Beaumont’s Certified Sitter Class

image credit: Lina Kivaka, Pexels

Beaumont’s Certified Sitter course is designed for boys and girls 10 years of age and older who are interested in babysitting or responsible for younger siblings at home.

This fun-filled course is taught by emergency room staff/American Heart Association instructors.

Over the course of two afternoons, students learn the basics of babysitting, how to advertise safely, and appropriate fees to charge clients. They will also receive five of their own business cards!

We discuss topics include babysitting as a business, growth and development, what to do in case of an emergency, and tips for playtime. 

Students learn that every child is different, and we talk about the needs and likes/dislikes of children from birth to six years of age. Topics include bottle feeding, diaper changing, common illnesses, and basic injuries. Calm and quick reactions to these situations are emphasized and tools to achieve them are discussed.

Playtime is a fun time and we discuss and demonstrate age appropriate toys for all age groups.  Meals and snacks ideas are discussed as well.

This course includes snacks for the students on both days, a starter survival bag, a certificate of completion, and the confidence to get started.

Enroll your child in a Certified Sitter class today.

– Cindy Miller, American Heart Association instructor, is the Training Center secretary with Beaumont Health Royal Oak.

What Zit All About? Acne 101

image: Kjerstin Michaela Haraldsen, Pixabay

Blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, and oily skin are the hallmarks of acne. Most of us had our fair share of acne over the years and we heard a lot of advice about how to manage it. From basic advice of washing twice a day with soap to using expensive skin care products you can get delivered to your door every month to prescription medicines, acne remedies abound.

The reason there are so many strategies out there is that acne is embarrassing for teenagers and adults alike. Often the thought of going to the doctor to talk about skin issues (or even bringing up the topic with parents) is too difficult for most teenagers. Parents need to take the lead and ask teenagers if they are interested in doing something about their acne. Some teens are interested in working on their skin while others aren’t.

Before discussing the skin care regimes that work, it makes sense to understand the different components of acne.

  • Blackheads and whiteheads: These are pores that are blocked with debris (i.e., dead skin, oils, bacteria) but don’t have much inflammation (swelling or redness). What makes them black or white is whether the pore is still open (blackhead) or closed at the top (whitehead).
  • Pimples: These are blackheads or whiteheads that have gotten inflamed. Usually they are still close to the skin’s surface so the inflammation (i.e., swelling, redness and pus accumulation) come to a head quickly and resolves. Sometimes pimples will scar but if they are left alone and there are few of them scarring is less common.
  • Cystic acne: These are pimples deep under the skin as well as large inflamed pimples near the surface. What differentiates cystic acne from regular pimples is size of the swelling and depth of the inflammation. Because some of these acne lesions are so deep, they don’t come to a head and those that do are so large that they may leave scars.

Once parents have broached the subject with their tween or teen, what strategies work?

For mild acne that is made up of mostly blackheads and whiteheads and only a few pimples here and there, washing twice a day with a mild soap and using benzoyl peroxide 10% (available in a variety of over-the-counter preparations) once a day makes sense.

Once pimples are the main attraction, benzoyl peroxide probably won’t cut it. Talking to your pediatrician is the best first step. When pimples are the main issue, retinoids in the form of a cream used once-a-day (along with skin hygiene) is the best approach. Retinoids take about eight weeks to work and your teenager’s skin will actually look a little worse before it starts to look better. Once the improvement starts though, it’s a big improvement!

Because retinoids can be harsh on the skin, some doctors start with topical benzoyl peroxide and antibiotic combo creams or gels. These are not as effective but may be enough for mild acne.

Cystic acne is different. Because of its scarring nature and because many of the pimples are so deep, topical management doesn’t work well. Heading the dermatologist makes sense. Accutane is the best management strategy for cystic acne. Even with all of its challenges (including monthly lab tests, appointments, and side effects), this pill is by far the most effective approach. It is taken for nine months or so and then many people need a second course a year or two later for another three to six months. All in all it’s easier than years-long skin regimes and far more effective.

The biggest challenge though in any acne treatment plan is compliance. Many teenagers get frustrated or bored with the skin regime of washing twice a day and applying product. Because so few solutions are foolproof and all require continuous participation to gain continued results, teenagers are at risk for falling off the skin regime bandwagon when results aren’t as good as they had hoped, or when their skin is looking better for a week or so. Either way their lack of commitment is the Achilles’ heel of any approach parents and doctors put forth. That’s why opening the conversation with your teens and getting a real sense of how interested they are in addressing their skin health is key to moving forward.

