Children’s Eating Habits

Parents Want to Know

Dr. Lynch discusses children’s eating habits… and a great recipe to get your children to eat healthy is included below!
 

Zucchini Muffins

Source: HappyHerbivore.com
 
Ingredients
1½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp salt
½ cup raw sugar
6 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup plant-based milk
1½ cup shredded zucchini
 
Instructions
Preheat oven to 350F. In a large mixing bowl whisk flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt together. In another bowl combine sugar, applesauce, vanilla, lemon zest, zucchini and non-dairy milk. Stir until well combined. Add wet mixture into dry mixture and stir until just barely combined. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and bake 18-25 minutes. If making a bread bake 45 minutes to 1 hour. Check doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center. If toothpick pulls out cleanly the bread is done. (You can also add 1/4 cup chopped dried fruits such as cranberries or raisins, chopped raw walnuts or minced crystalized ginger to this recipe.)

Ingestions, Exposures and Other Holiday Hazards

As we enter into the Holiday season, it is important to remember a few things to keep your children healthy.

 

Exposure

Unfortunately our favorite times of year to gather together with family members fall right in the middle of the peaks of cold and flu season. This year especially, Type A Influenza is circulating widely in our area. Along with that are many common cold viruses and RSV, a virus which causes wheezing in infants and young children. Most of these viruses are airborne illnesses. With that in mind, there are a few things you can do to increase your child’s chances of staying healthy.

1) Don’t take your baby under 2months old to large family gatherings. Aunt Betty might be fine today but have flu tomorrow and could expose your infant without knowing she is a carrier. Unfortunately, many common, relatively mild illnesses for adults could be devastating for a young infant.

 2) Get a flu vaccine and immunize your child over 6months of age.

 3) If you are not feeling well, STAY HOME!! Epidemics are typically caused by well meaning individuals who feel they must go to work or must go to a social function.

 

Ingestions

Most parents are very careful about child proofing the house, but around the holidays, chances are your curious little “George” will have the opportunity to explore many houses other than their own.

1) While you can’t be certain that all of your relatives will have safety plugs, you can ask them to make sure they don’t leave medications within reach. Many adults who don’t have young children will put medicine into daily pill dispensers so they will remember to take it. Unfortunately these are not child proof and look like a fun toy with which to play.

2) Household cleaners pose another common risk. While you may have locks on your cabinets or have them put up high, many homes do not have this safety feature unless there are other young children there. Just make sure your child is not given too much free roaming room.

3) Choking is a common cause of injury in young children. While most of us would not give a toy to a baby that is a choking hazard, we will thoughtlessly hang small ornaments well within a baby’s reach. Try to place smaller ornaments high on the tree and put up a barrier around the tree to keep baby away.

4) Burns-most parents think to put a barrier around fireplaces, but many relatives may not. In addition, they may heat with a wood stove or kerosene heater that can be hot to touch and pose a burn risk for your baby or toddler.

5) New foods- Everybody is always anxious to give babies their first bite of food x-Whether it is Grandma’s sweet potato casserole or a taste of Whipped Cream, it could be a risk for an allergic reaction. Many of the holiday foods we enjoy traditionally have nuts. While most people are perfectly fine with that, children under two should not be exposed to nuts due to an increased likelihood of an allergic reaction.  For the child with a known allergy, let your relatives know to please only feed your child what you have prepared or approved.

 

Other Hazards

When I was a Resident, the ER census always started to increase around 1-2pm on Christmas Day. It seemed as the toys were opened and kids had time to play, accidents began to occur. Make sure if your child gets a new bike or skateboard, that she also gets –AND USES-a helmet and other protective gear like elbow pads. Older children receiving BB guns or other firearms need to be instructed in safety features. They should also be made aware of the importance of protecting younger siblings or cousins who may not be as safety conscious.

The Holiday Season, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, is a time of celebration and fun. We hope you also make it a safe and healthy time!!

 

Healthy Holidays!!

 

Michelle Lynch, MD

Organic vs. Conventional Foods

As we are busy preparing our Thanksgiving Day Feasts, we parents need to be aware of a timely report on organic foods. A new AAP Clinical Report published in the November issue of Pediatrics states that organic foods are no more nutritious than foods produced in the conventional manner. The most important part of feeding our children is to be sure they are offered a healthy well-balanced diet. If finances permit, organic foods can be added to the meals.

Some organic fruits and vegetables have been shown to contain less pesticide residue than conventionally grown produce. Since we do not know what effect long term pesticide residue has on the developing brain and body, we should be cautious. Also, organic meats and poultry are free of nontherapeutic antibiotics so there is a reduced risk of exposure to multi drug exposed bacteria. One resource that might be helpful is the website by Environmental Working Group’s “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticide in Produce”.

