cbr_logo facebook twitter blog Pinterest

Why are we painting our pumpkins teal?

October 17, 2016 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

By Mommy MD Guide Jeannette Gonzalez Simon, DO

teal-pumpkinHalloween is a great time of year.  Kids get so excited about dressing in their costumes, going to a Halloween party, marching in their school Halloween parade and eating Halloween candy.  But what about the kids who can’t eat Halloween candy.  What about them?  Many kids have to abstain from trick-or-treating because they cannot eat the candy safely.  It can be for a variety of reasons.  They may suffer from celiac disease, diabetes, a nut allergy, other food allergies and intolerances or they may need to follow a special diet. Why should these children not be able to enjoy the festivities?

For many years, some parents kept their children from this celebrating this tradition to protect them from a possible anaphylactic reaction or severe allergic reaction.  Then the campaign called #THETEALPUMPKINPROJECT started.

Last year, I saw a few Teal pumpkins painted in my neighborhood.  It piqued everyone’s curiosity. Many just thought “oh how pretty.”  But what is the purpose?  In 2014 the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE)  launched a national campaign called the Teal Pumpkin Project™.  The Teal Pumpkin Project raises awareness of food allergies and promotes inclusion of all trick-or-treaters throughout the Halloween season.  This nationwide movement offers an alternative for kids with food allergies, as well as other children for whom candy is not an option. It keeps Halloween a fun, positive experience for all!

It seems a daunting task at first.  Many say, “I don’t want to be the house not giving out candy or chocolate, the kids will hate us and egg our front door!”  In reality there are many really cool fun non-food items that you can hand out.  Kids would love to get glow sticks or glow bracelets.  They will undoubtedly put them on immediately and use them the rest of the night.  Bouncy balls, stickers, tattoos are all great options.  You can find a list of recommended non-gift treats here at FARE’s website.

To let the neighborhood now that you are participating in this event you can paint your pumpkin teal and also put up one of the FAREs downloadable signs on your window or front door. And YES, you can still give out candy if you choose too.

For a Successful School Year: Get Enough Fluids

September 21, 2016 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

by Mommy MD Guide Ayala Laufer-Cahana, MD

Is the water bottle your constant companion, or are you the type that trusts we can do just fine in between hydration opportunities? Does hydration status really matter all that much?

Clearly, dehydration is an unhealthy, dangerous state. Even mild dehydration – loss of just 2 percent of body weight in water – makes us less alert, affects our well-being, and of course makes us feel thirsty. But going without water for just a few hours hasn’t been studied much up until now.


A new study, led by David Benton, in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, recruited 101 undergraduate students, aged 18-30 years, and put them in a warm (86 °F, 30 °C) room for 4 hours, during which they performed cognitive tests.

Half the students got a 5oz drink of water 90 and 180 minutes into the experiment.

The students were not aware that what was tested was the effect of hydration on cognition – they were told that the experiment was about the effects of heat. The tests, which were repeated 3 times throughout the 4-hour study, included memory recall quizzes — in which the students were given lists of words, and asked to recall as many as they could remember immediately after, and then again 20 minutes later — attention tests and subjective mood scores.

Students that didn’t drink water forgot more words in both the immediate and delayed memory recall test, and had poorer attention scores. The students who got some water also reported less anxiety at the end of the test.

The 26 men and 24 women who had no water for 4 hours lost on average 0.72 percent body weight, but at 90 minutes into the experiment the participants lost just 0.22 percent body weight, which is very little. Nevertheless, memory was already affected.


This experiment suggests that even small changes in hydration can make a difference. Mood and alertness are the first to be affected when our body needs food and drink, and while mild changes in body fluids certainly don’t put us in danger of dropping blood pressure or shutting off our kidneys, proper hydration can help a student to perform at his best. Kids also lose a larger proportion of their water due to their smaller size and higher activity levels. The authors cite a few studies that prove that as a first-grader, a drink can help you think, and that 7-9 year olds that got an additional drinkperformed better on visual attention tasks.

As the school year starts, giving kids access to good drinking water, and reminding them to take that drink is a really simple way to make sure studying’s a little bit easier and happier. Hydration affects mood and if we can buy a little peace of mind with a glass of water lets do it.

By federal law, free drinking water has to be available to students during school meals. In between, kids should have access to plain water throughput the day, but policies change state-to-state and district-to-district.

