Many of us use cotton swabs (commonly called Q-tips) inside our ears to clean out wax and water. And, well-intended parents may actually use the swabs on their children’s ears as well. The problem is that using the swabs can actually cause injury, or create an even bigger problem – impacted wax.
Earwax actually has several important jobs for which you might want to keep it around. It protects and moisturizes the skin of the canal, preventing itchy/flaky/dandruff-like ears. Additionally, it contains special chemicals that help fight infections. And, when dust and dirt enter your ear, earwax serves as a sticky shield, preventing debris from traveling further.
“What are you guys doing this summer?”
Most parents of school-aged children are familiar with this question. We are fortunate to live in a city such as Madison and its surrounding townships which offer so many activities for our children.
Play is so important for the well-being of the whole child. We know play has beautiful benefits, including enhancing creativity and overall mental hygiene and simply being plain fun (try it yourself). One key medical benefit of outside play is the opportunity to be engaged in vigorous activity, which is integral to the prevention of obesity and its consequences.
As a pediatrician, when I care for my patients, I recognize that every family is unique. This includes respecting and accepting the family’s values and beliefs, and the environment in which they live. But, to provide the very best care that I can, it is critical to help families ensure their home is safe and supportive for everyone, even when the topic might be controversial, like with guns.
We are fortunate to have a lot of great sledding hills in the Madison area. If you are not within walking distance of a hill, you can easily pack up the kids in the car and drive to a great spot.
- Safe location
Not all hills are safe. Avoid hillsides that end near a street, parking lot or other hazards like a pond, trees or fence. Choose a hill that is snowy rather than icy to avoid any hard landings if kids fall off the sled. Sled during the day or on a well-lit hill at night so potential hazards are visible.
- Appropriate clothing
Hats, gloves, snow pants, boots, and winter coats are important to avoid frostbite and hypothermia. Avoid clothing that can get caught in a sled, like a scarf, and pose a choking risk.
There’s a cute new parody children’s book “Goodnight iPad,” begins like this:
“In the bright buzzing room, there was a iPad, and a kid playing Doom, and a screensaver of a bird launching over the moon…”
Parents in the know will get a chuckle out of the 21st century homage to the classic children’s book, “Goodnight Moon.” But for many of my young patients who struggle to get a good night’s sleep, the parody is unfortunately too close to reality.