Litchfield County Pediatrics

20 Felicity Lane
Torrington, CT 06790

LCPeds Blog

Posts for category: Child Health

By Richard Tenczar, MD, FAAP
July 15, 2020
Category: Child Health
Tags: Sports Injuries   Injury  
Child's Sports InjuriesRegular physical activity is so important for your child’s health. If they have decided to start playing on a sports team this can also be a great way for them to build confidence and socialize. Of course, pediatricians also understand just how important it is to keep your little athlete healthy both on and off the field. If your child does sustain an injury your pediatrician may be the first person to help, so it’s important to find a pediatrician that you and your family trust.
 
Preventing Injuries
The goal is always to help your child prevent sports injuries and your pediatrician can become an integral part of providing the preventive care your child needs to stay healthy. This starts with an annual sports physical, in which your child will receive a comprehensive physical exam from a qualified pediatrician to make sure that they are healthy enough for their chosen sport. Your pediatrician can also look at your child’s lifestyle to determine if any changes need to be made to their training routine, eating habits, or sleep to improve performance and reduce the risk for injury.

A pediatrician is an integral part of keeping your child healthy and safe while participating in sports. They can answer your questions and address any concerns you may have, as well as recommend certain conditioning and training exercises that can help with injury prevention. Your child should also be wearing the appropriate protective gear including a helmet when playing sports.
 
Treating Sports Injuries
Sometimes, despite taking all the necessary precautions, your child still sustains a sports injury. The moment your child sustains an injury they need to stop playing immediately and avoid any physical activity until the injury has fully healed. The most common sports injuries in kids are minor strains and sprains which can be treated at home through the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). However, if pain persists or gets worse, it’s important to see your child’s pediatrician.

Your child should visit a pediatrician right away if you suspect that they have a broken bone, dislocation, concussion, or if they are dealing with severe pain or swelling. If your child is unable to walk or put weight on the affected leg, this is also a sign to see a pediatrician as soon as possible. The sooner sports injuries are addressed and properly treated the better.
By Richard Tenczar, MD, FAAP
June 17, 2020
Category: Child Health
Tags: Vision Test  
Vision TestParents want nothing more than their children to be healthy and happy. This applies to every element of their well-being, including their eyes! Your pediatrician recommends that all children receive a comprehensive eye exam by the age of one. These tests detect any problems that require correction. Prolonging an exam can damage your child’s eyes for life. 
 
When Should My Child’s Vision Be Tested?
Your child should have had several tests done by the age of five. This confirms for your pediatrician that they are developing normally. Follow this recommended time-table: 
  • At birth: this is performed right away on your child, as part of the newborn physical assessment.
  • 6 months: your pediatrician evaluates your child’s eyes at their regular appointment. 
  • 3.5 years old: at your child’s appointment, the pediatrician tests their eyes and also their visual acuity. 
  • 5 years old: a standard assessment performed at a pediatric appointment. 
After this, eye screenings are implemented at your discretion. Your pediatrician will check your child’s eyes at their annual checkup. If your child fails an eye exam, you need to schedule a full pediatric eye evaluation right away. 
 
Another reason you should get your child’s eyes checked is if you have a family history of eye conditions. This is especially true if you have other children that have vision problems.
 
Why Does My Child Need an Eye Exam If They Passed the Vision Screening?
There are certain circumstances where your pediatrician refers your child for a full eye examination. This is common for infants that show signs of a lazy eye or crossed eyes. Other possible red flags in infants are problems tracking objects or a strangely colored pupil. 
 
Is your child struggling in school? Don’t jump to conclusions without an eye examination from your pediatrician. If a child can’t see the board or follow along with lessons, their performance will suffer. Corrective eyewear and other treatment options can help. Eye examinations are even more important for children with learning disabilities. Eye problems can make coping with a learning disorder much harder. 
 
What to Expect at Your Child’s Eye Examination
Your child has nothing to be worried about at their appointment. There is nothing scary or painful! The pediatrician will ask you about your family history, especially anything related to eye health. From there, they check your child’s pupil and muscle function, along with sharpness.
 
In certain cases, your pediatrician will dilate the eyes. This is performed by placing special drops in the eyes. After about forty minutes, the pediatrician can examine the major structures. 
By Richard Tenczar, MD, FAAP
June 02, 2020
Category: Child Health
Tags: Autism  
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental condition that affects how a person views and interacts with the world around them, including other people. In most cases, differences become apparent by the time your child reaches 24 months. Mainly, parents notice behavioral differences and language delays. If you suspect that your child has ASD, schedule an appointment with your local pediatric office. We work with you to figure out what to do next.
 
Signs of ASD 
Every child with ASD is different. Not everyone will have the same symptoms or experiences. With that in mind, here are some summaries on social, communication, and behavioral differences. 
 
