Summer is officially here! As children enjoy more recreational time during the summer, parents should remain attentive about their activities and distinctive needs during this season. Following is information that will keep your child’s summer as carefree as possible while staying healthy.
At some point, most people have sucked helium out of a balloon to make their voices squeaky and high-pitched. The seemingly harmless party trick – which is especially popular among children – has led to some serious, life-threatening illnesses, and in some cases, even death as the helium enters the lungs and deprives the body of oxygen.
Nine-year-old Tuesdai Joyner learned the dangers of this activity first-hand while at a birthday party last month. The otherwise healthy young girl joined the other children as they each took turn inhaling helium from a balloon. After her turn, Tuesdai ran over to her parents who were getting ready to leave. As she ran to her mother, she passed out, fell to the ground, and had a seizure.
PCCSF’s Dr. Allan Greissman shared Tuesdai’s story and the hidden dangers of inhaling helium exclusively with WPLG Local 10.
While Tuesdai’s case is rare, it serves as an important warning to parents on just how dangerous this activity can be. Tuesdai’s mother, Altaria Butler, would advise parents to not let their kids participate in this activity.
At Pediatric Critical Care of South Florida, it is our mission to provide comfort, hope, and the best possible care to our patients, as well as their family and friends.
We accomplish our mission thanks to our expertly trained and experienced staff in advanced pediatric critical care medicine. Their skills have allowed us to care for the most critically ill patients across South Florida and made us a premier provider.
Our team is happy to announce and welcome our newest staff member, Dr. Eric Norman. Read on to get to know him!
Dr. Norman is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a member of the Society for Critical Care Medicine and Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Society. His professional interests include the care of children with congenital heart disease, ICU delirium and the use of bedside sonography in the PICU. Eric enjoys spending time with his family traveling, camping, fishing and photography.
Dr. Eric Norman received a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Yeshiva University, followed by a Doctor of Medicine from the SUNY-Stony Brook – School of Medicine in Stony Brook, NY. He completed his residency in Pediatrics at Winthrop University Hospital, in Mineola, NY. He continued his training in Pediatric Critical Care at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Park Ridge, Il, and additional training in Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, WI before moving to South Florida. He joined PCCFS in 2019.
Last year, Pediatric Critical Care of South Florida cared for Xander Nunez, a Boca Raton baby born with critical aortic stenosis, a congenital heart defect that causes a narrowing of the heart’s aortic valve. Because his condition was so severe, Xander spent the first five months of his life at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital awaiting a heart transplant.
Led by Dr. Gerald Lavandosky, PCCSF provided around-the-clock monitoring, continuous infusions of medication to support his heart, and oxygen tube feedings. After many months, the call came that a heart was available for Xander, which he received on September 26, 2018. After successful heart surgery, PCCSF provided post-operative care in the hospital’s intensive care unit.
Today, Xander is a nine-month-old baby boy who is, according to his mom, “too smart for his diapers.” Thanks to the successful treatment he received, Dr. Lavandosky shared that Xander has a “very good prognosis to enjoy a full and complete life.”
The road to heart disease begins in childhood. Chronic illnesses such as Type 2 Diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure are now common in many overweight and obese children.
Healthy eating habits and physical activity can reduce the risk of heart disease. Parents can do a lot to help reduce their child’s risks and help them develop habits that can last a lifetime.
Starting at around age three, your child’s pediatrician should be regularly monitoring their cardiovascular indicators, such as blood pressure, cholesterol and BMI. Their doctor may also recommend other tests depending on your family’s health history.
Although you and your pediatrician are the best authorities on your child’s health, the following are some general guidelines that can help you raise heart-healthy kids:
Water – Water is vital for bodily functions and is the best way to quench thirst. Children should drink water throughout the day and drink additional water during physical activities or sports. Buy a portable, reusable bottle that can be regularly filled for on-the-go trips. Add lemons, oranges or other fruits for added flavor.
Vegetables and Fruits – Your child’s doctor will indicate how many servings of fruits and vegetables they should be eating for their age group and activity level. As a general rule, each meal should contain at least one fruit or vegetable.
Parents can get creative by adding fruits and vegetables to just about everything, including cereal, toast, pancakes, omelets, yogurt, sauces, lean meats, beans and soups.
In general, a diet high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy, heart-healthy fats, fatty fish, lean meats, chicken and turkey is best for optimum heart health.
Treats – Food should be used for nutrition. Vitamins and minerals provide the fuel that children need to function. Rich desserts, cookies, cakes, candy and sodas should only be eaten in moderation and as occasional treats.
Snacks – Prepare a bag of heart-healthy snacks to eat on-the go, such as low-fat granola bars, trail mix, nuts, carrots, celery, bananas, fresh fruits, low-fat cheese, yogurt, low-fat chocolate milk and dark chocolate.
Get Kids Cooking – Children who learn to prepare healthy meals will be less likely to overindulge once they understand what they are eating.
Food Labels – Teach kids how to properly read food labels and read them together when preparing food or shopping. Once kids understand what they are eating, they are less likely to want sugary, fatty, and high-calorie foods.
Family Involvement – Heart-healthy habits should be a family matter that will help motivate everyone to make and keep healthier choices. Get others, such as caretakers and other family members, involved if they are also caring for your children.
School Lunches – Find out what your children are eating at school. When possible, review their menu options and help them choose the most appropriate, nutritious foods. When packing their lunch, pack the most nutritious foods you have available.
Exercise – Children need at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day and 60 minutes is ideal. Increments of 10 or 15 minutes of exercise at a time are fine. Exercise builds muscle, powers the brain, increases the amount of healthy cholesterol, lowers blood pressure and helps the body control stress.
Smoking – Teens who smoke have a higher chance of getting cancer, heart disease, stroke, emphysema, bronchitis and pneumonia. More immediately, teens can experience malnutrition and asthma. Talk to your children early on about the dangers of smoking so they won’t start.
Sleep – Sleep plays an important part in heart health. Lack of sleep has been linked to obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and blood pressure. The amount of sleep that your child needs depends on their age, make sure that they start developing good sleep patterns now.
When visiting your child’s physician, any questions or concerns you may have regarding your child’s weight or health habits should be brought up. These topics may be sensitive or uncomfortable and their doctor may not bring it up themselves. Once your child has been thoroughly evaluated, any actions that need to be taken should be followed-up as indicated.