Tag Archives: Lexington Pediatric Practice

Kids and Screen Time: Ten Facts Parents Should Know

By Lauren S. Matthews, MD, pediatrician with Lexington Pediatric Practice, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice

Lauren Matthews, MD

1. Under age 2, children develop important cognitive, language, sensorimotor, and social-emotional skills through hands-on exploration and social interaction. Media use for this age group should only occur when an adult is standing by to co-view, talk and teach.  

2. For children ages 2-5, screen time including television, computers, tablets and smartphones should be limited to no more than 1 hour per day. With too much screen time, younger children are losing out on key interactions with parents, adults, and other children necessary for development.

3. For older children and adolescents, sedentary media exposure should be limited to 2 hours per day. This recommended limit applies solely to screen time for entertainment purposes such as television, streaming services, gaming consoles and social media. Older children and adolescents are spending more time interacting with a virtual world than building face-to-face relationships.  

4. Children who watch too much television in infancy and preschool years can show delays in attention, thinking, language and social skills. High levels of media use are linked to obesity and cardiovascular risks as early as childhood. And, there is a well-studied association between violent content on television and behavior problems. So, parents should also monitor content.   

5. Identify certain areas in the house as “tech-free” zones. Bedrooms should be screen-free areas because increased media exposure there is linked to fewer minutes of sleep per night and puts children at an increased risk for sleep disturbances. And, meal times and parent-child play times should be “unplugged.”  

6. Find an activity your child enjoys and involve the entire family. Unplugged and offline playtime encourages creativity. Make this type of playtime a daily priority. Parents should join in the activities.  

7. The American Academy of Pediatrics offers parents the opportunity to develop an interactive family media use plan that aligns with your family values and parenting styles. This type of plan can be helpful so that children and parents have specific expectations of media time. Visit aap.org to learn more.

8. Parent media use is a strong predictor of child media habits. Reducing parental television viewing and enhancing parent-child interactions can be an important opportunity for emotional connection and the early development of language, cognition, social skills, and emotional regulation.  
 9. An increase in screen time has been identified as a leading contributor to the growing childhood obesity epidemic. Limiting screen time encourages physical activity. Children and adolescents should participate in 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day.  

10. Not all screen time is “bad.” High-quality educational programs can help improve cognitive, language, and social outcomes. For families that find it difficult to modify overall amount of media use in their homes, changing to high-quality content may be a more reasonable alternative. When using apps and games, find options that truly engage the child rather than just swiping or staring at the screen.  
Lexington Pediatric Practice has board-certified physicians, caring nurses and staff members who are focused on providing the best care possible for your child. The staff puts your child’s care as the top priority with kid-friendly labs, vaccines and treatments at two convenient locations in Lexington and West Columbia.

811 West Main Street, Suite 204
Lexington, SC 29072

3240 Sunset Boulevard
West Columbia, SC 29169
(803) 359-8855

Safer Sleep for Newborns with Sleep Sacks

In almost every newborn baby picture taken in a hospital, the baby is wrapped in a familiar white flannel blanket with a blue-and-pink stripe.

You won’t find babies swaddled in those blankets at Lexington Medical Center. Through the support of the Lexington Medical Center Foundation, the hospital has switched its standard blankets for HALO® SleepSacks to promote safer sleep for infants.

sleep-sackInfant sleep sacks, with fabric flaps that close securely and swaddle a baby’s arms to the body, are meant to make swaddling safer and easier. They help babies feel more secure and allow them to move their legs freely without the danger of loose fabric around their heads.

The change to sleep sacks at Lexington Medical Center is intended to help reduce the chance of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS.

“SIDS is the leading cause of death among babies between 1 month and 1 year of age, with most deaths occurring between the ages of 1 and 4 months, said Lauren Matthews, MD, a pediatrician at Lexington Pediatric Practice, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice. “Approximately 2,500 infants die each year in the United States from SIDS. As the name implies, it is the sudden and unexplained death of an infant less than 1 year of age,” she said.

Lauren Matthews, MD

Lauren Matthews, MD

After the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) first recommended that babies be placed on their backs for the safest sleeping, SIDS rates declined dramatically – by more than 50 percent. In 2011, the AAP expanded its recommendation to include specific descriptions of an ideal sleep environment.

According to Dr. Matthews, infants should be put to sleep on a firm mattress without extra blankets, pillows or stuffed animals. Sleep sacks allow for warmth, swaddling and containment without the need for extra bedding in the crib.

“We know that parents are influenced not only by what they are told, but what they observe from caregivers in the hospital. Using sleep sacks in the hospital allows nurses and other medical professionals the opportunity to educate caregivers on the importance of safe sleep and model a safe-sleep environment. Education to reduce modifiable risk factors for SIDS is the most effective intervention currently available,” said Dr. Matthews.

Through the Lexington Medical Center Foundation, the hospital is able to provide free HALO SleepSacks for parents to take home, as well as provide them for hospital use.

In addition to using sleep sacks and placing infants on their backs for sleep, the AAP recommends parents avoid loose bedding, bumper pads and soft toys in cribs, which are linked to sudden unexpected infant death syndrome, or SUIDS. The organization also warns parents not to share a bed with their infants, especially at ages younger than 3 months, and not to use “co-sleeping” cribs, which have one open side pushed against the parent’s bed. Instead, parents should share a room — which studies have shown can reduce the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent.

Hand-Foot-And-Mouth Disease

What’s hand-foot-and-mouth disease and how do you catch it? A report on WIS-TV tonight revealed that some Midlands day care facilities are seeing an outbreak in children. In this news story, Dr. Brandon Emery of Lexington Pediatric Practice talks about the virus, prevention and treatment.

For more information on hand, foot and mouth disease, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics website by clicking here.

Hand-Foot-And-Mouth Disease Facts

A viral infection that causes mouth ulcers and tiny blisters on the hands and feet.

~Small, painful ulcers in the mouth, especially on the tongue and sides of the mouth
~Small, thick-walled water blisters (like chicken pox) or red spots located on the palms, soles and webs between the fingers and toes
~1 to 5 water blisters per hand or foot
~Small blisters or red spots on the buttocks
~Low-grade fever less than 102 degrees
~Mainly occurs in children age 6 months to 4 years

Return to School
~Can return to child care or school after the fever is gone (usually 2 to 3 days). The rash is not contagious.

Source: www.healthychildren.org