School is out, summer is here, and the pool is open! For many families, summer means sports, camps and hours playing outside. Our hope is for a safe and fun season. Dr. William Blake Johnson from The Children’s Clinic of Fredericksburg has over 22 years of experience in general pediatrics, neonatal nursery care and pediatric hospital care, with over 13 of those years here in the Fredericksburg region! He offers us these summer safety tips.
What are a few things that make The Children’s Clinic of Fredericksburg stand out?
The Children’s Clinic of Fredericksburg is both a pediatric primary care center and a pediatric urgent care center that is open every day of the year: 8 am to 8 pm on weekdays and 8 am to 4 pm on weekends. I have been a pediatrician for over two decades. Between me, Sara Ortu, my pediatric nurse practitioner, and Lisa Grooms, my pediatric certified physician’s assistant, we have over 50 years of experience caring for children’s medical needs.
Our urgent care clinic accepts walk-ins, has state-of-the-art digital X-ray and the ability to do any necessary lab work on-site for a complete, accurate and speedy diagnosis. Our primary care clinic conducts well baby visits, has a separate area for newborns, administers vaccinations and keeps a complete electronic medical record of your child’s medical history.
Because of our commitment to our community, we accept nearly all insurances, including Tricare and Medicaid.
Please share tips on how to keep knees healthy for young athletes. We hear about kids tearing their ACLs while playing sports quite a bit.
Make sure they always wear appropriate protective equipment during practices and competitions. Kneepads and shin guards when appropriate will help prevent injury. Be sure that they wear supportive shoes that are in good condition and appropriate for the sport. During workouts, always make sure your child warms up and cools down.
When jumping, make sure your child bends their knees while landing. This takes pressure off the ACL and prevents injury. If kids cut laterally or pivot frequently (as in soccer), encourage them to crouch and bend at the knees and hips to reduce the chance of an ACL injury. Practice your sport on the training surfaces that aren’t too hard. Running and jumping on asphalt can be tough on the knees. For kids who play just one sport, conditioning and training year-round, even if it’s not as strenuous, can reduce the chances of injury.
When should kids start getting a sports physical? How is it different from a regular physical?
A sports physical focuses on the child’s health history and physical exam only as it relates to sports and is much more limited than a regular physical. Therefore, it does not take the place of a regular check-up. We offer sports physicals and regular well check-ups year-round.
At what age can kids safely start distance running?
This is a complex subject that has no clear answer. Distance running, and running in general, places three to six times the mechanical load on the skeleton over walking. We must remember that children are still growing and prone to injury from overuse. Thus, the International Marathon Medical Directors Association discourages marathon running before age 18.
However, rates of obesity in children have skyrocketed. Exercise is paramount to combating obesity and necessary for cardiac health. Therefore, the American Academy of Pediatrics’ position, due to the lack of evidence supporting or refuting the safety of kids running marathons, states, “There is no reason to disallow participation of a young athlete in a properly run marathon as long as the athlete enjoys the activity and is asymptomatic.”
I recommend a common-sense approach to distance running: “If it hurts, stop and rest.” Participate in cross training and get lots of time off to allow joints and bones to recover from the stresses of running. Most of all try to keep it fun.
And if there is an injury, we are here to help.
What is a “Nursemaid’s elbow” and what do we do when/if it happens?
Nursemaid’s elbow is a common injury of early childhood that occurs when a child’s arm is pulled and the elbow partially dislocates. The medical term is radial head subluxation.
This injury usually occurs between 1 to 4 years old and is common because it usually takes very little force to pull the bones of the elbow, which are still developing, partially out of place. After the injury, the child will refuse to use the arm, holding it very still by their side with the palm of the hand turned toward the body.
We can easily reset the elbow, quickly relieving any discomfort and restoring arm movement. There are guidelines parents and caregivers can follow that may prevent the injury: To safely lift a child, grasp gently under the arms. Avoid tugging or pulling on a child’s hands or arms.
How often should we reapply sunscreen on our kids? What SPF should be used?
Reapply sunscreen of at least SPF 15 every 1–2 hours, or after swimming or sweating, according to the directions on the bottle . Remember it takes 30 minutes for sunscreen to be effective. Infants under 6 months old should avoid any prolonged direct sunlight.
If a child gets a sunburn, what are the best ways to treat it?
You can treat a mild sunburn on your own by:
● Giving your child water or 100 percent fruit juice to replace lost fluids.
● Use cool water to help your child’s skin feel better.
● Give your child pain medicine to relieve painful sunburns. For a baby (6 months or younger), give acetaminophen, and for a child, give either acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
● Only use medicated lotions under your pediatrician’s direction.
● Keep your child out of the sun until the sunburn is fully healed.
If your baby is younger than 1 year and gets sunburn, call your baby’s pediatrician right away. For older children, call your child’s doctor if there is blistering, pain or fever.
Do you have questions for The Children’s Clinic of Fredericksburg? We’ll be live-chatting with them this month on our Facebook page! Follow along as we check out the clinic and join the conversation!