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Influential women in the history of medicine

We are celebrating some of history’s most influential women in life sciences and their extraordinary achievements and contributions that have saved countless lives and continue to inspire generations of women in medicine to this day.

Metrodora (c. 200-400 AD)

Metrodora, a Greek female physician, wrote On the Diseases and Cures of Women, the oldest medical text known to be written by a woman. Notably, it did not include information on obstetrics, the study of childbirth, which was extremely rare in a time when women were restricted to gynaecology and midwifery. However, Metodora is known to have covered all areas of medicine related to women, developing various therapies and surgical techniques that were revolutionary in her time. She was heavily influenced by the work of Greek physician Hippocrates, and her work has influenced and been referenced by many other physician writers throughout history.

Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910)

British-born Elizabeth Blackwell is best known as the first woman to earn an medical degree (MD) in the US. She was raised in a forward-thinking, socially active family. Her father was a passionate advocate for the abolition of slavery, and her siblings went on to campaign for women’s rights. After facing rejection from several universities, Blackwell was finally accepted to Geneva Medical College in 1847. She received hostility from her fellow students at first, eventually earning their respect and graduating first in her class in 1849. In 1857, she opened the New York Infirmary for Women and Children along with her sister, Dr Emily Blackwell (the third woman to earn an MD) and Dr Marie Zakrzewska. 

Blackwell played an important role in both the United States and the United Kingdom as a social awareness and moral reformer, and promoted education for women in medicine through her inspirational book Pioneer Work in Opening the Medical Profession to Women

Marie Curie (1867-1934)

Polish mathematician and scientist Marie Curie collaborated with her husband, Pierre, to discover two chemical elements in the periodic table: polonium and radium. This important work observed that there was a relationship between radioactivity and the heavy elements of the periodic table, and led to much advancement in medicine. Most notably, it led the way to the development of the x-ray, which allowed internal imagery to be used for diagnosis without the need for open surgery, and radiation therapy for treating cancer. 

During WWI, Marie and her daughter Irene brought mobile X-Ray machines and radiology units to the front line, which allowed more than a million wounded soldiers to be treated.

Curie earned a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903, and yet another in Chemistry in 1911, the first and only woman to have been honoured twice. The Curie Institute in Paris, she founded in 1920, is still a major cancer research facility today.

Gerty Cori (1896-1957)

Another Nobel Prize winner, Gerty Cori, earned the prestigious award for her work in medicine/physiology in 1947. Cori was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in this category. She worked with her husband, Carl Ferdinand Cori, with whom she shared an interest in preclinical science, to prove vital concepts in genetics. Their work led to the discovery that an enzyme deficiency could be responsible for metabolism disorders. They also carried out multiple studies on the action of hormones, focusing on the pituitary gland. Over her lifetime, Gerty won several other awards in recognition for her contributions to science and earned honorary Doctor of Science degrees from Boston University, Smith College, Yale, Columbia and Rochester between 1948 and 1955.

Virginia Apgar (1909-1974)

Virginia Apgar is famous for her invention of the Apgar score, a vital test that was quickly adopted by doctors to test whether newborn babies required urgent medical attention. The Apgar score is responsible for reducing infant mortality rates considerably and is still used today to assess the clinical condition of newborns in the first few minutes of life. Apgar was the first woman to become a full professor at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Gertrude Belle Elion (1918-1999)

American chemist Gertrude “Trudy” Belle Ellion shared a Nobel Prize with George H Hitchins and Sir James Black for innovative methods of rational drug design which focused on understanding the target of the drug rather than simply using trial and error. 

Coming from a scientific background, Elion was inspired to pursue medicine when her grandfather passed away from cancer when she was 15 and became dedicated to discovering a cure for the disease. Using the methods she had designed, Elion and her team developed a staggering 45 patents, including drugs to combat leukemia, herpes, AIDS and treatments to reduce the body’s rejection of foreign tissue in kidney transplants between unrelated donors. 

Rosalind Franklin (1920-1958)

British scientist Rosalind Franklin is best known for her work in understanding the structure of DNA, using x-ray photographs to solve its complexities. Her identification of the double helix has led to huge advances in the field of genetics and modern medicine. Franklin also led pioneering work on the molecular structures of RNA viruses and Polio. 

