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Keep Your Child Safe from Scald Burns

Child in bathtubby Sara Jackson, CSW
Center for Safe & Healthy Families

Most people easily recognize the dangers of stoves, radiators, candles, and matches around their children and take the necessary steps to protect their children from burns. Water scald burns are a less anticipated injury due to the fact that we don’t generally expect water to injure our children. However, young children, older adults, and people with disabilities are more at risk for being injured by scalds. In fact, according to the American Burn Association, more than 30% of patients cared for at burn centers in the U.S. are treated for scalds.

In young children, hot water scalds typically occur in the home when a child is left unattended in the bathroom, when he/she is placed in water that is too hot, when another child turns on the hot water while the child is in the tub, or when the child is bathed by an inexperienced caregiver.

Here are some tips from the American Burn Association for preventing water scalds:

  • Set home water heaters no higher than 120° F
  • The safest temperature for bathing an infant is 98° F
  • Consider installing an anti-scald device on your faucet and shower heads. These devices stop the flow of water when the temperature reaches a pre-determined level, preventing hot water from coming out before scalding occurs
  • Avoid flushing toilets, running water or using the dish/clothes washer while anyone is showering/bathing to avoid sudden jumps in water temperatures
    Ensure young children have constant supervision while bathing
  • Fill the tub to the desired level and turn the water off. Mix the water thoroughly and test its temperature with your elbow or wrist before letting anyone get in
  • If filling a container with water for rinsing, test the water in the container before using it
    When not in use, turn the faucet to the cold position

Following these guidelines should help prevent hot water scald burns. Generally, with water at 120° F, serious injury can occur in 5 seconds. Water that is 140° F can cause serious injury in as few as five seconds and water at 155° F can cause serious injury in just one second. Remember, scald burns are preventable! For more information, see the American Burn Association.

Sara graduated with her Master’s in Social Work from Portland State University, and is a Certified Social Worker. She is currently working towards becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She moved to Salt Lake City and has been enjoying getting to know the Southwest. In her free time, she loves hiking, biking, running, taking her dogs to the park, speaking Spanish, learning about other cultures, cooking, and creating self-serve frozen yogurt creations.
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Ear Infections: Why Antibiotics Aren’t Always the Answer

child with nurseby Sharon Soutter, BSN, RN
Infection Prevention Coordinator
Primary Children’s Outpatient Clinic

Middle ear infections are one of the most common of all childhood infections. Half of all children will have a middle ear infection by their first birthday. But did you know that not every ear infection needs to be treated with antibiotics?

Parents have long been used to the idea of treating every ear infection their child experiences with an antibiotic. However, many ear infections are caused by a virus. Viruses are the most common cause of colds and other upper respiratory infections, which may precede an ear infection, and antibiotics will not help an infection caused by a virus to get better.

Common symptoms of ear infections include:

  • Ear pain, pulling or rubbing on the ear
  • Fussiness
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite
  • Loss of hearing

Your child’s doctor may recommend waiting two or three days to see if symptoms go away on their own without antibiotics. If a doctor does recommend antibiotics, it is very important to take that medicine until it is completely gone, even though the child may seem to be better after a day or two. Using all antibiotics as prescribed will help prevent the infection from returning and also help prevent bacteria from becoming resistant. Resistant bacteria cannot be killed by common antibiotics.


You can help reduce the risk of ear infections in your child by doing the following:

  • Keep your child away from cigarette smoke. Ear infections are more common in children exposed to cigarette smoke.
  • Avoid having your child go outside when air is polluted.
  • Hold your child upright when feeding from a bottle. Children who are bottle fed while lying flat are more prone to ear infections.
  • Consider stopping pacifier use.
  • Avoid sending your children to day care if possible, or enroll your child in a daycare with small class sizes.
  • Keep up on your children’s immunizations.

Find out more about Middle Ear Infections in children.

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From Cancer Battle to Olympic Dream: Nicole’s Story

photo 15Every four years, all eyes focus on the best athletes in the world as they compete in the Olympics and Paraolympics. This year in Sochi, Russia, a former patient of Primary Children’s Hospital represented the U.S. and realized her Olympic dream–something that would have seemed improbable years ago.

Nicole Roundy’s journey to the Paralympics began nearly 20 years ago. In July 1994, just four months after her 8th birthday, Nicole was diagnosed with Osteogenic Sarcoma, a form of bone cancer. She started chemotherapy immediately, but several months later she was faced with a difficult decision.

Nicole_00072A“I remember my mother standing in the doorway of my bedroom and I was sitting on my bed, tears slipping down my cheeks,” says Nicole. “My mom just said. ‘I can’t make this decision for you.’ I chose what I thought would give me the best chance. I’ve never second guessed it. I chose life.” Nicole chose to have her right leg amputated in order to beat cancer, and have a normal life.