Does your school have functioning water fountains? Unfortunately, due to old pipessome school fountains have been found to dispense water with unsafe lead levels.

So, as the school and academic year commence, encourage kids to pay attention to hydration, check that they have access to water that has been tested, and set an example by drinking enough yourself.

To a happy and healthy school year!

Dr. Ayala

Signs Your Child May Need “Sleep Training” {aka Parent Training}

August 14, 2016 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

by Mommy MD Guide Nilong Parikh Vyas, MD, MPH

Signs Your Child May Need Sleep Training: A Pediatrician’s Tale

Having a baby was one of the most wonderful, emotionally satisfying and beautiful things that has ever happened to me. After the initial exhilaration wore off and we finally got to take our bundle of joy home, it suddenly hit us: now what do we do? The reality was that – as amazing as it all was – I had no idea what to do. Combine that with the exhaustion from lack of sleep and, well, it was a bit overwhelming. Then came all the well intended advice from friends and family…

“You will be so exhausted but because you love your baby so much, you’ll somehow get through it.”

“You will want to hold that baby in your arms all day, everyday, and never put him down,”

“It’s the best thing that has ever happened to you so just deal with all the hard stuff!”

“You can sleep, shower and eat – when the baby sleeps.”

Granted, some of those things turned out to be true, but for me it was hard. Really, REALLY hard. I was not just physically exhausted but emotionally as well. I loved this baby; I really wanted this baby. I wanted to spend every waking moment with this baby, but wait … did I really? I was beyond tired, and it proved to be much more difficult than I expected. I thought that I was well-qualified for motherhood because I had loved (and was good at) all my baby-sitting jobs growing up. Moreover, I was a trained pediatrician. But I quickly realized that neither the universe nor pediatric residency prepared me for the hardest job of them all: motherhood.

My bundle of joy was 4 months old, super cranky and so was the rest of my family. He was cranky when I held him and even crankier when I put him down. He would fall asleep in my arms, but as soon as I would put him down, he would wake up, cry, and the process would start all over again. I would get him to sleep, walk out of the room, the floorboards would creak and he would be up again. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

I had to do something for the sake of my child and my own sanity…

The Solution: Sleep Training (aka Parent Training)

The one common thread through all the books I read on the topic of sleep was that I needed to follow my baby’s cues and let him guide me (instead of the other way around). I had to figure out what he was trying to tell me that I couldn’t hear, couldn’t judge or wasn’t listening to properly. As I watched him more closely, I noticed a pattern emerging. I monitored his sleep cues, as well as his hunger cues, trying my best not to confuse the two. I noticed that when I followed his sleepy cues, he would sleep. When I followed his hunger cues (and fed him only when I saw those), he ate better, which led him to sleep better, which led him to be happier. A less cranky baby led to a less cranky mommy. Common sense, right? But oh so hard to decipher when you’re in the thick of infant sleep deprivation, adjusting to motherhood and possibly returning to work on top of it all.

As I made this change, my son’s sleep cycles and feeding cycles became more predictable and so did my own life. Granted, I had many friends and family that told me they were “anti-schedule.” They said things like, “let the baby decide when he’s hungry and sleepy, and do not put him on a schedule. Let him sleep when he wants to and feed when he wants to.” Was putting him on a “schedule” going against nature and doing something wrong for my baby?

I soon realized that I was indeed following nature (my baby’s cues), and a schedule was emerging on its own, with only a minimal amount of input from me. This wasn’t MY schedule; it was my baby’s schedule. Then, I knew with confidence that I was doing the right thing. Not only did I notice a palpable increase in both mine and my baby’s overall happiness, I also noticed significant jumps in his development. I had the baby that everyone noted “you are so lucky to have such a sweet, happy and alert baby. He is so easy but wait until you have the next one!” Well, guess what? I did have that next one, and I put the same principles into play. And what do you know? I got really lucky. TWICE!!

Note to all: luck had nothing to do with it!

So What Is Involved With Sleep Training?

Many people think that sleep training is harmful to your child, that it involves leaving your child to cry for hours on end and that it’s akin to cruel and unusual punishment. What terrible parent would have a baby just to torment that child into fitting into their lifestyle and schedule? NO ONE!!

