How To Find The Best Dentist For Your Special Needs Child

Establishing trustWe all know how important it is to find the right dentist for your family. There are several factors that come into play- someone who understands your concerns and makes you feel comfortable, someone with experience and the skills necessary, someone close to your home, someone who takes or helps with filing your insurance. These criteria are important for sure but there are a few more factors to take into account when finding a dentist for your special needs child.

A dentist with rave reviews and the most experience may not always mean they are the best choice for your special needs child. It is important that the dental staff and doctor know and understand the needs of your child before the appointment. The best way to handle this is to schedule a sit down with the doctor to discuss exactly what is needed and make sure the dental team can accommodate your needs. Most dental offices offer free consultations for exactly this reason. You’ll want to discuss your child’s disabilities and sensitivities. You’ll also want to discuss the dental office’s policies for restraining children who are unable to control their movements or may become agitated or combative. These options may range from sitting them in the parent’s lap and holding them to a papoose board, or even mild sedation.

Having a plan in place prior to the dental treatment appointment will eliminate possible mental trauma and anguish to your child and frustration with your dental team.

While most general dentistry practices see children, it may be wise to look into a pediatric dentist who is specially trained and equipped for children. There are even pediatric dentists who have become trained in special needs dentistry by completing two or more years of advanced education beyond dental school. These dentists have a complete understanding of the issues your child may have with visiting a dentist- sensitivity to touch, new people, change of environment or routine. A dental staff who is fully trained to handle these concerns will take steps to ensure that the child is seen by the same staff member each time, in the same room and chair, while wearing the same outfit each time.

Dental care is important for all children and adults alike but because children with disabilities have higher incident of gum disease, cavities and other dental concerns, it is very important you find a dentist that you can all feel comfortable with and trust. If you are unsure how to find a dentist to fit your needs, check with advocacy organizations in your area. Your child deserves to be as comfortable as possible during every dental appointment.

Child Health & Safety News Roundup: 01-21-2013 to 01-27-2013

Welcome to Pediatric Safety’s weekly “Child Health & Safety News Roundup”- a recap of the past week’s child health and safety news headlines from around the world.

Each day we use Twitter to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and other caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we may miss something, but we think overall we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed. But for our friends and colleagues who are not on Twitter (or who are but may have missed something), we offer you a recap of the past week’s top 15 events & stories.

PedSafe Headline of the Week:

Apps and Other Digital Tools Lend a Hand to New Mothers – A New Mom MUST read!!

4 Thumb-sucking Remedies That Work

Got a sucker? As sweet as it may seem when your kids are toddlers, the nasty habit can wreak havoc on tooth and mouth development if it continues after adult teeth appear, or around age 5. Most kids stop on their own before then; others respond to gentle reminders or praise. But if your kids’ digits remain the go-to soother once they’ve started school, try these mom-tested tips for kicking the habit.

Focus on fashion: At age 3, Imani Robinson loved her two middle fingers. But she loved fashion more! Her mom, Kenya Robinson of Los Angeles, used colorful band-aids to help her kick the habit. Imani loved the pink girly ones so much she didn’t dare get them wet.

Find a role model: Whether it’s an older sibling or the cool kid down the street, find an impressive role model who either quit the habit or never started it. That’s what worked for Fred Gabriel’s younger son Jeremy. “He really wanted to emulate his big brother Sam — and Sam never sucked his thumb,” says the Kent, Conn., dad.

Dial the doctor or dentist: Sometimes, parents aren’t the best authority figures. Elena Tapper’s middle son, Dylan, was very selective sucker — going for the thumb only when he had a snuggly in hand, which was never in public. Nothing the Montclair, N.J., mom said made a difference. But when Dylan was nearly 6, the dentist sat him down and made a deal with him: On his birthday, he’d quit cold turkey. It worked.

Get creative: It took a story and a song to get Kristen Jenkins’s 3-year-old daughter Olivia to stop sucking her thumb. The Harrisburg, Penn., mom read The Berenstain Bears and the Bad Habit and made up a song to go with it: “I’m 3; no more thumb for me!” Six week later, the job was done. Andrea Van Ness of Denver grew so frustrated by her son Charlie’s incessant thumb-sucking, she created Thumbuddy To Love, a sucking cessation system that includes finger puppets, a storybook and success stickers. Her son quit in two weeks and launched her into entrepreneurship.

