• Knowing when your child has outgrown pediatric care

    Your child’s pediatrician has always been there for your family—through frantic phone calls and heartbreaking hospitalizations. Now your child is growing up, and you’re thinking about the transition to a family care physician . But is there an age that automatically signals a switch in healthcare providers? The answer really depends on your child, and his or her medical needs and personal preferences. You’ll need personalized guidance from a pediatric doctor who truly knows your family’s situation. That’s why so many parents have chosen Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas—we are committed to providing the personalized, superior care that nurtures long-term relationships with the families we treat.

    Your child’s medical privacy
    Typically developing children will generally start having private medical exams at around the age of 13. This means you’ll stay in the waiting room. You’ll still have an opportunity to talk to the doctor, as adolescents usually need help to explain their symptoms and ask relevant questions.

    This transitional phase sets the stage for your child to take full ownership of his or her healthcare later on.

    Your child’s personal preferences
    Adolescents are at the age in which being associated with childish settings can be a little embarrassing for them. Your child might be eager to “graduate” to a family care physician, in which case the transition might occur a little earlier than the 18 th birthday. Do seek the pediatrician’s guidance first.

    Other kids are nervous about anything that isn’t familiar to them. Your child may wish to stick with the pediatrician for as long as possible. Some pediatricians will continue seeing their patients up to age 21, while others recommend transitioning to family medicine at age 18.

    Your child’s medical needs
    Some kids have ongoing medical needs that require the attention of a specialist. If your child does, then it might make sense to stick with the pediatrician until at least the 18 th birthday. The pediatrician knows your child well, and can provide the best possible care at this point in his or her life.

    However, it’s still wise to start looking for another doctor before your child turns 18. It may take some time to find the right specialist for your child’s unique medical needs in young adulthood. Ask your pediatrician for recommendations.

    For all of your child’s medical needs—from infancy through adolescence—you can put your trust in the compassionate, highly trained team at Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas. Pediatricians and specialists choose to work at our children’s hospital because of our firm commitment to superior, family-centered care. Call (702) 233-5437 to request a referral to a pediatrician or specialist.

  • Help your child practice smart eye safety

    At around the six-month milestone, children should have their first eye exam to check on their healthy development. The optometrist will let you know how frequently your child needs subsequent eye check-ups, including an exam before the start of school. Since much of the material covered in school is visual, healthy vision is essential for your child’s academic progress. The pediatric specialists at Sunrise Children’s Hospital are always available to answer your questions about your child’s eye health.

    Purchase safe toys
    Eye safety isn’t usually a factor that most people consider when purchasing toys for young kids, but far too many children’s emergency care visits do occur because of unsafe toys. Avoid letting your child play with these potentially hazardous toys:

    • Toy guns or dart launchers
    • Water guns or water balloon launchers
    • Toy fishing poles
    • Toy swords, wands or bayonets
    • Aerosol “string”
    • Laser pointers
    • High-powered, LED flashlights

    Essentially, any toy that has an airborne projectile or is meant to be swung through the air could cause an eye injury. Laser pointers and high-powered flashlights (for playing flashlight tag) can also be dangerous for eye health because of the very bright light.

    Use sports safety equipment
    Sports help kids build character, learn to be a good teammate and encourage physical fitness. Make sure your child has all the necessary safety equipment for his or her preferred sport.

    Regular eyeglasses and sunglasses cannot protect a child’s eyes from trauma during sports-related contact or a fall. Your child needs specially designed protective eyewear. Your child’s pediatrician or eye doctor can recommend the right type for your child.

    Know what to do if an eye injury occurs
    Kids are susceptible to all sorts of eye injuries, including the following:

    • Corneal abrasions
    • Foreign object penetration
    • Retinal detachment
    • Corneal ulcers

    If an eye injury affects your child, do not let him or her rub the eye. Don’t try to remove a foreign object embedded in the eye. Do flush the eye with clean water if the injury involves chemical irritation.

    Eye injuries need immediate medical attention. When you call 911, the emergency dispatcher can give you further guidance.

    The children’s emergency care specialists at Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas provide responsive, reassuring care to our young patients. We’re available around the clock to treat and comfort children with serious health problems, such as eye injuries. Call 911 for EMS assistance, or call a registered nurse for non-emergent questions at (702) 233-5437.

  • How does obesity relate to childhood depression?

    Obesity and mental health disorders do not exclusively affect adults. But because of the unique socio-behavioral developmental stages of children and adolescents, it’s often difficult for parents to tell when their children need medical intervention. Children’s hospitals can give the right care and support to kids struggling with obesity and depression. You can hear from a doctor at Sunrise Children’s Hospital when you watch this featured video. He explains the significant, long-term effects of pediatric obesity on quality of life and mental health.

    Understanding the childhood obesity-depression link
    The association between obesity and depression in youths is a two-way street. Many children suffer from both of these medical problems. Obesity can contribute to depression for these reasons:

    • Poor self-esteem
    • Social stigma of obesity
    • Bullying behaviors from peers
    • Poor quality of life
    • Social isolation and loneliness

    Youths who are already struggling with mental health disorders are at a higher risk of becoming obese. These children overeat to compensate for their feelings of loneliness, emptiness and sadness.

