Age-Specific Concerns

Infants and Toddlers

Many Youngsters Suck Their Thumbs
Young children often suck on their thumbs. It's perfectly normal, even though some parents fret about it.
A Chubby Baby Is Not a Sign of Obesity
With childhood obesity on the rise, should parents worry about the weight of their babies?
Diapers/Diaper Rash
You have two choices in diapers—cloth or disposable, and each type has advantages. You must decide which works best for your child and family.
What Is Rotavirus?
Rotavirus is a viral infection that causes severe diarrhea in children. A vaccine is now available to help protect youngsters against this illness.
Gastrointestinal Problems
If your baby seems fussy and you’ve fed and changed him, he may have an upset stomach or colic. But don’t worry, there are lots of things you can do to make your little one more comfortable and keep both of you calm.
Seborrheic Dermatitis (Cradle Cap)
Cradle cap can occur on the scalp, diaper area, face, neck, and trunk. Symptoms include dry or greasy scales.
Constipation in Children
Common causes of constipation in children: a low-fiber diet, not enough fluids, lack of exercise, and emotional issues.
Diarrhea in Children
Diarrhea is defined either as watery stool or increased frequency of stool—or both—when compared with a normal amount. It is a common problem that may last a few days and disappear on its own.
Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety usually begins around 6 months of age. Babies may suddenly be afraid of familiar people such as babysitters or grandparents.
Temper Tantrums
These fits of rage—the stomping, screaming, and falling on the floor—are a normal part of childhood development. Temper tantrums often occur only with a parent. They are a way for the child to communicate his or her feelings.
Colic
Though the name sounds like a disease, colic is really just a term for excessive crying in an infant. Unfortunately, nobody knows for sure what causes colic, but there are several theories and possible risk factors for the condition.
Measuring a Baby's Temperature
Most physicians recommend taking a baby's temperature rectally, by placing a thermometer in the baby's anus. This method is accurate and gives a quick reading of the baby's internal temperature.
Fever in A Newborn
Detailed information on fevers in children
Toilet-Training
Detailed information on toilet-training your child
Newborn Crying
Crying is the way babies communicate. They cry because of hunger, discomfort, frustration, fatigue, and even loneliness.
Tips to Lower Toddlers’ Choking Risks
Before your child’s fourth birthday, create a safe environment by avoiding certain foods and keeping small objects out of reach.
Circumcision
Circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin that covers the tip of the penis.
Inguinal Hernia
An inguinal hernia is a bulge that occurs in your groin region, the area between the lower part of your abdomen and your thigh. Inguinal hernias occur because of a weakening of the muscles in the lower abdomen
Rumination Syndrome
Rumination syndrome is a rare disorder in which the child eats meals normally, but after about an hour or two, undigested food comes back up into his or her mouth.
Hypothyroidism in Children
Congenital hypothyroidism occurs in about one in 3,500 to 4,000 live births and is about two times more common in girls than boys. Newborn screenings can lead to earlier treatment and reduce the risk for developmental delay.
Graves’ Disease (Hyperthyroidism) in Children
The most common cause of hyperthyroidism in the U.S. is an autoimmune disorder called Graves’ disease. Children can develop Graves’ disease, although it's less common in kids than adults.
Scrotal Swelling in Children
Scrotal swelling is a common problem seen in young boys and baby boys. It can have many causes. These are usually divided into painless and painful scrotal swelling.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)/Heartburn in Children
Detailed information on gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), including causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment

Pre-Schoolers and School-Age

A Primer for Preschooler Safety
Your little ones can learn a lot about safety if you take some time to teach them. Here's an ABC that you and your children can recite together.
Biting
Young children may bite others out of frustration or stress, or because they feel powerless. Infants and toddlers often bite as a way of exploring their world.
Tinea Infections (Ringworm)
Detailed information on the most common types of ringworm, including diagnosis and treatment
Stuttering
Stuttering may occur in a child with normal developmental speech problems who is pressured to speak better. The child's struggle to improve speech actually makes the problem worse.
Autism Spectrum Disorder
A child with autism appears to live in his or her own world, showing little interest in others and a lack of social awareness.
Learning Disorders
Learning disorders are sometimes called learning disabilities. Most children with learning disorders have normal intelligence, but they have difficulty with reading, math, or another academic area.
School Refusal
School phobia can be seen in young children going to school for the first time, in older children who fear a bully or mean teacher, and in children who are anxious about leaving their parents.
Urinary Incontinence
Enuresis is the medical term for bedwetting, or accidental urination in children who should be able to control their bladder. Girls usually have bladder control before boys do. The diagnosis of enuresis is for girls older than 5 and for boys older than 6.
Kyphosis
Kyphosis is a forward curvature of the spine. It is a type of spinal deformity and should not be confused with poor posture.
Growing Up Short or Heavy Can Be Difficult
When children believe they are different in some way, they feel bad. Whether because of their height or some other characteristic, they are going to be aware of differences.
Watch that Backpack Load
When your child acts as if she’s carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders, maybe you should check her backpack.
Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Children
ADHD is a behavior disorder marked by inattention, impulsivity, and, in some cases, hyperactivity.
Scoliosis in Children
Detailed information on scoliosis, including types, causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment
Thumb Sucking
Thumb sucking is normal in infants and young children. It shouldn't cause any permanent problems if your child stops by age 5.
Hypothyroidism in Children
Congenital hypothyroidism occurs in about one in 3,500 to 4,000 live births and is about two times more common in girls than boys. Newborn screenings can lead to earlier treatment and reduce the risk for developmental delay.
Graves’ Disease (Hyperthyroidism) in Children
The most common cause of hyperthyroidism in the U.S. is an autoimmune disorder called Graves’ disease. Children can develop Graves’ disease, although it's less common in kids than adults.
Encopresis
Detailed information on encopresis, including causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment
Retainers Keep Teeth from Shifting
Whether you are a child or an adult, your orthodontist will want you to use a retainer after your braces are removed.
Fluency Disorder
A person with fluency disorder has trouble speaking in a fluid or flowing way. They may repeat parts of words (stutter) or speak fast and jam words together (clutter).
Cochlear Implant Surgery
A cochlear implant is a small electronic device implanted in the brain that may help people with severe hearing loss hear again.
Language Disorders in Children
A child with a language disorder may have a difficult time understanding written and spoken words and trouble speaking.
Speech Sound Disorders in Children
A child with a speech sound disorder may have trouble saying certain sounds and words beyond the age expected.

Adolescents and Teens

Female Sexual Development

Anatomy of the Breasts
Each breast has 15 to 20 sections (lobes), which are arranged like the petals of a daisy. Each lobe has many smaller lobules, which end in dozens of tiny bulbs that can produce milk.
Normal Breast Development and Changes
Breast development occurs in distinct stages, first before birth, and again at puberty and during the childbearing years. Changes also occur to the breasts during menstruation and when a woman reaches menopause.
Breast Conditions
Some breast changes or conditions are related to a young woman's menstrual cycle, but others may occur at any time. Most breast conditions are benign.
How to Perform a Breast Self-Examination (BSE)
By doing BSE regularly, you get to know how your breasts normally feel so that you are more apt to detect any change.
Anatomy of Female Pelvic Area
The female pelvic area contains a number of organs and structures: the endometrium, uterus, ovaries, cervix, vagina, and vulva.
Amenorrhea in Teens
Amenorrhea is a menstrual condition in which a woman's menstrual periods are absent for more than three monthly cycles. Pregnancy is one possible cause of amenorrhea.
Dysmenorrhea in Adolescents
Dysmenorrhea is a menstrual condition marked by severe and frequent menstrual cramps and pain. Dysmenorrhea can be either lifelong or caused by another medical condition.
Recognizing Urologic or Gynecologic Problems
Vaginal bleeding and discharge are a normal part of a teen girl's menstrual cycle. If your daughter notices anything different or unusual, talk with your teen's health care provider.
Pap Test for Adolescents
A Pap test, along with a pelvic examination, is an important part of a female's routine health care because it may detect abnormalities that can lead to invasive cancer.
Vulvitis in Teens
Vulvitis is an inflammation of the vulva, the soft folds of skin outside the vagina. It is a symptom of a host of diseases, infections, injuries, and allergies.
Stop Dating Abuse Before It Starts
Although teen dating violence is worrisome, it's not inevitable. You and your teen can avoid potentially perilous situations and reduce the risk for problems.
Vaginitis in Adolescents
Vaginitis is a common problem for women of all ages. Bacteria, yeast, viruses, and chemicals in creams or sprays can cause it.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Most females experience some unpleasant or uncomfortable symptoms during their menstrual cycle. The type and intensity of symptoms vary.
Puberty: Adolescent Female
Girls experience puberty as a sequence of events, and their pubertal changes usually begin before boys of the same age. The first pubertal change in girls usually is breast development.
Menstrual Cycle: An Overview
A woman is generally most fertile (able to become pregnant) a few days before, during, and after ovulation.

Male Sexual Development

Overview of the Male Anatomy
The male reproductive anatomy includes the bladder, epididymis, penis, scrotum, and prostate gland.
Care of the Uncircumcised Penis
In an uncircumcised boy, the foreskin will begin to separate from the glans, or the tip of the penis. This happens naturally while the male is an infant. This is called foreskin retraction.
Stop Dating Abuse Before It Starts
Although teen dating violence is worrisome, it's not inevitable. You and your teen can avoid potentially perilous situations and reduce the risk for problems.
Puberty: Adolescent Male
Detailed information on puberty and the adolescent male
Epididymitis in Children
In the male reproductive system, the epididymis is a tiny coiled tube that stores, matures, and carries sperm. When the epididymis gets infected for one reason or another, it leads to inflammation, known as epididymitis.
Varicoceles
Varicoceles are enlargements of veins in the scrotum. Varicoceles most often occur during puberty and affect as many as 10 to 15 percent of all boys.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Adolescents
STDs are among the most common infectious diseases in this country—the United States has the highest rates of STDs in the industrialized world.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Women suffer more frequent and severe symptoms from STDs. Some STDs can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, which can lead to both infertility and ectopic pregnancy.
Safer Sex Guidelines for Adolescents
The only safe sex is no sex, most health care providers say. But certain precautions and safe behaviors can minimize a person's risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease.
Chlamydia Can Lead to Infertility
A lot of us don't realize that chlamydia and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can cause no symptoms, meaning you could have an STD and not know it.
Answers to Questions About HPV
Learning about HPV can help you avoid infection and seek treatment, if necessary.