Franklin had a passion for science from an early age and decided to become a scientist at the age of 15. She fought against her father’s reluctance to let her undertake higher education and graduated from Cambridge University in 1941. She worked for many years as a first-rate scientist and were it not for her untimely death from cancer in 1958, it is highly likely that she would have shared Nobel Prizes in both 1962 and 1982 for work that she had a huge role in during her lifetime.  

Rosalyn Yalow (1921-2011)

America  medical physicist Rosalyn Yalow received the Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine in 1977 for the development of the radioimmunoassays (RIA) technique, which is used to measure peptide hormones in the blood. Yalow’s diagnostic technique was so precise that it was used to scan blood donations for infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis. This was fundamental in ensuring life-saving blood transfusions were safe and effective. Later, the method allowed scientists to prove that type-2 diabetes is caused by the body not being able to use insulin properly.

Patricia Goldman-Rakic (1937-2003)

Neuroscientist Patricia Goldman-Rakic is recognised for her studies of the brain, particularly, the frontal lobes and how it relates to memory. She gained her bachelor’s degree in Neurology from Vassar in 1959, and then her doctorate from the University of California in Developmental Psychology in 1963. Her multidisciplinary research significantly contributed to the understanding of neurological diseases such as dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and her study of dopamine and its effects on the brain is essential to modern day understanding of conditions such as schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Francoise Barré-Sinoussi (born 1947)

Parisian scientist Francoise Barré-Sinoussi is a celebrated for her discovery of HIV as the cause of the immunodeficiency disease, AIDS. In 2008, Barré, along with Luc Montaigner, discovered that the HIV retrovirus attacked lymphocytes, a blood cell that plays an important role in the body’s immune system. Her vital work has helped millions of people who are HIV-positive to live long, healthy lives, and could pave the way for a cure in the near future.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of notable women in medicine. Throughout history, women have made significant contributions to medicine and we have benefitted from many incredible breakthroughs. 

Source

Should my child still wear a mask?

From the American Academy of Pediatrics:

New COVID-19 guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlines when communities and families should wear face masks.

Even in areas where mask guidelines are now eased, we realize some families may find it difficult to decide what’s best for everyone.

For some children—including those too young to be immunized and many with special health care needs—masking is still an important layer of protection.

Who still needs to wear masks?

Universal mask policies are still necessary in many parts of the country. Decisions about masks are made locally and are based on new guidance from the CDC. All three of these conditions should be met before a community relaxes rules on masking:

  • low COVID-19 case rates
  • low hospital admission rates
  • adequate hospital capacity

Make a mask plan that works best for your family

There may be times when your family is around groups of people who are and aren’t wearing masks. Having a family plan about masks will help your child or teen know what to expect.

Parents can help their kids understand that there are many reasons why adults and children may continue wearing face masks in public indoor settings. For example, students, teachers or school staff may choose to continue wearing face masks in school settings, even if not required. Children with special health care needs may rely on masks for protection, so they do not have to miss school or other activities — especially if others around them do not wear masks.

Masking also helps cocoon children who are too young to be vaccinated. Masks can also protect kids who have weakened immune systems that put them at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19. That’s why preschools and childcare centers may have different guidelines about mask wearing indoors. Be sure to check with officials in those places.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers these suggestions for families deciding who should wear a mask. To protect children who are too young to wear a mask (under age 2) or be vaccinated (kids under age 5), the rest of your household may consider wearing masks when in public settings. Masks also are encouraged to be worn if:

  • your child or teen is immunocompromised and may not have a protective immune response to the COVID-19 vaccine, or is at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness
  • your child or teen is not yet immunized
  • other members of the family are at higher risk of severe disease or are not immunized or
  • the community has “high” COVID-19 transmission

Family members who live in the same household do not need to wear masks when they are alone together. But if you are vaccinated and your children are not, you can choose to model mask-wearing behavior in support of your children when you are all out together. For example, everyone can wear masks for a trip to the grocery store.

Remember

The pandemic continues to impact families in many different ways. As a parent, model empathy toward others. Discourage bullying of children who choose to wear a mask to protect themselves and their family even if they are not required.

Pediatricians strongly recommend every eligible child receive the vaccine. New data may suggest waning efficacy of the vaccine in preventing mild infection from the omicron variant in children ages 5 to 11. However, the vaccine remains effective in protecting children from severe illness and hospitalization. And without the added layer of protection from the COVID vaccine for kids under age 5, masks are still an important way to protect our loved ones.

