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Featured Articles

Posts for: August, 2018

With school back in session, it’s important to start your child’s year off on the right foot!  This not only includes helping your child get a good night’s sleep, but also making sure their body is fueled with healthy food. Including protein in your child’s breakfast is an important part of helping to prepare them for the first half of their school day.  

We know that you can’t also be with your child making sure they are eating well, but packing a healthy and wholesome lunch can go a long way in making sure your child is ready to learn.  

Follow these easy steps in making your kid’s lunch healthy and nutritious:

1.  Get your Kid Involved

  • Give your kids healthy food options from each food group and let them make the final decisions on what goes in their lunch.
  • Help your child make a list of favorite healthy lunch items to post on the refrigerator.
  • Take your child to the grocery store and let them help to choose what goes in the cart (to a certain extent).  This will help to promote feelings of responsibility and empowerment.
  • Designate a part of your kitchen as the “lunch packing station” and spend time with your kids the night before helping to get their lunch ready for the next day.

2.  Pack Healthy Foods and Keep it Fun

  • Turn healthy foods into fun foods by using cooking cutters to make shapes out of bread, deli meat, cheese, or a melon-baller for fruit.
  • Create a theme for the day and have all the food in their lunch relate to a theme.  For creative lunch theme ideas, visit ParentMap.
  • Steer clear of proceeds food that tend to have nutrients stripped out and extra sugar added. Instead include: whole wheat bread or tortillas, lean proteins like turkey and chicken, low-fat dairy such as yogurt and cheese sticks, fresh fruits and vegetables, and dips that contain healthy fats such as hummus, guacamole and nut butters.

3.  Make Sure to Incorporate All the Food Groups

  • Use MyPlate as a visual to help you structure what should go into your child’s lunch.  

4.  Encourage Hydration

  • Skip sweetened beverages.  Did you know a 12 ounces can of soda can contain up to 10 teaspoons of sugar and many fruit juices may have much more than that!  Instead, pack low-fat milk or water.
  • It’s recommended that school-age children drink between 6-8 cups of water per day (even more in hot weather or if their activity level is high!).
  • Let your child pick out their favorite water bottle and encourage them to drink the whole thing at least twice at school.
  • If the “flavor” of water is too boring for them, throw in a few pieces of frozen fruit to sweeten it up – and keep it cooler.

With these tips in mind, you and your child are ready to start the school year off on the right foot. Good luck and happy packing!!

The digital media today's children are immersed in can have both positive and negative effects on their development.  The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) set new recommendations and provided families with a great new resource to help families balance screen time from birth to adulthood.  

This Interactive Family Media Plan helps families develop healthy habits regarding screen time to meet the needs of each child in terms of health, education and entertainment needs, as well as the family as a whole.  

“Families should proactively think about their children’s media use and talk with children about it, because too much media use can mean that children don’t have enough time during the day to play, study, talk, or sleep,” said Jenny Radesky, MD, FAAP, lead author of the policy statement, “Media and Young Minds,” which focuses on infants, toddlers and pre-school children. “What’s most important is that parents be their child’s ‘media mentor.’ That means teaching them how to use it as a tool to create, connect and learn.”  A second policy statement, “Media Use in School-Aged Children and Adolescents,” offers recommendations for children ages 5 to 18, and a technical report, “Children, Adolescents and Digital Media,” provides a review of the scientific literature to support both policies. All three documents were published in the November 2016 Pediatrics (online October 21). 

As parents, we need to emphasize creative, screen free, playtime for infants and toddlers.  While the AAP recognizes that some media can provide an educational value for children starting around 18 months of age, it is extremely important that this be high-quality programming such as the content offered by Sesame Workshop and PBS.  Another important aspect is that parents of young children watch these programs with their children so they can help to explain to their child what they are seeing.  

So what can we do for our school-age children and adolescents to help them build healthy screen time habits? The key lies in balancing media use with other healthy behaviors.  Screen time becomes problematic when it replaces physical activity, hands-on exploration and face-to-face interactions in the real world.  Too much screen time can also be detrimental to the quantity and quality of sleep our children receive.  

Among the AAP recommendations:

  • For children younger than 18 months, avoid use of screen media other than video-chatting. Parents of children 18 to 24 months of age who want to introduce digital media should choose high-quality programming, and watch it with their children to help them understand what they're seeing. 
  • For children ages 2 to 5 years, limit screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs. Parents should co-view media with children to help them understand what they are seeing and apply it to the world around them.
  • For children ages 6 and older, place consistent limits on the time spent using media, and the types of media, and make sure media does not take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity and other behaviors essential to health.  
  • Designate media-free times together, such as dinner or driving, as well as media-free locations at home, such as bedrooms. 
  • Have ongoing communication about online citizenship and safety, including treating others with respect online and offline.

