4 Tips for tracking your child’s ear health in Kith + Kin
By Elizabeth Middlebrooks | Kith + Kin
Elizabeth works part time and she’s a mom of three, including two in daycare. When her youngest had recurring ear infections, she needed to keep track of them to determine if her son needed tubes. She has some tips for using Kith + Kin to track and manage this information to make the process as smooth as possible.
Parents know the struggle: Your baby or toddler goes to daycare perfectly healthy and after a few weeks, they have a runny nose that seems to never stop, or a cough, or a dreaded ear infection. You take them to the pediatrician, get it treated, and they’re fine! Until it happens all over again a month or two later. The cycle is exhausting.
Elizabeth’s son Stephen preparing for his ear tube surgery in August 2021. Mom was definitely more anxious, but they were both ready for some relief.
This was my life through most of 2021! It felt like my youngest son was constantly at the pediatrician for ear infections. After months of this, we saw an ear, nose and throat specialist to determine if he needed ear tubes. The first question I was asked was, “How many ear infections has he had in the last six months?” I tried to remember, but asking the tired mom of a 1-year-old to recall those details didn’t lead to very accurate information.
Having Kith + Kin would have made it so much easier to answer that question. Your child’s first year is full of regular check-ups with the pediatrician, plus visits for whatever the “daycare germs” cause, and my sleep-deprived brain couldn’t keep all the reasons for each appointment straight. I felt helpless when I could give only my best guess instead of a definitive answer.
Now I use Kith + Kin to keep track of my kids’ health information, and I’ve realized a few ways the tool can come in handy if you’re also on the ear-tubes journey:
Track the frequency and severity of ear infections. Many physicians follow a guideline of three or more ear infections in six months before recommending tubes. Your notes can provide important history for the pediatrician or ENT to determine whether it’s time to take that next step. It also helps to have information about your child’s symptoms during that time and fill in gaps about severity or how long an infection lasted after treatment. Records of visits to urgent care or other providers might not be included in the data your pediatrician considers (or even has access to), but being able to provide that information yourself can make a big difference for your child.
Make notes about symptoms. Keeping a record of everything in one place makes it easier to notice recurring symptoms and fill in the doctors about what’s happening without trying to recall everything from memory. My son never pulled or played with his ears when he had an infection, but he had other symptoms and it was a challenge to remember what occurred when.
Keep a list of medications, doses and efficacy. Save time and help your child get healthy more quickly by avoiding the trial and error of treatments that don’t work.
Easily bring all the notes to the ENT appointment. Having everything in one place can help give context to the records from the pediatrician or provide additional information. Our pediatrician sent their records, but we had also visited urgent care a couple of times and that information was missing. Keeping notes in Kith + Kin can help create a more complete picture of what’s happening, both for you and for the physicians.
With everything in a single, secure place that I can access anywhere, it’s become much easier to confidently answer practitioners’ questions and advocate for my kids when they need it.
If you want more information about ear tubes to discuss with your child’s pediatrician, check out these resources from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.