American Heart Association

08Feb

The American Heart Association is a nonprofit organization in the United States that funds cardiovascular medical research, educates the community on healthy living, and fosters appropriate cardiac care in an effort to reduce disability and deaths caused by cardiovascular disease and stroke.

The AHA website has resources for healthy living as well as information on heart-related topics such as cholesterol, heart attacks, and high blood pressure.

American Heart Association Website >

Black History Month: 10 Champions of Children’s Health & Wellness

From The Children’s Foundation:

In celebration of Black History Month, we are reflecting and honoring the contributions Black leaders have made toward the advancement of equality and improvement of children’s health and wellness, both historically and in the present day.

From surgeons and researchers to advocates and activists, featured are ten Black leaders who inspire and motivate us by the important work they have done and continue to do.

Dr. Joy Harden Bradford: Popular psychologist with podcast, Therapy for Black Girls

Dr. Joy is a licensed psychologist and host of the popular mental health podcast, Therapy for Black Girls. Her work focuses on making mental health topics more relevant and accessible for Black women and she delights in using pop culture to illustrate psychological concepts.

“A lot of times when we talk about mental illness or mental health, I think there’s a lot missing from the conversation,” Dr. Joy said. “I don’t think we always do a great job focusing on mental wellness, and realizing that we all have mental health we have to take care of. It doesn’t always have to be about mental illness.”

Francis Cecil Sumner: first African American to receive PhD in Psychology (1895-1954)

Francis Sumner, PhD, is referred to as the “Father of Black Psychology” because he was the first African American to receive a PhD degree in psychology. He was interested in understanding racial bias and supporting educational justice. Sumner is also credited as one of the founders of the psychology department at Howard University, which he chaired from 1928 until his death in 1954.

Daniel Hale Williams: Renowned African American cardiologist (1856-1931)

Dr. Daniel Hale Williams practiced medicine during an era when racism and discrimination prohibited African Americans from being admitted to hospitals and denied black doctors employment on hospital staff. In 1891, Williams opened Provident Hospital, the first medical facility to have an interracial staff.

Dr. Williams is best known as one of the first physicians to successfully complete pericardial surgery in the United States. The operation was done without X-rays, antibiotics, surgical prep-work, or tools of modern surgery. Dr. Williams’ skills placed him and Provident Hospital at the fore-front of one of Chicago’s medical milestones.

Jane Cooke Wright: cancer research pioneer (1919-2013)

Dr. Jane Cooke Wright is known as a cancer research pioneer and her work was crucial to the development of chemotherapy. At the time, chemotherapy was still mostly experimental but her research brought it to the forefront.

In 1967, Dr. Wright became the highest ranked African American woman at a nationally recognized medical institution. In 1971, she became the first woman to be elected president of the New York Cancer Society. After a long and fruitful career of cancer research, Dr. Wright retired in 1987.

Alexa Irene Canady, MD: Neurosurgery at CHM

Alexa Irene Canady, MD, was the first black woman neurosurgeon in the United States, and just a few years later, she rose to the ranks of chief of neurosurgery at Children’s Hospital of Michigan. Canady is now enjoying retirement in Pensacola, FL.

“I tried hard to be accessible to patients and to make them unafraid of me so we could have free and open conversations,” said Dr. Canady. “We also tried to arrange the patient care considering the needs of the families.”

Ruth Ellis, Ruth Ellis Center

Ruth Ellis was one of the oldest openly gay black women in the world when she died at 101 years old in 2000. From 1946-1971, her home in Detroit was a safe space, providing support for black LGBT youth in need.

In 1999, The Ruth Ellis Center was founded to continue this legacy of supporting the LGBTQ community. We are proud to support their work to improve outcomes for children and youth in foster care with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and expression.

Dr. Nkechy Ekere Ezeh, Founder & CEO Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative

In 2010, Dr. Nkechy Ekere Ezeh led a collaborative process involving seven grassroots neighborhood organizations for the purpose of planning and designing an intentional preschool service system in the vulnerable neighborhoods of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Now, the Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative is a model of a continuum of early childhood education services both in Kent County and the State of Michigan. We’re proud to support this program and are inspired by Dr. Ekere Ezeh’s leadership.

