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Your reliable resource for current topics related to your child’s health and development – plus lots of tips for new (and experienced) parents.

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Make an appointment or call the nurse? Guidelines to help your little ones when they're sick.

So your child is sick - do you make an appointment, or call the triage nurse for advice on how you can help your child at home or if it's the weekend - come to the walk-in clinic?

There are recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics that help parents know when a well visit or annual check-up is due. Sick visits? They can be a grey area. How sick is sick enough to warrant a doctor visit? When is an illness minor enough that it can be treated at home with a little T.L.C. and patience?

Here are some some basic guidelines on what to do - and when to  do it.

Sick Child Taking Temperature

Is it a cold or allergies?

Changing of the seasons.  For some kids it also brings runny noses, itchy skin rashes and sneezes. Those pesky symptoms might just be a common cold but they could be a sign that your child has seasonal allergies.

Little girl sneezing

How to handle fevers in kids

A fever is usually caused by infections from viruses (such as a cold or the flu) or bacteria (such as strep throat or some ear infections). The fever itself is not the disease, only a sign that the body’s defenses are trying to fight an infection. A fever is one of the body’s protective mechanisms. It is not uncommon for a fever to last 2-3 days, usually peaking at 103-104 degrees. Fevers can be scary but they are usually not harmful. Learn more about fevers and how to treat fevers in your child.

Mother feeling sick child's forehead to check for fever

Tips for taking care of children: Diarrhea

It can be tricky to know the best way to take care of children when they have diarrhea. When that child is an infant it can be even harder to know the best treatment options. What foods and fluids are best? What should you do - and what should you avoid? Read on to learn how to help your kids when diarrhea strikes.

Mother with sick son

Using the latest vision screening technology

Vision problems can happen at any age but they can be harder to detect in infants and young children. Eye examinations and vision screening are important tools but when it comes to our youngest patients, they often aren’t effective enough. This is why the pediatricians at Northpoint Pediatrics in Indianapolis and Noblesville have started offering the Spot Vision Screener - a revolutionary tool that can detect vision problems in children as young as six months.

Spot Vision Screener - Detect vision problems in children

Healthy snacks for toddlers

Healthy toddler snacking
Toddlers are busy little people! Always on the move - climbing, running, exploring - they are just learning how to do so many things and often they don’t want to sit still to eat. If you’ve ever dealt with a hungry and consequently cranky toddler, you know it’s important to make time for healthy snacks! Looking for some healthy snacking guidelines?  Northpoint Pediatrics located in Indianapolis and Noblesville has some great tips for you.

Important milestones for your baby

Is my child developing normally?

This is one of the most common questions we hear from parents with infants. While each child develops at their own pace, there are some key milestones to watch for at certain ages. Let’s review those developmental milestones and how to handle any concerns with your child’s development.

baby milestones

Tips for new dads

Do an online search for newborn advice and you’ll find a lot of articles that address the mom. Dad’s are important too! Northpoint Pediatrics, an Indianapolis group with offices in Indianapolis and Noblesville has three tips for new dads as they get to know and love their newborn baby.

dad holding newborn baby

Tips for creating a baby registry

The baby shower. There may or may not be silly games but there will most certainly be fun, smiles and gifts!

Have you thought about what you want and need for your new baby? Walking into the store or studying the pages of Amazon can be overwhelming for a first-time parent. You might be asking, “How can you possibly choose when there are so many choices?” Indianapolis pediatricians seeing patients at Northpoint Pediatrics have some advice as you prepare for the birth of your new baby.

What do you need for new baby?

Capturing memories of your new baby

Few things in life are as precious as those first few days with your new baby. These hours are just as special with your first child as they are with your fourth. There’s nothing quite like getting to know this new member of your family.

These newborn days are also fleeting. It’s amazing how quickly our children go from being tiny little things to wide-eyed babies soaking in the world around them. One of our favorite things at Northpoint Pediatrics is meeting your new baby. It's always a special moment. Over the years we’ve seen some great ways of capturing the memories of a newborn baby and we’d love to share them with you.

