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Summer Health Checklist

Once again our Pediatrician’s office offer some great advice. Here are some summer health tips.

  • Very Important! Whooping Cough Outbreak! If your child has not been immunized against pertussis (whooping cough) PLEASE call our office to schedule a vaccination immediately. There has been a reported outbreak of Whooping Cough, so make sure your child is protected.
  • If your child is traveling to Asia, Africa, South America or the Caribbean, please call our office to schedule a travel visit.
  • If your child is of school age, make sure you are up to date with his or hers; annual check-up for school and sports forms.
  • If your child is age 11 or older and plays sports, schedule a baseline ImPact test now. The test only takes 20 minutes and is so important should your child suffer from any type of head injury.
  • If your son is a young adult, schedule his HPV series (3 shots over 6 months) now that insurance is covering boys as well as girls.

Tips for Heart Health

LaurieAnn Scher, MS, RD from our Pediatricians office offers these heart healthy tips for February’s American Heart Month. Feeding your child (and self) for a healthy heart is essential year round, but the focus during this last month of winter allows you to take stock of your habits and make plans for the rest of the year. Remember lasting changes occur over time so start with small changes to the basics. Children will eat what is available to them and if you keep heart healthy foods around, that is what they will eat. Keep in mind as well that children will want to eat what you eat so it is important to set a good example.

So what should you stock in your home?

• After 2 years of age, most children can drink 1% milk (if your family tends to gain weight easily or you have a family history of heart disease you can even use skim milk). In addition low fat yogurts, cheeses and yogurt drinks are nutritious choices that satisfy children’s appetites. If a child is lactose intolerant, use lactose free foods or soy products that are fortified with calcium and vitamin D.
• Foods that are high in soluble and insoluble fiber are satisfying and filled with vitamins and minerals plus they are great for the heart. Choose fruits and vegetables of all different colors and wholesome foods like whole grain breads, brown rice, oats and oatmeal along with the lesser known grains like millet, barley, quinoa and buckwheat. To make fruits and vegetables more likely to be eaten, cut them up and leave them visible on the shelf in the refrigerator. If they are just as easy to grab as other snack foods, they will be eaten. Even though it takes a while to prepare fruit salad or cut up vegetables, when you see your child enjoying them, it will be well worth the effort. Fruits and vegetables should be offered at every meal and snack, keeping frozen fruits and vegetables in the freezer will make that goal easier to achieve.
• Fish is a great source of protein and the cold water fishes (salmon, trout, arctic char for example) are mild fishes high in omega three fatty acids that children may eat after a few tries. In addition, lower fat cuts of meat like sirloin, tenderloin, flank steak and eye of the round, skinless poultry (turkey or chicken breast is the lowest in fat) and soy products like tofu, tempeh and edamame are also great choices. Finally choose eggs that are sources of omega three fatty acids to provide a healthier egg option.
• Olive oil and canola oil are the best choices to use for cooking, baking and salads. Nuts, nut butters and seeds are great sources of vitamins, minerals, good fats and oils, fiber and phytonutrients. If you tend to use butter on your food often replace or supplement it with a soft margarine spread made from plant oils.
• Limit high sodium foods and choose lower sodium choices to keep in the house. The more a food is processed, the higher its sodium content, so choose fresh or frozen foods over canned.
• An article about heart health in February would be incomplete without a mention ofdark chocolate. Dark chocolate contains phytonutrients that may actually be good for the heart (of course, research is still being done on this). Since it is high in saturated fat and calories, you need to help your child consume it in moderation. Dark chocolate (70% cocoa or more) and cocoa powder have strong chocolate flavors so a small amount will satisfy that chocolate desire, which is great, since it should be consumed in moderation and not allowed to replace the healthy foods in your child’s diet.
• Remember food is not only about eating for health; it is a way to connect families and celebrate holidays and milestones. So in this month that celebrates your heart…”Love” what you eat and try these heart healthy treats for a fun Valentine celebration.

Product Review – Ultra Digital Thermometer

Every parent, long time Beyond the Car Seat readers included, knows that digital thermometers “don’t work so good.” The Mommy and I have had bad luck with most thermometers and in fact usually rely on our wrists, LTD’s forehead and our gut feeling that he seems hot. When you consider where you have to stick them and the trouble involved it often doesn’t feel worth it. However, the Ultra Digital Thermometer by Mobi offers a little assistance in the temperature taking department. The Thermometer gives a really fast reading on the forehead or in the ear. The device also features a flashlight, but we haven’t really needed to take his temp. while he sleeps yet.

The truth is, that like most digital thermometer’s the Mobi is inconsistent, so we take a few readings and pick the one in the middle. However, the speed and easy of taking a reading makes up for the digital divide from the accuracy of our friend Mr. Mercury. An added benefit comes when LTD grabs hold of the device and plays with the buttons, a task that keeps him occupied for many minutes. Until they bring back mercury the beep continues.

Tips to Green Your Halloween

As All Hallows Eve approaches I thought I would forgo the usual discussion of is there ever such a thing as too much candy or where to trick or treat safely and instead direct all the little ghouls and goblins to this list of suggestions for an environmentally friendly Halloween. Click here.

