A Prescription to Vote

As the November election draw near, some (especially those in swing states) may be starting to feel election fatigue. Tiring of the back and forth barbs, the never ending media coverage, and the ads as the candidates vie for your vote. Despite being a bit of a political junkie I rarely bring up politics via social media and never share my opinions in clinic. But, I do feel compelled to bring it up here now. Continue reading

Caring for Patients: Dreaming Of A Better Way

I recently took call on the pediatric ward. Our team was caring for a young patient facing a new diagnosis of a chronic illness. In addition to stabilizing her symptoms, coordinating care with her new specialist, and managing her medications, I also see it as our job to make sure she and her family start to understand what is going on and what this diagnosis means for her. Continue reading

The Leukemia Slayer

It is an honor to have Jacob, aka The Leukemia Slayer, as a very special guest this week at My Two Hats. Jacob was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010 and he and his family have since done incredible work advocating for children with cancer.  As part of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, I interviewed Jacob about his experiences. Jacob’s words are insightful, moving, and important. Please read on and then do what you can to get involved and spread awareness. Continue reading

What Is Iron Deficiency Anemia and How Does It Affect Kids?

Based on recommendations from the AAP and risk factors in certain patients, many clinics screen infants for anemia around one year of age. Parents often have questions about why we need to draw blood (not an easy procedure at this age) and wonder what anemia really is. Here’s my answer with links to other good resources on this topic. Continue reading

Limiting BPA and other potential toxins in your child’s environment

Do you ever think about all of the stuff our kids come into contact with and wonder whether things are safe? Today I’m back over at Two Peds in a Pod with some practical advice on this topic. Check it out!

Limiting BPA and other potential toxins in your child’s environment.

“In today’s world we are surrounded by “stuff”. We touch it, we eat from it, we drive in it, and we wear it. Before becoming a parent, I have to admit I didn’t think all that much about whether this “stuff” was safe. I had passing thoughts about toxic chemicals in “stuff”. The environmental toxin I worried most about as a pediatrician was my little patients’ exposure to lead.

Suddenly, as a new mom, I started to think about toxins a lot.Keep reading. . .

Child Health Advocates in Action: Tackling Obesity in Our Communities

This is the first post in what I hope will be a monthly series, “Child Health Advocates in Action”. This series will highlight work by people who are using their voice and giving their time to improve child health. Continue reading

Digging in the dirt: A few reasons why getting dirty is healthy for kids

Disclaimer: We did not build this sandcastle. 🙂

It is spring in California (although, truth be told, this mid-westerner never really notices much of a winter here). The Easter Bunny brought my son sand toys. Yesterday we spent the afternoon outside in the park. With a bucket, a shovel, and a few shapes, a new world opened up. Castles were built. Rivers were dug. Cakes were baked and then eaten. Don’t worry, “just pretending” he told me. Fish and turtles and stars appeared and then disappeared. All the while, we were serenaded by nearby birds. The sun shone down on us and there was a gentle breeze. For a while our dear little neighbor girl joined in, but for the most part it was just us. The best few hours I’ve had in a while. Continue reading

Campaign for Kindness

Kindness begets kindness evermore -Sophocles

One need only catch a glimpse of a political ad for the current presidential campaign to get a taste of vitriol.  Change the channel and you might hear a reality TV show contestant viciously gossiping about a cast mate.  Have we always been this snarky and cruel to each other?  Have we always been taken in by this type of entertainment?   Watching, rubberneckers at the scene.  Or, rather, has there been an insidious decline in our treatment of each other?  Surrounded by meanness, we take it all in.  We become part of it.  Suddenly, a snide comment at work sounds normal.  Aggressive driving is commonplace.  An adult bullies a child at the playground and those overhearing barely flinch.

All the while, the kids are watching. And, I can’t help thinking, what are we teaching them? How will they treat each other? Continue reading

The toddler, the toothbrush, and the timer: How does one keep a toddler’s teeth clean?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry is now recommending that infants see a dentist before their first birthday, or shortly after the first teeth erupt.  This may seem early, but it is for good reason.  Poor oral health and dental decay are all too prevalent in young children and can be cause of significant pain and suffering.  Baby teeth serve important functions in chewing, language development, and as place-holders for adult teeth. An early visit to the dentist can help catch any cavities and offers an opportunity to discuss dental care and fluoride needs. Practically speaking, I encourage parents to at least get to the dentist between the first and second birthday.

I took my son to his first dentist appointment around sixteen months of age.  Continue reading