Many families ask about commercially available skin regimes that they see engaging advertising for. Many of these products do work and if they teen is coming to you engaged by the sales pitch, he or she may be more committed to the regime which is really the “magic” that ensures the success of the product.

As a final comment, let’s cover some common myths and truths about what makes acne worse.

  • Myth: Never use moisturizer on your face.
    • Moisturizing acne-prone skin can get tricky. You want to be sure to choose an oil-free moisturizer. Many products now will even say “non-comedogenic” on the label, which is good sign it’s acne friendly.
  • Myth: Chocolate (or milk, or fatty foods) makes acne worse.
    • Eating a healthy diet and drinking plenty of water is great for your body and your skin. Eating certain foods though won’t make your acne worse. All kinds of old wives’ tales surround food and acne, but research shows that what you eat makes no real difference in how your acne progresses.
  • Truth: Hair products, like gels and hair oils, increase acne.
    • Any oils, gels or even your hair’s own natural oils (if on your forehead all the time) can worsen your acne. If your forehead is your main problem area, keep your hair off your face and keep hair care products far away!

– Dr. Molly O’Shea, a board-certified Beaumont pediatrician, offers traditional medicine in non-traditional ways including newborn home visits and emailing parents directly. She has practiced pediatrics for nearly 30 years and was the “Ask the Pediatrician” columnist for the Detroit News for many years. A journal editor for the American Academy of Pediatrics, she also organized the AAP’s national continuing education programming for pediatricians. Dr. Molly loves cooking, traveling and spending time with her family.

11 health concerns to discuss with your teen

doctor talking with mom and teen

Photo credit: Rhoda Baer, Wikimedia Commons

  1. Nutrition. As teens become more independent, their eating habits frequently change for the worse. Family dinners are replaced by pizza with friends or fast food between extracurricular activities. At the same time, increased social pressures can result in body image issues and eating disorders.
    What parents can do: Continue to stress the importance of fueling your body with good food, stock the refrigerator with healthy options, and model good eating habits. If the teen no longer drinks milk, introduce calcium and vitamin D supplements to strengthen their bones during this time of growth.
  2. Sleep. Teens are sleeping less and less. Between extracurricular activities, school, friends, and electronics, sleep becomes a teen’s last priority. Sleep is very important however and teens need nine hours of sleep a night on average. Not getting that amount is associated with everything from poor school performance to obesity to depression.
    What parents can do: Emphasize regular bedtimes, restrict phone use at night, limit activities, and talk to your schools about later start times.
  3. Exercise. There are kids who struggle with both too much and too little. Athletes who specialize in single sports at a young age suffer from overuse injuries and burnout. Kids who don’t have opportunities for regular exercise struggle with obesity.
    What parents can do: Encourage a goal of at least one hour of aerobic activity every day. For athletes, emphasizing cross-training and breaks can help with injuries.
  4. Vaping. E-cigarette use has been rising exponentially in teens over the past several years. Now, about 1/5 teens have used them! The chemicals in the vapor are toxic, but more importantly, the nicotine in e-cigarettes is highly addictive. It makes it much more likely that they will go on to use cigarettes. It also affects the developing teen brain.
    What parents can do: Talk to your teens early about the dangers of e-cigarettes. For more information on vaping and adolescents, check out this article.
  5. Marijuana. As many states are beginning to legalize marijuana, we are seeing increasing use in teens. They view it as the “safe and natural” drug since it is legal. However, marijuana has significant negative effects on the developing teen brain. It is not safe for kids to use! In addition, many teens are using their e-cigarettes to vape marijuana.
    What parents can do: As with vaping, talk to your teens early about the dangers of marijuana.
  6. Alcohol.Thirty percent of high school students drink so this is a topic you can’t skip. Of particular concern is that many teens are drinking hard alcohol rather than beer and they are much more likely to binge drink. This is particularly concerning because they are much more likely get alcohol poisoning; teens need to understand that drinking strong liquor quickly can be very dangerous. 
    What parents can do: Start discussing this important topic early and consciously model responsible behavior. Timing is crucial as you don’t want to bring it up for the first time as the teen is walking out the door to go to a party. Use a news story, movie or TV show to bring it up in a relaxed atmosphere like dinner. Luckily, teens now are generally much smarter about drinking and driving, but that is still something that should be discussed with every teenager before they get he or she gets a driver’s license.
  7. Acne. Acne is one of the most stressful parts of being a teen. So much of a teen’s identity revolves around his or her appearance. Luckily, there are many options for acne treatment now; they don’t need to suffer through it.
    What parents can do: Let your teen know that acne is not a hygiene issue and that over-scrubbing his or her face can actually make it worse. If over-the-counter medications don’t work, talk to your pediatrician.
  8. Sex. The “birds and the bees” talk is one of the big milestones that your child is growing up. Although it is awkward (for both the parent and the kid), it is critical for your teen to get accurate information from you rather than inaccurate information from friends.
    What parents can do: Giving your teens a book to read beforehand (or together) is a good way to start the conversation. Being open-minded and non-judgmental will go a long way to keeping the lines of communication open between you and your teen for years to come.
  9. Hygiene. Hygiene can be another awkward conversation but is vital to discuss. Some kids figure this out on their own; others need some guidance.
    What parents can do: Let teens know that the changes in their body make it important for them to care for themselves differently. They need to shower every day, use deodorant and wash their clothes regularly.
  10. Bullying. No matter how many educational sessions teens have, after-school movies they watch, rules that guide them, bullying continues to be a big problem. And now with social media, bullies have a whole new and particularly vicious way of tormenting their peers.
    What parents can do: Open the door to conversation by bringing up stories that you hear. Keep a watch out for signs that your teen is being bullied and get help early if you suspect bullying. Beaumont Health’s anti-bullying program, NoBLE, has resources.
  11. Mental health. Many mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia present during adolescence.
    What parents can do: Talk with your teen about mental health, especially if there is a family history. Like with bullying, look for signs such as mood swings, change in activity or sleep or appetite, loss interest in friends or activities, or substance abuse. Don’t assume these changes are “normal teen behaviors.”

