Q. What are the signs of cord infection?

If the cord gets infected, it looks damp or wet. The skin around the base of the cord may become red and some-times pus may be seen there. A baby with infection of the cord requires treatment and must be shown to a doctor. If the treatment is delayed, the baby may develop additional features like fever, lethargy or poor feeding. These signs indicate that the infection is spreading to the rest of the body as well. Early treatment of cord infection prevents spread of infection to the rest of the body, a serious illness in a new born bab

Q. Why do babies cry?

The babies usually cry when they are hungry or in discomfort. This may be due to an unpleasant sensation of full bladder before passing urine, painful evacuation of hard stools, tight fitting clothes or mere soiling by urine and stools. Some times they just want to be picked up. Many babies are irritable when sleepy. The spells of crying unrelieved by feeding, changing the soiled napkins or by rocking the baby may be due to abdominal pain.

Excessive, inconsolable cry may be a sign of a medical problem in a baby and must be shown to the doctor.

Q. How can accidents to children be avoided?

Accidents are very likely to occur in young children as they attain mobility, learn to reach out for objects and climb, due to a natural desire to learn and explore and an inability to know from experience the consequences of what they are doing.

The common household accidents involving young children include falls, cuts, burns/scalds, electric shocks, near drowning and poisoning due to ingestion of chemicals/drugs.

It is vital to safe-guard your child against these accidents. Some of the important precautions includes:

  • Keep the doors leading outside the home and the stairway firmly latched.
  • Ensure that the open areas like the balcony and the lawn have a railing through which child cannot get out, at the same time there is no danger of his hand/ limbs getting stuck.
  • The windows should be safe so that a child cannot jump out of them.
  • The windows should be safe so that a child cannot jump out of them.
  • The infant’s cot should have bars all around, and when the child is old enough to climb over them, he should be using a bed.
  • Keep all sharp instruments like knives, scissors, needles etc out of children’s reach.
  • Match-boxes, gas stoves, heaters, electric iron etc should be kept out of children’s reach to avoid fire accidents.
  • All unused electricity/power points should be covered. Children have a strong tendency to poke in a finger in the sockets!
  • To avoid accidental poisonings, keep bottles of all medicines, insecticides, domestic toilet cleaning solutions, kerosene oil, mosquito repellents etc firmly closed and out of children’s reach.
  • Children’s toys or clothes should not have loose small parts that can come off easily. The children tend to put these in their mouth and swallow. Likewise, keep small objects like coins, beads etc out of their reach. Children are known to suffocate even while playing with polythene bags!
  • Never leave a child alone in the bathroom or leave a bucket of water lying on the floor when the baby is around.
  • A young child never be left unattended when outside the home. Due to their natural curiosity and inexperience they are at a high risk of accidents in water-pools, staircases, falling from terraces, shocks from electric appliances etc.

Q. What are the danger signs of diarrhea?

The major concern in diarrhoea is rapid fluid loss resulting in dehydration. To prevent this serious side effect it is important to replace lost water and electrolytes at the earliest. Any significant dehydration constitutes an emergency, so be aware of the following signs:

  • Excessive thirst/ irritability
  • Dry lips, tongue and skin
  • Decreased amount of urine
  • Very frequent passage of watery stools
  • Lethargy or poor oral acceptance of fluids

A child with any of the above signs should be shown to a doctor without delay.

Consult the doctor also if the child has blood in his stools. This is dysentery anDCHild requires to be given medicines for this.

Q. What are developmental milestones?

Milestones are punctuations in a baby’s growth and development. These milestones provide a guide to parents telling them what to expect from the baby and when to expect it.

The sequence of development is same for all children, but the rate of development varies from child to child. For example one child can learn to walk independently as early as 10 months of age, while the other might be able to do so at 15 months. This is the normal range for achievement of this milestone. However, a child has to learn to sit before he can walk, and to hold his neck before he can sit. Since there is a range of period that is considered normal for achievement of a milestone, departures from the norm should not be a reason for undue panic unless confirmed by expert medical opinion.

Q. What are some of the important milestones?

Some important development milestones of a child and the usual time of appearance are as follows:

  • Smiling when “talked to”- 2 months
  • Neck holding – 3 months
  • Recognizes mother – 3 months
  • Reaches out for an object and holds it in his hand – 5 months
  • Making sounds like ‘ma’ ‘ba’etc-6 months
  • Sitting without support- 8 months
  • Crawling – 11 months
  • Standing without support – 1 year
  • Speaks two words with meaning – 1 year
  • Walking with support – 13 months
  • Walks upstairs – 24 months
  • Makes simple sentences – 24 months

Q. Why do some children speak later than others?

There is a lot of variation in development of speech. Many children, who are other-wise completely normal, learn to speak late. Lack of environmental stimulation is a common cause of delayed speaking. The more the child is ‘talked to”, earlier he will learn to speak.

An important cause for delayed speech is poor hearing. Therefore, a child who has not started making any vocal sounds by 5-6 months of age or does not speak any word with meaning by 18 months of age should be evaluated by a doctor.

Q. Why is immunization needed?

Immunization is one of the most important and cost effective way of protecting children against common childhood illnesses many of which can be potentially serious, even life threatening. The illnesses against which vaccination is being offered free of cost by the Government of India include tuberculosis, diptheria, whooping cough, tetanus, polio and measles. Many States also offer free vaccination against hepatitis B , mumps & rubella. These vaccines are available at various Government Hospitals, Dispensaries & Health Centers. Vaccination is also available against other diseases like chicken pox, typhoid fever, hepatitis A, H influenzae infection etc. These are however not currently being provided by the Government. These can be taken from private Hospitals/ Clinics as per the advice of the Pediatrician.

Q. Can immnisation be given when a child is sick?

A child with minor illnesses like common cold, cough, fever, passage of a few loose stools etc can be immunised safely without any complications. It is important that delay in immunisation be avoided as far as possible since it leaves a child susceptible to more serious infections. However, immunisation should be postponed if a child is suffering from a serious illness as determined by a doctor. At that time it is important to treat the child for his/her sickness. Immunisation should be done on recovery.