The drawbacks of carrying heavy school bags

With children carrying heavier devices (such as laptops and iPads) and books to school, a large number of children suffer from growing deformities that cannot even be corrected, caused as a result of carrying a heavy weight on their backs or rather heavy school bags. Back pain and spinal abnormalities are extremely common in children as young as 10 years. Some of the common issues children face these days are excessive fatigue, muscle and back pain, poor body posture, lumbar pains, neck and shoulder pain, an abnormal curve of the spine etc.

In some cases, children often carry their bag on one shoulder leading to leaning on one side with all the weight. This particularly causes back pain and severe strain to the neck and shoulder. The straps of the backpacks also cause injury by interfering with the nerves and blood circulation.

These issues can cause long-term damage for children growing up. A child’s body is constantly growing and developing, their skeleton gets deformed because of the weight of the backpack and this can cause severe lasting damage. Backpacks cause long-term back problems with poor posture, spine deformity etc. that makes it difficult for the child to function. Identification of the problem is extremely important at an early stage. Heavy backpacks cause back, neck and shoulder pain and this pain becomes worse if kids have sedentary lifestyles.



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Screen time for children

  1. What is the possible impact of children spending excessive hours on screen, can you list few?

The American Association of Pediatrics identifies screen time as time spent using digital media for entertainment purposes. Other uses of media, such as online homework, doesn’t count as screen time. Owning a smartphone or tablet has now become a common practice even with young school going children. As much as it is a relief for children that summer vacations are just around the corner, this time could be rather worrisome for parents with them thinking of ways to keep their children engaged during the two months. Kids of every age spend hours before a TV, phone or tablet which is not always a bad thing. What decides the effect of screen time on children is the kind of program they watch and how much time they spend watching the same.

Children use electronic devices for different purposes, a few being; to play video games and computer games, texting, using social media, playing hand-held games, to watch cartoons or shows and even to complete homework.

Excessive use of electronic devices and screen time has an impact on various aspects of a child’s development, namely;

  • Disrupted sleep cycle resulting in lack of adequate sleep
  • Brain developments issues and behavioral problems
  • Obesity
  • Poor performance at school
  • Anti-social activities like crime, sex, violence etc. that are commonly depicted on TV/shows that may have a negative impact on children, particularly adolescents



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Kidney Diseases In Children

There are millions of people worldwide affected by kidney problems, and children are not immune to them. In fact, the early onset of kidney diseases in children makes them more prone to growth and developmental abnormalities. Although the widespread use of ultrasound scans in pregnancy has helped in identifying structural kidney problems, facilitating early intervention is still a work in progress.

Kidney diseases affecting children are commonly due to the congenital malformations of the urinary system. This could lead to children being born with smaller than normal kidneys or abnormally shaped kidneys as well. There could also be an issue with the urinary valves which lead to the obstruction of the urine flow and permanent damage to the kidneys. These may be a reason for recurrent childhood infections which may persist despite multiple antibiotic courses.

Nephrotic syndrome: This is one of the common childhood kidney problems. Here, the child presents with swelling all over the body due to low blood proteins which have leaked through the urine. If not detected and treated on time it could lead to complications like severe infections, early hypertension, and clotting of blood vessels.

Acute kidney failure:  In this condition, there is a drop in the urine volume along with retention of toxic waste products in the blood. In children, a common cause of acute kidney failure is acute glomerulonephritis. The child may complain of discoloration of urine along with body swelling and high blood pressure. Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) is another cause of acute kidney failure in children which can progress to dialysis.



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Your baby’s first visit to the dentist

“When should I take my baby to the dentist?” is often one of the most common questions asked by parents. Most parents are often surprised when told that it is recommended to take their child to visit a dentist by the time their first tooth appears. As parents, it is important to understand that babies can develop cavities on their tooth as early as when they develop their first tooth.

As per the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, a child’s first visit to the dentist should be by his/her first birthday. The first dental visit is more for the parents than the child, as parents are then made aware that good dental hygiene is not limited to prevention of cavities. It is during this visit that parents learn about various oral health practices crucial to ensure their child’s dental hygiene. Parents are made aware that;



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Paediatric Influenza Infections

Viral flu or Influenza is one of the most common and significant causes of respiratory infections worldwide. As many as 1 in 3 children, seeking treatment for flu – like illnesses, at the peak of flu season ( December to February), are at the risk of complications like pneumonia and bronchitis.



High fever, chills, myalgia, headache, fatigue, nasal congestion, non-productive cough, conjunctivitis and sometimes diarrhoea.



The Influenza virus spreads through coughing, sneezing or touching objects used by infected Handkerchief or towels



Mostly clinical, based on examination findings. In some cases, your Paediatrician may recommend a complete blood count or a nasal swab test to confirm it.



It is mostly supportive, in the form of

  • Acetaminophen for fever
  • Expectorants
  • Steam Inhalation
  • Saline nebulization
  • Oral or IV Fluids, if oral intake is reduced.
  • Anti-viral therapy with Oseltamivir, in severe cases
  • Antibiotics – don’t have a role in most cases.



Regular handwashing and personal hygiene help prevent infections from spreading. It is difficult though to prevent infections from spreading amongst family members and in school.

The flu vaccine can help reduce or prevent viral influenza. It can be given to children over 6 months of age. It is effective for up to 1 year after vaccination. It is recommended for children with recurrent viral respiratory infections, especially when they start school or daycare.

It is an inactivated vaccine and may cause fever up to 2 days after vaccination. It is to be avoided for children with an egg allergy.


Dr.Brindha BalaSubramanian

Specialist Paediatrician & Neonatologist 

Aster Clinic, Al Muteena (DMPC)




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