• Telling your child you have breast cancer

    Finding out you have breast cancer is hard. Telling your kids that you have breast cancer is even harder. Although you may instinctively want to delay telling your child that you have breast cancer for as long as possible, it is actually usually recommended to tell the truth as soon as you can. Being honest with your child about your condition in an age-appropriate way can actually help him or her feel less anxious. These tips will help you have this difficult conversation with your child.

Seek advice
In most cases, your breast cancer care team will be able to offer advice about talking to your child about your diagnosis. They have seen other families go through the same process and can tell you what has worked for them.

They may also have recommendations for local support groups for kids, suggestions about reading material and other resources that are geared towards kids, and other tools that can make it easier to address your diagnosis.

Be truthful
Depending on your child’s age, it may not always be able to explain everything that is going on with your disease. However, resist the urge to hide information from him or her unnecessarily in hopes of preventing anxiety.

When kids are left to their own imaginations, they often think that things are worse than they are. Finding out exactly what is happening with you may help your child feel less worried. This is especially true when you start treatment and may have physical symptoms, like hair loss, that he or she doesn’t understand.

Trust yourself
Although there is plenty of advice available for talking to kids about a cancer diagnosis, trust your gut. You know your child best and know the best way to communicate with him or her. Your instincts will also tell you how much is appropriate to share and when.

The providers at Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas are here to help families through difficult times just like these. Your child’s pediatrics specialist can be a source of support for you and your family as you navigate your breast cancer treatment. Contact us for more information or a physician referral by calling (702) 233-5437.

  • Key rules for safe swimming

    Summertime is the perfect time for kids and parents alike to enjoy a dip in the pool. Don’t let a relaxing day poolside turn into an emergency for your family. By sticking to some simple water safety rules, you can all enjoy swimming without a trip to the hospital interrupting your fun. Keep these rules in mind the next time your family decides to go swimming.

    Teach kids how to swim

    Swimming lessons are one of the best safety tools you can give to your child. When your child knows how to swim, you can drastically reduce the risk of an accidental injury or drowning, even if your child inadvertently falls into the water or enters deeper water than he or she expected.

    Although your child may not have the gross motor skills and coordination to truly begin swimming until they are three or four, you can take swimming classes with your baby when they are as young as four months. Babies may not actually learn how to swim, but can get comfortable in the water during these classes.

    Never let kids swim alone

    No matter how much your child swims like a fish, kids should never be left alone to swim without an adult present. If you have a home pool, make sure your kids know that it is off-limits unless they are with you or another adult.

    If you are swimming with a group of kids and adults, make sure the adults take turns being actively responsible for supervising the kids. It’s easy for adults to all assume someone else is watching the kids, when in reality, no one is.

    Make drains off-limits

    Pool drains can pose a danger to kids, so make sure your little ones know to swim away when they see one. If you swim in a public pool, make sure the drains have safety covers. Your home pool should have them as well.

    At Sunrise Children’s Hospital, our pediatrics team and children’s emergency care department is here all year long to make sure your little ones stay healthy during every season. Learn more about our children’s hospital in Las Vegas by calling (702) 233-5437.

  • Start skin cancer protection early in your family

    Burns during childhood can dramatically increase your child’s risk of developing skin cancer as an adult. For this reason, it is never too early to take steps to reduce your child’s sun exposure to cut his or her cancer risk . Here are some ways you can keep your child safe from the dangers of excessive sun exposure.

    Stay out of peak sunshine

    Playing outside is healthy for kids, but doing so when the sun is at its strongest could lead to burns. Typically, the sun’s UV rays are most intense between the hours of 10 AM and 3 PM, so consider doing indoor activities during those hours.

    If you are outside with your child during these periods of peak sun exposure, try to avoid being in direct sunlight. Stay under the shade of a tree or umbrella to reduce the amount of sun your child receives.

    Commit to sunscreen

    The whole family can benefit from wearing sunscreen whenever they are going to be outdoors. For your child, choose a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Your pediatrician can recommend kid-friendly brands that are good for young skin that may be sensitive.

    Sunscreen should be applied about 30 minutes before your kids go outside. Use it liberally, and don’t forget the ears, tops of feet and lips.

    Dress for the part

    How you dress your child for the sun makes a big difference in exposure. Although hot temperatures can mean short sleeves and shorts, wearing tight-knit fabrics with long sleeves and pants offers the most protection. Dark colors can also reduce sun exposure.

    Choose a hat for your child with a wide brim that protects his or her face, ears and neck. Your little one should also wear sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays.

