Taking care of children is our highest priority. Here, for your convenience, we’ve detailed information that parents frequently ask us. While the resources on this site are meant to be helpful, they are not a substitute for consulting your doctor. You are always welcome to call us for more information about any of the issues below. You can also read more on typical pediatric concerns by clicking the link below.
From breastfeeding, to bottle feeding, to introducing solids, we have some basic tips for you.
Learn more about the first few weeks of taking care of your new baby.
ROUTINE OFFICE VISITS
You will usually be instructed to have your baby’s first office two days after hospital discharge. We will then want to see your baby at 2 weeks and 5 weeks of age. (These visits are not considered “Physicals” and do require patient co-payments).
The recommended schedule thereafter for routine physical examinations, immunizations and lab tests is as follows:
WHEN TO SEEK IMMEDIATE CARE
Guidelines cannot be absolute, so trust your own judgment. Certainly call if you are unsure about any problem your child is having. Click on the link to find out reasons to contact us or go to an ER.
COMMON ILLNESSES: WHAT TO DO?
Learn more about common illnesses in childhood and what you can do yo help your child.
TAKING YOUR CHILD’S TEMPERATURE
What temperature is considered normal?
Oral (Mouth): from 97° to 99.8° F.
Axilla (Armpit): from 97° to 99.5° F.
Rectal: 98° to 100.4° F.
How do I take my child’s temperature orally?
This method is best for older children who are able to hold a thermometer in their mouths.
Be sure the child has not had anything to eat or drink for 15 minutes before taking the temperature
Place the bulb end of the oral thermometer under the child’s tongue and have the child close his mouth around the thermometer without biting it.
Leave the thermometer in the mouth 3 minutes, and then read.
How do I take my child’s temperature under the arm?
This is NOT the best method but it can give you an idea of whether or not there is a fever present.
Place the child in your lap
Raise the child’s arm and place the bulb end of the thermometer in the middle of the child’s armpit against the skin. Hold it there while you bring the arm back down.
Hug the child while the thermometer is in place to make a snug seal around it.
Keep the thermometer in place for 4-6 minutes, and then read.
How do I take my child’s temperature rectally?
Use this method with small infants and children or if instructed to do so by our office.
Place the child on his back or belly.
Open the diaper and leave it under the baby.
Have a clean diaper and wipes handy.
Dip the bulb of the thermometer in a small amount of petroleum jelly.
Insert the bulb of the thermometer into the rectal opening about 1 inch.
Hold the thermometer carefully in place for 2-3 minutes.
Remove the thermometer; wipe it clean with a tissue and read.
Be sure to clean the used thermometer with cool soapy water and air-dry.
YOUR HOME MEDICINE CABINET
Your ability to treat minor illnesses safely and effectively at home depends upon what you have at your immediate disposal. Here are some suggestions for what you should have on hand:
Thermometer (ear thermometers are not recommended for use in young children)
Acetaminophen (Tylenol, Tempra, Panadol, Feverall suppository, etc.)
Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
Antihistamine (Benadryl elixir)
Antibacterial ointment (Bacitracin)
Hydrocortisone 1% Cream or Ointment
Cool mist vaporizer
Saltwater nose drops (Ocean, Nasal, etc.)
Band-Aids, sterile gauze, surgical tape
Rubber suction bulb
Sunscreen (not to be used in babies until 6 months of age)
Insect repellent- only those containing DEET have been proven effective, but they must NOT be used on infants. Use them only over small exposed areas on older children. And be sure to wash off when you return inside.
Be sure to check all medications for expiration dates!
MEDICINES NOT FOR CHILDREN
WHAT TO AVOID
MEDICATED NOSE DROPS
ANESTHETIC THROAT SPRAYS
If used to treat viral symptoms, aspirin can cause Reyes’s syndrome, a potentially fatal liver disease. Use acetaminophen or ibuprofen instead.
Can cause serious side effects, such as sedation and breathing problems. Also, you don’t want to stop the body’s process of getting rid of toxins. Instead, replace lost fluids with electrolyte solutions.
Must be used under a doctor’s supervision. More serious causes of constipation must first be considered. Dietary changes, such as prune juice or less milk, often help.
Often have unpredictable side effects in children. Also, some, like Alka-Seltzer and Pepto-Bismol, contain aspirin. Counteract nausea and replace lost fluids with small, frequent sips of an electrolyte solution.
While OK for older kids, the medicines can cause unpredictable side effects in young children. Also, stopping a cough can cause secretions to build up in the chest.
Can cause jitters, increase blood pressure and make your child even more congested in the long run. Unmedicated saline (salt water) nose drops will help thin mucus and are fine to use.
Numbing the throat can decrease the gag reflex, causing young children to choke.
Do NOT use in babies under 2 months old. For older children use a product containing a low concentration of DEET and apply SMALL amounts to exposed areas only (dress child in light-weight long sleeve clothing in evening). Be sure to wash off when you return inside.
NEVER give your child someone else’s medicine.
ALWAYS talk to your provider before starting any antibiotic.
CAR SEAT INFORMATION
It is the law in Massachusetts that infants and children must ride buckled in car seats or seat belts. Using the proper car seat correctly does make a difference.
It is our strict policy that all patients in our practice receive the immunizations currently mandatory in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
HealthyChildren.org – American Academy of Pediatrics (for Parents) - A great resource that can be searched by health topic, age or keyword.
Children’s Hospital – Children’s’ Hospital Boston (for Parents) - Helpful information about using the hospital, but also an excellent medical encyclopedia and “Health tips from Experts”
Mediline Plus – U.S.National Library of Medicine, NIH (for Parents) - Search by keyword or health topic. Clear information about medications.
KidsHealth.org – Kids Health (for Parents and Patients) - A variety of topics with interactive resources for children including games and animations..
For information about taking medications while breastfeeding:
CDC.gov Traveler’s Health – Center for Disease Control - Region-based information and tips for staying safe.
TeenHealth Fx – a forum for adolescents to get questions answered on almost any topic by health professionals. Also a section with tips “For Teens From Teens”.
Planned Parenthood of America - website for teens - covering many topics not covered elsewhere (sexual identity, homosexuality, birth control, etc.).
Center for Young Women’s Health - website by Boston Children’s Hospital Adolescent Medicine is a great resource for adolescent females. Searchable by keyword and topic.
Center for Young Men’s Health – website by Boston Children’s’ Hospital Adolescent Medicine for young men.