Tag Archives: Phoenix Children’s

Urinary tract infections: Can you tell by the smell?

This article has moved to: http://www.raisingarizonakids.com/2012/04/urinary-tract-infections-can-you-tell-by-the-smell/


An increase in synthetic marijuana use among teens

Synthetic versions of marijuana are sending some teens to the hospital, says a case report to be released in the April issue of Pediatrics.

The drugs, created in uncontrolled settings and sold in gas stations and convenience stores, consist of herbs sprayed with chemicals that mimic the

Courtesy DrugFreeAZ.org

psychoactive properties of THC, Continue reading

How to talk to your pre-teen about the HPV vaccine

The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that boys ages 11 or 12 receive the HPV vaccine in a three-dose series, which can be started as early as 9 years old.

Courtesy MCN Healthcare

How do you explain what the HPV vaccine is to a nine-year-old boy?

Well, that’s up to parents to decide.

So you will have your facts straight, however, we asked  Michelle Huddleston, M.D.  a member of the Arizona Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, to explain why the HPV vaccine is on the schedule for pre-teen girls, and now boys, too.

Vaccines are designed to prevent diseases, says Dr. Huddleston, who practices at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. This vaccine is no different.

The HPV vaccine provides protection from certain subtypes of the HPV virus long before boys and young men (and young women) become engaged in any type of sexual activity. 

HPV transmission can happen with any kind of genital contact and intercourse isn’t necessary, adds Dr. Huddleston, who says that many people who have HPV infection are without signs or symptoms and unknowingly pass the virus to their partner.

The HPV vaccine is most effective in the pre-teen age group producing higher antibody levels than in older patients. So, that’s why the vaccine is on the schedule for pre-teen boys and girls.

Talking about the purpose of the vaccine might be a conversation starter for a talk about sex. Dr. Huddleston says that although feeling nervous about broaching the subject with kids is fairly common, she suggests  that as parents,  we should try to consider sexuality a normal topic of conversation.

“Certainly by the time your child starts to exhibit the physical changes of puberty, questions will start to arise,” says Dr. Huddleston. “Be certain to listen, answer honestly and by approachable. You may start the conversation by asking, ‘What do you know about sexuality?’ and see where the conversation leads.

Dr. Huddleston recommends  www.youngwomenshealth.org as a good resource for parents as they prepare to talk to kids about sex.

Another update on the vaccine schedule is the age at which the meningococcal vaccine can be given.

Children as young as 9 months can get the vaccine if they are residents or travelers to countries with epidemic disease or at increased risk of developing meningococcal disease, says the AAP.

Routine immunization with the meningococcal vaccine should begin at 11 through 12 years with a booster dose administered at 16 years of age.

So who is at greatest risk for developing meningococcal disease? And what is it, exactly?

Children who do not have a spleen, have an abnormally functioning spleen or certain immune disorders are at increased risk of developing meningococcal disease, says Dr. Huddleston.

Teenagers are at increased risk of developing meningococcal disease by being in crowded places, living in close quarters, sharing drinking and or eating utensils or having a run-down immune system.

Meningococcal meningitis and septicemia can present with flu-like symptoms and patients can die within 24 hours. 

And, speaking of flu, there’s one more update on the vaccine schedule. 

For children aged 6 months through 8 years, the influenza vaccine should be administered in two doses for those who did not receive at least one dose of the vaccine in 2010-11, says the AAP.

Children who received one dose last season require one dose for the 2011-12 influenza season.

Questions about vaccines or this most recent schedule revision? We list resources below, but any parent who is unsure of what a vaccine is for or when it should be given to a child should check with the child’s health care provider.

More resources on vaccines:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

Center for Young Women’s Health

The Arizona Partnership for Immunizations 

American Academy of Pediatrics Healthy Children website



Why carpooling parents skip booster seats

Plenty of parents drive children other than their own in carpools, but according to new study findings published in the February issue of Pediatrics, they don’t consistently use booster seats for these “guest passengers.”

In this particular study, about three-quarters of the 4- to 8-year-olds using a seat

Courtesy U.S. Dept. of Transportation

belt were doing so in accordance with the laws in their state. But state laws don’t always comply with the national recommendations.

National recommendations encourage the use of booster seats until a child reaches 57 inches, the average height of an 11-year-old.

State booster seat laws were associated with higher safety seat use, regardless of the carpooling factor, even though half of parents admit to not knowing the age cited in their state booster seat law. Another 20 percent guessed incorrectly.

So, take a guess. What’s the law for booster seats in Arizona?

Arizona is one of only 3 states that currently does not have a law requiring children to be restrained in a booster seat, says Sara Bode, M.D., a pediatrician and Arizona AAP member who practices at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Current law only requires car seats for children 5 years or younger.

Part of the lower incidence of use may be due to a lack of state booster seat laws, says Bode. There is a current house bill this legislative session that has passed initial committee hearings. House Bill 2452 would mandate booster seats for children up to age 8 or until they are 4 feet 9 inches tall.

Booster seats are just as important as infant and toddler seats, says Bode. They allow correct positioning of the seat belt across the chest and hips.

Kids can easily slip out of a seat belt during a crash or can suffer serious or fatal injuries to the neck and abdomen. In her work at Phoenix Children’s, Bode has seen many children who have experienced trauma from a motor vehicle injury.

Don’t make these five tragic car seat mistakes!

