Practical Parenting

Dr. M’s Women and Children First Podcast #17 – Dr. Larry Rosen – Children and a Pandemic

This week, I sit down with Integrative Pediatrician Dr. Larry Rosen as we dive into the world of children post Covid. What is happening to them and what do we need to do to right the ship? Dr. Rosen is the founder of the Whole Child Center in New Jersey. He is the co-author of “Treatment Alternatives for Children,” an evidence-informed guide for parents interested in natural solutions for common childhood ailments.
He graduated from New York Medical College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He then completed his residency and chief residency in pediatrics at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Additionally, he is a founding member and former Chair of the AAP Section on Integrative Medicine, and he received the AAP’s Pioneer in Integrative Medicine award in 2015.
He serves as Senior Advisor and Chair of the Health Advisory Board for WholeHealthED, a nonprofit devoted to bringing whole health learning to U.S. schools.
Larry is an exceptional human, a thoughtful person and finally a teacher and leader in the healing space of children nationally.
I hope that you enjoy my conversation with Dr. Larry Rosen,
Dr. M

Eye Drops Made Simple (Pedcast)

The following is an archived pedcast, originally post in 2010 but still relevant for parents today.

Life is tough enough when you have children. Here is a simple tip for making your child’s experience with eye drops a little less traumatic.

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Less Cold and Cough Medicine in Children Means Fewer ED Visits (Article)

 

Cold and cough medications (CCMs) have been linked to a high number of emergency department visits and rare cases of deaths in infants and children. It is for this reason that manufacturers and government agencies stopped recommending these medications be used for children less than four years of age. In 2007, manufacturers voluntarily withdrew infant cough and cold medications sold over the counter from the US market. In 2008, the US government acted to revise labels of over the counter CCMs to warn against use by children < 4 years. These new recommendations and labeling revisions have been followed by efforts to educate parents about the dangers of giving over the counter CCMs to infants.

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Driveway Disasters (Article)

The combination of driveways and your children can be a deadly one. Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye while a parent is performing a mundane task like backing their car out of the driveway; disaster can sadly be just feet away. We all know how much kids love playing outside in the driveway. This puts them squarely in a dangerous zone where they can be injured by a moving car. It’s an alarmingly easy mistake to make that happens frequently. So many families have been devastated when their children are injured or killed by the family car.


In the U.S., fifty children are backed over every week. Of these fifty, two are fatally injured, and most victims are between only twelve and twenty three months old; they are just little innocent toddlers who have no awareness of the danger a moving car poses. They just innocently toddle out into the driveway following their parents, right in the way of the moving vehicle. Most accidents occur when drivers cannot see children in their car’s blind spot, the space behind the car that is not visible from the driver’s seat. Since trucks, vans, and SUVS have the largest blind spots, the majority of accidents are attributed to these vehicles. Fortunately, with more awareness, most of these accidents are preventable.


Here are a few easy tips to ensure that your children are kept safe in your driveway.


  • Always walk all the way around your car before backing out of the driveway. These few seconds could save your child’s life.
  • When young children get in or out of the car, hold their hands and guide them to a safe area where the driver can easily see them.
  • When you’re behind the wheel, remember to back up slowly and always pay attention to your mirrors.
  • Consider purchasing a car that is equipped with a back-up camera and alarm, especially when your children are very young.


Hopefully, all these measures will reduce the number of children who are injured where they should be the safest…their own homes. The prevention of such accidents is possible and in our hands. This is a problem that we can fix!


Your comments are welcome at my blog, www.docsmo.com. Until next time.


Smo Notes:

1.http://www.kidsandcars.org/userfiles/dangers/backovers-fact-sheet.pdf

Written collaboratively by Keri Register and Paul Smolen M.D.

News; Cavities Rising among Children (Article)

 

For decades, the teeth of children in America have been getting stronger and more resistant to decay, until recently. Repairing dental decay in children was one of the mainstays of dentistry until the turn of the century. With the advent of fluoridated water and toothpaste, better dental care, and parents ensuring good dental hygiene, the age of cavities in children’s teeth was rapidly coming to a close. I remember just 20 years ago, hearing my pediatric dental colleagues complaining they had nothing to do without children getting cavities. They were either morphing into orthodontists or going out of business.

 

But here we go again. In the past ten years, dentists have begun to notice an uptick in the number of children with cavities, enough so, that the American Dental Association recently began recommending topical fluoride toothpaste be used in children under age three years of age. Prior to this new recommendation, fluoride toothpaste was forbidden for young children because of the fear that they would get too much fluoride in the enamel of their teeth, a condition known as fluorosis. Fluoride toothpastes have a lot of fluoride and if a young child eats the toothpaste, this can overload their teeth with this mineral, turning their teeth to a brown color. But experts have recently decided that a very small amount of fluoride toothpaste topically put on a young child’ s teeth is very unlikely to cause fluorosis and very likely to make dental decay more unlikely in children.

