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News for  Families

Back to baseball after brain surgery

Cameron Caldwell is 11 years old. His idol is Starlin Castro who plays short stop for the Chicago Cubs. His secret weapon in baseball is his slow pitching style. His favorite subject is math. He has a little brother named Caleb. To anyone who meets him, he seems like any other kid his age: smart, talkative, in love with baseball. What most people don’t know about Cameron is the sport he loves so much almost killed him. Continued on page 4

In less than three months after brain surgery, Cameron Caldwell is back to hitting a home run on the ball field.

Vol. 37, No. 3

The right bite: The importance of breakfast


If you keep driving a car on a low gas tank, eventually you’ll run out of gas. Kids are the same way when it comes to breakfast. Breakfast fuels your child’s day so they can hit the books on a full tank.

Nosh right at breakfast Any breakfast is better than no breakfast, but feed your child Pop-Tarts® and pastries, and they’re sure to have a sugar crash by 10:00 am. Below are a few breakfast staples. Grab these breakfast basics:

●●Eggs ●●French toast, waffles or pancakes

(try whole-grain varieties) ●●Whole-grain cereal or oatmeal ●●Whole-grain toast, bagel or

English muffin with cheese

●●Yogurt with fruit or nuts ●●Fruit smoothie And now some odd (but yummy) ideas:

●●Banana dog (peanut butter, a

banana and raisins in a long whole-grain bun) ●●Breakfast taco (shredded cheese

on a tortilla, folded in half and microwaved; top with salsa) ●●Country cottage cheese (apple

butter mixed with cottage cheese) ●●Fruit and cream cheese sandwich

(use strawberries or other fresh fruit) ●●Grilled cheese, peanut butter and Check out Dayton Children’s “Activities to Zucchini” nutrition blog.

jelly or leftovers *Content from our partners at Kids Health.

Suit up your all-star with a sports physical Help your child play a defense role

Growing Together is published quarterly for parents and families in the Miami Valley area by Dayton Children’s. The purpose of Growing Together is to show how Dayton Children’s and families are working together to keep all children healthy and safe. Additional copies of Growing Together are available by writing to Dayton Children’s, c/o Marketing Communications, One Children’s Plaza, Dayton, Ohio, 45404-1815 or by calling 937-641-3666. Your suggestions and comments are also appreciated. For more information: Cert no. XXX-XXX-XXXX 937-641-3666

by getting him a sports physical about six weeks before the sports season begins. A sports physical exam helps determine whether it’s safe for kids to participate in a particular sport and has two parts: a medical history form and a physical exam. The medical history includes questions about: ●●Serious illnesses among family members ●●Illnesses that kids had when they

were younger or may have now, such as asthma, diabetes or epilepsy ●●Previous hospitalizations or XX%

surgeries ●●Allergies (for example, insect bites) ●●Past injuries (including

concussions, sprains or bone fractures) XX%


●●Whether the child has ever passed

out, felt dizzy, had chest pain or had trouble breathing during exercise

●●Any medications (including

over-the-counter medications, herbal supplements and prescription medications) During the physical exam, the doctor will: ●●Record height and weight ●●Take a blood pressure and pulse

(heart rate and rhythm) reading ●●Test your child’s vision

●●Check the heart, lungs, abdomen,

ears, nose and throat ●●Evaluate your child’s posture,

joints, strength and flexibility Make sure your all-star is healthy and ready to hit the field this fall by scheduling a sports physical. If you need help finding a doctor, visit and click on “Find a Doctor.”


How to win the battle of homework continued from back page…


3 tips to tame homework 1. Turn off the tube. First,

your child needs a quiet place without clutter and confusion. Writing on top of pastry crumbs while talking on the phone is not going to help your child with her math homework. Turn off the phone, TV, video games and other distractions, which will help him finish homework quickly, and it’s more likely to be correct. 2. Don’t rush greatness.