Nicole spent many months at Primary Children’s, and underwent numerous tests and needle pokes. She battled pain and sickness. But she mostly remembers the good things at the hospital – hanging out at the nurses station, drinking soda from a giant syringe, mastering Mario Brothers on the Nintendo, and the visits from the therapy dogs and clowns. She remembers the little things that brought joy to that time of her life.

After beating cancer, Nicole was ready to tackle her next challenge.

She had tried many team sports, like volleyball, soccer and basketball. But she felt like she was too slow and not good enough. “I was the water girl for the basketball team in 9th grade. While it was great to go to the games and be involved, it was hard standing on the sidelines while everyone gets to play the game.”

2008 -2Ten years after her initial diagnosis, she hit the slopes for the first time as a three-track skier. But she felt like something was missing. That’s when she discovered her love for snowboarding. “It was the first thing that opened doors for me. There was finally something that I was good at.” Nicole became a natural on the slopes. Not only could she carve her way down the mountain, she could fly through the freestyle park and tackle jumps. Two years later, she was one of the five women invited to compete in the U.S. National Championships. She also became the first above-the-knee amputee to ever compete in snowboarding.

Nicole had a chance to live out her dream of competing in the Paralympics Winter games in Sochi in March. She took on the world’s best athletes in fast-paced snowboard cross event, finishing 8th overall.

photo 1“It was an incredible honor to be a part of the team in Sochi. It’s hard to know what to expect going into the games, but to see that level of support was mind blowing. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but I hope I’ll have another chance in four years.”

For all the children battling the same cancer or facing similar challenges, Nicole offers this advice: “Enjoy the moment. Life isn’t about growing old or achieving so called ‘milestones.’ It’s about learning to love yourself exactly how you are and accepting others how they are. It’s about loving the bad moments just as much as the good ones. It’s about appreciating what we have rather than longing for what we don’t. Keep your head up and keep kicking. In life, the good always comes with the bad. The bad is what makes life worth fighting for. Never quit being happy. Never give up on your dreams; keep kicking.”

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What to Look for in a Pediatric Heart Surgeon

Pediatric SurgeonExcellent cardiothoracic surgeons are confident, precise, and have technical ability, sound judgment, and the ability to solve complex problems quickly under high stress. The best surgeons have expertise that comes from performing hundreds of open heart and other heart surgeries each year, ranging from the correction of simple heart defects to major repairs of the most complex conditions.

Access to Cutting Edge Research

Good heart surgeons are curious and excited about the latest research findings. The development of innovative new treatment options allow them to perform surgeries that were considered impossible a few years ago. Great surgeons quickly adapt to master the latest techniques like the Berlin Heart, the HeartWare System, and advances including the Melody Valve. Motivated surgeons may even pioneer better ways to both save and improve the lives of their patients.

A Strong Supporting Team

Top surgeons are leaders who are surrounded by a great team of specialists, including cardiologists, intensive care specialists, cardiac anesthesiologists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, administrative assistants, perfusionists, nurses, and surgical technicians—all dedicated to patients with congenital heart disease and other rare heart conditions. The ability to collaborate and to freely share ideas with a larger cardiology team is a huge benefit to cardiothoracic surgeons. When everyone in a heart center understands the needs of a patient, more efficient and effective care is given before, during, and after surgery.


Emotional support for patients and their families is every bit as important to the healing process as the physical care. Great surgeons care deeply about their patients, showing kindness and compassion every step of the way.

So what makes an exceptional pediatric heart surgeon?

At Primary Children’s Heart Center, we believe it’s all of the above.

And, the proof is in the outcomes:

  • The Heart Center is one of the busiest centers in the country, performing over 520 heart surgeries in 2013.
  • Our cardiac surgery survival rate tops 98%, ranking us in the top 10% in the nation!
  • Our Norwood operation survival rate is at 92%, which exceeds the Society of Thoracic Surgeons national standard, and our Arterial Switch operation survival rate is 100%.
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Why We’re One of the Top Ranked Hospitals for Children’s Heart Care

Heart Center Inforgraphic


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Leveraging the Latest Technology in Children’s Heart Care

Doctor at computerDid you know that nationwide, 25% of patients with Implantable Cardiac Defibrillators (ICDs) receive shocks they don’t need. These are called “inappropriate shocks.” The Heart Center at Primary Children’s Hospital believes that number is far too high. We strongly adhere to the hospital’s mission to put “The Child First and Always.” That’s why we’re continually refining our electrophysiology services and pushing for innovative treatments that are safer, less invasive, and reduce harmful side effects.

