Sunrise Children's Hospital
For more than three decades, Sunrise Children’s Hospital has been Nevada’s largest, most comprehensive children’s hospital.

Getting to know childhood vaccines: DTaP

Posted on 8/21/2017

Parents have a lot to worry about regarding their children’s healthy development—from meal planning to pedestrian safety. But one thing parents shouldn’t have to worry about is vaccine-preventable diseases, like those included in the DTaP vaccine. Getting your child vaccinated according to the schedule recommended by pediatric specialists is one of the most effective ways to protect him or her from serious diseases. The pediatric doctors at Sunrise Children’s Hospital understand that it’s normal for parents to have questions and concerns about vaccinations. We welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues with you, because healthy families make strong communities.

Understanding the DTaP vaccine
DTaP is a combination vaccine that protects children from diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. These diseases are all caused by bacteria, and all of them are serious. All three of these diseases have the potential to cause death, but fortunately, they are easily prevented with the DTaP vaccine.

Exploring vaccine-preventable diseases
Diphtheria is a highly contagious infection that can spread through contact with an infected person’s skin, secretions (sneezing or coughing) and personal items. The hallmark sign of diphtheria is a grayish covering that coats the back of the throat and can block the airway. The toxins produced by the bacteria can inflict damage on the heart, kidneys and nerves.

The bacteria that cause tetanus produce a toxin that inflicts damage on the nervous system. Tetanus, also known as lockjaw, can cause severe muscle spasms, difficulty breathing and seizures.

Pertussis, also called whooping cough, is highly contagious. Its symptoms can seem like a cold at first. Later, children with whooping cough develop severe coughing that makes it difficult to breathe.

Getting the DTaP vaccine on schedule
Children need five doses of DTaP. One dose needs to be given at these ages:

  • Two months
  • Four months
  • Six months
  • 15-18 months
  • Four to six years

Children often receive multiple shots at the same doctor’s appointment. Giving multiple injections does not make any vaccine less safe, but delaying vaccines could place a child’s health at risk.

Family-centered education is something we emphasize here at Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas. Our pediatric physicians and nurses take the time to work one-on-one with parents to ensure that they have all the information they need to make the best decision for their children’s health. Call our nurse referral line today at (702) 233-5437.

Create a safe routine at your neighborhood park

Posted on 8/19/2017

Safe, clean neighborhood parks are one of a community’s greatest assets for families. Kids need plenty of time outdoors for healthy development. Beyond helping kids stay active, parks connect children to nature and give them the free, unstructured play time they need to unleash their creativity. Enforcing a few safety rules will help protect your family at the park. From our family to yours, the pediatric team at Sunrise Children’s Hospital wishes you a safe and fun-filled summer!

Wear sturdy shoes
Loose, floppy sandals aren’t the best choice of footwear for active kids. It’s far too easy for them to trip and fall, twist their ankles or suffer a penetrating injury from a sharp object on the ground.

Instead, pediatric experts recommend thick-soled, sturdy shoes with a closed toe box. Ideally, choose shoes designed to allow for ventilation to help your child stay cool.

Apply sunscreen
If your kids resist wearing sunscreen, make it an official rule that sunscreen must be worn before going to the park. There’s really no difference between sunscreen marketed for adults versus children’s products. Just look for sunscreen that provides broad-spectrum protection and has an SPF of at least 15.

Bring the bottle with you to the park, and reapply it every two hours. Remember to slather some sunscreen on your child’s ears, face, neck and the backs of the hands.

Bring water
Young children are more vulnerable to heat-related illnesses than the average adult. Bring more water than you think you and your child will need. Use an insulated thermos and add some ice to it to help your family stay cool.

Stay within line of sight
Parks are a great place for kids to run around and enjoy their childhood. At each visit, remind your child to stay within sight of you at all times.

Avoid dog bites
Some parks allow dogs, and children are naturally drawn to cute, furry critters. Teach your child not to run up to a dog and pet it without asking you and the owner if it’s okay.

Responsive children’s emergency care is available at Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas. If your child sustains an injury at the park and needs an ambulance ride to our hospital, please call 911 right away. Otherwise, you can call a registered nurse at (702) 233-5437 for general health information.

How does sports medicine vary by age?

Posted on 8/17/2017

Children and adults have different medical needs, and this extends to sports medicine and orthopedics. Pediatricians encourage children to enjoy physical fitness activities like team and individual sports, but safety is a priority. You can get a quick introduction to pediatric sports medicine issues when you watch the accompanying video. It features a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Sunrise Children’s Hospital, who discusses age-appropriate sports restrictions and healthcare for young athletes.

Growth plates in young athletes
All children have growth plates. These are made up of growing tissues, and they’re located toward the ends of the bones. Solid bone replaces growth plates only when a person has finished growing.