Renee Fluker, Founder & CEO Midnight Golf

Renee Fluker of Midnight Golf has been recognized by Crains Detroit as one of the Notable Women in Nonprofits. She founded Midnight Golf after seeing how academic preparedness along with golf opened doors for her son. Over the past 20 years, over 2,500 engaged and committed Midnight Golf Program participants have been admitted to more than 100 colleges and universities across the United States. We are proud to partner with Midnight Golf under Renee’s leadership. Their impact continues to grow!

Herman Gray, MD MBA: Former President & CEO at CHM

Dr. Gray’s history with Children’s Hospital of Michigan dates to the late 1970s, when he served as chief pediatric resident. While with CHM, he also served as vice president of Graduate Medical Education, pediatric residency program director, chief of staff and chief operating officer. Under his leadership, the residency program developed several innovative programs and successfully recruited a significant number of minorities.

A child and family advocate, Dr. Gray has been honored numerous times for his humanitarian efforts related to pediatric health care, particularly with children with special needs. He is currently the chair of the Wayne State University Department of Pediatrics.

Debora Matthews, CEO of The Children’s Center

Debora Matthews was dedicated to volunteer service at The Children’s Center over a 17-year period, where she served as Chair of the Board of Directors and Treasurer. Now, she serves as the President and CEO.

“We want parents to know and understand that they really know what is best for their child,” says Matthews. “At the Children’s Center, we help them along the path of coming up with a plan that they know will work for their family.”

Matthews’ lifelong passion for the children of Detroit inspires us and we are proud to continue supporting the impactful programs at The Children’s Center.

65 Fun Indoor Activities for Kids to Do on a Rainy Day

These sixty-five indoor rainy day activities for kids provide hours of independent play ideas.

Just yesterday the sun was shining and the kids were fully occupied –running around the backyard, climbing trees, splashing through sprinklers, and drawing with chalk.

But today the clouds moved in and there’s nothing but solid rain predicted all day long.

So now what?

It’s easy to keep most kids entertained outside with so many things to do, see and explore. But inside can be a different story with cramped quarters and little space to move.

Not to fear…the sixty-five indoor activities for kids listed below are the perfect remedy to a snowy or rainy day. They generally use common materials found in most family homes and kids ages 6+ should be able to do the majority of these activities independently with little or no help from you.

65 Indoor Activities Kids Can Do Independently on Rainy Days

Click on the links below to see suggestions, resources, and ideas for each activity.

  1. Create an indoor obstacle course
  2. Plan an indoor scavenger hunt
  3. Write letters to family or friends
  4. Design cards for your friends
  5. Make your own play dough
  6. Make play dough sculptures
  7. Make slime
  8. Make a necklace out of beads or pasta
  9. Write in a journal
  10. Choreograph a dance
  11. Plan and perform a play
  12. Play a card game
  13. Play a board game
  14. Have paper airplane races
  15. Make shadow puppets
  16. Line up dominos and watch them fall
  17. Play with shaving cream and food coloring
  18. Create a sculpture from recycled materials
  19. Play string games (Cats in the Cradle)
  20. Build a fort with couch cushions
  21. Create a design with popsicle sticks and glue
  22. Bake a snack
  23. Make ice cream
  24. Make popsicles
  25. Cook a meal
  26. Leave friendly notes or gifts in neighbor’s mailboxes
  27. Do a blind taste test of different foods or drinks
  28. Solve a crossword puzzle
  29. Make an eruption with baking soda and vinegar
  30. Create and bury a time capsule
  31. Paint rocks
  32. Put a puzzle together
  33. Play 20 questions
  34. Create something from a large box
  35. Design your own board game and play it
  36. Build with blocks
  37. Create an art gallery featuring your artwork
  38. Read a book 
  39. Read a magazine
  40. Create a secret code
  41. Play with Legos
  42. Make a collage
  43. Sew something with fabric
  44. Create a giant paper airplane
  45. Play dress up
  46. Do a random act of kindness to a family member
  47. Turn on music and have a dance party
  48. Stack cups and knock them down
  49. Play family
  50. Tell or write a story 
  51. Make sock puppets
  52. Write a poem
  53. Take photos 
  54. Record a video
  55. Play farm
  56. Paint with sponges
  57. Build a structure with playing cards
  58. Use craft supplies to create animals
  59. Draw a picture of a person
  60. Cut out paper snowflakes
  61. Play school
  62. Put on a puppet show
  63. Play zoo
  64. Make something with pipe cleaners
  65. Make bookmarks

Why Healthy Young People Need the COVID Vaccine

From the American Academy of Pediatrics:

Do Healthy Young People Need the COVID-19 Vaccine?