Sleep training is not the best term. It should more appropriately be called sleep adjustment, sleep tolerance, sleep associations, or my personal favorite: Parent Training. Just call it anything BUT sleep training. Parent training means that you are training yourself, as a parent, to learn what the baby is trying to tell you. In fact, you don’t have to do any of the hard work: just figure out your baby’s cues, and they will lead you. If you do that, the rest is easy and falls into place. It’s a matter of assessing his/her needs and putting in the necessary steps to fulfill those needs. In the process, he learns to soothe himself. You have to establish routine and consistency, and everyone can at least agree that a child needs that to grow and meet their milestones to reach their full potential.

If a child is not well-rested, it can lead to numerous problems throughout his lifetime. In the short term, sleep deprived children can be slow to meet developmental milestones. Of course kids will ultimately learn to walk, talk, read and write, but it’s more likely to happen readily and without much challenge if the child has had adequate sleep. A well-rested child is emotionally stable, more capable of dealing with the world around her and more willingly redirected. Lastly,a well-rested child yields a well-rested adult, which in turn allows you to be at your best when interacting with your child.

So how do you know if your family may benefit from parent training?

What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation?

  • Your child usually cries when you put them down to sleep
  • You have to lay with your baby for them to fall asleep
  • Your child falls asleep every time they are in the car
  • She is difficult to soothe and put to sleep
  • She is a perpetual ‘catnapper’
  • Multiple things have to be done to get her to sleep including continuous rocking, feeding, bouncing, walking, etc
  • Your child will fall asleep when you are holding her and wake moments after she is put down, even when you thought she was ‘fast asleep’
  • She cries even when you are rocking her
  • She takes longer and longer to fall asleep in your arms. This is mostly because children get distrustful when they fall asleep one place and wake up in another. Imagine if you fell asleep on the sofa and ended up in your bed – it would be very confusing for you! For the child, falling asleep in your arms then waking in their crib is more than a little disconcerting
  • If your child has been deemed ‘very active, hyper, can’t stop, always on the go, and doesn’t need much sleep’. Hint: ALL children need sleep and plenty of it

If you said yes to any of the above statements, it’s likely that your child suffers from sleep deprivation. It is one thing if you want to go to sleep with your child at 7:00 pm and want to lay with them in their bed, but if you are doing it because you have to – because it’s the only way they will get to sleep – then it’s a problem.

Every new parent wants to rock their child and have them fall asleep on their chest; that is the most precious feeling in the world. It is an entirely different story when that HAS to be the norm, rather than it being a special occasion. Everyone in the household needs good, quality sleep. Period. End of story. And it’s not great if it only happens occasionally; it NEEDS to happen Every.Single.Night!

If you rock or nurse your child to sleep and they stay asleep through the night, then there is no need to change a thing. If your child is happy, and you are happy, I’m happy. A lot of moms say “my baby only wakes up, feeds and goes right back to sleep, we don’t have any sleep problems at all.” That may be okay for you, and it seems to be okay for the baby. But while she is feeding, her brain is working, telling the organs to start working. The stomach is working, the gut is working … the pancreas, liver and kidneys, all working to process that meal she has in the middle of the night. That means her body is not resting, her organs are not regenerating and healing themselves as they are required to do during sleep. And even though mothers say they are sleeping through their infants nursing all night, there is a part of your brain that is awake throughout the process because you need to know at all times where you are in relation to your baby and where your baby is in relation to you. You are not going into a deep slumber as you should to regenerate yourself. But again, if you are happy and your baby is happy, I’m happy. I am mainly advising that if you wish for your child to sleep through the night and it’s developmentally safe and appropriate, it is indeed possible.

Preventing the Sleep Deprived Child

To prevent a sleep deprived child, parents and caregivers should follow these guidelines:

  • DO put your child to sleep following her natural sleep cues
  • DO put her to sleep drowsy but awake
  • DO maintain consistency and sense of routine as children thrive and depend on this
  • DO what feels right for you and your family and DO trust your gut
  • DO NOT let your baby fall asleep in one place and then move her somewhere else
  • DO NOT turn on TV or engage her at night if she wakes up
  • DO NOT think that this is just a phase and they will eventually become good sleepers. Remember, good sleepers as infants make good sleepers as adults

The Ikea Effect of Cooking

August 6, 2016 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

by Mommy MD Guide Ayala Laufer-Cahana, MDIKEA

You’re never too young — or too old — to start cooking; Standing on a stool my kids barely reached the faucet when they started. Our first kitchen adventure involved making a good green salad, and included the basics of how to wash and dry lettuce, and the simple principles of mixing a good salad dressing. The second lesson’s product was a nice bowl of lightly salted edamame in their shell, which my kids still think of as “addictive food.”

