What Foods Will Keep Your Family Healthy All Winter??

Chicken soup for the common coldThis winter, a whopping 20 percent of Americans will come down with a bad case of the flu. But you don’t have to be one of them…and neither does anyone else in your family! Research shows that, in addition to getting your flu shot, eating certain foods can help you avoid the flu — as well as colds and illness in general. Here’s what to add to your grocery cart.


Probiotics, the healthy bacteria in yogurt, literally crowds out invading bad bacteria that’s trying to get into your system. That’s why, in one study, people who consumed a yogurt drink that contained Lactobacillus reuteri over an 80-day period took 33 percent fewer sick days. To make sure you’re getting a good dose of probiotics, look for the words “live bacteria” and “active cultures” on the label. Bonus: Yogurt is rich in calcium, which is essential for strong, healthy teeth, and most kids love it!


This favorite flavor-booster contains allicin, a compound that fights off bacteria. According to a large British study, people who downed a daily garlic capsule for three winter months were two-thirds less likely to catch a cold. If they did get sick, they suffered for about four fewer days. Adding cooked garlic to your food might be even more effective.


According to a Harvard study, drinking black or green tea can rev up your immune system’s T cells so they destroy bacteria more quickly. And the antioxidants in green tea are great for your teeth. A large Japanese study found that every cup reduces gum inflammation.


Omega-3 fatty acids, found in this flavorful fish, help cells remove toxins and take in nutrients more efficiently. And a recent study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that people who consumed the most omega-3s decreased their risk of gum disease by 22 percent.

Chicken Soup

Don’t wait until someone in your family is sick to serve up some soup. Cysteine, an amino acid released from chicken during cooking, helps calm the usual over-the-top response your immune system has to cold germs that causes many of the worst symptoms from a stuffed-up nose to a wracking cough. And it doesn’t have to be homemade. A University of Nebraska study published in Chest found that most supermarket brands prevented and alleviated cold symptoms just as effectively. On a cold winter day, think hot bowl of soup.

Child Health & Safety News Roundup: 02-18-2013 to 02-24-2013

twitter thumbWelcome to Pediatric Safety’s weekly “Child Health & Safety News Roundup”- a recap of the past week’s child health and safety news headlines from around the world.

Each day we use Twitter to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and other caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we may miss something, but we think overall we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed. But for our friends and colleagues who are not on Twitter (or who are but may have missed something), we offer you a recap of the past week’s top 20 events & stories.

PedSafe Headline of the Week:

Wireless Amber Alert leads to safe return of child http://t.co/NXWe66pIh2
…what happens when we work together to save kids’ lives

How to Talk to Your Kids About…Sex

How do you talk to your kidsFor most parents, the thought of having “the talk” makes our hands sweaty and our minds go blank. We are afraid of saying the wrong thing or saying too much or too little.

There is not a set script. However, here are some guiding principles for you to consider when you sit down to talk to your children about sex.

Set a foundation.

Establish open lines of communication with our children early. They need to trust us and know they can come to us with any and all questions they might have about any topic. Respect their questions, don’t laugh, don’t belittle, and don’t avoid conversation topics.

Talking won’t make them “do it”

Research shows that teens who have talked to their parents about sex are more likely to wait longer to begin being sexually active and are more likely to use contraception.

Don’t be the last to talk.

We might not like it, but peers, the internet, music, and TV are talking to our children about this topic. If we don’t speak up and teach our children, they will listen to all the other voices that are louder than ours. Be sure your voice is heard and don’t be the last one to talk. It is important we talk to our children when they are young, and if possible, have both parents present.

Be Anatomically Correct

Using silly terms for body parts will not make your conversation less awkward. Do your children a favor and talk about body parts using their real names.

Know Your Stuff

It is really hard to have a conversation when you don’t know very much about the topic. Learn the terms so you know how to explain the concepts.

Review the Material

Many schools offer maturation and sex-education to our children in the 5th and 6th grades respectively. Do you know what your children are going to be learning? Go to school and review the curriculum to make sure they are not being taught information you disagree with. Talk to your children before they attend these school classes. It will make it less awkward for both of you and safeguard your children from being embarrassed or blindsided with the information.

Basic Components to Include

  • Anatomy and reproduction.
  • Intercourse
  • Pregnancy
  • Other forms of sexual behavior
  • Abstinence and Birth Control
  • Self Image including the messages that dress and clothing sends to others
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases
  • Emotional aspects of sex
  • Religious Views on Sexual Activity


There is nothing wrong with rehearsing the conversation before it starts. Think through what questions your child might ask and practice your answers.

Listen (…don’t just lecture)

Talk to your kids about sexYour children have probably heard more about this topic than you think. They might not know what all the vocabulary means, but the words are out there. During the conversation, listen, and let them tell you what they know. It will give you a good idea of how to address the topic and what you should say.

This conversation will be different with each child. But if you can keep the above in mind, it will really help as you talk to your children about this difficult subject.