Ensure you set aside enough time to help your child finish homework without rushing. Science assignments can’t be “squeezed” into the commercials during your favorite TV show. 3. Don’t put off tomorrow what you can do today.

There’s nothing worse than your child reminding you at 9:00 pm before a big project is due that it’s due tomorrow. Ask your child due dates for homework to help him stay on track.

Why do some kids need homework help? Some kids are out sick for a long time and miss a lot of school work. Others get busy with practice or lessons and don’t spend enough time on homework. Whatever the reason for the struggle, there are ways to get help.

Who can help? Mom and dad: You can help find that perfect spot in the house for your child to do their homework to cut down on distractions, like noisy younger brothers and sisters.

Let your fingers do the walking: Use the internet to visit online homework help sites. These sites can direct you to sources for research and offer tips and guidance about subjects.

Tap into the teacher: Teachers can help your child set up a good system for writing down assignments and remembering to put books and papers in their backpack.

Time for a tutor: Another option is a private tutor who is paid to spend time going over homework with your child. You can cut down on cost by sharing a tutor with another student.

Enlist after school help: Many schools offer after-school care for kids and often homework help is part of the program.

Backpacks can be a real pain in the back Backpacks make it easy to

2 rules to rule the backpack

carry all of your school loot. While a backpack can help kids stay organized, they can also be a real pain.

1. Lighten up! Some children have backaches

Here’s why They can cause injuries if kids trip over them or hit someone with one – accidentally or on purpose. Heavy backpacks also can cause neck and back strain.

because they’re lugging around their entire locker’s worth of books, school supplies and personal items all day long. Most doctors recommend that kids carry no more than 10–15 percent of their body weight in their packs. 2. Keep your eye on the backpack. Remind

your child to keep his backpack out of the way where people are walking, such as hallways, the middle aisle on the bus and the walkway between desks in class.

See more on backpack safety at Dayton Children’s website.



Staying in the game after a lifethreatening accident

Cameron and his brother Caleb have been playing baseball since they were old enough to walk. Even brain surgery after getting hit behind the ear by a baseball couldn’t slow Cameron down or change his love for the game.

“My husband and the boys can be found in our front yard nearly every day playing catch for hours,” says Brigit Caldwell, Cameron’s mother. “The Saturday before the opening game for Cameron’s league, my husband Gary threw the baseball to Cameron like he’s done hundreds of times. At the last second, Cameron turned and the ball hit him right behind the ear.”


ameron’s father Gary is also an avid baseball player and even coaches baseball. “In every single game you see a kid get hit with the ball, I wasn’t really concerned at first,” Gary says. “He cried and said his ear and head hurt, and then went into our room to rest. At first, we thought he might have a concussion.” Cameron’s parents gave him some ibuprofen and an ice pack. Within an hour, they knew that Cameron had more than a concussion. “He started screaming and his speech became incoherent,” Brigit explains. “His eyes rolled in the back of his head and he kept trying to talk, but words weren’t coming out. We

immediately knew we had to get him to the hospital, and the minute we got into the car he threw up.” The Caldwell’s drove to Upper Valley Medical Center, the closest hospital to their home in Ludlow Falls. “They had to strap him down in the emergency room because he was thrashing uncontrollably,” explains Brigit. “They ordered a CT scan and minutes later told us they were sending Cameron by CareFlight to Dayton Children’s. My heart sank in my chest. When the helicopter arrived the first thing the transport nurse said to me was ‘I know you, our kids play baseball together.’ I immediately felt a wave of relief, like this person was put

in my life during a crisis to care for Cameron,” Brigit shares. In the operating room After Cameron arrived at Dayton Children’s, he was in surgery in 21 minutes. “We were told he had a large epidural hematoma,” says Brigit. “Basically, the impact of the baseball caused bleeding and swelling in his brain. I knew he was in bad shape, but I don’t think I understood quite how grave his situation was at the time,” shares Brigit. According to Laurence Kleiner, MD, neurosurgeon at Dayton Children’s, “An epidural hematoma is bleeding from a tear in the artery covering the brain. There’s only

Days of uncertainty “My worst fear was his life would never be normal again,” says Gary. “Two days later, he finally woke up. His eyes were so swollen he couldn’t open them. He communicated by giving us a thumbs up or down. He had 57 staples in his head. It was the worst two days of my life – I’m the one that threw the baseball to him.”