We didn’t get into brownies and cupcakes until much later. I figured that creating a dish makes its creator treasure it, and why waste a lesson of love on brownies, which any kid’s bound to fancy anyway.

In his book The Upside of Irrationality Dan Ariely, professor of behavioral economics, devotes a chapter to the well know phenomenon of falling in love with the things we make, and the irrational value we attribute to the objects we had a more intimate relationship with. Ariely titles the chapter “the IKEA effect”— the Swedish maker’s assemble-it-yourself shelf Ariely labored over for hours somehow has a special place in his heart, and Ariely investigates why it’s so.

Through a series of experiments, involving the creation of origami animals, Lego patterns, and real-life examples of successful and unsuccessful businesses, Ariely comes to several conclusions regarding the evident connection between labor and love:

  • Putting effort into an object changes how we feel about it — we value the things we labor over• The harder we work on something, the more we love it
  • We’re so invested in the things we labored over, and value them so much, that we assume others share our (biased) overvaluation of our creation
  • Although working hard on a task makes us love it more, not completing the task is a deal breaker. We have no attachment to tasks we failed at or failed to complete.

Interestingly, Ariely also shows that both people and animals would rather earn their keep and work for their food. Even mice seem not to value free meals, at least not on a regular basis.


The lessons above are valuable and applicable to many aspects of life: I think “the IKEA effect” chapter (the whole book in fact) has lessons for any employer or employee seeking greater work productivity and satisfaction, and for any parent contemplating showing photos of his kids to a stranger (no, he doesn’t think your kids are the cutest — he couldn’t care less).

But back to kids in the kitchen. Learning how to cook is a valuable life skill that will not only enable kids to eat healthier — no matter what you make at home it will usually be healthier than the bought version — but can also be a great tool in directing their preferences toward those foods you’d like them to eat more of, namely, fruits and veggies.

Ariely’s lesson also made me think of the importance of giving kids a task they can complete. Being responsible for just one small step in a complicated dish would result in much less creator’s pride than being able to claim the creation from start to finish as your work. So selecting recipes that are of just the right technical difficulty – challenging, but not too hard for a kid to complete — is the name of the game.

As time went by we moved to things like potato gnocchi from scratch. I wasn’t sure my kids would be able to create dumplings that hold up in the boiling water on their first try — I had many less than stellar attempts at this dish before I sort of mastered it — but beginners luck, or maybe I can take some credit as the instructor, theirs turned out incredible and light-as-a-clouds.

Ariely wrote nothing about clean-up – it doesn’t, unfortunately, reward one the way cooking and serving your handiwork does. For cleanup to be pleasurable the best tricks, I think, are joint effort and/or some good music.

I’d love to hear about your adventures in the kitchen —  as a kid or with them.

Dr. Ayala

“Learning how to cook is a valuable life skill that will enable kids to eat healthier”

National Cord Blood Awareness Month: Celebrating the excitement and developments in cord blood banking

July 25, 2016 by  
Filed under R.McAllister

Father Holding InfantWho would have guessed back in the 1960s when we were watching The Jetsons that we’d have the ability to “facetime” on our phones and talking robots. Medical advancements are no exception.

As a physician practicing for 21 years, I can say few fields in medicine have made as many advancements as the field of regenerative medicine. Stem cell therapy is one line of research within this exciting field. Newborn stem cells – those found in cord blood and tissue – have some unique characteristics and are one of the areas of focus for regenerative medicine research. To date, cord blood stem cells have been used to treat 80 conditions, including blood and immune system disorders and cancers. However, researchers think that these stem cells may also be able to heal the body and promote recovery in different ways. Cord blood applications are currently being researched for autism, cerebral palsy, pediatric stroke, and hearing loss.

The early stage research that’s being conducted with all different types of stem cells is exciting. Potential new uses for different types of stem cells currently under research include, healing and recovery of the bones, eyes, heart, and gastrointestinal system. Studies are also underway on conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, stroke, and lung, liver, and heart disease.