Yes. If your teen or child is healthy but has not had their COVID vaccine, don’t wait.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the COVID-19 vaccine for ages 5 and older. A booster dose is also strongly encouraged for ages 12 and up who got two doses of the mRNA COVID vaccine at least five months ago.

More than 60% of kids ages 12-17 and at least 25% of kids ages 5-11 in the U.S. have had at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose. Younger children still are not eligible for the vaccine.

We can protect one another

The vaccine does more than prevent serious illness in healthy kids. When everyone is vaccinated, they are less likely to get very sick and need hospital care.

The highly contagious virus can be passed to a young child, then to a grandparent, who may be at higher risk of serious illness or death from a COVID-19 infection.

We can stay healthy

Many people think that side effects from a vaccine are not supposed to happen. In fact, side effects are expected. Vaccine-anticipated reactions are a good sign that the body is reacting to the vaccine and that it is working to develop immunity to the virus.

Children and teens are more at risk of serious side effects from the virus than from the vaccine. And we know that kids who get COVID can have long-COVID illness and other ongoing problems.

Trust your pediatrician

The vaccines are safe, and they are the best public health measure to protect people from COVID-19, slow transmission, and reduce the likelihood of new variants emerging. Your pediatrician can answer all your questions about the vaccine and the virus that causes COVID. Your pediatrician knows your child and family and will provide facts about the vaccine for children.

8 Parenting Goals to Start the New Year

From the American Academy of Pediatrics:

Helping to make your family safer, stronger and more harmonious may not require a complete overhaul, but rather a few strategic tweaks.

Here are some concrete and tangible parenting goals you can set for the year ahead. (Kids can ​have fun setting goals, too! See Healthy New Year’s Resolutions for Children and Teens.)

  1. Get everyone vaccinated against COVID & flu. COVID vaccines and flu shots are the best way to protect yourself, your children, and other loved ones from these dangerous viruses circulating together. You can even get COVID and flu vaccines at the same time. Call your pediatrician to make sure your children are up-to-date on all recommended immunizations, and ask any questions you may have. And remind your kids that good hand hygiene habits will help prevent the spread of germs.
  2. Do good digital. What are your kids watching on TV and online? Devote some time to researching age-appropriate media. Make a family media use plan, and try to prevent gaming from becoming an unhealthy habit. Remember that screen time shouldn’t always be alone time. Watch a show together. Play a video game together. Understand what they are doing and be a part of it.
  3. Read together. Set aside some time for reading each day. For younger kids, an easy way is to build it into your child’s bedtime routine. For older children and teens, share a favorite book by taking turns reading aloud or listen to audiobooks together. Reading has so many brain-boosting benefits for kids. Reading together also strengthens that special bond between you and your child.
  4. Get outside more. Spending time outdoors can be a great mood booster, and help families get needed physical activity and vitamin D while enjoying time in nature. Spending time outside also give your child’s eyes a healthy screen-time break.
  5. Keep kids riding rear-facing as long as possible, up to the limits of their car seat. This will include virtually all children under 2 and most children up to age 4. If you are past the car-seat stage of parenting, congrats! If you’re still in the thick of it, check for any new car seat laws that may be going into effect in your state in the new year. Remind anyone who transports your child by car.
  6. Set aside time to cook as a family. Many families enjoy baking treats together during the holidays. Keep the fun going in the new year. Set aside special times to cook together as a family. If your child is a picky eater, this can get them more interested in trying new, healthy foods.
  7. Make a family disaster kit. It’s scary to think how disasters like wildfires, hurricanes or tornados could affect or communities. Being ready is one way to be less afraid. With your children, assemble basic supplies you will need if a disaster strikes. Read here for some useful items to pack.
  8. Practice some self-careWhen was the last time you had a check-up? Go proper rest? Once a baby is no longer a part of your body, it’s easy to forget that tight association between how you care for yourself and how you care for your child’s health. We also know depression and anxiety can happen to both moms and dads during and after pregnancy. If this is you, you are not alone. Help is near.

