Litchfield County Pediatrics

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LCPeds Blog

Posts for category: Child Health Care

By Richard Tenczar, MD, FAAP
October 01, 2021
Category: Child Health Care
Tags: Potty Training  
Potty TrainingPotty training is a big moment for your child and is something that may challenge them in many ways. Unfortunately, many young ones do struggle during this process and may find it very hard to understand. Is your child struggling, and you're at your wit's end? If so, a pediatrician can help you and your child overcome this frustrating situation with relative ease and understanding.

Reasons Why Some Children Struggle With Potty Training 

Most children after the age of 18 months or so should have little trouble acclimating to potty training. But if your child is struggling, and you aren't sure why there are many potential reasons. Let's take a look at a few of the most common causes of potty training difficulties with children:
  • Their Bodies are Just Not Ready — Before 18 months, your child may not have the ability to control when they "go." So putting pressure on them too early may just frustrate them. 
  • They May Not Have the Developmental Abilities — Some children just progress slower than others and may need more time in a diaper before they're ready to potty train. 
  • The Idea of Potty Training is Boring or Scary — Many children find potty training boring or even scary and may struggle to get used to the idea of "going" outside their diaper. 
  • Fear of Accidents May Develop Early — Your child wants to make you happy, and if they have accidents or fear them, they might struggle with potty training. 
You may also run into situations where a child just doesn't want to learn and refuses. Even though the child knows what you want them to do and could do it, they just don't want to listen. Any of these situations are very frustrating. As a result, you might need to work with a pediatrician who understands this situation and who can help your child start "going" when the time is right. They can help:
  • Assess while your child is struggling 
  • Talk with the child to understand their concerns 
  • Find a solution that makes sense for them 
  • Work with you and your child to get great results 
  • Adjust their care methods, as they need
Give Your Child a Helping Hand 

If you think you need help getting your child to use the potty, it might be time to reach out to a professional you can trust to help. A great pediatrician and medical team can provide you and your child with a better understanding of why they don't want to use the potty. And it can also take some of the load off your back as a parent. Frankly, you deserve some rest and relaxation.
By Richard Tenczar, MD, FAAP
August 11, 2021
Category: Child Health Care
Cradle CapNoticing rough, scaly patches of skin on your newborn’s scalp? If so, this is a sign of cradle cap. This condition (also known as infantile seborrheic dermatitis) is fairly common in newborns and typically isn’t anything to worry about. It’s similar to dandruff for adults; however, while it might not be harmful or painful for your little one, you may be curious to know how to get rid of it. While it will go away on its own, there are things you can do from the comfort of your own home to treat symptoms of cradle cap.

First, is it actually cradle cap?

It’s important to be able to pinpoint the signs and symptoms of cradle crap. This condition most often occurs within the first 2-4 weeks of a baby’s life. This condition is characterized by oily, scaly, white or yellow patches that may crust over. While it might look unpleasant it isn’t painful and shouldn’t itch, but may be slightly red. You may also find these scaly patches on other parts of the body including the nose, ears and groin.

If the patches are itchy or painful, this could be a sign of another skin condition that will warrant seeing your pediatrician for an accurate diagnosis.

Should I seek treatment from a pediatrician?

Your baby’s cradle cap should go away on its own with a few weeks or months. You can care for cradle cap by simply using a mild shampoo and by shampooing your baby’s scalp every few days, which can help to remove scales. It’s important that you don’t scrub or become too aggressive with the scalp; however, if your child’s symptoms are severe or aren’t responding to home care, then it’s time to turn to a pediatrician who can prescribe a special, medicated cream or shampoo.

If you ever have concerns about your child’s health or any symptoms they may have, even minor ones, it’s important to bring it up with a qualified pediatrician that can address these concerns and also provide a fast diagnosis. No concern is too small when it comes to the health and wellbeing of your child.
By Richard Tenczar, MD, FAAP
July 30, 2021
Category: Child Health Care
Tags: Glasses   Vision Screenings  
GlassesWe all want our children to be healthy and to have the best chance for success, especially once they start school. Of course, your child must be getting regular vision screenings with their pediatricians. After all, vision is critical to your child’s ability to learn, communicate, and understand, and vision problems can impact your child’s school performance and quality of life. Could your child need glasses? Here are some telltale signs.

You Catch Them Squinting When Reading

When your eyes have trouble focusing on an image, squinting may actually help your child see or focus better. Your child may squint when reading anything far away such as a menu behind a restaurant counter or when reading the chalkboard at school. Your child’s teacher may even let you know that your child needed to move closer to the front to see what was written on the chalkboard. This is a telltale sign that your child needs to have their vision evaluated by their pediatrician.

Sitting Close to the TV

Another sign that your child may have trouble with their vision is if they put phones and other electronic devices close to their face to see it. Your child may also sit really close to the TV. These could be signs of nearsightedness.