While the important things are being addressed, I guess we’ll have to wait on those flying cars from The Jetsons in the meantime.

The Downside of Gluten-freeing Your Kids

July 18, 2016 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

by Mommy MD Guide Ayala Laufer-Cahana, MD

Gluten FreeThe gluten-free food industry has seen tremendous growth, and while celiac disease – which requires lifelong complete avoidance of gluten – is also on the rise, consumers who do not have celiac or any other medical reason to avoid gluten are the main engine propelling the gluten-free boom.

Why do they do this, and is this a healthy trend?

Norelle Reilly, gastroenterologist and director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University Medical Center, in a commentary in the Journal of Pediatrics, cites a 2015 survey of 1500 American adults. “No reason” is the most common reason for going gluten free – 35 percent of those surveyed explained their choice just so. 26 percent choose gluten-free food because they think it’s a healthier option, and 19 percent perceive it as better for digestive health.

If gluten-free foods are indeed a healthy trend, the fact that 20 percent of Americans are seeking them for no medical reason might be a good thing. If, on the other hand, gluten free carries risk, this fad might be an expensive gamble.


For people who do not have celiac, wheat allergy, or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, there is no data to support the notion that gluten free is healthy, states Dr. Reilly. In fact, packaged gluten-free food often contains more sugar and fat, and has higher caloric density. Contrary to what people believe, going gluten free without medical supervision can lead to packing extra weight, to insulin resistance, and to vitamin deficiencies, since gluten-free foods are not fortified the way wheat is.

And then there’s arsenic. Gluten-free diets often rely heavily on rice, and rice quite often, contains arsenic, which comes from the soil. The amounts are small, and probably not a problem if one eats a varied diet, but on a gluten-free diet rice becomes the predominant grain, and that can be especially problematic for babies and pregnant women.

A gluten-free diet, just like many other exclusion diets, comes with a quality of life price tag. And these specialty foods often cost more and are sold at a premium.

And since in kids there are only two indications for excluding gluten from the diet: celiac disease and wheat allergy (non-celiac gluten sensitivity has not been described in kids), putting kids on this diet carries risk with no apparent benefits. There is no support to the misconception that gluten is toxic, and no evidence that gluten-free diets treat a myriad of afflictions such as autism, arthritis or obesity.

Dr. Reilly concludes:

“Patients self-prescribing a GFD (gluten-free diet) should be counseled as to the possible financial, social, and nutritional consequences of unnecessary implementation.”

The food industry uses the health halo of the gluten-free health claim to better sell. It’s really important to emphasize that just like one knows that foods that are peanut free are not generally healthier, gluten-free foods are not a panacea; avoiding gluten isn’t a recipe for health for those of us who don’t have a sensitivity or autoimmunity that involves gluten.

Dr. Ayala

“There is no support to the misconception that gluten is toxic, and no evidence that gluten-free diets treat a myriad of afflictions such as autism, arthritis or obesity.”


Got Questions? These Mommy MD Guides Have Answers!

November 5, 2014 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Breaking News Teen Years Mentalby Mommy MD Guide Jennifer Hanes, DO

Did you know that vomiting in boys can be a sign they need to have emergency surgery on their testicle? What if your spouse stepped on a rusty nail, do you need to see a doctor right away, or did you know that tetanus administration is often able to wait a day or two?  What if you could ask a doctor these questions, and get answers right away, even after clinic hours?  Now you can.

As the health category manager for eHow Now and a Mommy MD Guide, I am proud to announce that we have assembled a team of board certified physicians, who are all licensed in the United States who are online fifteen hours a day, seven days a week to answer your personal health questions.

The best part is that over half of our online physicians are Mommy MD Guides. That’s right, you can access a Mommy MD Guide, right form your laptop or smartphone. All you need to do is click this link, and start typing your question. During the hours of 8am – 11pm Central Time, you can chat online with one of our highly trained primary care physicians who can share with you those answers that you forgot to ask your own doctor or simply didn’t have time to discuss. As of the publication of this blog, you can get an answer for as little as $7.  That’s right, for the price of a cup of coffee, you can get real-time answers from a highly trained physician, often a Mommy MD Guide.