Growth plates are susceptible to serious injuries. If an adult falls down while playing tennis, he or she might strain a ligament or pull a muscle. If a child suffers the same fall, he or she might sustain a growth plate injury.

Without age-appropriate orthopedic care, children with growth plate injuries are at an increased risk of long-term complications. These are uncommon, but can include misshapen bones, arthritis and limbs that are too short.

Growth spurts in children
Preteens and teens who enjoy sports typically increase their activities around these ages. As kids go through growth spurts, the bones can lengthen faster than the soft tissues. This can cause the muscles and tendons to get tighter, which raises the risk of injuries around the time that activities are increased.

During sports physicals, pediatricians can counsel young patients and their families about injury prevention.

Nutrition for active children
Children’s nutritional needs change as they grow, and as they adjust their activity levels. Pediatricians can provide dietary advice that is appropriate for each individual patient.

Very active children need more calories from healthy sources. Meals should have a good balance of lean proteins, healthy fats, whole grains, low-fat dairy, vegetables and fruits. Young athletes also need to consume more fluids, especially if their sport is played outside in hot weather.

The health and safety of children in our Las Vegas community are our highest priorities here at Sunrise Children’s Hospital. We bring together leading pediatric specialists who are committed to providing superior care to each of our young patients. Call our children’s hospital at (702) 233-5437 to request a referral to an orthopedic specialist.

Know the signs of dehydration in your baby

Posted on 6/23/2017

For babies, dehydration can be a medical emergency that requires immediate care. Because babies can’t tell you how they feel, educating yourself about the warning signs can help you spot this potentially dangerous condition, so you can take your baby to the children’s hospital for the care he or she needs. Consider going to a pediatric emergency room if your baby has any of these symptoms.

Infrequent urination

If your baby begins to soil fewer diapers than normal, dehydration could be to blame. Generally, this means having fewer than six wet diapers in a day. When severe dehydration sets in, your baby may only have one or two wet diapers in a day.

Your baby’s diaper can potentially provide another clue about dehydration. If your baby has diarrhea, you should be alert to potential symptoms of dehydration. If your baby is dehydrated, he or she will have fewer bowel movements than normal.

Sunken soft spots

Babies are born with two soft spots on their heads called fontanelles. One fontanelle is at the front of the head, and the other is in the back. When your baby is dehydrated, one or both fontanelles may sink inward.

Keep in mind that other factors can cause sunken fontanelles. However, when sunken fontanelles occur with other dehydration symptoms or after a bout of diarrhea or vomiting, then dehydration could be to blame.

Extreme fussiness

Being dehydrated can make your baby feel rotten, and as a result, he or she may become very fussy. He or she may become excessively sleepy or restless and cry more than normal. When crying, he or she may produce fewer tears than normal because of the dehydration.

If you suspect your baby could be suffering from dehydration, seek children’s emergency care in Las Vegas at Sunrise Children’s Hospital. Our pediatrics emergency team will get to the source of your baby’s problem quickly so he or she gets the necessary care. To learn more about our hospital services, please call (702) 233-5437.

What are the risks of premature birth?

Posted on 6/17/2017

Although premature birth is not always preventable, especially during a high-risk pregnancy, your obstetrician will attempt to ensure that you deliver your baby as close to full-term as possible for many reasons. These are some of the risks that are associated with premature birth that your doctor will strive to prevent.

Respiratory problems

Premature babies are often born with underdeveloped lungs, and as the featured video explains, this can increase the risk of respiratory problems soon after birth. Some of the most common lung issues seen in premature babies are:

  • Respiratory distress syndrome, caused when the lungs can’t expand or contract normally because they are underdeveloped
  • Bronchopulmonary dysplasia, a chronic lung disease that is sometimes associated with long-term use of mechanical respiration after birth
  • Apnea, or prolonged stoppages of breathing

These respiratory problems can cause symptoms that linger throughout life, even when they are treated soon after birth.

Heart problems

Underdeveloped hearts in premature babies can also cause problems. In some cases, these heart defects heal on their own as the baby continues to develop, but in other instances, treatment may be necessary. Premature babies may experience:

  • Hypotension, or low blood pressure, which may need to be treated with IV fluids or blood transfusions until it stabilizes.
  • Patent ductus arteriosus, or PDA, which occurs when there is an opening between two blood vessels leading into the heart. PDA can heal on its own but may require surgical treatment to prevent heart failure.

Chronic health problems

Babies who are born prematurely are more prone to develop chronic health conditions throughout their lives. These conditions, including frequent infections and feeding problems, can begin soon after birth and persist. Additionally, SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome, is a greater risk for premature babies.

When premature birth happens, Sunrise Children’s Hospital is here to protect the health of both mom and baby, with high-risk pregnancy care in Las Vegas and the largest Level III NICU in the state. For more information about our children’s hospital, please call (702) 233-5437.

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