You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out!

The Christmas season is here, and that can mean a lot of toys under the tree.  Here are 10 tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics to help you choose safe and appropriate toys for your child.

Eva Alessia, D.O.

Eva Alessia, D.O.

Read the label.  Warning labels give important information about how to use a toy and what ages the toy is safe for.  Be sure to show your child how to use the toy the right way.

Think LARGE.  Make sure all toys and parts are larger than your child’s mouth to prevent choking.

Avoid toys that shoot objects into the air.  They can cause serious eye injuries or choking.

Avoid toys that are loud to prevent damage to your child’s hearing.

Look for stuffed toys that are well made.  Make sure all the parts are on tight and seams and edges are secure. It should also be machine washable.  Take off any loose ribbons or strings to avoid strangulation.  Avoid toys that have small bean-like pellets or stuffing that can cause choking or suffocation if

Buy plastic toys that are sturdy. Toys made from thin plastic may break easily.

Avoid toys with toxic materials that could cause poisoning. Make sure the label says “nontoxic.”

Avoid hobby kits and chemistry sets for any child younger than 12 years.  They can cause fires or explosions and may contain dangerous chemicals.  Make sure your older child knows how to safely handle these kinds of toys.

Electric toys should be “UL Approved.”  Check the label to be sure.

Be careful when buying crib toys. Strings or wires that hang in a crib should be kept short to avoid strangulation.  Crib toys should be removed as soon as your child can push up on his hands and knees

Here are some additional resources to check out regarding toy safety.

Happy Holidays!

Consumer Product Safety Commission

Consumer Product Safety Commission Recalls



Tis the Season for Flu

It’s flu season!  That means runny noses, body aches, fevers/chills, cough for seven to 10 days…ick!  Lucky for you, influenza shots are now available so you can be armed and ready for the next few months.  A lot of people wonder whether or not they should get the flu shot.  Well, let me share some statistics with […]

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Boys to Men

Happy back to school!  Many schools have a program or a “talk” on puberty for both boys and girls.  However, many families still have a lot of questions. Puberty starts at 12 years old on average. It can start as early as age nine. T here are differences among ethnic groups, with African American males […]

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All Ears

One of the more common childhood complaints we get in clinic has to do with ear pain. In fact, when I was little and dreamed about being a pediatrician, I always pictured myself treating children’s ear infections! That dream worked out pretty well for me!   At some point of your child’s life, there’s a […]

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The Scoop on Poop

Before you became a parent, you probably never thought that you would fixate on the quality of another individual’s poop. Yet, here you are: My child’s poop is blue. My baby has loose, like diarrhea, poops. My toddler is passing poop that looks like balls. Is this ok? A newborn’s poop is called “meconium”: it […]

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Vrinda Kumar, M.D.

Vrinda Kumar, M.D.

Teething: Can you handle the tooth?

The teething process generally begins between four to eight months of age.  Some babies will start earlier, and some babies won’t get their first tooth until after a year old. Usually (but not always), the two bottom middle teeth come first, then the two upper middle teeth, then the teeth to the side of those, and then finally the teeth in the back. By the age of two, most kids will have all 20 of their baby teeth!

It is normal for the teeth to not come in straight, and it is normal for those first few teeth to have wide gaps in between them.  Don’t worry!  They usually straighten themselves out as the other teeth start coming in.

Symptoms of teething:

  • drooling
  • gum swelling/redness
  • fussiness
  • difficulty sleeping
  • solid food aversion
  • biting and chewing everything in sight!

Some babies may also have:

  • low grade fevers (<101 degrees F)
  • loose stools (they can be green and slimy from all that extra drool making its way through the gut)
  • diaper rash (from all those loose stools)
  • ear pain (it is normal for teething babies to pull on their ears because in babies, tooth pain is felt in the ears)

If your child has high fevers >101 F, signs of dehydration (not a lot of wet diapers, not a lot of drooling, no tears when crying), or other symptoms that are persistent, you should call your doctor.

Things you can try to help your teething baby deal with the pain:

  • give your child something clean and safe to chew on (firm teething toys or a cold clean washcloth, for example)
  • try giving your baby cold foods if he/she is eating solidsteething
  • Orajel naturals (The active ingredient Benzocaine in regular Orajel has some rare but serious side effects: the benzocaine, if swallowed, can numb a child’s airway cause them to potentially choke on their saliva, and it can also affect the hemoglobin in your child’s red blood cells, a condition called methemoglobinemia)
  • teething tablets and teething gels are available, and are generally safe if used as directed
  • for those nights where nothing else seems to help, an occasional dose of Tylenol

Teething necklaces with amber beads are available as alternative to medication. Even though some parents say they work, it makes me very nervous to have a choking hazard hanging around a child’s neck, and I do not generally recommend it.

I hope this helps. And remember your child won’t teethe forever, so hang in there!

Dispelling Vaccine Myths

As pediatricians, one of the common topics of discussion we face is in regards to vaccinations. As a group, Dr. Ababio, Dr. Kumar, Dr. Alessia, Dr. Granoff and I whole-heartedly believe in the necessity, safety and effectiveness of vaccines. We want you as parents to have reliable, scientific, unbiased and ACCURATE information about how to […]

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