Nightly Headaches

If your child’s eyes have been overworked and straining all day your child might complain of frequent headaches, particularly in the evening.

Difficulties in School

When parents and teachers notice that their child is having trouble focusing on work they may immediately think that they have ADHD, but sometimes bad vision is actually the culprit. If your child can’t properly see the board, it’s no surprise that their attention focuses on other things. This is when you should talk to your child and find out if they are having trouble seeing the board. It might not be behavioral issues, it might just mean that they need to get an eye exam.

If you are noticing changes in your child’s vision, or if your child mentions having blurry vision or trouble seeing, you must schedule an appointment with your child’s pediatrician as soon as possible. While your pediatrician does have the tools necessary for hearing and vision screenings, they can also refer your child to a pediatric optometrist who can provide further and specialized vision testing and fit them with glasses, if necessary.
By Richard Tenczar, MD, FAAP
July 15, 2021
Category: Child Health Care
Vitamin DVitamin D deficiency is incredibly widespread in the US, and not just with adults! In fact, about one in 10 children in the US are deficient in vitamin D and as many as 60 percent could have “suboptimal levels” of vitamin D, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. This is why all pediatricians need to screen children for a vitamin D deficiency, as this can impact bone growth, metabolism, and multiple organs and systems.
 
The Importance of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is critical for all of us, but especially children. Vitamin D is needed to absorb calcium, as well as for the support and development of a healthy body. Children with severe vitamin D deficiencies may develop muscle weakness, delayed motor development, rickets, and fractures.
 
Where to Get Vitamin D

Unlike most vitamins, which we can often get through diet alone, vitamin D is acquired through time spent in the sun. You won’t find many foods that naturally contain vitamin D. Unfortunately, if you’re in a place that doesn’t get much sunlight then chances are good your child may not be getting enough vitamin D.

Children get about 80 percent of their vitamin D from sunlight. So if your child doesn’t spend much time outdoors (especially during the winter months) it’s a good idea to talk with your pediatrician about ways to ensure that your child is getting enough vitamin D.

Children with certain health problems such as cystic fibrosis or celiac disease, as well as children who’ve undergone bone surgeries may require more vitamin D. This is something you should discuss with your pediatrician. Children over 1-year-old need at least 600 IU of vitamin D (or more) a day. Ideally, children should get around 1,000 IU of vitamin D per day.

We also know that too much time in the sun can also pose risks for children, especially their skin. During the summer months, children only need a few minutes a day in the sun to get enough vitamin D. During the winter months, kids should get about 2-3 hours per week. Children under 6 months old should never be placed in direct sunlight.

Children with darker skin will also need to spend more time in the sun to produce the same levels of vitamin D as kids with lighter skin. Just sitting inside near windows won’t be enough for your child’s body to produce vitamin D.
 
Nothing is more important than keeping your child healthy. If your child hasn’t been checked for a vitamin D deficiency, you must talk with your pediatrician to find out if this screening is right for them. Fortunately, if you find out that your child is deficient, it’s an easy fix!
By Richard Tenczar, MD, FAAP
April 30, 2021
Category: Child Health Care
Tags: Ear Infection  
Ear InfectionWondering if your child might be dealing with an ear infection?

While you will certainly know when you’re dealing with an ear infection; unfortunately kids, particularly newborns and toddlers, can’t tell you that they are experiencing ear pain. Ear infections are incredibly common in young children, with five out of six children experiencing at least one ear infection by the time they turn three years old. Know the warning signs and when to turn to your pediatrician for treatment.

They may have trouble sleeping

It’s not too surprising that with pressure building up in the middle ear due to bacteria that your child may get fussy or even throw a tantrum about going to bed. Children with ear infections often toss and turn and feel worse when they lie down. If your little one suddenly starts crying when they lie down this could be a sign of an ear infection.

They tug at their ears

While a toddler won’t be able to tell you that their ear hurts, they can show you. You may be able to discern whether your child could have an ear infection by whether or not they are tugging and pulling at their ears. Again, the pressure inside the ears can be incredibly uncomfortable and even painful, and children might fidget with their ears to minimize the discomfort.

They could have a fever

If a child has a middle ear infection, commonly, they could also have a fever. If your child’s ear looks red, if they tug at their ear and seem fussier lately, and they have a fever over 100 degrees F then it’s probably time to see a pediatrician.

Their ears might drain

Another telltale sign of an ear infection in your little one is the presence of fluid or pus draining from the ear. If there is the presence of blood in the fluid this might be a sign of a ruptured eardrum. While the eardrum will heal on its own, it’s still a good idea to see your pediatrician if pus or fluid is draining from your child’s ear.

If your child is displaying symptoms of an ear infection, or if you’re concerned about your child’s recurring ear infections, it’s important to talk with your pediatrician. A pediatrician will be able to dispense the proper medication and discuss other ways to reduce your child’s risk of developing future infections.