Stopping finger-sucking doesn’t have to be a painful process — and it may save you from future pain and expense at the orthodontist’s.

How to Talk to Your Kids About…Using Bad Language

No parent likes to hear four letter words around the house, or potty talk during a play date. Talking to our children about the importance of appropriate words, can help put a stop to the foul language and dirty mouths.

When bad words start appearing at your house, don’t overreact. This is what your child wants you to do. When we get upset and draw attention to the unacceptable words, our children will use them more and more to get attention. We need to stay calm.

Take time to talk to your children:

  • Explain that even though they may hear other people using profanity, it is not acceptable in your family and you expect them to make better word choices.
  • It is also important to talk to your children about how words can hurt people just like hitting them does. Foul language can be mocking, degrading, and scornful. Help your child examine the effects that swear words have on others and on themselves. Where appropriate, use a personal example to illustrate a time when bad words hurt you or someone you know.
  • When your child does use profanity, make it clear that you expect them to apologize to those around them that heard the bad language.

Then, take time to talk to them about why they are using those words and how they feel when they swear. Talk about other words they could use when they are angry or frustrated, instead of foul language.

Our children learn the most from the example we set for them. We must be sure that we are not using bad words. My husband learned this the hard way. About a year ago he said, “these kids were screwing around at school” in front of our 3 year old. Although this is not a four-letter word, we don’t want our three year old saying it. She spent the rest of the day saying, “screwing around.” Hearing it once was all it took. My husband learned quickly, to watch every word. We also learned to pay close attention to the music they listen to, the TV and movies they watch, and the friends they play with.

Talk about the consequences of swearing, before it happens. Choose wisely. The consequence should encourage them to make better word choices, without scaring them off from communicating with you altogether. Talk to your child about why they used the words they did. Did they swear to impress their friends, to get your attention, or maybe because they are angry? There are reasons our children talk like this, try to find the reason and it will aid in knowing how to deal with the problem.

Other tips for dirty mouths:

  • When children are small, teach them the correct names for body parts. This way, they will be “no big deal words” to your kids and they won’t get excitement or satisfaction out of using them.
  • Often, children of all ages swear or use potty talk to get attention. Children need lots of attention. Whether the attention comes from positive or negative actions, they are still getting attention. Be sure you are giving your children plenty of positive attention.
  • Do not respond to bad language. Make it clear that you won’t respond unless they speak using appropriate words. Walk away if you need to.
  • Teach kids how to manage and deal with anger. Older kids swear because they are angry or trying to fit in and be popular. If they learn young how to manage their anger, they will be less likely to swear when they are mad. Teach them self-mastery. Help build your child’s self esteem so that they don’t feel the need to act out, to “fit in” and be popular. Make sure they know how popular they are in your eyes so they aren’t overly seeking that attention in other places.

It is very normal for young children and teenagers to go through “dirty mouth” phases. We can’t stop the words from coming out of their mouths, but we can do a few things that shorten the “phase” and keep things on track.

10 Cold & Flu Kid-soothing Secrets

The average kid suffers through eight colds a year, which means that all parents become well versed in nursing a miserable, sniffling child back to health. That’s why we turned to the experts — real moms and dads like you — for their go-to moves for easing symptoms, entertaining bored kids and staying sane during sick season. The next time your little one is under the weather, try using a few of these tips and tricks:

