Parents and Kids

When did school lunches become so contentious that law suits are filed over the processes used in their ingredients? True - they have never had fresh sushi or hand-crafted ravioli, but at a cost of about $2.50, what can we expect? 

Children are eating in the middle of their school day, which is important to sustain learning - despite what Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) says. Most importantly, for some children, that tray contains the only healthy, nutritious meal that is ever routinely put in front of them.

However, some groups disagree that regular school lunches are healthy at all. For example, the ...

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has updated its 'consumer update' this month, which happens to be Autism Awareness month, to bring attention to the useless autism treatments that are targeted towards parents looking to help their children.

First, the FDA is clear in stating that there is NO CURE for autism which makes any treatment claiming to be a cure one thing - a lie.  

Next, they provide sound advice to help people have a more skeptical eye when considering one of these treatments. 

Their tips for determining treatments to avoid are: 

  • Be suspicious of products that claim to treat a wide range of diseases.
  • Personal testimonials are no...

Babies are a little safer today as Hyland's homeopathic teething tablets have finally been recalled by their manufacturer, Standard Homeopathic Company (1). 

It has been a long road to get to this point, with pressure for the recall coming primarily, from the FDA.

Last September, the FDA issued a news release cautioning that homeopathic teething tablets and gels may be harmful to babies and children, and issued a strong recommendation to not use them. This action was taken in response to reports of the teething products causing the illnesses of hundreds of infants and deaths of approximately ten babies. The move prompted some pharmacies to remove them from their shelves...

Easter — spring is on the horizon as are family dinners and for the young ones, Easter egg dyeing and Easter egg hunts. The question then arises, once the kids have found the eggs that you've so carefully un-hidden, can you eat them?

That's really an easy one — sure. A hard boiled egg is a safe egg since the cooking process would kill any bacteria that might be present (which is  a very rare occurrence). And there's no problem with the dyes in those kits you buy. First, there's no problem because they're a safe, food-grade dye, and second there's no problem because you're not going to eat the shells, which is the part that's dyed.

What you want to be careful about is cracked eggs — especially if the eggs have been lying around outdoors for hours and the weather is warm....

Several years ago, a school bus full of elementary students in Massachusetts was evacuated. A potentially deadly item was found on the floor. Was it a gun? A bomb? A blood-contaminated hypodermic needle?

No, it was a peanut.

Over-the-top responses to peanuts aren't uncommon. People are under the impression that the mere whiff of a peanut is enough to send some kids to the emergency room. But, that's simply not true. The molecules in peanuts that are responsible for aroma are not the same as the ones that trigger allergies. Also, an allergic reaction only occurs if...

Every semester, I would start my lecture on Bordetella pertussis by playing the sound of a baby with whooping cough - loudly and for a long enough time that my students almost couldn't bear to listen to it anymore.

The sound of a baby that cannot breathe is one of the most upsetting sounds imaginable and I hope that, by listening to it, they gained an appreciation of how horrific whooping cough can be. Of course, we then would shut the sound off and go on with our lecture - something that a parent of an infant with whooping cough cannot do.

If you want to listen to it, and I encourage you to, click here. If you want to fully understand what whooping cough does to infants, watch...

A growing number of parents choose to opt out of giving children their daily dose of milk, and switching to alternatives like almond milk or cashew milk. Perhaps they may think the alternatives offer a bit more calcium than real milk — but this is misleading: Real milk contains both calcium and vitamin D (added in the 1930s due to Rickets — a vitamin D deficiency among children), and the presence of vitamin D helps absorb the calcium. 

For pediatricians, it is hard to imagine a week going by without a child accidentally or intentionally ingesting some random substance. The phone calls from concerned parents go something like this: “Umm, he ate the dog’s poop” or “he ate his own poop” or “she ate the dirt from a potted plant.” 

So, news that alcohol-based hand sanitizer made the list of such ingestions by children came as no big surprise. After all, it glistens, oozes, sometimes sparkles and seems to abound in homes, schools, offices, travel gear or key chains these days. 

What is of interest is the fact that the occurrence of such innocent, voluntary or mischievous misdeeds with respect to hand sanitizer happened enough times to warrant the ...

A baby will typically end their first year of life two and a half to three times heavier than its original birthweight. During that time, they will go through an estimated 2500 - 3000 diapers.  

Diapers are designed with this dramatic growth in mind and companies sell multiple different sizes for the quickly growing baby. Diapers have traditionally started at the ‘newborn’ size which is designed for babies that weight less than 10 lbs (which likely fits the majority of newborns.) Some diaper companies make a ‘preemie’ size that is for babies weighing less than six pounds - a necessary category as roughly 10% of babies are born prematurely (before 37 weeks) in the United States. 

But, what happens when your baby arrives early (really early), weighs one or two...

A study is making headlines that suggests that older mothers are better mothers. The study reports that children born to older mothers have fewer behavioral difficulties at ages 7 and 11 than those born to mothers who are younger. 

Although this is an interesting headline, and relevant as the age of childbearing is steadily increasing in developed countries, saying that older mothers are better is just too big a generalization to make for this scientist (and mother.) Also, on another note, this study was a real win-win for me as I had my third child a full nine years after my first, so, I fall into both categories (younger and older.) It is not everyday I stand to come out on the top of a study - no...