Our Heart Center’s focus on eliminating inappropriate shocks in ICD patients has centered on fine-tuning and reprogramming each patient’s ICD system to accept more mildly abnormal patterns. Our goal is that patients do not receive shocks unless they’re experiencing a life-threatening situation. The results have been impressive. We have trimmed the number of inappropriate shocks in ICD patients to 10%, providing our patients with peace of mind and keeping them out of harm’s way.

Reducing Radiation

Reducing our patients’ exposure to radiation is another important focus of our electrophysiology services. By using sophisticated 3D virtual reality cardiac mapping technology to detect electrical abnormalities in the heart, the Heart Center has been able perform more than half of our cardiac ablations without exposing the patient to any radiation. And we’re striving to be even better.

The Heart Center recently invested in a state-of-the-art GPS guided imaging system. The system uses the latest technology to provide the most advanced imaging available to guide heart devices into place without the need of X-rays. The Heart Center is the first pediatric lab in the country to put this GPS guided system to work!

The Heart Center is also a strong proponent of cryoablations for patients with arrhythmias. Whenever possible, we use the safer freeze technique of cryoablation instead of heat to correct the abnormal nerves that cause elevated heartbeats in our patients. Since the Heart Center started performing cryoablations more than 10 years ago, there have been zero cases of reported damage—none. And the Heart Center has had no unintentional heart block in the last ten years of ablations and no infections in over three years.

Of course, our dedication to our patients’ health goes beyond the physical. We’re also dedicated to patients’ mental and emotional well-being. To that end, we started the first ICD patient conference in the West. The inaugural conference was held in September of last year and brought together patients with defibrillators in a fun and informative full-day event.

For many patients, the conference was their first time meeting another person with a defibrillator, so the event provided an invaluable forum for discussing the challenges of living with an ICD. Patients were able to bolster one another and build valuable support networks. The next conference session will be held in August, 2014. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more information about the conference.


How the Melody Valve Minimizes Time on the Bench

Healthy Heart

It was the middle of basketball season when one 13-year-old player got devastating news: he needed a pulmonary valve replacement. His team thought this meant the end of his season; replacing a leaky valve requires cutting open the chest, a week in the hospital, and at least two months to recover before getting back to strenuous physical activity. Instead, this player got his valve fixed without missing a single game.

He played in a tournament one weekend, checked into Primary Children’s Hospital during the week, received a Melody Valve replacement, and walked out of the hospital the next day. The very next weekend, he suited up and played in another game. The only sign he even underwent a procedure was a small bandaid® he wore under his shorts.

So what’s the magic behind the Melody Valve procedure that has greatly improved the lives of patients with congenital heart disease? It turns out there is nothing supernatural going on, just the innovative use of a cow’s jugular vein that allows patients to have their pulmonary valves replaced without open-heart surgery. The procedure uses a cow’s incredibly strong, thin vein valve that’s sewn into a small metal stent. A catheter holding this “Melody Valve” is fished through a patient’s vein and guided to the heart, where a small balloon is inflated to open up the new valve. The catheter is then removed from the body and the Melody Valve immediately becomes the new pulmonary valve.

The Melody Valve was developed in Europe in the 2000s and approved for use in the United States in January of 2010. The Heart Center at Primary Children’s Hospital started performing the procedure later that same year and remains the only congenital heart center in a five-state area with Melody Valve capabilities. Having performed the procedure over 60 times on patients ranging in age from five to 64, the Heart Center has one of the busiest Melody Valve programs in the country. The game-changing procedure fits perfectly with the Heart Center’s commitment to innovation and to finding cutting-edge techniques that improve treatment and speed recovery.

The Melody Valve procedure is a giant leap forward for patients with pulmonary valve problems. Previously, these patients would have to undergo open-heart surgery every 10 years or so to repair their faulty valves. With each new surgery, the surgeon would be dealing with more scar tissue, making the surgeries increasingly complex and requiring more and more recovery time for patients. The Melody Valve procedure allows the Heart Center to repair pulmonary valves without surgery, saving patients from the stress and strain of multiple major surgeries over the course of their lifetimes.

The speedy recovery from this minimally invasive procedure is best exemplified by another one of the Heart Center’s patients, this one a 62-year-old woman. After being told she wasn’t a good candidate for surgery, she came to the Heart Center for a Melody Valve procedure. Two weeks after the procedure, she felt so much better that she was able to go dancing with her husband–something she hadn’t been able to do for years. This is just another great example of how the Melody Valve is music to the ears of all those with pulmonary valve problems.


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