To see the entire article published by the AAP, click on the following link: American Academy of Pediatrics Announces New Recommendations for Children's Media Use


August 17, 2018
Category: Featured Articles
Tags: sleep   Safety  

Did you know??

There are about 3,5000 sleep-related deaths among US babies each year!!

While the exact cause of suddent infant death syndrome (SIDS) is unknown, parents and caregivers can help reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths by making sure to practice safe sleep habits. 

Safe sleep habits include:

  • Placing your baby on his or her back for all sleep times—naps and at night.
  • Using a firm, flat sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved crib, covered by a fitted sheet.
  • Keeping your baby’s sleep area (for example, a crib, pack 'n play, or bassinet) in the same room where you sleep until your baby is at least 6 months old, or ideally, until your baby is one year old.
  • Keeping soft bedding such as blankets, pillows, bumper pads, and soft toys out of your baby’s sleep area.
  • Do not cover your baby’s head or allow your baby to get too hot. Signs your baby may be getting too hot include sweating or his or her chest feels hot.
  • Your baby should always sleep alone, without siblings or other people
  • Having a smoke free environment

Need help remembering what safe sleep means?

Think of the ABCs!

A - Alone

B - On the back

C - In a crib

More tips to provide your baby with a safe sleep environment:

  • Room temperature should be comfortable to a lightly clothed adult
  • Use a one-piece sleeper or other warm clothes instead of blankets
  • Offer a pacifier at nap time and bedtime. It should be used when placing an infant down for sleep and should not be reinserted once the infant falls asleep. It should not be coated with a sweet solution. It should be cleaned often and replaced regularly. 
  • Check and double-check assembled cribs to assure all parts are present and installed correctly
  • When awake, encourage "tummy time" by placing babies on their tummies for periods of time. Do not leave babies alone.
  • Avoid having babies spend long periods of time in a car seat carrier or "bouncer”

Vaccine Guide

Understanding vaccines can feel overwhelming.  Thankfully, there are clear recommendations, backed by extensive research.  Check out the CDC's new interactive vaccine guide for families to learn what vaccines your child needs at every age.



August 16, 2018
Category: Featured Articles
Tags: Summer   Safety  

  • Children ages 1-4 years of age have the highest drowning rates
  • In 2014, among children 1-4 years old who died from an unintentional injury, 1/3 died from drowning 
  • Drowning is responsible for more deaths among children 1-4 years of age than any other cause except congenital anomalies (birth defects)
  • The WHO (World Health Organization) defines drowning as the “process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion/immersion in liquid”.
  • Drowning can have three different outcomes:
    • Fatal drowning: Death is caused by drowning -- Death from drowning results from decreased oxygen to the brain, resulting in cardiac arrest
    • Nonfatal drowning with injury or illness: Patient survives drowning but has some type of bodily injury or damage
    • Nonfatal drowning without injury or illness: Patient survives without bodily damage. 
  • Terms such as near, wet, dry, passive, active, secondary, and silent drowning are not medically accepted terms
    • Most organizations—including the World Health Organization, the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation, the Wilderness Medical Society, the Utstein Style system, the International Lifesaving Federation, the International Conference on Drowning, Starfish Aquatics Institute, the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and prevention—discourage the use of these terms entirely because of their confusing name
  • Most delayed symptoms of drowning will make themselves obvious within a  few hours of the suspected drowning event and at the latest, within the first 24-48 hours
  • So where did the term “Dry Drowning” come from?
    • Dry drowning was previously used to describe the lungs of drowning victims that contained no water during autopsy.  This happens in 10-20% of drowning causes and may be related to laryngospasms.  However, we know that very little water actually enters the lungs during most drownings (usually less than 2 mL/kg -- that is less than 1 ounce in a child who weights 33 lbs). Whether there is or is not water in the lungs at the time of drowning, the problem is still a lack of oxygen to the brain.  Therefore, the wet vs dry terminology is irrelevant and because it doesn’t change the treatment, drowning specialists no longer use these distinctions.  
  • What symptoms should I watch for in my child?
    • A cough that persists
    • An increase rate of breathing or “working hard” to breath
    • Extreme fatigue -- Fatigue is common in children after a day at the pool, extreme lethargy is not normal 
    • Persistent vomiting
  • What should I do if my child is exhibiting any of the above medical symptoms?
    • Seek medical care
  • What are preventative actions I can take as a parent?
    • Enroll your child in swimming lessons
    • Provide close adult supervision at all times around water (within touching distance for toddlers)
    • Learn CPR
    • Have a locked fence if you have a pool at your house

Watch Dr. Kevin Carney, medical director of the Emergency Department at Children’s Hospital of Colorado explain dry drowning