Q&A with Dr. Jay

Question: My 3 month old has a very dry and crusty rash on the top of her head. What can I do for it?

Dr. Jay: This sounds like a case of cradle cap. This can start as just dry skin on the scalp but can progress to thick, scale-like skin that can peel off and leave patches of hair loss. Most of the time, moisturizing the area with lotion will help. Some people have found success with placing baby oil or olive oil on the area and gently combing it in with a soft brush. If these remedies are not working, I have recommended placing some over the counter hydrocortisone on the area. Just apply a small amount once a day and you will see a gradual return to normal. If there becomes more redness or crustiness, have your child evaluated for other possibilities.

Question: My eight year old has expressed some interest in baseball. There are so many leagues and they play all year round. How much should he play?

Dr. Jay: There has been such a proliferation of year round sports. In the past, there was usually a season to play a sport, but today, you can play nearly any sport anytime of the year. This has been great to keep children active, but it has led to a problem that pediatricians are now seeing more and more—injuries. This can include sore joints and muscles to stress fractures and major joint surgeries. For some time, pediatricians have cautioned parents about this, but so many parents have ignored this advice because of the fear of their child being left behind and other kids progressing farther in the sport. Orthopedic surgeons are seeing injuries in children that they formerly would not see until dealing with athletes in college. Now, the orthopedic surgeons have also gotten involved with the pediatricians in a campaign to have children rotate through different sports. This not only rests the muscles and joints that they have been using, but then it strengthens other muscles and joints that they do not use. This will also prevent the mental and physical burnout that athletes can experience. Unfortunately, some coaches and parents have turned our children’s sports from a fun and learning experience to a high-stress and ultra-competitive arena. Like many things in life, we need balance Even if your child loves the sport and excels in it and want to play continuously, your job is to watch over your child’s health and well-being. Evidence shows that allowing our children to participate only in one sport all year round is just not healthy. Take a break and foster interest in other sports or hobbies for the best interest of your child.

Gulf Coast Family Publications - Encouraging families along the Gulf Coast in Pinellas County