cleaning products are also easy for some kids to open.
What to do:
Immediately call the poison control hotline at (800) 222-1222. “This number should be posted somewhere near your phone,” says Sullivan. If you can tell poison control what your child ate (or what you suspect), how much and what your child weighs, they will tell you the next step.
When in Doubt, Call Your Doctor
The bottom line with any childhood ailment or injury is that parental instinct trumps all. “If you feel something just isn’t right with your child,” Zonfrillo says, “call your doctor, go to the ER or call 911.” Doctors don’t dismiss parental intuition. “If a parent tells me, ‘I don’t know what it is, but something isn’t right,’ that’s extremely powerful,” he says. “I always listen to and respect that.”
Victoria Clayton is a freelance writer in Southern California and the coauthor of Fearless Pregnancy: Wisdom and Reassurance from a Doctor, a Midwife and a Mom (Fair Winds Press, 2004).
This week, the makers of Colic Calm released a new infographic (below) that highlights the dramatic rise in infant reflux and GERD diagnoses in recent years, as well as the risks and long-term health effects for babies that are taking prescription reflux drugs.
Are Infant Reflux Drugs Worth the Risks? – An infographic by the team at Colic Calm
A few months the first Disney Baby Store opened in California with a celebration with celebrity moms like Alison Sweeney and expectant military moms.
As the the newest member of the Disney family, the Disney Baby brand provides parents with essential products and information they need for “creating magical moments right from the start™.” The premiere Disney Baby Store provides an exclusive array of products to help families celebrate baby’s magical moments throughout the day such as playtime, bathtime, on-the-go, getting ready, mealtime, dressing baby, baby’s first, and in the nursery.
I had the pleasure to check out some offerings from the store including a Disney Baby Git Bag filled with the adorable Disney Cuddly Bodysuit, a Large Heirloom Winnie the Pooh Plush Toy, a Winnie the Pooh Quilt, and Minnie Slippers for Baby. All the items would be make for amazing baby shower or first baby gifts that you can purchase at the store or online.
The Disney Baby Store and online boutique feature many high-quality giftable products that are perfect for grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends looking for something special. Both the store and the online boutique are organized around the special moments ofbaby’s day, making it easy and fun to shop. Apparel and sleepwear sold is made with 100 percent organic cotton.
Some favorites include the cuddly bodysuits, Finding Nemo Bath collection, Sports cups, and even Cars and Disney Princess Bouncers. From clothing to gear, you will discover all of your Disney Baby essentials on this new website.
Also, Disney teamed up with Operation Shower, a non-profit organization that supports military families, to honor the new moms and their families by treating them to a magical baby shower and complimentary shopping experience in the new store.
“Disney is such a classic brand, and as a mom myself, I am excited to celebrate the launch of the first ever Disney BabyStore,” said Sweeney. “I am so happy to share this magical moment with everyone, especially the military families who serve our country and make us proud every day.”
DisneyBaby.com also offers a Disney Baby product showcase categorized by magical moments, resources for moms, tips and articles, and a photo and memory sharing tool called Disney Baby Magical Moments that enables parents to upload photos and stories of their baby, adding to a dynamic collection of shared family experiences from other parents. The photos and stories will appear on DisneyBaby.com and the Disney Baby Magical Moments tab on Disney Baby’s Facebook page, fostering a robust community of moms across the nation.
Many Disney Baby Store products will be available exclusively at the Disney Baby Store, Disney Store locations nationwide and online at www.DisneyStore/disneybaby. A focused assortment of Disney Baby products is also available at national retailers including Amazon, Babies R Us, Kmart, Sears, Target, and Walmart.
BEYOND BABY TALK has long been the only book parents need to guide their children in learning effective communication skills. Now, in the fully revised and updated edition from Three Rivers Press (On sale October 2, 2012), Kenn Apel and Julie Masterson equip a new generation of parents and caregivers to model healthy reading, writing, and speaking skills.
Hearing an infant’s first cry, watching a baby speak her first words, or reading a book with a toddler for the first time can be both thrilling and mysterious experiences for parents. A child’s language skills may seem to appear so organically that caregivers mistakenly believe there’s little they can do to help this development. Authors Kenn Apel and Julie Masterson, experts in child language, take the mystery out of the developmental process with updated education research, simple milestones parents can look for, and easy activities to build strong language skills.
In the updated and revised edition of BEYOND BABY TALK, readers will find:
- Two brand-new chapters and an expanded age range—material now applies to children from birth through elementary school, with special focus on literacy milestones and development
- Essential information about current technology, including the use of television, computers, mobile phones, texting, and apps
- An exploration of popular fads that purport to increase language and literacy development, along with helpful tools to evaluate such claims
- Updated resources and references
According to a recent article from People magazine, Marissa Mayer, the Googler and now CEO of Yahoo, sent out a large group email to friends and family seeking name suggestions for her newly born baby. The process, a form of crowdsourcing, is becoming the hot trend with hip moms and dads for naming their baby. “Traditional baby name books and research sites are a thing of the past,” says Lacey Moler the co-founder of Belly Ballot, a website that lets parents invite friends and family to vote for their favorite names. “Today’s parents are very social beings. They want to share important parts of their lives with friends and family, and personal decisions are no exception.”
Crowdsourcing, which means soliciting feedback from many people, has seen growing popularity over the last 5 years. Thanks to the rise of social media, more personal interactions can now take place online fostering rapid collaboration and decision-making. Up until now though, it’s been largely popular with web design and financial applications, such as fundraising for noble philanthropic causes and businesses. The growth of the phenomenon into personal lives though is what many have dubbed “the new frontier”.
Belly Ballot is no exception. After launching their website in July of 2012, the website had over 1000 parents register to crowdsource their names with friends and family. Following registration, parents posted invitations on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, to solicit real feedback on the names they’ve chosen. “We created Belly Ballot because we saw that many elements of our personal lives are coming to the surface via social media. It’s a growing trend, and we expect the growth to continue into all aspects of parenting.”
Not everyone is excited for the change though. Privacy advocates and traditionalists believe that something as important as a baby name should remain a personal decision between two parents. Rather than sharing every aspect of one’s life online, they cite safety concerns as a strong reason to keep certain portions private.
This is the first program of its kind: A special line of bandages designed to help others. An essential component to theOuchies for Others program is our partnerships with outstanding organizations. 100% of the profits from this program benefit our partnered organizations who are devoted to the fight against Pediatric Cancer and helping put a smile on the face of the kids affected.
Now is the chance to design a custom Ouchies bandage!
They are asking kids, 18 years old or younger, to create artwork that will be used on an upcoming Ouchies For Others bandage. Submitted artwork will be publicly posted to Ouchies Facebook page. Fans will vote by “like”-ing submitted artwork. The top 10 submissions with the most Facebook “likes” will be judged as potential winners. A jury will then select 5 design winners.
For this contest, Ouchies For Others is partnering with:
- Childhood Leukemia Foundation (www.clf4kids.org)
- Cookies for Kid’s Cancer (www.cookiesforkidscancer.org)
- American Childhood Cancer Organization® (www.acco.org).
It’s simple to submit a bandage design. Just 4 easy steps! Click here to learn how it works.