    Taking a closer look at this complex relationship reveals relevant changes in the brain. People with depression may have low levels of serotonin in the brain, which is the hormone that facilitates feelings of well-being. Low levels of serotonin trigger cravings for carbohydrates, which then help to boost serotonin levels.

    Recognizing the signs of childhood depression
    For the best possible outcome, pediatric specialists need to treat both depression and obesity. Unfortunately, while parents can often tell when their children are overweight or obese, it’s more difficult to recognize the signs of pediatric depression. Children’s moods and behaviors change frequently—it’s all part of growing up.

    Pediatric specialists look for the following signs and symptoms when evaluating a young patient for depressive disorders .

    • Changes in eating patterns
    • Changes in sleeping habits
    • Poor attention span
    • Unusual decline in school performance
    • Withdrawal from usual activities
    • Social isolation
    • Fatigue and sluggishness or restlessness
    • Lack of motivation
    • Frequent rule-breaking

    Any atypical, sustained behaviors or moods can be brought to the attention of a pediatrician.

    At Sunrise Children’s Hospital , we put children and families first. Our compassionate professionals include social workers and Child Life Specialists, who provide family-centered support services to children going through tough times. Parents in the Las Vegas area can request a referral to a pediatric specialist by calling (702) 233-5437.

  • How does breast milk compare to baby formula?

    During the early 20 th century, women were told that formula was better than breastfeeding . Fortunately, this myth has been thoroughly debunked. Doctors now know that breast milk is superior to formula, and women are encouraged to give breastfeeding a try. At Sunrise Children’s Hospital, our maternity and pediatric specialists know that breastfeeding is often challenging for new moms. Let us work with you to overcome these obstacles and support your healthy, growing family.

    Nutrition of breast milk and formula
    Infant formula and breast milk both contain the healthy ingredients infants need to thrive, but unfortunately, it’s impossible for formula to mimic the composition of breast milk. A mother’s body has a remarkable ability to produce exactly the right blend of food her baby needs—breast milk can even change to support babies when they’re ill!

    Compared to formula, breast milk is easy for little tummies to digest. Consequently, breastfed babies have a lower risk of constipation and diarrhea. Breast milk also contains:

    • Superior, brain-building fats
    • Easily digested whey proteins
    • Intestinal health-boosting oligosaccharides
    • Immune-boosting, living white blood cells
    • Digestive enzymes
    • Easily absorbed iron

    Health benefits of breast milk and formula
    If breastfeeding simply doesn’t work for you, you can rest assured that you can still raise a very healthy baby with infant formula. But whenever possible, breastfeeding is encouraged because it offers unique health benefits . Breastfed babies have a lower risk of:

    • Obesity
    • Heart disease
    • Meningitis
    • Ear infections
    • Respiratory infections
    • Allergies
    • Asthma
    • Diabetes
    • Sudden infant death syndrome

    Tastes of breast milk and formula
    Another way to compare breast milk and formula is by their taste. Formula has one flavor—bland. Breast milk is subtly flavored with everything moms eat.

    This might not seem like a major issue, but because breastfed babies are introduced to diverse flavors right from the start, they’re less likely to be picky eaters later on. This also means it might be easier to convince the child to eat a nutritious diet that includes lots of veggies and fruits.

    Providing unsurpassed pediatric care is our mission here at Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas. In addition to our comprehensive, sensitive breastfeeding support services, our childbirth classes and daily discharge classes reflect our commitment to family-centered care.

  • Why are children more susceptible to sunburns?

    Sunburn has long been considered a normal part of summer, but it isn’t as harmless as many people think. Children are particularly susceptible to suffering the painful effects of sunburn, along with its potential long-term consequences. Since children won’t take the initiative to get out of the sun by themselves, it’s up to their parents to know how much sun exposure is too much. For all of your childhood health questions, you can count on the pediatric experts at Sunrise Children’s Hospital.

    Why kids are more vulnerable to sun exposure
    Children can suffer damage from the sun’s ultraviolet rays more quickly than adults do because a child’s skin is thinner and more sensitive. Adding to the risk is the fact that children tend to spend more time outdoors than adults. According to the World Health Organization , as much as 80 percent of the average person’s lifetime sun exposure is accrued before the 18 th birthday.

    Furthermore, unprotected sun exposure and sunburn during childhood raises the risk of potentially deadly melanoma later in life.

    How to help sunburned kids recover
    Mild sunburn can cause slightly reddened, warm and painful skin. Taking a bath in cool water and staying hydrated can help kids feel more comfortable while they heal.

    Kids who show signs of severe sunburn may require emergency care. These signs include:

    • Fever
    • Blisters
    • Chills
    • Headaches
    • Malaise

    How to prevent sunburn in children
    Parents of newborns should keep their baby in the shade at all times until at least the first birthday. Once children are old enough to play outdoors, they should wear sunscreen, sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat.

    Although sunscreen is very effective, it shouldn’t be considered a reason to prolong sun exposure. Staying out of the sun and limiting sun exposure are still the best ways to protect children from the harmful effects of UV rays.

    When your child is feeling under the weather, the board-certified pediatrics team at Sunrise Children’s Hospital can help. Our children’s hospital in Las Vegas is the top destination for families seeking superior emergency care for their children. Call a registered nurse at (702) 233-5437 to ask general questions of a non-emergency nature.

  • Getting to know childhood vaccines: DTaP

    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

    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?

    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.