Practicing Pediatrics in Putnam County, Since 1990

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Expecting a Baby

Whether you’ve given birth before or this will be your first time having a baby, the following information can comfort you and put you more at ease both prior to delivery and after your newborn arrives ... more »

Expecting a Baby

Whether you’ve given birth before or this will be your first time having a baby, the following information can comfort you and put you more at ease both prior to delivery and after your newborn arrives.

Introducing: Whitney Rigdon

Whitney Rigdon is a Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP) and has previously worked in the Labor & Delivery department of our local hospital. With her educational background, work experience and first-hand familiarity with childbirth (two children), Whitney offers some thoughts and advice below:

Choosing a Doctor

First, for the health of both you and your baby, if you have not yet established yourself with an obstetrician, please do so immediately.

An obstetrician is a medical doctor who specializes in women’s healthcare, especially pregnant women. They have studied obstetrics and gynecology so that they can deal with a wide range of conditions related to a women’s reproductive system. Also, obstetricians are surgically trained for labor and delivery related surgeries such as C-Sections.

An obstetrician will monitor your health through periodic pre-natal visits to their office. He or she will check on your health and the health of the baby, perform diagnostic tests and discuss steps you can take to ensure that your pregnancy runs smoothly.

Also, be sure to tell your obstetrician if your plans are to breastfeed.

Where to Have Your Baby

Next, you should determine where you would like to give birth and then tour that facility. Visiting that facility in advance will bring more comfort to you when you arrive there to give birth. Get to know who will be doing what and where.

Approaching the Finish Line

Finally, as you move into your last trimester, establish yourself with a pediatrician.

A pediatrician is a doctor who specializes in the care of children. He or she can care for a child from birth to around age 21.

Caring for children is distinctly different then caring for adults, since children have unique medical conditions and issues which adults do not face, and their different body sizes pose some unique treatment challenges.

Pediatricians offer childhood vaccinations, general health exams and treatments for an assortment of minor conditions and injuries. Also, pediatricians are experts in referring children to specialists when a child presents with a more serious condition.

When the time comes for you to deliver your baby, you will make your way to whatever facility you have chosen for the delivery. Your obstetrician and nurses will closely monitor you and your baby’s vital signs and will be there to help deliver your newborn baby.

After Delivery

Congratulations! Your baby has just been born. Your obstetrician will assess your health to make sure that no emergent conditions are present. Your newborn’s health will be assessed, by the team of medical professionals present, and you will then be handed your newborn child, allowing for those very special first bonding moments. This is a great time to begin breastfeeding!

Kids Care Pediatrics thanks Whitney for her contribution to our website.

We want you to know that Kids Care Pediatrics offers a free pre-natal visit, which is a chance for you to meet one of our many pediatricians, ask any questions you may have, check out our office and see how the staff runs things. We’d love to meet your family!

Interested in Learning More?

There are many things to learn, to look for and to ask about when preparing to have a child. For more information on baby expectancy and other important topics, please visit our Resources page.

Breastfeeding

Experts in the medical field consider breast milk the greatest nutritional choice for infants. That’s because human milk is custom-made for babies with all the right nutrients in the right amounts at the right time ... more »

Breastfeeding

Experts in the medical field consider breast milk the greatest nutritional choice for infants. That’s because human milk is custom-made for babies with all the right nutrients in the right amounts at the right time. There is no guesswork involved.

Introducing: Ellie Hoffman

Ellie Hoffman, former Breastfeeding Program Coordinator for the Putnam County WIC Program located at Putnam County Health Department shares some insights:

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests babies should be breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months. Beyond that, the AAP encourages breastfeeding until at least 12 months, even longer if both the mother and baby are willing.

There are so many benefits for both mother and child when a woman chooses to breastfeed.

Benefits for mom:

  • Emotional—Bonds mother & child in a very special way.
  • Economical—Saves as much as $200/month versus expensive formula.
  • Convenient—Always available and always the right temperature.
  • Saves time—No formula to prepare and no bottles to wash.
  • Breastfeeding can burn up to 500 calories a day.
  • Most nursing mothers do not have a menstrual period for 20-30 weeks after baby is born.
  • Reduces risk of ovarian and breast cancers.
  • Clean and safe—and available even if a natural disaster occurs (i.e. hurricane or tornado).