Susan Besser, MD, who you may know as a familiar voice on Mommy MD Guide blog talk radio, is one of our eHow Now health experts and shares this. “I enjoy working for eHow because its another way for me to teach.  Teaching people about their health is a very important part of being a family doctor (and a Mommy MD Guide because aren’t mommies the first teachers?). eHow gives me an opportunity to teach a wider number of people than those I see in my practice.”

Wondering what questions we can help you with?  Julie Graves, MD, Mommy MD Guide and eHow Now Health expert, has this to share. “Moms can check in the us at eHowNow to get up to date information on vaccines, nutrition, medications, normal child development – those kinds of questions we can help with right away.”

Click here to start your session with our physicians on eHow Experts. From pregnancy and birth to health ailments of elderly relatives, we cover it all. As a Mommy MD Guide and the physician manager on eHow Now, it would be our honor to assist you.

5 Immunologist’s Tips for Building Your Child’s Immunity

October 27, 2014 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Girl blowing her nose --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbisby Mommy MD Guide Sonal R Patel, MD

I often get asked “How can I build my child’s Immunity?”  Here are some suggestions:

1. It starts with a great diet.

You are what you eat! There may be something to the old saying. Healthy things in everyday foods — from yogurt to walnuts — may help boost a kid’s natural defenses. So whether you’re arming your kid for cold and flu season or just aiming for good, year-round health, immune-boosting foods may help.

Foods that may Boost Immunity

  • Yogurt contains helpful germs called probiotics. You may already know that these organisms live in your gut and can improve the way your body uses food. But they’re also important in helping your body fight sickness. What type of yogurt should you get? Look for brands that say they contain live cultures. Just stay away from artificially added sugars, colors, etc.
  • Walnuts. Walnuts have healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for you in lots of ways. Experts believe that omega-3s help your body fight illness. Walnuts are easy to sprinkle into a snack mix or on cereal. This is an especially great way to get natural omegas for vegetarians.
  • Fruits and veggies. To help your immune system, some experts suggests aiming for ones that are high in vitamin C, like citrus fruits, strawberries, bell peppers, broccoli, and sweet potatoes.

Sugar has been shown in many clinical trials to actually suppress immunity. To keep kids well, limit their overall intake of additives, sugar, and find out which foods are allergens. Focus on plenty of fresh veggies, whole fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, and eggs.

2. Maintain your child’s microbiota!

Probiotics are the friendly helpful bacteria that naturally occur in our guts. They protect our digestive tracts, help us to digest food, and shield us from invading bacteria and viruses. When this bacterial balance becomes disrupted in children, we can see changes in a child’s ability to fend off infections. So eat food that have probiotics like yogurt and avoid unnecessary antibiotic use. Urging your pediatrician to write a prescription for an antibiotic whenever your child has a cold, flu, or sore throat is a bad idea. Antibiotics treat only illnesses caused by bacteria, but the majority of childhood illnesses are caused by viruses. Studies show, however, that many pediatricians prescribe antibiotics somewhat reluctantly at the urging of parents who mistakenly think it can’t hurt. In fact, it can. Strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria have flourished as a result, and a simple ear infection is more difficult to cure if it’s caused by stubborn bacteria that don’t respond to standard treatment.

3. Help calm their stress and anxiety.

In today’s fast-paced world, parents are overstressed, children are over-scheduled, and everyone suffers. Children’s bodies have the same response to stress that adults’ do — their cortisol and adrenaline rises. When this elevation in stress hormones is sustained, their immune systems’ response is lowered. It’s important for children to have lots of down time, time for creative play, and simply times of rest.

4. Make sure they’re getting enough good sleep.

Most children are not getting the required amount of sleep. Depending on age, children need between 10 and 14 hours of sleep per night.

5. Remember that fever helps fight infection and infections develop your immunity

Although many parents panic at the first sign of a rise in temperature on the thermometer, it’s important to recognize that fever is only a sign of and not an illness itself. Fever is your child’s body’s natural response to an infection, and without it her body isn’t as effective at fighting the illness. Minor illnesses are part of life, and not every infection can be prevented or treated. When you do have an infection, your immune system builds immunity and memory to that particular virus or bacteria.


  • All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.