Despite suffering a potentially fatal accident and undergoing brain surgery, Cameron walked out of Dayton Children’s five days later. For the love of the game According to Brigit, Cameron’s biggest concern was getting back to playing ball. “When we took him to have the staples in his head removed, the first thing he asked the nurse was how soon he could play baseball,” says Brigit. “She looked at him and said, ‘Cameron, the sport you love almost killed you, give your brain time to heal.’ I think that’s when it hit home that we almost lost him or lost him as we knew him,” says Brigit. “I saw him deteriorate, I saw the scans of his brain, but until I heard those words, it wasn’t real to me that Cameron was minutes away from dying.” Cameron started physical and speech therapy shortly after going home, but was discharged after only a few sessions. “Within a matter of days he was 99 percent back to ‘Cameron’ before his accident,” Brigit says.

“Cameron was in the game of his life that day – he simply had to survive to win,” says Brigit, Cameron’s mother. “He was in the operating room having brain surgery in 21 minutes. Afterwards, we learned he was minutes away from dying. I’m not sure we can ever give enough thanks to the amazing staff in the emergency room, transport and neurosurgeon. Thanks to this team, we still have Cameron.”


Just three months after Cameron’s accident, he was cleared to play soccer while wearing a helmet for protection and to play baseball again next spring. “His first soccer game, I just held my breath watching him,” says Gary. “His biggest dream is to be the next Starlin Castro, but he never could have overcome this type of injury and be where he is today without the experts at Dayton Children’s. We never once felt like we were at a hospital; we felt like we were part of an amazing team with one focus – to save Cameron’s life.”

DaytonChildren’s focus

so much space in the skull so the swelling may cause the brain to shift. Once the brain runs out of room, the swelling can cut off blood flow to the brain and ultimately lead to death. Cameron’s right pupil was fixed and dilated when he arrived to Dayton Children’s, which is a very bad sign that the brain has shifted and the patient has minutes left to live.” The bleeds in Cameron’s brain needed to be repaired and a clot removed to reduce the pressure on his brain in order for him to survive. The Caldwell family wasn’t sure what type of life Cameron would have if – or when – he woke up from surgery.


Back to school, back to sleep New backpack, check. School supplies, check. New school clothes, check. A good night sleep…. Hmmm. Back to school is the perfect time to get into a normal sleep routine with your child. Why? Lack of sleep is tied to everything from hyperactivity to poor grades in school. Below are a few helpful tips to help your child have a great snooze.

“‘I need the TV on to fall asleep,’ is one of the biggest mistakes that teens and parents make when they have difficulty falling asleep.” – Samuel Dzodzomenyo, MD, director of the sleep center at Dayton Children’s

9 tips for a great snooze Getting kids to fall asleep – and stay asleep – can be tricky. Here are a few tips:

●●Cool and comfy: The bedroom

●●Stick to a schedule: A child’s

●●Snack before snoozing: A light

bedtime and wake-up time should be about the same time every day (even on weekends). ●●Routine is king: A 20-30 minute

bedtime routine should occur in the bedroom, such as reading a book or talking about the day.

should be quiet, dark and at a comfortable temperature (less than 75˚F). snack before bed is a good idea. ●●Say no to caffeine: Avoid

caffeine six hours before bedtime. ●●Flip the switch on the screen:

Keep televisions, computers and video games out of the bedroom;

increased light exposure can effect sleep/wake cycles. ●●Naps are nice: Naps should be

geared toward the age of the child (avoid very long, too many or late naps in the day). ●●Ending the day: Avoid

high-energy activities an hour before bed, including rough play or video games. ●●Get a dose of exercise: Children

should get daily exercise.