Benefits for baby:

Antibodies passed from a nursing mother to her baby can help reduce the risk of:

  • Ear infections
  • Diarrhea
  • Respiratory infections
  • Meningitis

Breastfeeding may protect children against:

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Obesity
  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

Breastfeeding:

  • Builds stronger immune systems
  • Supports Higher IQ’s
  • Lowers incidences of diabetes and cancer

Kids Care Pediatrics thanks Ellie for her contribution to our website.

Interested in Learning More?

To read more information on breastfeeding and other important topics, please visit our Resources page for a list of relevant links.

Literacy

Simply put, literacy is the ability to read, write and learn. According to literacy experts, children introduced to reading early on tend to excel in school, compared to children who were not exposed to reading at a young age ... more »

Literacy

Simply put, literacy is the ability to read, write and learn. According to literacy experts, children introduced to reading early on tend to excel in school, compared to children who were not exposed to reading at a young age.

Introducing: Stephen Crowley

Stephen Crowley, Putnam County’s Public Library System’s director, a local literacy expert, shares some key aspects on literacy and children:

It is never too early to read to your child. In fact, your child has a need for frequent brain stimulation and parents and/or caregivers can accelerate his or her brain/language development through shared reading.

Shared reading promotes:

  • Parent-child bonding
  • Early brain development
  • Early literacy skills
  • Language development
  • Regular bedtime routines

Some developmental milestones of early literacy:

  • ~3 months…child smiles at sound of your voice
  • ~6-12 months…child brings books to mouth “exploring them”
  • ~12-18 months…child carries books around, points to pictures
  • ~18-24 months…child repeats learned stories to dolls, animals, toys

These book-related behaviors are small, but positive steps towards your child’s lifelong enjoyment of reading, learning and comfortability around books.

It’s been said that reading, rhyming, singing and talking, beginning from birth, profoundly influence a child’s literacy and language development, which are the foundations for all other learning—results that last a lifetime.

What You Can Do

Make it your mission to continue to encourage your child to read. It will teach them to love books. It will instill in them a motivation to learn, which will spill over to success in the classroom and then into adulthood.

Be sure to introduce your child, as early as you feel comfortable, to Putnam County’s Library System. The library has a wealth of interesting, entertaining, enjoyable and educational reading material for all ages! They lend, at no cost to you, books and magazines, audio and video tapes, and other products that promote increasing the literacy of our community’s children. The library branches are conveniently located throughout our county and their employees are great at helping you find whatever you may be searching for.

Our library has a large quantity of computers available, with internet access, allowing your child broader access to knowledge. It also offers many social activities such as summer reading programs, story time, and other special programs specifically designed for enhancing children’s literacy.

Finally, remember that books make great gifts. They can be found at many retail stores, book stores, and even toy stores. Some of these stores have cool kids areas, set up with themes, that really promote literacy!

Kids Care Pediatrics thanks Stephen for his contribution to our website.

Interested in Learning More?

To see a selection of books suggested by Kids Care Pediatrics for you and your child, please visit our Resources page.

Keeping Your Child Safe

A child’s safety is of the utmost importance to any parent. With so many potentially unsafe things, places and situations in and around the home, your child’s safety is one of the most crucial responsibilities you have as a parent ... more »

Keeping Your Child Safe

A child’s safety is of the utmost importance to any parent. With so many potentially unsafe things, places and situations in and around the home, your child’s safety is one of the most crucial responsibilities you have as a parent. And, over time, you will need to teach your children the knowledge and skills they will need to stay safe in any situation.

Introducing: Mark Lynady

Mark Lynady has over 30 years of firefighting experience. He is responsible for developing a fire education program for the Palatka Fire Department. He is a father of two daughters and is now a proud grandfather to three.

Accidents are the main cause of injury, and even death, in children. It is important to be prepared for hazards both in and around the home when protecting our kids. As a career firefighter, paramedic and now as fire marshal for the Palatka Fire Department, I have seen numerous “accidents” that might have been preventing with a little preparation.