Eating Disorders

Bulimia Nervosa in Adolescents
Bulimia nervosa is defined as uncontrolled episodes of overeating (bingeing) usually followed by self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, enemas, or medications in an attempt to control weight.
Anorexia Nervosa in Children
Anorexia nervosa (AN) is eating disorder that is a form of self-starvation. A child or teen with AN has abnormally low body weight, a distorted body image, and an intense fear of gaining weight.

Mood Disorders

Major Depression in Children
Common symptoms of major depression include persistent feelings of sadness, sleep disturbances, and difficulty concentrating.
Major Depression in Adolescents
Depression is a mood disorder that involves a adolescent's body, mood, and thoughts. It can affect and disrupt eating, sleeping, or thinking patterns.
Bipolar Disorder in Adolescents
Manic depression, also known as bipolar disorder, is a type of affective disorder that goes beyond the day's ordinary ups and downs. It is becoming an important health concern in this country.
Depressed Kids Need Help
Teen depression is a serious illness. The benefits of getting help, including taking medications if needed, far outweigh the potential risks.

Alcohol and Tobacco

Understanding Alcohol's Effects
The extent of alcohol's effect on the central nervous system depends upon how much is in your blood and how much blood you have.
Alcohol Use Among Teens Is Epidemic
The leading substance-abuse threat to children may be as close as your refrigerator. About 10 million adolescents drink alcohol. In fact, minors drink 19 percent of the alcohol consumed in the United States.
The Dangers of Binge Drinking
Too many young people are participating in a dangerous practice called binge drinking, or drinking to intoxication. It's defined as having five or more drinks in a row for men; for women, it’s four-plus drinks in a row.
Binge Drinking Dangers for Young People
Binge drinkers are most likely found on college campuses, where many students consider a big game or fraternity party an excuse to drink all weekend.
Smoking
Ninety percent of new smokers are children and teenagers. In many cases, they are replacing the smokers who quit or died prematurely from a smoking-related disease.
Cool Tools to Keep Your Kids From Smoking
Many teenagers still think smoking is cool. Here are some tools to help parents stay diligent in keeping their kids from smoking.
Guidelines for Raising Smoke-Free Kids
The most important thing is to keep the lines of communication open -- the more you talk to your children, the better chance you have of staying close when things get tough or when important issues like smoking arise.

Drugs

How to Spot Drug Use in Kids
Although most adolescents who use drugs don't become drug abusers or drug addicts in adulthood, drug use in adolescence can put their mental, emotional and physical health at risk.
Substance Abuse/Chemical Dependence in Adolescents
Substances frequently abused by adolescents include alcohol, marijuana, and amphetamines. Some teens are at higher risk of developing substance-related disorders.
Stages of Substance Abuse
People who become addicted to drugs or alcohol typically go through predictable stages of abuse. Understanding these stages can help you recognize a problem and seek help before substance use becomes an addiction.
The Facts About Marijuana
Knowing about marijuana can help you recognize its use in children and others and help a user seek treatment.
The Menace of Methamphetamine
Methamphetamine is related to the legal stimulant amphetamine, but has stronger effects.
Understanding Cocaine and Crack
Cocaine use ranges from occasional to compulsive. There is no safe way to use the drug.
All About LSD
LSD, also called acid, is one of the most commonly used hallucinogens or psychedelic drugs.
Primer: GHB, the Club Drug
On the street, GHB is used for is ability to produce a feeling of euphoria and hallucinations.
What You Need to Know About Heroin
Until recently, heroin was not considered a problem among children of middle-class parents. But lately, it has been showing up in new places.
Cough Medicine Abuse by Teens
A common ingredient in many cough and cold remedies has become a popular substance to abuse by teenagers searching for a cheap, easy high.
Prescription Drug Addiction
Three kinds of prescription drugs are potentially addictive: opioids, tranquilizers, and stimulants.
Talk With Your Kids About These Issues
Talking with your child about drugs, alcohol and tobacco is tough. But you can't afford to ignore these topics. Children learn about these substances and feel pressure to use them at a very young age.
Paying for Attention: Abuse of Prescription ADHD Drugs Rising on College Campuses
Around the country, more and more college students are abusing stimulants to help them study. Here’s how to spot the signs of drug use and keep your student safe.