Child Health & Safety News Roundup: 02-11-2013 to 02-17-2013

twitter thumbWelcome to Pediatric Safety’s weekly “Child Health & Safety News Roundup”- a recap of the past week’s child health and safety news headlines from around the world.

Each day we use Twitter to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and other caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we may miss something, but we think overall we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed. But for our friends and colleagues who are not on Twitter (or who are but may have missed something), we offer you a recap of the past week’s top 10 events & stories.

PedSafe Headline of the Week:

Kik – What It Is and What Parents Need to Know: http://t.co/j3l7jmrK

Feb 23rd: AMC’s Sensory Friendly Film is Escape from Planet Earth

Sensory Friendly Films logoOnce a month, AMC Entertainment (AMC) and the Autism Society have teamed up to bring families affected by autism and with other special needs ”Sensory Friendly Movie Screenings“ – a wonderful opportunity to enjoy their favorite “family-friendly” films in a safe and accepting environment.

The movie auditoriums will have their lights turned up and the sound turned down. Families will be able to bring in snacks to match their child’s dietary needs (i.e. gluten-free, casein-free, etc.), there are no advertisements or previews before the movie and it’s totally acceptable to get up and dance, walk, shout, talk to each other…and even sing – in other words, AMC’s “Silence is Golden®” policy will not be enforced during movie screenings unless the safety of the audience is questioned.

Does it make a difference? Absolutely! Imagine …no need to shhhhh your child. No angry stares from other movie goers. Many parents think twice before bringing a child to a movie theater. Add to that your child’s special needs and it can easily become cause for parentalEscape from Planet Earth panic. But on this one day a month, for this one screening, everyone is there to relax and have a good time, everyone expects to be surrounded by kids – with and without special needs – and the movie theater policy becomes “Tolerance is Golden”.

On Saturday February 23rd at 10am local time, Escape from Planet Earth will be screened as part of the Autism Society “Sensory Friendly Movie Screenings” program. Tickets are $4 to $6 depending on the location. To find a theatre near you, here is a list of AMC theatres nationwide participating in this fabulous program (note: to access list, please scroll to the bottom of the page).

Coming March 30th: The Croods 2-D


Editor’s note: Although Escape from Planet Earth has been chosen by the Autism Society as this month’s Sensory Friendly screening, we do want parents to know that it is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for action and some mild rude humor. As always, please check the IMDB Parent’s Guide for a more detailed description of this film to determine if it is right for you and your child.

Getting Braces: How to Find an Orthodontist You Can Trust

Beautiful braces smileFirst things first: I hope you had a wonderful holiday. My 9-year-old daughter, Kate, believes in Santa, so the last couple of weeks of 2011 were filled with wonderful anticipation (“Will he bring me a Harry Potter wand?”) and good behavior (the Santa card is better than any time-out chair). Speaking of magical creatures that leave presents, Kate is also fond of her visits from the tooth fairy. And that brings me to what I’d love to share with you today.

I wasn’t prepared for what happened at her pediatric dentist’s office recently during a routine cleaning. Her dentist checked the teeth for cavities (none – yay!), put on a couple of sealants, told her she needs to floss a little better (we’re working on that – thanks, Disney Princess Flossers!), and then the surprise: She handed me a couple of business cards for local orthodontists. I must have stood there with my mouth wide open, but words weren’t coming out. What was in my head: My kid has lots of baby teeth left! Why on Earth would she need to see an orthodontist now? The dentist suggested that Kate get a consultation before her next visit – and then got called away for an emergency.

I’m sure I could have phoned the dentist the next day to follow up, but I hit the Web instead. And I found out that the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that kids see an orthodontist by age 7 to check for crowded teeth or misaligned bites. The crowded-teeth issue actually rang a bell; I remember from previous visits that Kate’s dentist suspected that her mouth might be too small for her big-kid chompers. But I was still feeling uneasy because I’ve heard from my friends who have older kids that you can go to three orthodontists and get three different opinions. So I decided to call Ted Sherwin, a family dentist in Orange, Va., and spokesman for the Academy of General Dentistry, for some straight answers.

Sherwin acknowledged that it can be difficult for parents to reconcile the treatment recommendations from various orthodontists, but he also pointed out: “There is more than one path to successful results.” Hmm. Sherwin added that an orthodontist recommendation from a family dentist you trust is golden. And you don’t have to stop there. After a little more digging, I found that HealthGrades.com, an independent website, allows patients to comment on the medical or dental care they receive from a particular practitioner.

As it turned out, one of the business cards Kate’s dentist handed me was for an orthodontist that my friend had also recommended. With two thumbs up, it seemed smart to try him first. We’ve got an appointment in a few weeks.

In the meantime, Kate is eagerly anticipating another visit from the tooth fairy. “Do you think that instead of giving me money, she can get Daniel Radcliffe to call me?” asked Kate. My response: “No, sweetie, the tooth fairy doesn’t take special requests.”