Tuesday, May 17, 2011


I live in a world where bad things happen.
Little children get hit by cars and fall in pools.
Newborns don't get a vitamin K shot and die of intercranial bleeding before I can get them from hospital A to hospital B.
A young man has a headache and it turns out to be multiple brain tumors that he won't recover from.
A little girl puts part of a hot dog in her mouth when nobody is looking and chokes on it.  She will be brain injured by the time we get there and are able to pull it out with forceps.
A little boy is playing with the bottom drawer of a dresser and manages to pull it over on him.  He dies in surgery three hours later.

Part of my life?
You bet.

I tell you this so when I am over protective, when I choose things for my son that many parents write off or don't think is important, this is why.
It may only be a 1:10,000 chance that it happens to my child.
But it's my child. And when it comes to Josh, I don't play the odds.

A couple of people have been asking me to do a blog or a series on safety and medicine.  I can't give medical advice.  I'm not a doctor, and a blog isn't anyplace to do that.
But maybe I can explain some things.  Like why the government recommends that all children under 2 be rear-facing(infant bodies are not able to withstand the forces in a vehicle impact the same way that adults can and their brains are much more susceptible to whiplash injury).  Or why the Committee on the Nutrition of the American Academy of Pediatricians recommends that all babies get a Vitamin K shot within hours of birth(newborns have a significantly reduced blood clotting factor and are susceptible to unexplained internal and intercranial bleeding, particularly if it was a vaginal delivery.  Though it is a low number, 2-10 out of 100,000 births will develop life-threatning internal bleeding from this.  Vitamin K is not passed well through human breastmilk, no matter how much Vitamin K the mother takes or eats, and there have been no credible studies showing any harm from prophylactically giving Vitamin K to newborns.  What they don't tell you is that if you are really uncomfortable with the shot, studies have shown that 3 oral doses over a weeks time have the same effect).  I can explain why babies are susceptible to choking(a smaller airway), and why you need to take your 2-year-old to the emergency room if he appears to have a cold but is leaning forward and drooling(epiglottitis).  I can reassure you if your 18-month-old is running a high fever and has a seizure(go get him checked out, but febrile seizures, while scary, rarely have lasting harm.  To ensure that it was a febrile seizure and not something more serious like meningitis, though, the child needs to be evaluated by a doctor).

I grew up with a mother and grandmother who are RNs and a dad who is an EMT.  My schooling was heavy on medicine and science. And I am a critical care paramedic working on my RN. I can't tell you much about herbal remedies(though lemon juice and honey work better for a sore throat than any medicine I've ever had), but I can tell you how some medications work in the body.

So maybe I will start sharing a bit of what I know.  Again, I can't tell you how to medically treat yourself.  But I can explain away some of the mysteries of life.


Molly said...

The first rules of my house after working in my pharmacy which caters to the Pediatric ICU's are 1) Find ways of securing any and all equipment or decorations, after seeing a 3 year old die from pulling a TV onto his head and 2) if I ever let my kids on an ATV helmets are manditory or no go (2 ATV head injuries in 1 month and it's not even nice weather yet)

Persuaded said...

Go for it girl.... this post alone shared a ton of info with me that I'd have never known otherwise. Take it one topic at a time and dish out your know-how in nice little (non-choke-able;-}) bite sized pieces, and I think you'd be doing such a valuable service. Seriously♥

Trina said...

thanks for writing this up for me, Sara - it was very helpful. I do like to be an informed parent. It really helps to understand the why behind the new carseat laws