    Your Sunrise Children’s Hospital pediatrics specialist in Las Vegas can help you make healthy choices for your child and offer preventive care as an investment in your child’s lifelong good health. You can get a referral 24 hours a day by calling (702) 233-5437.

  • Help your child avoid ACL injuries

    Help your child avoid ACL injuries

    Staying active is great for your child’s health, but it also increases the risk of injuries, including ACL injuries. May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month is a good time to refocus on sports safety and to determine if you’re doing everything you can to help your child avoid a trip to the emergency room . Commit to helping your child avoid ACL injuries that could leave him or her sidelined all season long with this advice.

    Make warm-ups a must

    Warm-ups play an integral role in avoiding all types of sports injuries. Ensure that your child does sufficient warm-up activities to stretch the ACL before any kind of physical activity. Stretches that help to reduce ACL injuries include:

    • Calf stretches
    • Quadriceps stretches
    • Hamstring stretches
    • Inner thigh stretches

    Ask your child’s coach if you need tips for performing these stretches properly. Doing these stretches as part of a warm-up will also help to reduce post activity soreness. Stretches should be combined with an aerobic warm-up to loosen up all the muscles and get the body ready to be active.

    Focus on overall fitness

    When your child is committed to a certain sport, such as soccer, it is natural to assume that all of the games and practices will keep your child in top condition. However, doing other kinds of activities can help to reduce the risk of injuries because it gives you the opportunity to work different muscles.

    To prevent ACL injuries, strengthening exercises can be helpful. Squats and lunges can be particularly helpful in strengthening the ACL so it is less prone to injury.

    Practice proper technique

    Performing activities incorrectly can leave your child at risk of an ACL injury. Encourage him or her to work closely with the coach on developing the right form, and ensure that he or she practices at home so that the proper technique becomes second nature.

    Sometimes, despite your best efforts, an injury happens. When your child is hurt, seek emergency care from Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas. Our referral line is open 24 hours a day to answer your questions about our children’s hospital or for a referral to a pediatrics specialist. Simply call (702) 233-5437 for more information.

  • When to take your baby to the ER

    For parents, knowing when to take a baby to the ER can be difficult. As a general guideline, seek out children’s emergency care any time you feel concerned about your baby’s symptoms. It is better to find out that your baby’s symptoms aren’t being caused by a medical emergency than to wait and see what happens, only to find out that your child needs urgent care. If you are weighing your options, here are some of the circumstances in which you should take your baby to the ER right away.

    Fever

    Fevers are scary for parents, and while older kids can often be treated with home care when they have a fever, babies should generally be seen by a pediatrician. If your baby has a rectal temperature higher than 100.4 F when he or she is two months of age or younger, go to the ER for treatment.

    In older babies, you can usually wait to see a pediatrician, unless your baby has other symptoms, such as excessive crying or lethargy.

    Vomiting

    Newborns should get ER treatment whenever they vomit. In older babies, green vomit indicates a need for emergency care. As the video explains, projectile vomiting can suggest a structural problem in the stomach that could require emergency care.

    Other episodes of vomiting can be judged on a case-by-case basis. The real danger of vomiting is dehydration, so look for warning signs like dry diapers and crying without tears, and get emergency care if you suspect your baby needs fluids.

    Breathing Problems

    People of all ages should get emergency care when they have breathing problems, and babies are no different. If your baby is wheezing, is having visible chest retractions or has skin that is blue-tinged, go to the ER for a diagnosis. Your baby may also need emergency care if he or she makes a high-pitched noise when breathing.

    The compassionate children’s emergency care team in Las Vegas at Sunrise Children’s Hospital provides fast, conscientious care designed with kids in mind. Don’t play guessing games with your baby’s health. Visit our ER for immediate care or call (702) 233-5437 for a pediatrician referral.

  • Medical conditions associated with autism

    Autism is a developmental disorder that can cause physical, emotional and behavioral differences. It’s challenging to raise a child with autism , and these challenges can be accompanied by medical conditions. Pediatric specialists have identified several medical conditions that occur at higher rates in children with autism, including gastrointestinal problems and sleep disorders. If you have any concerns about your child’s health or development, consider talking to a pediatric specialist at Sunrise Children’s Hospital.

    Gastrointestinal problems

    The medical conditions that are most strongly associated with autism are gastrointestinal disorders. A child with autism is more likely to experience the following:

    • Chronic constipation
    • Chronic diarrhea
    • Inflammatory bowel disease
    • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
    • Abdominal pain

    A child’s stomach problems may be further compounded by food selectivity. Many children with autism are picky eaters who may not get enough important nutrients in their diets, such as fiber. It takes patience and persistence—and perhaps professional help—to encourage a picky eater to try new foods.