He shares with us some commonsense tips and advice:

Home Safety:

Staying safe in the home requires some common sense tactics mixed with precautionary measures.

If you have or are bringing a baby or young child into the home, be sure to “baby proof” each room. Some examples of this include:

  • Covering all outlets so that the child does not stick his or her fingers in the sockets.
  • Install safety gates to prevent the child from dangerous areas like the stairs.
  • Install locks on toilet lids and cabinets close to the ground.
  • Constantly check the floors, low tables, book shelves, and refrigerator—anywhere the child can reach and grab—for small objects that might be a choking hazard, such as little toys, coins, buttons, magnets, etc.
  • Move any furniture with hard edges out of any area a child may be learning to walk.
  • Make sure any furniture in an area with the child is stable and will not fall on the child if it is tugged on, leaned on or used as pull-up help.

There are several resources online available with extensive tips for baby/child proofing your home.

Safety for All Ages

Other general home safety tips, no matter the age of your child, include:

  • Never leave your young child alone in the bathroom, especially if he or she is in the bath. Children can drown in only a few inches of water. Bath seats and toys will not prevent drowning. Never leave water in the bath if it is not being used.
  • Keep all medicines in bottles with childproof caps and in out-of-reach cabinets.
  • Store any cleaning supplies in out-of-reach cabinets or place child safety locks on these cabinets.
  • Do not leave plastic bags out as they can be a choking hazard to any child.
  • Be conscious of your child while you are cooking—turn pot handles away from a child’s reach; unplug appliances when not in use; remove knobs to the stove if it is easily turned on.

It is also smart to have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors checked monthly, and when daylight savings times occur, make sure to insert new batteries. Also, keep a stocked first aid kit and a fire extinguisher in the house, along with an up-to-date list of emergency contact numbers in case something does happen in the home.

Finally, have a Fire Exit Plan and practice the exit plan once or twice a year. This way your family will know how to safely exit your home.

Pool Safety

A pool can be the source of fun and entertainment for family and friends, but without the proper precautions, a pool can quickly become deadly.

  • There should always be an adult who knows how to swim supervising children who are swimming. If the child is an infant or toddler, the adult should be in the water and within an arm’s reach of the child. There should be a comfortable adult to child ratio when playing at the pool.
  • Remove toys from pool when not in use and empty blowup pools after use.
  • Do not allow children to run on the pool deck or to dive into water that is not deep enough.
  • Teach children to never swim alone.
  • Never leave a child alone in or near a pool or spa.
  • Installing a pool fence is very important and can help prevent many accidents. The fence should be at least four feet high and should not have anything alongside it that can be used to climb over the fence.
  • Children should be given swimming lessons as early as four years of age. These lessons can help lower the risk of drowning, but do not mean previous safety tips can be ignored.

Kids Care Pediatrics thanks Mark for his contribution to our website.

Interested in Learning More?

To read more about how you can care and protect your children from all sorts of harm, please visit our Resources page.

Nutrition & Fitness

Establishing healthy habits early in life will help your child to maintain healthy habits throughout their lifetime. Choosing food wisely and being physically active, on a regular basis, is essential to a child’s well being ... more »

Nutrition & Fitness

Establishing healthy habits early in life will help your child to maintain healthy habits throughout their lifetime. Choosing food wisely and being physically active, on a regular basis, is essential to a child’s well being.

Introducing: Teddy Womble

Teddy Womble, a Putnam County professional trainer formally based out of USA Fitness,earned his degree in Sports Medicine & Athletic Training from Newberry College, SC, and for many years has been helping our community stay fit. Below, Teddy shares with us some information on nutrition & fitness:

Eating Healthy

Maintaining consistent, structured meals and adhering to portion control are both very helpful in creating positive healthy habits. Ideally, the majority of these meals should be made at home using a variety of fresh ingredients while avoiding processed, convenience and junk foods as much as possible.

While on the topic of variety, you won’t believe how many healthy and delicious options there are out there to incorporate into your family’s meals. Eating a variety of foods helps you and your children get the proper nutrition and energy needed to live a healthy life. Fresh vegetables and fruits are always best, adding vital nutrients into your diet, but certain frozen and canned varieties can be used in a pinch.