Photos with newborn baby

Tips for getting into a fitness routine

When you’re the parent of a newborn, toddler or preschooler, it can be hard to find time to exercise. Your schedule is no longer your own. But taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your child. When you exercise regularly you are
  • being an active healthy parent
  • increasing your energy levels
fitness routine with baby
Whether you’re starting a new fitness routine or trying to get back on the exercise bandwagon, there are some great benefits to staying physically fit. So how do you get into a fitness routine when you have a baby to care for? Northpoint Pediatrics, an Indianapolis based group, has some great tips for parents who are ready to get moving again.

Teens: Ban the Tan!

Using tanning beds can harm your skin, eyes

    Are you feeling a bit pale after a long winter? Thinking about using a tanning bed before going somewhere warm for spring break? You might want to think again. Indoor tanning beds can be dangerous — or even deadly.
    People who use tanning beds before they are 35 years old are 75% more likely to get melanoma (skin cancer). Melanoma affects 68,000 people in the United States and kills one out of eight of those people every year. Those who start tanning when they are young also have a higher risk of other types of skin cancer. That’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and pediatricians tell anyone under age 18 that they should never use a tanning bed.
Tanning salons sometimes give out wrong information about safety. For example, tanning salon workers in Missouri allowed children as young as 10 years old to use tanning beds, according to a new study in the medical journal Pediatrics. Some customers were told that they should use a tanning bed before going on vacation somewhere warm to avoid sunburns (they shouldn't or that doctors recommend tanning beds (they don’t). Actually, the “healthy” glow on your skin after tanning is not healthy at all. It is a sign of skin damage.
Tanning beds do more than just hurt skin and cause cancer. The bright light can cause eye problems, itchy skin and make you more likely to get sick. Even teenage boys are at risk. In one study, boys who use indoor tanning often said they feel bad about how they look. They also were more likely to do other unhealthy things, like try weight loss tricks, alcohol, drugs, cigarettes and steroids.
In many states, it is illegal for anyone younger than age 18 to use a tanning salon. Even if you are allowed to go with a note from your parents, think before you ask. It is healthier to be happy in your own skin.

Check out our app NP PEDS MD for further information and home care advice.

Accepting New Patients | Call 317-621-9000 today for more information or  REQUEST AN APPOINTMENT ON LINE
© 2013 American Academy of Pediatrics - Trisha Korioth, Staff Writer

Top 3 family road trip travel hacks

Taking your family on a road trip is one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll share together. The stories and memories made on those trips will last a lifetime. Cranky children tired of sitting still can make the trip itself feel like a lifetime too! Don’t despair! Road trips can indeed be fun for everyone with a little advance planning and creativity. Let’s review our top three family road trip travel hacks.

Boy in car

5 tips to fight off the boredom blues

There’s nothing to do!

Can’t I just watch more TV?

It’s inevitable. At some point during summer vacation your child will utter those dreadful words: “I’m bored.” They might be surrounded by toys and have a yard full of things to do, but there are times when children just can’t think of things to do. This is a prime time to help your child build their powers of imagination and creativity. We’ve got five tips to beat the boredom blues this summer.

Bored child

Air Travel and Kids

I took a trip to Orlando in a couple years ago to visit family and friends.  I was traveling solo on that trip, so I had a chance to sit back and observe the many families who brave the whole process to get to the sunny land of Disney.

I observed a mother reassuring her little girl that security isn't scary, "It is just part of the trip. We just need to do it to get on the plane.” Once again, I was impressed by the wisdom of parents and their ability to explain things to their kids at their level.   I even found myself being soothed by this simple explanation (you are never too old to need a mom).  If parents can stay calm and cool, the kids have a better chance of remaining that way. 

Many times you can get through security quicker if the airport has a special line for families with young children.  You can usually board the plane earlier too.  Airlines know that little kids do not travel light!  However, if you are in Orlando, don't count on any kid friendly perks.  You are one of the masses there. On the return trip, I must have seen a couple dozen families rush the gate at the first announcement of boarding, only to be held back. 