Healthy New Year’s Resolutions for Children & Teens

From the American Academy of Pediatrics:

The start of a new year is a great time to help your children focus on forming good habits. Making New Year’s resolutions can be a fun way to do this!

As a pediatrician and mom of three kids, I know how important it is to set healthy goals with kids – and to be realistic about those goals. Kids also love having something to work toward. They can have fun keeping track on sticker charts or getting praise or rewards as they reach these goals, depending on their age.

Making resolutions together

I encourage you to sit down with your kids and, together, pick maybe one or two goals they want to set as their New Year’s resolutions. If it’s too overwhelming to think of them as resolutions, then just talk about them as goals and make it fun.

Keep it fun

If your 8-year-old meets that goal of reading every day for a week, maybe they get to pick the family movie during the weekend. Maybe your preschooler can eat more vegetables by drinking them in smoothies​ that the whole family enjoys. Involving kids in the decision-making and making these fun for the entire family can help turn these resolutions into long-lasting habits.

Here are some healthy and positive goal-setting resolution ideas you can suggest to your children, depending on their age:

New Year’s resolution ideas for preschoolers

  • I will try hard to clean up my toys by putting them where they belong.
  • I will let my parents help me brush my teeth twice a day.
  • I will wash my hands after going to the bathroom and before eating.
  • I will try new foods when I can, especially all different colors of vegetables.
  • I will learn how to help clear the table when I am done eating.
  • I will be friendly to all animals. I will learn how to ask the owners if I can pet their animal first.
  • I will always hold a grown-up’s hand whenever I cross the street.
  • I will do my best to be nice to other kids who need a friend or look sad or lonely.
  • I will talk with my parent or another adult I trust when I need help or am scared.

New Year’s resolution ideas for kids (5 to 12 years old)

  • I will drink water every day and healthy beverages like milk wiht meals. I will keep soda and fruit drinks only for special times.
  • I will wear my seat belt every time I get in a car. I’ll sit in the back seat and use a booster seat until I am tall enough to use a lap/shoulder seat belt.
  • I will try to find a physical activity (like playing tag, jumping rope, dancing or riding my bike) or a sport I like and do it at least three times a week!
  • I will take care of my skin by putting on sunscreen and wearing a hat and sunglasses when possible.
  • I will always wear a helmet when riding a bike, scooter or skateboard.
  • I’ll try to be friendly to kids who may have a hard time making friends by talking with them and inviting them to join activities.
  • I will tell an adult about bullying that I see or hear about to do what I can to help keep school safe for everyone.
  • I will keep my personal info safe and not share my name, home address, school name or telephone number online. Also, I’ll never send a picture of myself to someone I chat with on the computer or phone without asking my parent if it is okay.
  • I will try to talk with my parent or a trusted adult when I have a problem or feel stressed.
  • I promise that I’ll do my best to follow our household rules for videogames and internet use.
  • I will try to save time to read for fun.

New Year’s resolution ideas for teens (13 years old and older)

  • I will try to eat two servings of fruit and two servings of vegetables every day. I will drink sodas or fruit drinks only at special times.
  • I will do my best to take care of my body through fun physical activity and eating the right types and amounts of foods.
  • When I have some down time for media, I will try to choose educational, high-quality non-violent TV shows and video games that I enjoy. I will spend only one to two hours each day—at the most— on these activities. I promise to respect out household rules for videogames and internet use.
  • I will try to get 8 to 10 hours of sleep that my body needs each night.
  • I will do what I can to help out in my community. I will give some of my time to help others, working with community groups or others that help people in need. These activities will make me feel better about myself and my community.
  • When I feel angry stressed out, I will take a break and find helpful ways to deal with the stress, such as exercising, reading, writing in a journal or talking about my problem with a parent or friend.
  • When faced with a difficult decision, I will talk about my choices with an adult I can trust.
  • When I notice my friends are struggling, being bullied or making risky choices, I will look for a trusted adult so that we can attempt to find a way to help.
  • I will be careful about whom I choose to date. I will treat the other person with respect and not force them to do something they do not want to do. I will not use violence. I will expect to be treated the same way in return.
  • I will resist peer pressure to try drugs, alcohol or smoking or vaping.
  • I agree not to use a cell phone or text message while driving and to always use a seat belt.

