Should I let my child watch 13 Reasons Why?

By Dr. Elena Mikalsen
Chief of Pediatric Psychology
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

Mental health professionals have become increasingly concerned about the new hit Netflix show and its portrayal of the suicide of the main character, Hannah. While I am glad that the show can start conversations about bullying, sexual assaults in high schools, and teen suicides, I am also very concerned about how the show incorrectly portrays some facts about teen mental health and suicide in general.

Hannah’s suicide is portrayed as being caused by the actions of other people (bullies, friends, school counselor, etc.). In reality, decades of research on teen suicide have shown that 90 percent of teen suicides are the result of mental illness. Teens first develop mental illness, such as depression, social anxiety, panic disorder, ADHD and then slowly, over time (one to two years), become unable to cope with stressors in their lives. When a teen with mental illness encounters bullying, divorce, family violence, academic stressors, and other stresses present in teen lives, he or she develops thoughts of suicide and begins to contemplate ending their life. This means family, school counselors, pediatricians, mental health professionals are able to intervene and help the teen if symptoms of mental illness are caught early on.

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What is the difference between a sports physical and a wellness checkup?

By Dr. Sky Izaddoost
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio Primary Care
Alon Town Centre

Summer camp time. Sports physical time. Every year, parents flood medical offices for a last minute sports physical so their child can participate in team sports at school or go to summer camp. Most walk-in clinics charge about $50 for a sports physical.  Parents gladly pay the money, not realizing that their insurance covers an annual well-child checkup, which would include the sports physical– without a co-pay in most cases.

What is the difference between the two?  A sports physical is an abbreviated well-child checkup.  The physician or practitioner is only looking for reasons that your child would not be able to participate in sports or go away to summer camp. They check old injuries like previously broken bones to make sure they have healed, determine if chronic medical conditions like asthma should limit play, and screen for conditions that could potentially cause death with exercise like heart conditions.  There is no further management.  The physical exam is also shortened, looking only for conditions that would affect play.

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Manteniendo a sus niños seguros alrededor del agua

Por el dr. Alberto Carranza
Emergenicia Pediátricas
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio


El verano esta a la vuelta de la esquina! Con ese calor, que es mas divertido para un niño que jugar en el agua, sea en una piscina, un rio o en la bañera?  Sin embargo, esa misma emoción puede terminar en un accidente serio si no se toman medidas de precaución.  Por eso, nos tomaremos un momento para discutir un poco sobre accidentes en agua para evitar tragedias y percances. Continue reading “Manteniendo a sus niños seguros alrededor del agua”

Keep your kids safe around water

By Dr. Tracy McCallin
Emergency Department
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

Every day, ten people die from drowning. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of every five drowning deaths involves a child under 14 years of age. Safe Kids Worldwide estimates that more than 50 percent of children who drown are age four or younger. In 2012, Texas led the United States in drowning deaths for children one to four years old. According to 2016 statistics from the Texas Department of Family & Protective Services, lake and residential pool drownings are on the rise.

We are fortunate in San Antonio to have access to many different options to stay cool on hot summer days including pools, nearby lakes, and rivers. These bodies of water can pose additional risks, such as strong currents after a lot of rain which can make swimming difficult even for advanced swimmers. Families must also be careful in the backyard with wading pools and buckets, and even the sink or bathtub can be a risk for drowning since young children can drown within seconds in less than two inches of water.

But it’s not all bad news, because drowning is preventable. Here are some tips you can use this summer to help prevent drowning and keep your children safe in the water. Continue reading “Keep your kids safe around water”

Cries for help

By Dr. Nancy Kellogg
Center for Miracles
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

For more than 10 years, The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio – Center for Miracles has served as the only child abuse center of its kind in South Central Texas. The caring team of physicians, nurses, and staff are specially trained to care for children who are at risk for, or traumatized by, abuse and neglect. We strive to provide timely medical and psychosocial care for children referred to our Center. Our physicians are some of the only child abuse specialists in the state.

The Center offers a comforting, family-focused environment in which to serve the children of San Antonio and beyond. Restoring a child’s health and peace is our main goal. Teachers, day care providers, social workers, nurses, extended family, and others who come into contact with children have a responsibility to report cases of child abuse and neglect.

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March is Child Life Month

By The Child Life Team
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

The month of March is set aside to celebrate children and the profession of child life specialists who are dedicated to providing positive coping tools to support your child. To celebrate child life month, our team of child life specialists will share a few helpful tips to help your child cope well with their hospital experiences.

If we’re being honest, nobody likes to be surprised by medical procedures. Whether it’s a blood draw or radiology exam, we all tend to cope better when we are prepared with information about what to expect for the procedure. Children are no different; they need age appropriate information regarding what they will encounter. At The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, our team of child life specialists work closely with other medical staff to make sure your child has access to the tools and resources they need to have a positive coping experience.

Child life specialists advocate for proper preparation and teaching because stress and coping theories tell us that children tend to cope well when they are given appropriate information regarding a potentially stressful event. According to these theories, our minds evaluate a potential experience based on two assessments: 1) the perceived threat of the stress, and 2) the access to resources to minimize or address the stressor (Lazarus & Faulkman, 1984). Child life specialists believe in addressing both factors to reduce stress and improve the overall coping experience.

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Tips for treating and preventing diaper rash

By Dr. Theresa Willis
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio Primary Care
Dominion Crossing

At one time or another, your baby will get diaper rash. First, check with your pediatrician and make sure that the rash isn’t something that needs to be treated by a doctor. Babies and toddlers in diapers can get fungal infections due to the frequently damp and warm area inside the diaper. Bacterial infections and other skin conditions such as eczema are also possibilities that your doctor will look for during an office visit.

If there are no other causes for your baby’s diaper rash, your doctor may tell you that he or she has diaper dermatitis. Diaper dermatitis is a general term used to describe an inflamed rash in the diaper area. It is thought to be caused by the mixing of stool and urine that decreases the pH and prolonged contact then leads to skin breakdown.

The rash can be very uncomfortable and lead to fussy babies and battles over diaper changes because it can be painful when the inflamed area is cleaned.

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