“I personally have taken care of a family who suffered from a motor vehicle crash,” says Bode. “Their 5 year-old wasn’t properly restrained. As a result, she suffered a serious abdominal injury requiring surgery and a prolonged hospital stay.”

Kids who are seated in a booster seat in the rear of the car are 45% less likely to be injured in a crash as compared to those using a seat belt alone, according to data gathered by SafeKidsUSA, a nationwide network of organizations working to prevent unintentional childhood injury.

Study authors conclude that social norms may play a big role in booster seat use, too. As far as carpools go, there are inherent difficulties with the transfer of car seats between parents and carpool drivers, says Bode. It’s just one more thing for parents to do during a busy time of the day.

How do we change the social norm?  Bode suggests that daycares and schools could play a large role in educating parents on the importance of use as well as providing  expectations for proper restraint, and a designated area to store booster seats during the school day.

Plenty of community resources are available to help parents use booster seats properly. Check out our RAK Car Seat Safety Local Resource Page here.

How to decrease the risk of child sexual abuse

Child sexual abuse. How do you know if your child is at risk?

According to the American Psychological Association, (APA) children and adolescents, regardless of their race, culture, or economic status, appear to be at approximately equal risk for sexual victimization.

Statistics show that girls are sexually abused more often than boys are; but that may be because of a suspected tendency among boys and men to not report an incident.

Who is most likely to be an abuser? The majority of sexual offenders are not strangers to the child; rather, they are more likely to be family members or other adults who are otherwise known to the child. 

Preventing the likelihood of child sexual abuse in any community takes education and awareness, says Darkness to Light, a national non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention of child sexual abuse through public education and awareness.

Darkness to Light has developed  a prevention training program for adults, Stewards of Children, that attempts to change beliefs, actions and attitudes towards child sexual abuse, and offers simple strategies for protecting children.

Because it is ultimately the responsibility of adults to make sure children are safe, training programs like Stewards of Children can help to make sure everyone in a community is educated on the potential signs of abuse and the shared responsibility of protecting children.

Adults bear the burden of stepping up and speaking out when something doesn’t look or feel right with respect to the well being of a child.

Not just one’s own children. ANY child.

Phoenix Children’s Hospital will host a FREE Stewards of Children three hour workshop on Wednesday, January 11th, 2012 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Rosenberg Medical Plaza, Cohen Conference Center, 1920 E. Cambridge Road, located on the PCH main campus.

Participants are strongly encouraged to register by January 5th, 2012. 


Parents, youth sports organizations, coaches, camp counselors, youth service organizations, teachers, school personnel and faith centers are encouraged to attend.

The hope is to inspire individuals to take personal responsibility in preventing child sexual abuse by presenting facts.

For example, did you know that…

  • the median age for reported sexual abuse is age nine?
  • that people who abuse children often look and act just like everyone else, and often go out of their way to appear trustworthy to gain access to children?
  •  that most child victims never report the abuse?

The typical advice “Don’t Talk to Strangers” doesn’t apply in this case, says the APA. Most sexual perpetrators are known to their victims.

Teach children at an early age to express affection to others on their own terms. Do not instruct children to give relatives hugs and kisses.  Teach your children basic sexual education, says the APA.

And my favorite: Establish good, strong communication skills with children from a very early age by listening attentively to what they have to say. Make sure they know they can come to you and say anything, and that they will be loved…and believed.

More tips from the APA on protecting children.

On what we can learn from Penn State, according to Darkness to Light.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix established a Safe Environment Training Office in the wake of child sexual abuse cases in church communities. They offer a comprehensive web listing on local, state and national resources for families, including the steps to take when reporting an abuse in any community in Arizona.


Car seat confusion? There’s an app for that

Forward-facing, rear-facing, seat-belt placing…car seat safety can get very confusing. And the statistics back that up.

According to the  American Automobile Association (AAA),  four out of five car seats are used incorrectly. Read more on the five tragic mistakes parents and caregivers make when using vehicle safety seats.

Choosing and using the right car seat drastically reduces a child’s risk of injury or death. So the Injury Prevention team at Phoenix Children’s Hospital developed an app they hope will simplify the process.

The Car Seat Helper lets parents, healthcare professionals and caregivers know what to look for in a car seat or booster seat.  It also provides links  to local resources that can help with proper installation of a seat. Videos and car seat facts are included, too.

Download the app from iTunes here.

Download for Android here.

Phoenix Children’s Hospital to expand in Southwest Valley

Phoenix Children’s Hospital is set to build a satellite location in the West Valley to complement existing pediatric care in the community with specialty care.

Comprehensive radiology, diagnostics and laboratory services – as well as urgent-care services offered on evenings and weekends –will be provided at the McDowell Road and Avondale Boulevard location.

Salt River Project will contribute $150,000 to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation over a five year period to support the construction.

“We are so pleased that SRP has chosen to support our mission to bring pediatric specialty and urgent care to the growing population of children in the Southwest Valley,” said Karny Stefan of PCH Foundation. “This gift provides the foundation for our fundraising efforts and gets us one step closer to serving the children and youth who need us most.”

Access to appropriate health services in communities SRP serves with water and electricity is important to community growth and vitality, said SRP Community Outreach Manager Karen Fisch.

The PCH Foundation will need to raise $8 million to begin the first phase of construction. Phoenix Children’s recently expanded the central Phoenix Campus with an eleven-story tower that allowed the hospital to grow from 345 beds to 465 beds and on to 625 when the full build-out is completed in 2013.