Many kids can relate to the unpleasant experience of growing pains – they come on at night and can cause sharp, shooting, as well as dull and nagging pain. But what people may not know is what causes them, why do they affect some children and not others, and most importantly, when should parents be concerned that they could be something much more serious?
Dr. Suzanne Marie Yandow, chief of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine at Seattle Children’s Hospital, answers these common questions below.
What causes growing pains?
The direct cause of growing pains is unknown, but they typically present in children 3 to 5 years of age and may persist much later in some cases in kids ages 8 to 12. Some studies have shown that more than one out of three children displays symptoms at some point in their lives, and the symptoms most often arise during periods of rapid growth.
What are the common symptoms?
Growing pains often come on in the evening and at night, and the pain is usually in the muscles rather than the joints. This pain usually presents bilaterally, meaning the pain will occur in both legs, rather than just one or the other. Frequently they are present in the front of the legs or shin area.
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School supplies line the store shelves, sweaters have replaced swimwear on the racks, football is on TV, and many parents are getting ready to send their kids back to school. As parents start to transition from summer to the school year, it’s important they set their child up for success by beginning to prepare now for the new routine.
“It’s normal for kids to feel both excitement and anxiety as the new school year approaches,” said Dr. Ben Danielson, a pediatrician at Seattle Children’s Hospital and Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic. “When parents focus on the positives, keep their own worries in check, and get organized for the new beginning, it helps their child approach the school year with confidence.”
Here are Danielson’s tips for how parents can prepare for a successful year of learning, growth, hard work and fun. Read full post »
Many regions across the U.S. are experiencing the hottest summer on record, and this presents real health concerns for families. Dr. Tony Woodward, medical director of emergency medicine at Seattle Children’s Hospital, provides the following advice for parents and caregivers about how to beat the heat as well as keep their kids safe this summer:
1. Keep kids out of hot cars
Leaving a child alone in a car can have deadly consequences, even on just a warm day.
“It doesn’t take very long, a child’s body can heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s body,” said Woodward. “When you combine this with the fact that the temperature in your car can rise nearly 20 degrees in just 10 minutes, dangerous and potentially lethal heatstroke can develop quickly.”
According to KidsandCars.org, 38 children die in hot cars each year from heat-related deaths after being trapped inside motor vehicles.
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Summer is finally here and pools, river and lakes are becoming popular destinations for families looking for a fun way to beat the heat. But before stepping aboard a boat or planning a trip to a lake or other open water, it’s important to remember life jacket safety, says Elizabeth Bennett, a drowning prevention expert at Seattle Children’s.
Here, Bennett answers some of the most common questions parents ask about life jackets. Read full post »
The early childhood years are crucial for learning and development which should always involve a great deal of outdoor physical activity and playtime, but new research shows that’s not always the case. Results from a two-year study published today in Pediatrics show that children in daycares and preschools were presented with only 48 minutes of opportunities for physically active play per day — significantly less than what’s recommended. The National Association for Sport and Physical Education and Let’s Move! Child Care recommend that children should receive at least 120 minutes of active play time daily, including child-led free play and teacher-led play. Read full post »
In recent years, the diagnosis of abusive head trauma (AHT), historically referred to as shaken baby syndrome, has been the focus of great debate in court rooms and media headlines across the country. The debate has focused on a few key questions: Does AHT really exist? Can shaking really cause brain injury or death in infants?
“Having people believe that abusive head trauma doesn’t exist and that shaking an infant is harmless is a public health danger,” said Dr. Carole Jenny, a child abuse physician in Seattle Children’s Protection Program and at Harborview Medical Center, who has more than 30 years of child protection experience. “Parents and caregivers need to be aware that abusive head trauma as a result of shaking is a real thing that can happen – it does happen – and it has devastating, lifelong or fatal consequences.”
Dr. Christopher Greeley, who is a child abuse expert and associate professor at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, said that it comes down to this: “Would you shake your newborn baby?” Read full post »
Dr. Sie’s collection of items removed in surgery
They say that life is all about the little things, and for the Otolaryngology care team at Seattle Children’s Hospital, this statement holds true more often than not. Each year more than 150 children find their way to the Seattle Children’s Otolaryngology clinic to have some kind of household object, or “foreign body,” removed from their ear, nose or throat.
These objects, while sometimes but not always small, and ranging from coins to button batteries, have become part of a unique collection that hangs in Dr. Kathleen Sie’s office. It’s a collection that she hopes will raise awareness for parents and caregivers about the prevalence of many dangerous household items that often hide in plain sight.
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Dr. Megan Moreno (top) and Dr. Annika Hofstetter (bottom)
Seattle Children’s has the honor of having over 100 doctors and researchers slated to present at the 2015 Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) Annual Meeting. This is the largest international meeting focused on children’s health research and clinical implications.
On the Pulse is highlighting two Seattle Children’s researchers who will be presenting their exciting new research: Dr. Megan Moreno and Dr. Annika Hofstetter.
Using media to understand mechanisms of behavior change
Dr. Megan Moreno of Seattle Children’s Center for Child Health and Behavioral Development is leading the way in adolescent social media (SM) use research. In her PAS presentation she will highlight key adolescent health issues pertaining to the SM landscape.
Over 90 percent of adolescents use SM, where they may display risky behaviors and describe their health attitudes, intentions and behaviors in ways that can be measured, Moreno said. Read full post »
Spring has sprung and spring sports are underway. Children and teens are back on the baseball mound, track and soccer field, and while playing sports is a great source of exercise for kids, they can also cause injury and pain if children try to spring back too fast. To help keep kids healthy and active this season, Dr. Thomas Jinguji, a sports medicine doctor at Seattle Children’s Hospital, offers tips for parents and coaches to make sure pain isn’t a part of a child’s season.
With more children and teens participating in recreational sports and organized activities, it’s not surprising that overuse injuries, or damage to a bone, muscle, ligament or tendon caused by stress from repetitive actions, are common. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), half of all sports medicine injuries in children and teens are from overuse. And with longer seasons, more intensity during practices and games and more pressure to succeed, it’s no wonder Seattle Children’s is seeing an increase in these types of injuries. Read full post »
Visit or drive by Seattle Children’s during the month of April and you might notice something whimsical spinning in the wind: pinwheels, thousands of them, serving as symbols of hope and support in recognition of National Child Abuse Prevention Month. The pinwheel planting is a yearly tradition at Seattle Children’s, a sentiment which began to inspire the community to support parents and caregivers in a positive way. And as the tradition grew, so did the ways in which the community could show their support – not only through pinwheels, but by making positive parenting pledges as well.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), parental feelings of isolation, stress and frustration are major causes of child abuse and mistreatment in the U.S. Abusers are commonly a person the child knows, such as a parent, caregiver, neighbor or family member. Nearly 80% of reported child fatalities that are a result of abuse and neglect are caused by one or more of the victim’s parents. Read full post »