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Posts for category: Child Safety

By Amherst Pediatrics
April 20, 2020
Category: Child Safety
Tags: Immunizations  

To keep your child healthy and happy this involves making sure that they eat the right foods, exercise regularly and get quality sleep. Of course, visiting your pediatrician for routine checkups and care is also necessary for maintaining optimal health in your child or teen. Along with making sure that your little one is reaching those developmental milestones, our pediatricians can also protect your child from a variety of serious and potentially life threatening illnesses through regular immunizations.

What do immunizations do?

Immunizations or vaccines are used to boost the body’s natural defenses to help it properly fight infection. In order to do this, a vaccine needs to contain either a dead or weakened form of the infection. This is just enough to trigger the immune system to start producing the necessary antibodies to fight the infection without actually causing an infection. Even once the body fights off these germs it will still maintain these defenses to prevent being infected in the future.

Your child won’t build up an immediate immunity once they’ve been vaccinated. It can take up to three weeks for the body to build a complete immune response to the specific germs. Therefore, during this time it is possible that your child could still become infected with any of the viruses for which they haven’t fully been vaccinated. Each vaccine is different and your pediatrician can discuss with you the expected length of time that a vaccine will take to fully work.

Why are immunizations important?

Immunizations are one of the most effective preventive tools we have for protecting children and teens from potentially dangerous or fatal infections and diseases. Since many of these conditions can also cause serious complications including hospitalizations, getting your child vaccinated can prevent the need for extensive and expensive medical treatments.

Certain people, especially those with weakened immune systems, may not be able to get certain vaccinations. This means that they are particularly susceptible to infection. By getting more and more children vaccinated we can also protect other members of our community who can’t be vaccinated so they don’t deal with life-threatening illnesses, themselves.

We know that parents usually have a lot of questions when it comes to getting their child vaccinated and during your child’s next visit we would be happy to discuss these options with you. The CDC also has a handy immunization schedule that every family should follow to make sure that their child is getting the proper immunizations at the right time so they are always fully protected from certain illnesses and diseases.

If you have questions about the immunizations your child is supposed to be getting or if you need to schedule their next checkup call your pediatrician today.

By Amherst Pediatrics, LLP
August 07, 2019
Category: Child Safety
Tags: Car Seats  

Kids may complain about being restrained in the car, but car seats and booster seats save lives. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that using a car or booster seat in a passenger car reduces the risk of fatal injury 71 percent in children younger than 1 and 54 percent in toddlers ages 1 to 4. The statistics are just as impressive for older kids.

What type of seat should I use for my child?

Infants and toddlers should ride in rear-facing seats until they reach the highest weight or height recommended by the manufacturer. In the past, children were routinely removed from rear-facing seats when they were 2, even if they didn't meet height or weight limits. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently changed their guidelines and now recommend that kids remain in the seats as long as possible.

Toddlers and pre-schoolers who have reached the maximum height or weight limits for rear-facing seats should use forward-facing car seats. Again, the seats should be used until the child reaches the maximum height and weight recommendations.

Once kids are too tall or heavy for car seats, they will transition to booster seats. Booster seats should be used until children are 4'9" tall and 8 to 12 years old. Older children can begin using seat belts at that point but should sit in the back seat when possible, particularly if they're younger than 13.

How can I tell if the car seat is installed correctly?

Both car and booster seats should be securely fashioned with a latch system or seat belt. If the seat moves back and forth freely, it's not installed correctly. Properly installed seats should move no more than an inch in any direction.

My child's legs seem too long for the car seat. What should I do?

You may wonder if your child should move up to the next seat or a booster seat if your child's feet touch the back of car seat. As long as your child is shorter than the maximum height for the seat, he or she should remain in the current seat.

Should my child use a secondhand car seat?

Passing a seat down to your next child can be a good idea if your children are only a few years apart in age. Before you reuse a seat for a younger child, make sure that it hasn't expired or been recalled since you bought it. Throw away car and booster seats after accidents, even minor ones. The seat may look perfectly fine but may be damaged internally.

Buying secondhand car seats online or at yard sales should be avoided. You won't necessarily know if the seat has been in an accident or if it has defective latches or restraints.

Using car seats consistently, whether you're going to the grocery store or taking a cross-country trip, can help your child avoid serious injuries due to traffic accidents. Talk to your child's pediatrician if you have questions about the seats.



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Amherst, MA 01002
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Please note temporary office hours
during the COVID-19 pandemic

New Office Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00 AM - 4:45 PM.
We are temporarily suspending our extended office hours (5:00 - 7:00 PM).

We are temporarily suspending our weekend office hours.
After hours, we will continue to be available as usual by phone for urgent matters and can schedule you for a virtual visit if indicated by the circumstances (see below). 


Due to the elevated level of illness in our communities, please remain at home if you or your child is ill. If you have concerns about how your child is feeling, please contact us by sending a message through this patient portal. The clinicians will be able to respond to you during our regular hours. Calling the office may present a further delay in response times.

The COVID-19 situation is ever unfolding. We are dedicated to the safety of our patients and staff. Please refer to our website for updates on this changing situation.



* Please note: It is our policy that we do not approve referral requests for visits to outside urgent care centers during times that our office is open.

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We are open for urgent visits only on most Holidays. Our office is closed on Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.