Many of these topics don’t need a formal, sit-down discussion. In fact, those can make your teen uncomfortable and less likely to hear what you are saying. My favorite way to bring up many of these topics with my teens is in the car using a situation I had heard about. For example, when we were travelling near a college campus, I commented on all the vape shops I saw and mentioned that I was worried about e-cigarette use. My then-12-year-old son reassured me that e-cigarettes were perfectly safe – just water vapor – and that one of his friends got one for Christmas. What?! But that opened the door for conversation and I got a chance to have a really good discussion about vaping.

Good luck! The teen years are both wonderful and terrifying, but before you know it, they will be gone and you will miss them.

– Rita Patel, MD, MPH, is the associate director of the pediatric residency program at Beaumont Children’s Hospital. She is also an associate professor at OUWB School of Medicine.

So I brush her hair

brushing red hair

All of a sudden I find myself the mom of a tween. It happened in the blink of an eye. It seems like yesterday that princess dresses, tutus, and American Girl dolls were her focus; now I have a confident, responsible, independent 12-year-old girl who knows what she likes and doesn’t like. She practices with makeup, has her own sense of style, manages all of her school stuff on her own, and even does some cooking.

Sometimes I wonder if she even needs me anymore. As a mom, it’s sort of a weird place to be. I mean, I know she needs me and will for a long time, but it’s just different. We have a good relationship and are doing our best to navigate her transition to a young woman together, and I’m learning as I go.

About six months ago, I found myself really missing my girl — missing her needing me to take care of her the way she did when she was younger and not so self-sufficient. I know, I know, that may be a little irrational, but I had a moment. In my logical mind I know that this is a natural progression, but my mama-heart took over. She had just showered and was getting ready for bed, dressed in her bath robe with wet hair, and I looked up from reading and asked, “Would you like me to brush your hair?” She said yes and so I did. It felt good to do that for her, and it was nice to have some quiet time just the two of us to talk about whatever.

A few days later she asked me herself if I would do it, and since that time it’s something that has happened many times, and I love it. To think something I once took for granted — all the years of chasing her with a brush to get her wild, red hair tamed — now has become such a precious gift.

So if you, like me, have found yourself parenting a girl on the verge of becoming a young lady and you’re missing the “old days,” may I suggest that you brush her hair? It may be just the thing you are looking for to fill the void.

– Kelly Ryan, MSW, Parenting Program, Postpartum Adjustment Coordinator