Remember

Talk with your child’s pediatrician about other important habits that can help ensure a happy, healthy and safe new year.

Toy Buying Tips For Babies & Young Children

From the American Academy of Pediatrics:

Kids will be always kids, but their toys have changed―and it can be overwhelming!

We are inundated with all kinds of sensory-stimulating noise and light toys, and digital media-based platforms with child-oriented software and apps.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) report, Selecting Appropriate Toys for Young Children in the Digital Era, offers guidance that can help you navigate the shopping aisles. The best toys are those that match your child’s developmental skills and abilities and encourage the development of new skills.

Get back to basics: traditional toy categories

  • Symbolic/pretend – Pretending through toy characters (such as dolls, animals, and action figures) and toy objects (like food, utensils, cars, planes, and buildings) help children learn to use words and stories to imitate, describe, and cope with real life events and feelings. Imagination is the key here! Imaginary play is a large part of a child’s social and emotional development.
  • Fine-motor/adaptive/manipulative – Children can learn problem solving skills with the “traditional favorites” (like blocks, shapes, puzzles, and trains). These types of toys support fine motor skills and can improve language and brain development. Some of these toys also build early math skills, as well.
  • Art – High quality does not mean expensive. Things as simple as cardboard boxes or pads of paper still make little ones happy. Coloring books, crayons, markers, clay, stickers all make great gifts, build creativity, and help improve fine motor skills.
  • Language/concepts – Many traditional toys are now available in electronic versions, while new toys often are built to substitute for human interaction. For example, a toy bear that reads a story aloud or a board game that is now available as an app with virtual players. But actual human interactions are essential for a child’s growth and development. Digital toys should never take the place of real, face-to-face play. Traditional card games and board games (not the video game or app versions) and even toy letters and books create opportunities for you and your child to interact and have fun together.
  • Gross motor/physical – Toys that include physical activity (like playing with balls, push and pull toys, ride-on toys, and tricycles) help physical development and can improve self-regulation and peer-interaction because of the negotiations around rules that typically take place when kids play together.

Toy shopping reminders

  • Use caution when you see “educational” on the label. The truth is most tablets, computer games, and apps advertised as “educational” really aren’t. Most “educational” apps target memory skills, such as ABCs and shapes. These skills are only one part of school readiness. The skills young children really need to learn for success in school (and life) include impulse control, managing emotions, and creative, flexible thinking. These are best learned through unstructured and social play with family and friends. Research suggests tablet-based toys may actually delay social development for infants and young children, because they don’t include real-life facial expressions, gestures, and vocalizations.
  • Be aware of the potential for toys to promote race or gender-based stereotypes. Just as toys have changed over time, so have our expectations of “what girls do” and “what boys do.” All children need the opportunity to explore different gender roles and different styles of play. Offer children’s books or puzzles showing men and women in non-stereotypical and diverse gender roles (like stay-at-home dads, working moms, male nurses, and female police officers). Have a wide range of toys for your child to choose from―including baby dolls, toy vehicles, action figures, and blocks. See Gender Identity Development in Children.
  • Limit video game and computer game use. Total screen time, including television and computer use, should be less than 1 hour per day for children 2 years or older and avoided for those younger than 2 years of age. Children younger than 5 years should only be allowed to play with developmentally appropriate computer or video games, ideally together with a parent or caregiver. See Healthy Digital Media Use Habits for Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers.
Toy safety considerations
Government regulations, improved safety standards for the manufacture and use of toys, and product testing have made most toys safe when used appropriately for the recommended ages and stages of development. However, unsafe toys can still be found.In determining toy safety, the features of the toy should be considered as well as how the toy might be used or abused, and the amount of supervision or help needed for safe play. Avoid toys with button batteries or high-powered magnets.SaferProducts.gov allows anyone to report toy safety concerns.Recalls.gov provides information about toy safety recalls.

Remember

A certain toy is not necessary for your child to reach his or her next developmental milestone. There is no one app that will teach your child to read. While it’s easy to fall victim to the marketing, you are your child’s best teacher.

COVID-19 Guidance for Ages 5-11

The nation’s vaccine campaign will also expand in the coming weeks if the FDA greenlights Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines for children ages 5 to 11

We are staying informed and when the COVID-19 Vaccine is approved by the FDA for the ages of 5-11, we will have the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine available for your child.

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