How much sleep do kids need? Newborns 1–4 weeks old

15–16 hours per day. Little ones this age tend to sleep the day away!

1–4 months old

14–15 hours per day. At this age, day-to-night confusion usually ends.

4–12 months old

14–15 hours per day. Most kids this age will take two naps a day.

1–3 years old

12–14 hours per day. By this age, most children have moved to one afternoon nap.

3–6 years old

10–12 hours per day. At age 3, most kids are still napping. By age 5 most are done napping.

7–12 years old

10–11 hours per day.

12–18 years old

8–9 hours per day. Sleep needs are just as vital to the health and well-being of teenagers as when they were younger.

Three teens who won the sleep battle Sometimes “I can’t sleep” at night from a child or teen turns into a bigger problem – missing school, failing grades and behavioral problems. Below are three teens treated at the sleep center at Dayton Children’s who won the battle against a sleep disorder severely impacting their life. Jarivette Sotomayor Age 16

Austin Rosenbaum Age 18

Nevada Rutherford Age 17




Sleep apnea and extreme snoring.

Sleep interruptions due to periodic limb movement disorder (jerking of the arm or leg, which causes the patient to wake up).


First symptoms appeared

“I was tired all of the time and my mom would say how badly I snored,” says Jarivette. According to Ivette, her mother, her daughter went from an energetic teenager to constantly falling asleep in class. “As a registered nurse and her mother, I knew this wasn’t normal,” Ivette shares. Treatment

After her sleep study, Jarivette was placed on a CPAP machine, which helps the patient breathe more easily by providing a constant flow of oxygen to the lungs. What life is like now

“I have so much more energy and I feel great,” says Jarivette. “Before I started on the CPAP machine, I had B’s in school. Now I have almost all A’s, which is great since I’m applying for colleges this year.”


First symptoms appeared

“In fifth grade, Austin came down with mononucleosis,” shares Kim, Austin’s mother. “After that, he never really seemed to recover. He spent the next few years battling extreme fatigue and it was getting worse as he grew older. He would wake up four or five times every night.”

“In junior high, Nevada kept getting in trouble for falling asleep in class,” explains Carey, Nevada’s mother. “I was diagnosed with narcolepsy 12 years ago, so I recognized the symptoms immediately. Nevada missed almost half of seventh grade and was held back. She could fall asleep in less than a minute,” says Carey.



First symptoms appeared

“We tried a sleep routine for several months and exhausted other options before trying a medication that is actually designed for seizures, but promotes sleep continuity,” says Hila Collins, MS, RN, CPNP-AC, CIC, pediatric nurse practitioner for the sleep center at Dayton Children’s. What life is like now

“He sleeps completely through the night,” says Kim. “He went from missing 14 days of school a year and countless days of being tardy due to extreme fatigue to missing a few days a year for routine illness. His life is completely different.”

“Nevada tried several medications at first and gained quite a bit of weight and was starting to become depressed,” Carey explains. “Dr. Dzodzomenyo tried another combination and it changed her life – she lost 50 pounds and is now on the honor roll at school.” What life is like now

Nevada now goes to night school and works a part-time job. “The turnaround in her life is amazing, she’s now living a normal life that any teenager deserves,” says Carey.


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this issue


Dayton Children’s Hospital One Children’s Plaza Dayton, Ohio 45404-1815

The right bite: The importance of breakfast

3 Backpacks can be a pain in the back


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News for Families

How to win the battle of homework “After you finish your homework.” How many times have you said that sentence? Thousands? As parents, we hold all of the good stuff in life from our kids until homework is done. There’s a good reason why: Homework helps kids learn. Look inside for 3 tips to tame homework…

…continued on page


Dayton Children's Growing Together Summer 2013  
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