Product Review – Poly-Vi-Sol Vitamins

At our one year check up our pediatrician told us the time was now right to switch from Tri-Vi-Sol to Poly-Vi-Sol vitamins. Thankfully, LTD still doesn’t mind the taste and sucks it down without incident. These new drops have nine vitamins to supplement anything he isn’t getting from his diet. While he eats a lot of fruits and vegetables you never what he is lacking at any given meal. But, like the Tri-Vi-Sol the main reason to take the vitamins is for the vitamin D since the little guy is not in the sun that much. The Mommy orders the stuff from Diapers.com, but it takes a long time to go through a bottle. The only challenging part is remembering to give them to him every morning with breakfast.

Did You Check on Him?

During the first year of LTD’s life not only did The Mommy and I follow the rules of the back to sleep movement we also didn’t have anything in his crib. Now that he is almost 14 months he is making up for lost time by having Pooh, Mr. Shark, and his super soft blanket in his bed. He digs his newfound luxury pad and wants to be on the literal MTV Cribs. There is only one small problem with this new arrangement. I constantly check on him when he is asleep. A year is a long time to observe one pattern of behavior and even though I know he is fine, I can’t help but check.

The stupidest part of my checking up on him, is that for the time both he and I are asleep no one is checking on him. It is what I like to call the illusion of security. However, he is our first kid and in the end I can chalk it up to anyone who asks as me not needing an excuse to see my boy.

The Angry Button

At LTD’s one year doctor’s visit, the Pediatrician asked us if we had any questions or concerns. The Mommy and I looked at each other and then at the doctor saying, ‘yeah, what’s with his belly button?” We had noticed a few weeks before our visit that sometimes it looked like LTD had an outie belly button and other times it looked inward. Turns out the little guy has what is known as an umbilical hernia. The doc wasn’t concerned at all, he told us that when LTD has just eaten it would pop out. Also, if he was very angry and crying a lot it would really pop out Hulk style. He informed us that the hernia’s usually close up on their own and if they don’t, they wouldn’t do anything about it until the little guy was between four and five years old. He explained they never put a child under anesthesia unless absolutely necessary and the umbilical hernia in most cases goes away on it’s own. However, he did mention that if whenever we press on it, it was hard and he screamed then we should bring him in to have a look. So far LTD doesn’t seem to be bothered with it, so we aren’t either. In fact, I use it like a mood ring, when it pops out I know the kid is not happy.

Book Review – Baby 411

baby411Sorry true believers, no children’s books today. LTD’s recent cold reminded me that we have been using the Baby 411 book as our first line of defense against misinformation and unclear baby reference books. As the cover says, the book was featured on The Today Show and they certainly don’t need more publicity, but I have to tell you that there is a good reason that the book is so popular. The most important thing to know about Baby 411 is that it is easy to read and gives simple instructions regarding baby care. Authors Denise & Alan Fields along with co-author Dr. Ari Brown have delivered a book that doesn’t scare the crap out of me. I tried to look up ‘rash’ in the Mayo Clinic book and got instantly nauseous. Baby 411 is now in it’s 4th edition, so you can find a copy gently used on the Internet for peanuts. I also like the casual tone of the book. The authors aren’t preachy or overly technical. It is almost like the knew real people in real life situations would be reading the book, shocking I know, when you think about how some of the baby books are written. This style works especially well when frantically reading the book in the dark at 3am. We use Google a lot when it comes to looking up baby stuff, but there is something nice about being able to use a book it brings me closer to my ancestors.

The All-Nighter

sickIt took nearly eight months, but it finally happened LTD got sick. We are talking a minor stomach bug that gave him a small fever, a ton of poops and a crying jag that lasted almost the entire night. The Mommy and are in full zombie mode today and of course the little guy is acting like nothing happened. Thankfully, none of his symptoms were too severe and going to the doctor or ER didn’t seem necessary. LTD received his first drops of Tylenol and sucked the dropper dry, so I’m guessing that either he liked the cherry flavoring or Tylenol is his new gateway drug.

At four am, as his tiny face became one big open mouth used to shriek at the top of his growing lungs, I got to thinking about how difficult it must be for single parents to deal with the DEFCON 5 meltdown and if there are other kids in the house or some other bad situation, I can’t imagine how hard it is to deal with things without snapping. Believe me when I write that The Mommy and I both know how lucky are we are that LTD is healthy and we didn’t have our first fever for almost 8 months. I also realize how lucky I am that we don’t have poop all over the house since I have never seen so much of it and produced so quickly I might add. Now all that’s left is to clean his runny nose before he gets that gross dried snot look favored by sick babies in cartoons.

The Lizard People

velociraptorThe Official winter season is soon upon us and the combination of the cold air outside and the hot air inside is doing a number on LTD’s fair skin. Thanks to The Mommy’s Scandinavian heritage, the little guy has the skin of a blonde haired blue eyed Swedish architect. His dry skin has led to a rash, which is basically Eczema. In some patches it’s pretty rough, but in others it just looks dry and red, thankfully it’s only on his torso and back. The doctor gave us some very helpful advice. She told us to use only cotton clothes on the lads skin and that we should limit the frequency of his bathes.

In terms of treatment, the doctor told us to coat him in Vaseline or Aquaphor and leave it on to air dry for five minutes. We started using Aquaphor because it is a little less greasy than Vaseline. When the time is up, we coat him in a layer of baby lotion, our choice is calendula cream by California Baby. She told us that we could use hydrocortisone on the really rough patches, but never on his face because it could lighten his skin and that would be very uncool. Lastly, she mentioned that if it stayed that bad for the next four or five days we should see her again to get a stronger and possibly prescription lotion, ointment or salve. Of course, thanks to The Mommy’s hard work providing the spa treatments, his skin mostly cleared up and I think we shall all survive the harsh winter ahead.