 

So the great fluoride debate continues, with the pendulum swinging back toward limited topical fluoride use as soon as a child’s teeth erupt.  But I have a better idea. I believe that if parents would eliminate almost all snacks, give their children water instead of any juices (even diluted) or sugary drinks, and stop giving them gummy and other sugar containing vitamins, dental decay would again, disappear. I believe if these things happened, we wouldn’t be having the need for this new ADA recommendation. But what do I know?

 

I welcome your comments on my blog, www.docsmo.com. If you have dental stories or other ideas how to improve our children’s dental health, fire away. Join the conversation. If you are a pediatric dentist, please give us your perspective. Until next time.

Childhood Nutrition Improving in U.S. (Article)

Finally some good news about childhood nutrition in the United States; children are eating more fruit! Recently published statistics from the Center for Disease Control show the daily intake of fruit by U.S. children has increased by 67% in the past 10 years. Even better, a drastic shift has occurred between the amount of fruit juice consumed and actual whole fruits. Fruit juice has seen a 30% decline in consumption, and whole fruit consumption increased proportionally. This is an important trend since dieticians and nutritionists strongly recommend a child consume whole fruit instead of fruit juices to lower the child’s sugar intake and afford them the full benefit of other nutrients found in whole fruit.

 

Other news in the same report is not as encouraging–even though fruit juice consumption is down and whole fruit consumption has risen among US children, diets among children remain critically deficient in both whole fruits and especially vegetables. The Vital Signs study, conducted by the CDC, revealed that children still aren’t reaching the ideal level of fruit intake, and vegetable intake is looking even more dismal. Though fruit intake doubled during the study period, only 40% of children were getting the recommended fruit intake and a dismal 7% were getting the recommended vegetable intake. Vegetables and fruits supply vital nutrients to a developing child, ensuring that they grow healthy and strong.

 

So how do we continue to improve healthy eating habits in today’s children? Since 60 million kids spend much of every day in schools and daycares, the CDC recommends that these institutions begin implementing healthier eating options as a force for change. The CDC suggests that school districts and childcare centers begin training their food preparation workers on ways to make fruits and vegetables more tasty, and provide educational nutritional programs that make fruits and vegetables fun. Ultimately, a child’s parents play the most critical role in encouraging the consumption of vegetables. If parents committed themselves to eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables themselves, involving their children in shopping for whole food, teaching their children how to cook, and involving them in growing their own produce, many of the problems we see with the terrible diet many American children eat would quickly become a bad memory. Let your kids get their hands in some dirt, learn to shop for fresh produce, and sauté some vegetables, so they can be healthy eaters!

Your comments are welcome at www.docsmo.com. Until next time.

 

Smo Notes:

1.http://pediatrics.about.com/cs/weeklyquestion/l/blask_050802.htm

  1. http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/p0805-fruits-vegetables.html

Written collaboratively by Keri Register and Paul Smolen M.D.

 

Feed, Read, Play and Thrive (Article)

Malnutrition can stunt child development, but what about improper and infrequent social interaction? Could isolation inhibit a child’s psychological growth? Dr. Paul Gertler of the University of California at Berkley thinks it can. Dr. Gertler and his colleagues set out to determine if providing appropriate socialization could help disadvantaged children succeed in the academic and employment worlds. Maybe programs such as “Feeding America” would be more effective if social welfare agencies were able to improve the parent-child interaction. Could proper socialization of young children really make that much of a difference? To answer this question, Dr. Gertler conducted a twenty-year longitudinal study of malnourished Jamaican babies. His results are amazing! On a weekly basis from the ages of one to four, researchers provided structured positive social interaction and nutritional support to the experimental group, solely nutritional supplements to one control group, and no support at all to the final control group. At age twenty, the nutrition-plus-social-interaction group were earning 25% more than the controls, less likely to commit a crime, more physically fit, and more successful in school. The success of the experimental group over the controls led Dr. Gertler to conclude that nutrition is not the only factor controlling a disadvantaged child’s well being—frequent and healthy social interaction can help prepare a child for a productive life. Although many programs provide adequate food to struggling families, offering healthy social interactions to toddlers and young preschoolers may be just as important. Is it surprising that giving young children attention and stimulating their language/cognitive development can have a positive impact on their adult lives? The Head Start Program was designed in the 1960’s to provide social and cognitive stimulation to low income children, ages 3-5 years. Today, a similar kind of assistance is available through The Early Head Start program, reflecting the changing tide in child development research. We now know that by helping a child learn language and social skills from a very young age, we improve their chance of achieving success. With what we have learned recently about the negative effects of stress and deprivation on infants and toddlers combined with this new information that social skills training in very young children can dramatically improve their lives, we can begin improve academic and societal performance and maybe even help win the war on poverty.  Let’s hope so. Your comments are welcome at www.docsmo.com. Until next time.

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Smo Notes: 1. http://www.sciencemag.org/content/344/6187/998 Written collaboratively by Sam Allen and Paul Smolen M.D.