Pediatricians answer four questions they're asked most often
Every age and stage of a child's life comes with a set of new questions and concerns for parents and caregivers. We're here to answer some of the questions we hear most often during visits in our office.
The wonder years
Q: Should I be worried about my child's development?
A: Pediatricians perform comprehensive developmental screenings at every wellness checkup starting at birth. Physicians will always let you know if they are concerned about your child or if they don't think they're meeting age-appropriate milestones. The American Academy of Pediatrics has an excellent resource available with information on developmental milestones and healthy behaviors. You can also visit Easterseals' website to take a questionnaire tailored to your child's exact age.
If you have specific concerns about your child's behavior or development, talk with your pediatrician. Sometimes children may need therapies through Early Intervention programs to help their development.
Q: My child's vaccination schedule is off track because of the pandemic. What do I do now?
A: During the pandemic, parents were understandably concerned about bringing their children to the doctor's office, and as a result, many kids are now behind on vaccinations. We've begun to see community outbreaks of measles, chickenpox and other deadly but preventable diseases. Advocate Aurora Health's Safe Care Promise provides peace of mind, using effective methods to prevent disease transmission in our offices. We strongly encourage you to bring your children in for their regular checkups, especially if they've missed any vaccinations.
Q: Is my toddler drinking too much milk?
A: Infants typically transition from formula or breast milk to cow's milk around their first birthday. Cow's milk is an excellent source of protein, calcium and vitamin D needed for healthy growth. However, too much milk can be a problem. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a maximum consumption of 24 ounces of cow's milk per day for toddlers. More than that can lead to iron deficiency and anemia. Common symptoms of anemia can include fatigue, shortness of breath with exertion, paleness and pica (a disorder where an individual develops a strong desire to eat nonfood items such as dirt and paper.)
The elephant in the room
Q: Should my child get the COVID-19 vaccine?
A: Remember that doctors always weigh the risks and benefits of any medicine or injection before recommending it for your child. The COVID-19 vaccine is strongly recommended by the AAP and pediatricians across the globe, especially for high-risk children and those attending in-person school. The Pfizer BioNTech vaccine is proven to be safe and effective for children and teens 5-18 years of age. Myocarditis, a frequently discussed but infrequently occurring side effect of the vaccine, typically only affects a small subset of patients and can usually be treated in an outpatient setting. Unvaccinated children infected with COVID have a much higher risk of developing severe myocarditis than those who receive the vaccine. Furthermore, risk for developing MIS-C (multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, a severe illness often leading to hospitalization and cardiac complications) after a COVID infection is dramatically reduced if your child has been vaccinated.
Have a conversation with your child's doctor about the vaccine if you have additional questions or concerns. Parents, please remember -- your concerns are valid.
• Children's health is a continuing series. This week's article is courtesy of Advocate Children's Hospital. For more information, visit www.advocatechildrenshospital.com. Drs. Rebecca Kirk, Khin Khin Bremer and Emma Olivera are pediatricians with Advocate Children's Medical Group and are accepting new patients. To schedule a checkup, sick visit, chronic or complex care or newborn checkup with this group, call (630) 275-9060.