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News from Baby Medical Q&A, Issue #029
February 01, 2009

New Questions and Answers

Question: My son is almost 1 year old and I want to cut his hair for his first birthday bu I keep hearing that you shouldn't cut a boy's hair until he is talking or else it will stunt his speech. Is is safe to cut a 1 year old's hair?

Answer: Go ahead and cut your son's hair. It won't stunt his speech. I hope he has a good birthday.

Question: My 23 month old grandson had a cold, and then 3 weeks later we were told he had Henoch-Schoelein Purpura (HSP). What is HSP?

Answer: Henoch Schonlein purpura (HSP) is a condition that children get, often after an viral illness. The body makes antibodies against the virus and then they get confused and fight the body.

HSP is usually self-limiting and no treatment is required. It affects the skin causing a pinprick rash, the joints causing swelling, the abdomen causing pain and the kidney causing blood in the urine. A child may not have all the features and only about 30% have kidney involvement, which is the most serious finding and needs to be followed up.

The doctors will probably check urines to see if there is any microscopic blood in it over the next 6 - 12 months or so depending on what they find.

Question: When my nephew crys, his lips turn blue or purple. Could there be a circulation problem? WHat do you think?

Answer: It is not normal for a child's lips to go blue - you don't say how old your nephew is, so it is hard for me to say what might be causing this.

The most concerning thing, and the thing that needs to be sorted out by your nephew having a medical examination, is whether the blue is related to low oxygen levels in the blood. This could indicate a heart problem or a problem with the lungs.

Your nephew needs to see a doctor without delay.

Question: I have an 8 month old daughter who has never enjoyed her milk. She always looks like she wants to burst out of her highchair and sometimes will eat lots but other times can't be bothered and shuts her mouth. The doctor says her head is bigger than her body and her feet are quite small for her age. Her leg creases dont line up and to be honest we are at the end of our tether. any suggestions what we can do. the doc has referred us to a paedatrician.

Answer: Children can be fussy with their eating - as long as your daughter is putting on an appropriate amount of weight -so following one of the centile lines on a growth chart - I wouldn't be worried about her feeding habits.

As far as the head being large, in most cases this is because a parent (or both) has a large head - it's usually nothing to worry about especially if your daughter's development is normal.

As for the creases not lining up, this is quite common. It can be seen in congenital dislocation of the hips but this is unlikely given your daughter's age especially if she has had her usual well child checks and passed them. If you have no problem opening your daughter's legs to change a nappy (diaper), it is unlikely there is a major problem with the hips. The paediatrician can confirm this.

Some people have small dainty feet - I wouldn't be concerned about this.

News and Updates

Reducing Eczema in Infants

A recent study from Sweden has shown that the risk of eczema in the first year of life is reduced in those who had fish introduced into their diet before 9 months of age compared to those that didn't.

If you have a family history of eczema, it might be wise to introduce fish into your baby's diet before 9 months of age (but after 6 months of age).

Reference: Alm et al. Early introduction of fish decreases the risk of eczema in infants. Arch Dis Child 2009; 94:11-15.

Have you seen this website?

Kid Spot - a New Zealand website with lots of useful information for parents.

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