    Sleep disturbances

    Problems falling asleep and staying asleep are common for children with autism. Pediatric specialists note that sleep is essential for a child’s physical and emotional health, behavioral stability and academic progress. Here are a few tips to help children with autism sleep better :

    • Maintain a predictable sleep/wake schedule.
    • Do a predictable, relaxing bedtime routine.
    • Maintain a cool, dark sleep environment.
    • Avoid giving the child caffeine.
    • Encourage daytime exercise.

    Anxiety disorders

    Dedicated pediatric specialists firmly believe that every child deserves good quality of life. Unfortunately, children with autism often suffer from anxiety disorders that can limit their enjoyment of life. Since children can be particularly sensitive to medications, a pediatric specialist may recommend cognitive behavioral therapy as a first course of action. If therapy alone cannot adequately manage the child’s anxiety, parents might consider weighing the pros and cons of medications with the help of a pediatric specialist.

    Raising a child with autism certainly has its challenges, but if you live in the greater Las Vegas area, your family can count on support from the pediatrics team at Sunrise Children’s Hospital . We are a specialized children’s hospital that provides compassionate care to young patients and their families. Call our nurse referral line at (702) 233-5437.

  • Can children become organ donors?

    Just like adults, children can be diagnosed with diseases and medical conditions that cause organ failure. Unfortunately, it’s often more challenging to match a child in need of an organ to a suitable donor organ. Not all children are large enough to receive adult-size or even teenager-size organs. Here at Sunrise Children’s Hospital, our pediatric specialists keenly feel parents’ pain when they are told that their children could die without an organ transplant. During National Donate Life Month this April, take a few minutes to become better informed about the critical need for organ donors in Las Vegas and around the country.

    Understanding the need for organ donors

    Children’s hospital staff members do everything possible to save the lives of children, but sometimes even superior pediatric care fails. The loss of an infant or an older child is unspeakably devastating. It can be difficult to make major decisions in the immediate aftermath of a child’s death, but taking a few minutes to consider organ donation is an act of love. In the U.S., there are nearly 2,000 young patients waiting for a life-saving organ , according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In 2015, 939 families made the decision to give the gift of life to other families by donating their children’s organs.

    Deciding to donate a child’s organs

    The decision to donate is a personal one. Many parents decide to donate their child’s organs because, in the midst of their own heartbreak, they wish to help save the lives of other children. Some parents are comforted by the thought that, although they’ve lost their own precious child, a part of their child will live on in someone else.

    Authorizing organ donation

    If an organ donor is under 18 years of age, the donation must be authorized by a parent or legal guardian. If you’re considering pediatric organ donation, a doctor or nurse can guide you through it and answer your questions.

    At Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas, parents will find high-quality, compassionate care delivered by dedicated pediatric specialists. It’s our mission to give your child and your whole family the care and support you deserve. You can call a nurse at our children’s hospital at (702) 233-5437.

  • Should you be worried about stress in your child?

    Just like adults, children experience stress and its unhealthy consequences. However, they might not always recognize that stress is the reason they aren’t feeling well. Furthermore, children often lack the coping skills necessary to deal with stress in a positive way. Sunrise Children’s Hospital places a high priority on the emotional health of our young patients and their families. Our children’s hospital in Las Vegas offers extensive patient support services, including guidance on coping skills.

    Understanding the sources of childhood stress

    Children can experience stress from all sorts of sources. Overscheduled kids can easily become overwhelmed by their time commitments. Kids feel stress from peer pressure, sibling relationships, academic expectations and distressing world news. They pick up on the stress of their parents, which affects them just as much as their own stress. Children also experience severe stress from divorce, death, domestic violence and severe illnesses. If your child is hospitalized, he or she will have sensitive emotional needs. A pediatric specialist can help your child and his or her siblings cope with the challenges of hospitalization.

    Identifying the signs of childhood stress

    Stress can look different in children than adults. Since your child might not be able to clearly articulate his or her worries, it’s necessary to assess the external signs of stress. Some physical changes that stress can cause include the following:

    • Headaches
    • Changes in eating habits
    • Changes in sleeping patterns
    • Upset stomach
    • Nightmares
    • New or recurrent bedwetting
    • Vague physical complaints with no known cause

    You might also notice behavioral or emotional changes in your child, such as the following:

    • Inability to relax
    • Excessive worrying
    • Clinginess
    • New or recurrent fears
    • Inability to control emotions
    • Unusual aggressiveness or stubbornness
    • Withdrawal from usual activities

    It’s distressing to witness a child experience these problems, but a pediatric specialist can help your whole family cope with adverse situations.

