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Top 10 Pediatrician Recommendations for Keeping Your Kids Active and Healthy

Top 10 Pediatrician Recommendations for Keeping Your Kids Active and Healthy

By, Dr. Sharon DiCristofaro, M.D. FAA The challenge to raise healthy active kids seems to become more difficult as our lives become busier.    Electronics have become more than a small part of our children’s lives and going outside to play unsupervised is often more of a safety risk than when we were young.  The average child today watches 7.5 hours of television or other screen time daily.  While this is easy to understand with our hectic schedules, the consequences to our children have frightening and life-long consequences.    The obesity rate for today’s children and teens is now one in three according to the American Heart Association.  Even children who are considered normal weight are often not getting enough activity to lead to good healthy habits for life.  After years of pediatric practice, these are what I consider the top ten ways to raise healthy and active kids. Turn off the television.  Kids should not have more than 1-2 hours of total screen time a day.  When they see their parents spend all of their downtime watching television or working on the computer, they tend to want to do the same.  I realize that we are often finishing work for the day and often have television on for background noise, but we have to limit the times that we do this in front of our children.  Kids live what they learn.   If work needs to be brought home, play active music and do your work while your kids have a dance party, or play with them outside before you come in to do the work Be a... read more
How to Protect Your Family from the Zika Virus

How to Protect Your Family from the Zika Virus

By, Orlando Mota, MD If you follow the news, or even social media, I’m pretty sure you’ve heard about the Zika virus.  Zika is a viral infection transmitted by mosquito bites, from pregnant women to fetus, and through sex. Zika infection during pregnancy can cause fetal brain birth defects, defects of the eye, hearing deficits, and impaired growth. However many people infected with Zika virus won’t have symptoms or will only have mild symptoms such as fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis. The Florida Health department recently identified an area in one neighborhood of Miami where Zika is being spread by Mosquitos. I remember a patient telling me that “Mosquito is the Florida State bird,” so I wanted to share some information from the CDC and HealthyChildren.org on how to prevent Mosquito bites. Use EPA-registered insect repellents. Using an insect repellent is key in preventing mosquito bites, and thus preventing the spread of the Zika virus. An EPA-registered repellent is highly recommended do to the fact that before a repellent can be marketed, most skin-applied repellents must be registered by EPA (US Environmental Protection Agency). EPA registration of skin-applied repellent products indicates that they have been evaluated and approved for human safety and effectiveness when applied according to instructions on the label. [https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/regulation-skin-applied-repellents] The effectiveness of non-EPA registered insect repellents in not well known, including some natural repellents. Always follow the label instructions. Do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing. If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and insect repellent second. Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months of age. Do... read more
Keys to Making Your Pediatricians Visit a Pleasant Experience

Keys to Making Your Pediatricians Visit a Pleasant Experience

By, Jean Pierre Muhumuza, MD For some, the thought of going to the Pediatricians office may bring out different emotions ranging from the excitement of getting a sticker, the fear of injections or anxiety about wait times. Here are a few keys to making your visit a pleasant experience. Do not procrastinate. Schedule your appointment early. When it comes to getting that school or sport physical you need, don’t wait till the last minute. Chances are if you are scrambling to get in, other people may be doing the same. This may give you unnecessary stress that can be avoided by booking your appointment ahead of time. Know what to expect and what is expected from you. Office policies may be different from your previous Pediatrician. Take time to familiarize yourself with these office policies. They may be available online and reviewed prior to your appointment. In addition, review those in print form that may be given to you while you wait to be called back. Be on time. Set a reminder in your calendar when you book your appointment. While you may receive a courtesy reminder call, you don’t want to plan other activities that may interfere with your appointment. If your office requires that you arrive early for paperwork, account for this in your planning. This will minimize your wait time. Make a list. Write your questions down. If your child has multiple caretakers, communicate what your concerns are so they may be addressed during your visit. If you have documents from your previous Pediatrician, discharge documents from the Emergency room or Urgent care, these may be... read more
Temper Tantrums

Temper Tantrums

by Danielle Lehoux, MD As pediatricians, we take care not only of children’s physical health but also emotional growth. We often get asked advice about behavioral concerns. Today, I will talk about temper tantrums. Just a few weeks ago, I was the witness of a tornado forced temper tantrum from a 3 year old boy. Everything was peaceful while I was evaluating his older brother and him playing on his mother’s cell phone. When it came time to evaluate him, disaster struck. He became immediately enraged when the cell phone was taken from him; he threw himself on the floor and started kicking, screaming, crying, and pulling his hair. He took off his shoes and threw it at his mother. His face was beet red with tears streaming down, his veins popping out if his little neck, ear piercing screams coming out of his tiny body. Initially, I stood there in shock at how quickly this sweet appearing child had turned into a real live Tasmanian devil. His mother was trying to pick him up from the floor, begging him to calm down, his older brother was also telling him to stop but it only seemed to make him angrier. I snapped out of my shock when he started pulling his mother’s hair. I helped mom pry her hair out of his grip and pulled her aside, calmly told her to ignore him while we spoke about his older brother. When the little boy noticed he no longer had an audience, the screaming stopped. By this time, his mother was in tears as well, frustrated and defeated. I sympathized... read more
Car Seat Safety:  The Back Seat is the Safest Place for a Child to Be!

Car Seat Safety:  The Back Seat is the Safest Place for a Child to Be!

by Flavia Fioretti, MD Keeping your child safe is one of the most important priorities for a parent. Every year, thousands of children are killed or injured in car accidents. Motor vehicle accidents continue to be the leading cause of death for children four years of age and older. Our goal, as pediatricians, is to provide you with enough information to keep your children safe when riding in a car. Know that using a car seat correctly makes a big difference! The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published in 2011 a policy statement with evidence-based recommendations for best practices in the choice of a child restraint system to optimize safety in passenger vehicles for children from birth through adolescence: Rear-facing car safety seats for infants up to 2 years of age Forward-facing car safety seats for children through 4 years of age Belt-positioning booster seats for children through 8 years of age and/or 4 feet 9 inches Lap-and-shoulder seat belts for all who have outgrown booster seats All children younger than 13 years to ride in the rear seats of vehicles How Can I choose the best and the safest car seat? With so many different car seats on the market, you may feel overwhelmed choosing an appropriate option. Many factors will influence your choice, for example, your child`s age, size, and your vehicle type. Always read and follow the manufacturer`s instruction for your car seat. Types of Rear-Facing Car Seats: Rear-facing only seats: For infants up to 22-45 pounds, depending on the model Should be used only for travel (NOT sleeping, feeding, or any other use outside the... read more

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