Remember as we plan our Thanksgiving Day grocery lists, there appears to be no nutritive advantage to organic foods. There may be other benefits to organic foods. Most importantly, enjoy your Thanksgiving meal with your family in this special time to give thanks.

Elizabeth Chea, MD

Antibiotics – Are They Necessary?

Help, my kid’s nose is running and it’s green like a Martian!

It’s that time of year again, the time of year when the leaves begin to turn, there is coolness in the air in the mornings, homework begins to pile up and the noses start to produce amazing amounts of mucus!! Fall, back to school, ragweed season, cold and flu season-they all mean the same thing: your child is likely going to be coming home with a stuffy, runny nose.  With all of these things going on, you may feel like you are constantly running to the doctor’s office, and you may become frustrated when you hear, “It’s a virus!”  Antibiotics have become increasingly overused over the past several years. And with this overuse comes increased bacterial resistance. This means that when bacteria do infect, it is more difficult to clear the infection. Therefore, judicious use of antibiotics is necessary! I hope to dispel some myths, to help you to know when you need to make an appointment for your child, and to help you know when you need to let it run its course.
 

Myth 1: If it is green, it needs antibiotics.

Truth-Mucus produced by the cells lining the respiratory tract can be any color at all, ranging from clear to green, and may mean nothing more than the body is fighting off an infection. As our immune system gets the message that an “enemy” has invaded, white blood cells are recruited to the sight of the infection. Their job is to kill viruses or bacteria that are foreign to our body. When that happens, mucus becomes thicker and will often turn yellow or green, especially as it sits around in the nose overnight. THIS DOES NOT MEAN IT IS TIME FOR AN ANTIBIOTIC!!
 

MYTH 2: If there is a fever, an antibiotic is necessary.

TRUTH: Most viruses cause at least a low grade fever during the first several days of the illness. Even colds in babies are often associated with fevers of 101-102 degrees. Many viruses are known to cause fever in the 104-105 range-with no associated bacterial infection. While we would certainly want you to call our office if your baby under 3 months has any fever or if your baby or child has a fever of 104-105, usually these are indicative of a healthy immune system doing its job to fight infection. Whenever a fever lasts more than 5 days or if your child has cold symptoms that seem to be getting better then a fever recurs, we need to see her in the office. Just having a fever at the beginning of an illness, however, does not mean an automatic need for antibiotics.
 

Myth 3: If the cough sounds “wet”, an antibiotic is necessary.

Truth: Most viruses produce wet sounding coughs. As the virus invades the respiratory tract, the normal lining cells are sloughed off. The normal function of these cells, the respiratory cilia, is to clear mucus and debris from our respiratory tract and thereby prevent these from entering the lungs. When these cells are infected with a virus, they do not work properly and therefore, mucus builds up. Our body’s next defense for clearing this mucus is to cough.
 
There are many reasons you may want to bring your child in to be seen for a cold. These may include, among others, ear pain, fever, or perceived shortness of breath. Please know that we are always happy to see your child and would want to anytime you are concerned. We will assess his symptoms and decide whether an antibiotic is necessary. Sometimes knowing that nothing more than your love and care is needed is worth your time to come in! After all, chicken soup is still the best treatment for a cold!
 
Michelle Lynch, MD

 

What to do About Sleep Problems

Sleep is important for both children and parents. With inadequate sleep, children can be moody, fatigued, have inattention, poor school performance, increased daytime sleepiness, or even depression.

In current society, our kids have high homework loads, extensive after school activities and parents with increased work demands. These demands are causing our kids to get to bed later and are adversely affecting our kids. In addition, when our kids get to bed later, so do we.

Sleep requirements vary for different kids but typical requirements are:

  • 11-13 hours a day for toddlers
  • 10-11 hours a night for school age children
  • 9-9.5 hours a night for teenagers

There are ways we can help to facilitate a good night’s sleep. It is important to establish a relaxing bedtime routine and a regular bedtime. Children should sleep in a cool, dark, quiet room. The room should have no distractions or activities. That means no TV, computer, video games, or cell phone. Children should have regular afternoon physical activity but not right before bed. They should have no caffeine after lunch. They should also turn off all video stimulation at 7 o’clock to allow their brain to rest before bed. Teenagers should not have cell phones in their room so they cannot be woken by texts or calls.

If your child takes more than 30 minutes to fall asleep or has trouble staying asleep talk to your child’s pediatrician. Also, if you have noticed loud snoring or trouble breathing at night, they could have a medical problem affecting their sleep so call our office so we can evaluate the sleep problem further.

Elizabeth Chea, MD