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Baby & Toddler Tips

Because almost all people with hemophilia are male, the words "he" or "him" are used to refer to children with hemophilia. This does not suggest that there are no girls who have hemophilia (in fact, there are).

The following are some basic tips for parents and providers of newborns and toddlers who have been diagnosed with hemophilia, von Willebrand disease or another bleeding disorder.

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Dental Care

Your child may develop bruises at the site of a shot. Ice helps reduce the bruising and ease the discomfort. In cases of severe hemophilia, the doctor may suggest giving some shots with a small needle under the skin or giving the child a factor treatment before the shots. Most immunizations are performed subcutaneously (beneath the skin) to avoid bleeding. You should check with your physician or HTC professional to find out whether this is possible.

The National Hemophilia Foundation recommends that your child receive the hepatitis B vaccine (recommended for all children) and the hepatitis A vaccine (above two years old).
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Help your child stay fit and trim. Extra weight puts stress on the joints.

There is no evidence that any particular food will stop bleeding episodes or form blood clots.

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Tape or glue foam pads to the sharp edges of counters and coffee tables. Or better yet, remove coffee tables while your child is learning to walk. Foam padding on walkers will help protect elbows.

Gates blocking stairs are a good way to avoid falls.

Netted crib covers assist in avoiding falls out of bed.

Place non-skid strips on the floor of the shower or bathtub. Help your child in and out of the tub until the child is old enough to manage without falling.

Sew padding into the knees and seat of your toddler's pants to reduce bruising.

Make sure your toddler wears shoes to protect his feet. High top sneakers provide good ankle support.

Athletic elbow and knee pads also help to protect against joint bleeds caused by falls.

Consider getting your child a Big Wheel tricycle. They are generally more stable and closer to the ground than regular tricycles.

Make sure your child wears a helmet when skating, cycling, etc.

Avoid physical activity that involves rough body contact such as wrestling and hockey.

Enroll your child in the MedicAlert system. To order an emblem (bracelet or necklace for older children) or for more information call MedicAlert at (800) 432-5378.

For more information about safety issues, request the information for parents of a child newly diagnosed with a bleeding disorder from NHF.

Talk with other parents about their ideas about safety measures.

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Dental Care
Teach your child to floss regularly and to brush his teeth with a soft brush. Flossing may cause a small amount of blood to ooze from the gums at first, but as the gums get healthier, the oozing stops.

Inform your dentist of your child's hemophilia. Offer to put him or her in touch with your hemophilia provider if he or she has any questions about special needs. Always question your child's dentist to make sure he or she knows about hemophilia and is willing to learn from hemophilia specialists.

Contact your doctor or HTC before any dental procedures (e.g., fillings, tooth extractions, etc.) to coordinate treatment. If your child has severe hemophilia, the doctor may want him to have factor treatment before the dental procedure. Factor treatment is generally required for any "invasive" procedure. Sometimes extensive dental work requires a trip to the operating room for treatments under anesthesia.

Talk to the staff at your HTC if you have specific questions about your child's dental care.
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The information contained on the NHF web site is provided for your general information only. NHF does not give medical advice or engage in the practice of medicine. NHF under no circumstances recommends particular treatment for specific individuals and in all cases recommends that you consult your physician or local treatment center before pursuing any course of treatment.
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