The Trick to Making Halloween a Treat

October 16, 2014 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Blog SAS HalloweenBy Shilpa Amin Shah, MD

Autumn is the season of pumpkin-spiced lattes, hayrides and of course, Halloween! People dress in funny or scary costumes and travel neighborhood to neighborhood asking for treats. To keep children safe, some small towns host a Halloween Safe Night at the community center or local school so kids can trick-or-trick indoors. It is cliché, but times have changed and on top of finding the right costume and the perfect treat to distribute, there is an added pressure of making sure your child stays safe on Halloween. I hope these tips help you stay stress free while your child remains safe.


The best part of Halloween is deciding on a costume. Whether you are making or buying your child’s costume, comfort is important, as it will be worn for several hours. Here are tips to keep in mind when choosing the right costume:

  • Avoid high-heeled footwear.
  • Make sure the costume is flame resistant.
  • Fit is important as you don’t want your child tripping over a long dress or cape.
  • Watch out for long dangling pieces of costume that could be tripped over.
  • Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible.
  • If your child is wearing a mask, make sure that it’s comfortable and has adequate eye holes and proper ventilation.

Decorative contact lenses have grown increasingly popular in recent years.  Despite their appeal, do not use decorative contact lenses without an eye examination and a prescription from an eye care professional. While the packaging on decorative lenses often will make claims such as “one size fits all,” or “no need to see an eye specialist,” obtaining decorative contact lenses without a prescription is dangerous. They can cause pain, inflammation and serious eye disorders and infections, which may lead to permanent vision loss.


Children travel door-to-door, say “trick-or-treat,” and then receive something good to eat. When your child is in costume, especially while wearing a wig or mask, it’s easy to lose sight of them. This should be an overall enjoyable experience; just follow these simple steps:

  • Always walk in groups with a trusted adult.
  • Encourage children to remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
  • Remind them not to enter a stranger’s house.
  • Carry flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
  • Light-producing or reflective devices (glow sticks, reflective tape) will make the wearer more noticeable in the dark.
  • Bring bottled water to quench the thirst of active trick-or-treaters.

Consider pinning a piece of paper with your child’s name, address and phone number inside your child’s costume in case you get separated. Teach your child how to dial 9-1-1, or their local emergency number, should they have an emergency or become lost.


Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Although tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items. Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them.

Try healthy or sugar-free alternatives to candy, such as fruit snacks, individual popcorn bags or raisins as giveaways.  Mini bottles of water or juice boxes also are great giveaways.

Some of my favorite non-candy items are glow stick jewelry, stickers, glittery pencils, spider rings, temporary tattoos, play-doh minis or Halloween erasers.

Shilpa Amin-Shah, MD, FACEP, is the Director of the physician recruiting team of EMA emergency medical associates, in St Johns, FL. She received a bachelor’s degree from Rosemont College in Rosemont, Pa., and her medical degree from SUNY Downstate, Brooklyn, N.Y. She completed the Jacobi/Montefiore Emergency Medicine Residency Program at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and served as chief resident. She enjoys spending her free time cooking, traveling and trying new cuisines with her husband and two young children.

Solve Parenting Puzzles with the Behavior Detective

October 13, 2014 by  
Filed under J.Reich

Book Behavior Detectiveby Mommy MD Guides cofounder Jennifer Bright Reich

I think most parents would agree that parenting isn’t easy! Personally, I have found parenting to be such a series of puzzles:

  • Why is my baby crying?
  • Why will my toddler only eat “white” foods?
  • Why does my school-age son ask for a snack four times a day?

Sometimes I’ve felt that I could use a detective to help me figure out what my kids are thinking and feeling. And now I have one!

I met author and parenting expert Ava Parnass, coauthor of the terrific book Behavior Detective Investigates Hungry Feelings not Hungry Tummies: Investigate, Understand, Translate and Transform Your Child’s Behavior.

This book has helped me to look beyond the words to my sons’ feelings regarding food, and it’s also spilled over into other areas of our lives. It encouraged me to ask myself questions like: What can I change about my parenting so my child’s behavior changes?

What I like best of all is that this book is full of tips and strategies, such as 24 tips for healthy feelings and healthy eating.

I recommend this book and Ava’s website http://listentomeplease.com to all parents who could use a little detective help.


The information on MommyMDGuides.com is not intended to replace the diagnosis, treatment, and services of a physician. Always consult your physician or child care expert if you have any questions concerning your family's health. For severe or life-threatening conditions, seek immediate medical attention.