We have all heard about the importance of breakfast, so be sure to never let your children skip this meal. Studies have shown that those who eat breakfast every day are less likely to be overweight.

It is also important to try to eat as a family as much as possible. This will not only help reinforce these healthy eating habits, but it also creates positive family time to talk, share stories and enjoy each other’s company—building a stronger family bond.

Making Fitness a Way of Life

Smart and nutritious eating habits are a great start for a happy and healthy life for your child, but there is one thing that goes hand-in-hand with smart eating to create a beneficial lifestyle, and that is fitness.

So many children miss out on the benefits of regular fitness because they are more interested or involved with video games, the internet, their cell phones or their favorite television shows.

A child that does not participate in some sort of physical activity may be headed to a life of weight problems and other health issues. A child that embraces physical fitness, however, can reap all sorts of benefits—lower stress levels, increased self-esteem and improved sense of well-being.

As a parent, you should encourage your children to participate in some sort of physical exercise. Not only will this get them moving, but it could very well help turn fitness into a lifelong habit.

Group Activity

Group activities are not only great ways to get moving, they’re also avenues to make some new friends and socialize outside of school or the family. Most every community has organized sports leagues—little league, soccer, basketball and more. The Putnam County Parks and Recreation department offers an assortment of group sports for our community. Other options beyond the typical sports may be martial arts, gymnastics or dance classes.

Individual Activity

If your child is not comfortable exercising with a group, there are many individual activities that can provide physical activity. Here’s just a few: free play on the playground, in-line skating or skateboarding (with proper safety gear), bowling, and weightlifting. There’s so much to do, you just need to put forth the effort.

Allow your child to find something that they enjoy, and as a parent, be the encouraging factor that supports this activity.

Kids Care Pediatrics thanks Teddy for his contribution to our website.

Interested in Learning More?

You can read more about how to keep your child in the best health he or she can have. Please visit our Resources page.

Mental Health

You may have heard the saying “a child does not come with an instruction manual,” which makes parenthood, at times, very perplexing ... more »

Mental Health

You may have heard the saying “a child does not come with an instruction manual,” which makes parenthood, at times, very perplexing.

Introducing: Dr. Vanessa Townsend

Dr. Vanessa Townsend is a Clinical Psychologist with a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Miami. She offers her perspective on the challenge of Parenthood:

As we travel along “Parenthood Road,” we begin to recognize the trip’s not always a smooth, straight ride. Periodically, we experience bumps, curves and occasional detours, which may have us feeling somewhat lost. You need to know that it’s okay to pull over and ask for directions, to seek guidance. Many parents have done just that, and then hopped back on the road again with renewed confidence in the direction they’re going.

Seeking Help

There are many different professionals, people with specialized training and years of experience, ready and eager to help you through those difficult times, when you’re just not sure what to do about your child’s behavior.

Your pediatrician’s a good start. They’ve seen just about everything, and they’re experts at knowing who to refer you to if your child should need more in-depth help. Psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, school counselors and religious leaders are also excellent sources for addressing children’s mental health/behavioral issues. Libraries, book stores and, of course, the World Wide Web (internet) offer volumes of informative help. Let’s not forget family, friends and neighbors. If they’ve had children, they may have already experienced what you and your child may now be going through, and they may have some wisdom to share.

Behavioral Problems

Examples of adolescent behavioral problems that need professional intervention include:

  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) with or without Hyperactivity
  • Cutting
  • Depression
  • Eating Disorders (Anorexia or Bulimia)
  • Substance Abuse (Alcohol, Drugs or Tobacco)

Signs of Potential Problems

Watch for severe, dramatic or abrupt changes in your child’s behavior such as:

  • Loss of appetite/weight
  • Dramatic decline in academic performance
  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Loss of interest in favorite pastimes
  • Abandonment of friends
  • Excessive anger/aggressiveness

You want to address childhood mental health/behavioral problems as early on as possible, before it becomes pervasive, expensive and intrusive.

Kids Care Pediatrics thanks Dr. Townsend, whose private practice is located in the Kids Care Pediatrics building, for her contribution to our website.

Interested in Learning More?

If you would like to read more regarding your child’s health and well being, you can visit our Resources page for more information.