    At Sunrise Children’s Hospital , our dedication to superior care is reflected in all that we do. We understand that a visit to our children’s hospital can be stressful, which is why we invite families to work with a Child Life specialist, who offers emotional support and coping education. For the answers to your questions about our children’s hospital services in Las Vegas, you can connect with a nurse at (702) 233-5437.

  • Seeking care for pediatric tumors

    There are significant differences between pediatric cancer and cancer in adults. Childhood cancers aren’t significantly influenced by lifestyle choices and environmental factors, for instance. Children’s bodies can also respond differently to cancer treatments. If your child has been diagnosed with cancer, it’s crucial to turn to childhood cancer specialists, such as Pediatric Oncology and Special Services at Sunrise Children’s Hospital .

    Surgery to remove tumors in children

    When you watch this featured video, you’ll hear a pediatric surgeon at Sunrise Children’s Hospital discuss the surgical removal of tumors in children. He explains that when the cancer does involve a solid mass tumor, surgery is often the primary treatment. The goal of the pediatric surgeon is to remove the entire tumor while leaving as much of the healthy tissue as possible. Some children have cancer that does not form a solid tumor, such as leukemia and lymphoma. These children might still be referred to a pediatric surgeon, who can place a port to be used for chemotherapy.

    Chemotherapy for pediatric cancer

    Most pediatric cancers respond better to chemotherapy drugs compared to adult tumors. The average child can also tolerate chemo better than the body of the average adult. However, chemo can still cause serious short-term and long-term side effects, which means the patient will need follow-up evaluations periodically for his or her lifetime. During chemotherapy, a child’s immune system won’t be as effective at fighting off infections. To reduce the child’s exposure to germs, it may be necessary to keep him or her out of school for a while. Alternative education options are available, which parents can explore with the help of a social worker.

    Radiation therapy for pediatric cancer

    Radiation therapy is painless, but it can cause short-term and long-term side effects. It might also be frightening for young children. If your child’s oncologist recommends radiation therapy, ask if you and your child can tour the facility before the treatment. Seeing the treatment area in advance may help calm your child’s nerves.

    Sunrise Children’s Hospital offers more than just sophisticated, specialized cancer treatments for young patients. At our children’s hospital in Las Vegas, it’s our mission to give children and families extensive emotional support and coping education. Call a nurse at (702) 233-5437 to discuss our pediatric cancer care or Child Life services.

  • Be Aware of These Common Pediatric Eye Injuries

    If you’ve childproofed your home and provided your kids with the necessary sports safety gear , you’ve already taken important steps toward preventing unexpected visits to the children’s hospital. But, as every parent knows all too well, kids have a knack for getting themselves into unsafe situations. If your child sustains an eye injury, the pediatric specialists at Sunrise Children’s Hospital can help him or her feel better quickly.

    Eye Contusions

    Eye contusions are the same as black eyes. These highly visible bruises develop within 24 hours of a blow to the eye area. The area may be swollen, tender, and painful. An emergency care physician should evaluate the child to determine if the eye itself has been injured. If so, antibiotic eye drops may be prescribed to prevent an infection. Otherwise, the doctor will likely recommend gently applying an ice pack wrapped in a soft towel.

    Foreign Objects

    It’s common for kids and adults alike to get an eyelash in the eye every once in a while. But sometimes, foreign particulate matter such as sand or grit may become lodged in the eye. Instruct your child not to rub the eyes. Ask him or her to blink several times to try to flush the object out. Your child needs emergency care if any of the following apply:

    • The foreign object is a chemical.
    • It struck the eye with a high speed.
    • It is stuck on the eye.
    • The child’s vision is affected.
    • The child continues to experience pain after the object has been washed out.

    If a foreign object is stuck on or into the eye, do not attempt to remove it. Instead, call 911.

    Chemical Burns

    If a child gets household cleaning products or any other type of chemical in the eyes, it should be assumed that he or she needs emergency care. Chemical burns can lead to vision loss unless they are treated promptly. The 911 dispatcher may ask you to flush your child’s eyes with clean water or sterile saline solution while you wait for the ambulance.

    The emergency care doctors at Sunrise Children’s Hospital provide rapid responses to children with serious medical problems like eye injuries. If your little one is in need of emergency care in the Las Vegas area, please call 911 without delay. Non-emergent questions about our pediatric services can be directed to a registered nurse at (702) 233-5437.

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