Protecting kids means staying on top of vaccines, check-ups

Arkansas Children’s has a message for families striving to protect their children during the COVID-19 pandemic: The best thing they can do is stay on top of vaccines, routine check-ups and preventive health care for their kids.
A national trend indicates many children are skipping annual check-ups and vaccines that keep them healthy as cautious families postpone doctor’s visits. Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) in Little Rock and Arkansas Children’s Northwest (ACNW) in Springdale have seen this scenario play out in our state. 
“Parents want to do what’s best for their children. It’s critical they understand kids need to continue regularly seeing their primary care pediatrician and any specialists they visited before the pandemic,” said Marcy Doderer, FACHE, President & Chief Executive Officer of Arkansas Children’s. “For kids to stay healthy, families must ensure vaccines, keep doctor’s appointments and seek emergency care for the usual bumps and breaks of childhood.”
Families can learn more about the importance of vaccines and check-ups from the American Academy of Pediatrics at www.healthychildren.org and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents.  
Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock and Arkansas Children’s Northwest in Springdale continue to be open for appointments and procedures. Their clinics and emergency departments are ready to care for kids, too.
“Childhood illnesses and injuries won’t take a time-out due to social distancing,” Doderer said. “That’s why all Arkansas Children’s facilities are open and ready to serve kids and families 24/7 with doctors, nurses and staff who know kids best.”
Arkansas Children’s hospitals and clinics are taking many important steps to ensure families are safe when they visit.
Families will experience:
• Deep cleaning practices that exceed CDC specifications, including extra attention to high-touch areas like light switches, sink faucets and restrooms
• Masks on all fellow patients, visitors and health care providers
• A detailed screening process that includes checking for fever
• Personal protective equipment (PPE) on health care providers
• More room in waiting areas to allow for social distancing 
“Parents should not fear taking their child to the doctor. Pediatricians across our state are taking similar steps to keep kids safe in their practices,” said Rick Barr, MD, pediatrician in chief for Arkansas Children’s and chair of the Department of Pediatrics in the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Medicine.
“Vaccines are scientifically proven to be among the safest and most effective ways to protect children and babies from diseases ranging from measles to meningitis,” Barr said. “If routine care is delayed, we will see a rise in other health problems that may be more harmful to children than COVID-19.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends multiple well-child care visits per year for children younger than 3 years of age and yearly primary care visits for older children and adolescents.
Families should call their pediatricians’ offices to discuss appointment options and which vaccines their children need.
To learn more about what Arkansas Children’s is doing to protect kids and families who seek care at its hospitals, visit www.archildrens.org/safe 

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