What is (and particularlywhat isn’t) on children’s plates in the United States is prime evidence of the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Right before the current health crisis hit, childhood food insecurity affected a staggering 15 million children. Without the consistency of school meals, as well as many households losing income, that number has grown to about 18 million.
Kids, especially toddlers, are always on the move! Exploring, exploring, and oh yes, more exploring! From one to four years old, toddlers developmentally explore the world with constant hand-to-mouth motions. Unfortunately, dangerous substances can sometimes get into their systems through those motions, explorations, and experimentations - and it can happen more simply than you may imagine. Especially during times that adults can be overwhelmed or distracted (family gatherings, cooking meals for the holidays, balancing all that gift wrapping - the usual events this time of the year).
Pediatricians play a key role in preventing medical problems in children as much as they do in treating them. It is the reason for those frequent visits with your pediatrician in the first few years when growth and development are crucial. Identifying issues early on allows intervention and improves outcomes for a child’s long term health. As a pediatrician myself, I have two main jobs: take care of children and educate parents.
Poison Control Centers in the United States receive 1.2 million calls each year as a result of the accidental poisoning of children ages 5 and younger. Nearly 90% of these toxic exposures happen at home and 60% involve non-pharmaceutical products such as cleaners, personal care products, pesticides, cosmetics, art supplies, toys and alcohol.
When my youngest son was one-year-old, my father-in-law unknowingly handed him a whole pecan to eat while I was in the kitchen. Hearing commotion, I turned about to see my sister doing a finger sweep and my son still choking.
As a mother and pediatric gastroenterologist, I hear this complaint often. Is it because my child needs to poop? Because she doesn’t want to go to bed? For many parents, this happens regularly after their child eats and they wonder: Does my child have a food allergy?