I have some other tips for air travel with children, with help from fantastic Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, and mother of two, Megan Taylor:  

  • Buy your baby his or her own seat! See AAP Article. I feel pretty strongly about this one.  While airlines will still allow certain aged babies to sit on parent's laps, it is not only extremely uncomfortable, but not very safe.  For a smaller baby, you can bring his/her car seat on board so they can be safely belted in if there is turbulence or a hard landing.  Plus it gives the baby a place to sleep and you can relax  hands-free! You can check your older kid(s) car seat(s), or rent at your destination.
  • Offer a pacifier, bottle, or nurse during takeoff and landing to help with ear popping. Toddlers can try drinking from a sippy cup. Older kids can try the old standby of chewing gum. 
  • We do not routinely recommend Benadryl (diphenhydramine) on flights. While it may aid sleep, it may also cause the opposite reaction and kids can become extra fussy or hyperactive. Plus, it is easier to overdose medications on an airplane with all the distractions and crowded space.  If you are taking an overseas flight, we may be able to develop a "sleep plan" for your child on an individual basis.
  • Preparation is key.  Organize and pack well.  Use a checklist.  Let a child who can walk carry his/her own backpack. This can lighten your own load and also make things fun.  You can let your children pick out some of the books or toys they would like on the trip.  You also have the opportunity to teach them the art of packing light (always a good lifelong skill!)
  • If your baby is on any specialty formula (i.e. - soy based, hypoallergenic, etc.), take ample supply when traveling to resort locations. Many resort areas or rural areas have only regular Similac or Enfamil in the nearby stores.
  • Take a light stroller with you.  You can check and retrieve it right at the boarding point, and having it will allow you to put your baby down somewhere safe and clean in the airport.  This also gives you the option to be "hands free" while picking up luggage, getting your rental car, using the restroom, etc.
  • Airports and airplanes are full of germs, but most of them are spread through the "mouth/nose to hand to surface to hand to mouth/nose" mechanism rather than through the air.  If your baby is not crawling, you can keep him/her in the stroller and sanitize your own hands (which have just touch spots that 100 other people have touched in the last hour) before touching the baby. Sanitize before you touch your own mouth, nose or eyes as well.  This will keep you from getting infected by some of the airport germs and being sick on vacation!  If you have a crawler or toddler, you may be out of luck.  They touch everything and put whatever they can reach into their mouths.  Keep them in that handy stroller if you can, or find a small play area that you can wipe down first!
  • Plan ahead for delays, cancellations, lost luggage etc. In addition to the usual recommendations (medications, valuables, etc. ), carry on plenty of diapers, wipes, and changes of clothes. It is not easy to find these things in an airport terminal.
  • Plan ahead for possible illnesses. We see a fair number of kids for "pre-vacation, just in case they have an ear infection” checks  and are happy to do so.  We can also discuss some of the questions you may have about your specific travel plans.  Children can get sick (or sicker) in less than 24 hours, so even if they have a normal exam before your leave, they may still need seen by a doctor while you are at your destination.  If you are traveling in the U.S., there are pediatric hospitals in most large cities that have an urgent care clinic or pediatric emergency department.  If you are staying with friends, their own children's doctor may be able to see your child for an appointment.  If those options aren't available, I tell people to go to the biggest hospital they can get to, since larger hospitals usually have more pediatric emergency doctors and nurses.  We will help over the phone where we can, but most children have similar symptoms (fever, cough, runny nose, not sleeping) that have very different causes. That is why they will usually need an exam before they can be treated.   If you will be going out of the country, we recommend you call one of the international travel clinics for medial recommendations for that specific area. 

Finally, if your child has one of those all out 'fits' that cause everyone in the airplane to keep glancing (or glaring!) your way...smile sweetly, sadly, apologetically, and accept the fact that you have done your best.  I am one of those lucky people who is so used to kids screaming, that it doesn't bother me in the least on an airplane.  However, if your child is kicking the back of my seat, please, oh please....make him stop!

Check out our app NP PEDS MD for further information and home care advice.

Accepting New Patients | Call 317-621-9000 today for more information or  REQUEST AN APPOINTMENT ON LINE

Vicki Roe, M.D. 6/9/12, revised 5/14/19
Dr. Vicki Roe received her  under graduate degree from Purdue, and her MD degree from IU School of Medicine. In her spare time she enjoys book collecting, genealogy, photography, Sc Fi and comic books.
Baby girl with pony tail in white