  1. Find restful activities.
    “To keep my 21-month-old son entertained when he’s under the weather, I focus on activities he can do while seated, like puzzles, coloring books and stickers. We also work on little skills, like “pull off your sock’ or “try to get your slipper on by yourself.’ It sounds small, but it keeps him resting while he’s occupied. I also let him watch TV and play with my iPhone or iPad: Since he’s usually not allowed to do those things, it’s a big treat.” — Brooke Lea Foster, parenting blogger (MommyMoi)
  2. Serve up cold-fighting foods.
    “I feed my kids meals that help boost their immune system and speed the healing process: foods rich in vitamin A (carrots and broccoli), vitamin C (pineapple, strawberries and OJ) and zinc (whole-grain cereal, lean meat and beans). Getting enough fluids is also crucial, so I encourage them to drink water and sip soup. My mom makes the best chicken soup, and she always drops off a batch when someone is sidelined with a cold.” — Elisa Zied, registered dietician with a master’s degree, author of Nutrition at Your Fingertips and Feed Your Family Right!, founder/president of Zied Health Communications
  3. Scrub right way.
    “To prevent the spread of germs throughout the house and to yourself, instruct your kids to wash their hands regularly. Studies show that kids typically only run the water for five seconds and leave with their hands dripping wet, which isn’t effective. Teach them to sing ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’ or say their ABCs as the scrub up, and dry their hands thoroughly on a clean towel afterwards.
    Also make sure that you do the same — only 30 percent of adults hit the sink after coughing or sneezing! If you sometimes forget, consider leaving a bottle of alcohol-based hand sanitizer right outside of your sick child’s room.” — Harley Rotbart, M.D., professor and vice chairman of pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital of Denver, author of Germ Proof Your Kids, father of three
  4. Ask for a hand.
    “To keep my own sanity when the kids are sick, I call in the reserves! My mother-in-law lives locally, so she’s a big help and a fun person to visit when the kids can’t play with their buddies. I might plan an outing for the evening — maybe a movie with girlfriends — so I have something to look forward to after being cooped up in the house all day.I also ask my husband for assistance. We recently had to give our 2-year-old daughter eye drops, and it was a team effort. My husband held and distracted her, while I applied the medicine and repeated the word “gentle” to calm her down. When we finished, we clapped, sang and danced, and all was forgotten in no time.” — Elizabeth Detmer, mom of two
  5. Provide comfort.
    “During a cold, the main goal is to keep your child comfortable — dressing in light layers and turning down the thermostat if necessary. Sometimes I’ll run a cooling bath to provide some relief and, if necessary, offer ibuprofen or acetaminophen for a fever.” — Dr. Hannah Chow, pediatrician and assistant professor of pediatrics at the Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University Chicago
  6. Break out special treats.
    When my two kids are sick, I bring out a goody bag that I keep for rainy days or when they’ve been especially good. It’s usually just filled with stuff that I’ve picked up at sales, like activity packs, puzzles, small toys and other seasonal crafts.
    In the evenings, I’ll warm up apple cider, ginger tea with honey and lemon or vanilla soymilk, which is soothing. I try to cater to my kids when they’re under the weather, because being sick is no fun.” — Joanne Kim, mom of two
  7. Fluff an extra pillow.
    “My 4-year-old has an abundance of energy, so I know he’s sick when he actually slows down. To clear up his stuffy nose, I use a saline spray and prop an extra pillow under his head to help him breathe easier while he’s sleeping.
    I’ve also taught him how to sneeze into the crook of his elbow so that he doesn’t spread germs. It’s hard to take care of a little one when you’re sick too!” — Holly Tillotson, mom of one
  8. Freeze popsicles.
    “Cold popsicles help soothe sore throats. Try making your own from drinks that also provide a dose of vitamin C, like orange juice and fresh berry smoothies.” — Sarah Krieger, registered dietitian who holds a master’s in public health, clinical pediatric dietitian in the community education department of All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla., and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association
  9. Play it on repeat.
    “Although it can drive me crazy, I let my kids watch their favorite movies as many times as they want. My 3-year-old daughter just had a stomach bug and watched Tangled three times over two days. I knew she was feeling better when she got up to sing and even dance a little during the song “Mother Knows Best.” — Betsy Stephens, blogger (Working for Cookies)
  10. Bend the rules.
    “My biggest advice for our own sanity as moms is to drop the demands. Let me explain: As parents, we ask our kids to do things, from the simple ‘drink your milk’ to the complex ‘clean your room.’ Then we have to follow through and make sure they listen to us. When kids are sick, they’re less able to do as we say, because they’re cranky and miserable. Any little thing can trigger a meltdown. So it makes sense to table regular requests (pick up your toys), but follow through on anything that you do ask (put the tissue in the trash can). This approach will make it easier for children to transition back to meeting your behavior expectations when they’re feeling better.” — Carin Daddino, former special education teacher and mom of two

Child Health & Safety News Roundup: 01-14-2013 to 01-20-2013

Welcome to Pediatric Safety’s weekly “Child Health & Safety News Roundup”- a recap of the past week’s child health and safety news headlines from around the world.

Each day we use Twitter to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and other caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we may miss something, but we think overall we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed. But for our friends and colleagues who are not on Twitter (or who are but may have missed something), we offer you a recap of the past week’s top 15 events & stories.

PedSafe Headline of the Week:

Childhood constipation: Surprising truths and tips for relief | Confessions of a Dr. Mom