Social Differences
  • Your child doesn’t keep or make eye contact
  • They don’t respond to your facial expressions or smiles
  • Does not reciprocate facial expressions or have the appropriate ones
  • Doesn’t respond to parent’s pointing 
  • Has problems making friends
  • Shows a lack of concern for others
Communication Differences
  • Your child hasn’t spoken by 16 months
  • Repeats or parrots what others say
  • Doesn’t feel the need or want to communicate 
  • Starts missing language and social milestones after 15 months
  • Doesn’t pretend play but does have a good memory for numbers, songs, and letters
Behavioral Differences
  • Has an affinity for routines and schedules and does not like altering them
  • Likes to twirl their fingers, sway, rock, or spin
  • Has strange activities that they enjoy doing repeatedly
  • They are sensitive to sounds, lights, touch, textures, and smells
  • They are more interested in the parts of a toy instead of the whole thing
Common Examples
Don’t feel overwhelmed by the information listed above. As mentioned, a child can have a mixture of any of these behaviors. There are a few other common examples that your pediatrician sees. These give you insight into how a neurotypical child reacts in certain situations versus a child with ASD.  
 
By the age of 12 months, your child should turn their head when they hear their name. A child with ASD won’t respond even if their name is called multiple times.
 
By 18 months, a child with speech delays finds accommodations through gestures, facial expressions, or pointing. Children with ASD find no reason to compensate for speech. 
 
After 24 months, many children enjoy bringing their parents objects or toys to look at or play with. A child with ASD may bring their parent an object but will not play with their parent or respond to their reaction.
By Richard Tenczar, MD, FAAP
May 18, 2020
Category: Child Health
Tags: Tonsillitis  
TonsillitisEveryone is born with two tonsils. These are lymph nodes located right in the back of the throat. They help out the immune system by housing important white blood cells. Even so, the tonsils themselves can become infected, which is known as tonsillitis. The tonsils swell up, causing pain and discomfort. Children between the ages of five and eleven experience it the most. You need to bring your child in to see a pediatrician right away. Tonsillitis is commonly caused by streptococcus pyogenes also known as strep throat. 
 
The Basics of Tonsillitis
 
Your tonsils work by trapping dangerous viruses and bacteria within. As mentioned before, this can lead them to become infected. Infections are easily transferred between children, with tonsillitis being caused by strep, adenovirus, the flu, and Epstein-Barr virus (mono).
 
Your pediatrician is highly qualified in treating tonsillitis. That is because almost all cases are found in children. During puberty, the tonsils shrink in size. This makes it much harder for them to become infected. You need to seek medical intervention right away. Infections can become life-threatening if not treated, leading to diseases like rheumatic fever. An even more serious complication is a peritonsillar abscess. The infection spreads beyond the tonsils and swells up the neck and chest tissues. This can block and stop your child’s airways. 
 
Signs of Tonsillitis in Children
 
In children under the age of two that have problems communicating what is wrong, symptoms manifest in the form of excessive drooling, refusing food or bottles, and fussiness. Expect these symptoms in older children: 
  • Sore throat
  • Noticeably bigger tonsils
  • Fever
  • Pain or problems with swallowing
  • Yellow or white patches coating the throat and tonsils
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • Foul breath
  • Stiff neck
  • Headaches
  • A scratchy or rough voice
  • Stomach pain
Diagnosing Tonsillitis
 
Your pediatrician won’t have any trouble diagnosing your child with tonsillitis. They will first start by asking for a brief history of when your child started feeling sick. The next step is performing a physical exam. The pediatrician will look in the throat, nose, and ears. If strep is suspected, a nurse takes a swab of the throat. A blood test will also be drawn to identify what bacteria or virus is responsible.
 
If strep or another bacteria is responsible for your child’s tonsillitis, antibiotics are prescribed. It’s important that your child finishes the whole dose. This guarantees that the entire infection is gone.
By Richard Tenczar, MD, FAAP
July 02, 2019
Category: Child Health
Tags: Child Care   Physical Exam  

Once your child is born it’s amazing just how quickly they grow and develop. It seems like you blink and suddenly they are talking and walking. During these important milestones it’s also important to have a pediatrician that you turn to regularly to make sure that these developmental milestones are being met and that your child is healthy. After all, if there are any problems you want to find out as soon as possible when early medical interventions can make all the difference.

From the moment your child is born until 2 years old, your pediatrician will most likely want to see them every six months for wellness check ups. After your child turns 2 years old you should still bring them in once a year for a routine physical exam and preventive care. Along with checking your child’s vital signs and monitoring their height and weight your pediatrician will also check hearing, eyesight, respiration, cardiac activity and reflexes.

A physical exam will check all systems of your child’s body to make sure that everything is functioning properly. If your child’s doctor does detect a problem it can be treated immediately. Along with a physical exam your child will also undergo any additional screenings and vaccinations that are necessary for maintaining optimal health.

Furthermore, your pediatrician can also recommend workout routines and appropriate physical activity for your child based on their current health and lifestyle, as well as recommendations on diet, sleeping habits and even their emotional and behavioral health. Even if a pediatrician won’t be able to fully treat all conditions they can still refer your child to a specialist who will be able to handle a specific health problem or injury.

Once a child is old enough to go to school it’s also important that parents schedule their child’s sports physical so that they can participate in physical activity and school sports. An annual sports physical can detect past injuries and other problems that could affect your child’s ability to participate in certain activities.

These physical exams are often mandatory before a child can play school sports; however, even if it isn’t mandatory you should still bring your child in once a year for a comprehensive sports physical to make sure that they are healthy enough for certain physical activity.

Make sure your child is seeing their pediatrician regularly for care, not just when they are sick but also to ward away infections and other health problems. Schedule your child’s next physical exam today.