Growing With Your Child

Interviewed by Melissa Moniz
Wednesday - October 29, 2008
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Dr. Lance Taniguchi

Interviewed by Melissa Moniz

Where did you receive your schooling and training?

I graduated from Iolani High School and then I went to Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. I did my undergraduate schooling and medical school there. Then I came back home and did my residency at Kapiolani Medical Center.

How long have you been practicing?

I’ve been practicing at my current location for about three-anda-half years.

What’s the most common question parents have when they bring their child in for a well visit?

It varies by age. When the child is young, a lot of times parents are worried about feeding - overfeeding and underfeeding, nutrition and sleep habits. A general question out there is about autism and if there is a connection to the immunizations. I think as the patient gets older, parents often ask about my thoughts on preschool and education in general. Then, when they become teenagers, the more common questions are how to talk to them and how to get across positive views to them.

Do you see a wide range of ages?

Because I recently started my practice, I would say that majority of my kids are under 5 years of age. But I do see patients from newborn to mid-20s. I think my oldest is 26.

Dr. Lance Taniguchi with office staff Roselle Braceros, Rose Pintor, Ashley Tavares and Michelle Vincente

There are a lot of products that claim they can make your baby smarter. Are there any proven methods to help make your baby smarter?

There’s not one thing or program that makes your baby smarter. I think the general message is to interact and work with your kids. Don’t let television be the teaching tool. Read to them, show them pictures and just take the time to play with them. It’s just taking the time to be an involved parent.

Do you see a lot of growth differences between girls and boys at a young age (1-5 years old)?

I don’t see a big difference, in terms of growth, between boys and girls. Early on, boys tend to be heavier and taller, but they don’t go through growth spurts significantly different than girls in the first few years. When they get older, girls will have growth spurts earlier than boys because they go through puberty earlier.

Can you talk about height and weight percentiles? What do those numbers mean?

I think a lot of people put too much emphasis on it. It basically is something pediatricians use to monitor an infant or child to make sure they are growing appropriately. It uses national percentiles to track the height and weight. But you don’t have to worry if your child is at a low percentile, like the 10th percentile, or equally if your child is at a high 90 percentile, as long as they follow their growth curve well. Some kids are always at the 90 percentile for height and weight and that doesn’t mean that they are obese. And on the other side of that, to be in the smaller percentiles doesn’t typically mean they have malnutrition.

With winter upon us, have you been seeing a lot more colds and flu?

Yeah, flu season has started here in Hawaii, so we have been having a lot of kids coming in and testing flu positive. So it’s a good time for everyone to start getting their flu vaccines. But definitely during the wintertime you do get a lot more upper respiratory infections and diarrhea infections as well.

Can you talk about fevers in infants and children? When should parents be alarmed that it’s something serious?

It varies by age. In the first month of life, any fever is worrisome. The worry is they might have gotten an infection from birth. Parents should contact their pediatrician for fever in the first month. As a child gets older, it depends on the age of the child, other symptoms they are having, how high the fever is going, and how many days of fever. If parents feel uncomfortable about a fever, they should call their pediatrician.

Do you have a lot of parents with concerns about behavioral issues, such as temper tantrums?

It’s definitely a common concern, I would say between 9 months to 2 years, parents ask about this topic often. Parents will be concerned because their child is starting to throw temper tantrums or start hitting behaviors. I think most pediatricians talk to their parents about this at their well-baby visits. There are many techniques you can try to lessen them. Some parents see their child banging their head and worry about the child’s intellect, but a lot of times it’s a normal behavior children go through. Many times it’s reassuring them their child is normal and discussing signs that would be concerning.

What advice do you give to parents to handle a temper tantrum?

My general counseling is first for them to understand it’s a normal development kids go through, so the parents don’t get too frustrated with it. I tell them early on to have routines, distract them when the child starts to get upset and set reasonable limits instead of getting frustrated with their child. And then sometimes, depending on the child and the situation, I recommend ignoring the tantrum to shorten them. Otherwise kids learn that if they throw a tantrum they’ll get more attention and get their way. Luckily it’s usually something that doesn’t last forever. Kids often outgrow this phase as their words improve, they vocalize what they want, and parents learn ways to handle them.

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