Tag Archives: pediatrician

A Pediatrician’s “Back to School” Checklist

AdobeStock_52157424As your child is starting a new school year, here are some important things to think about for a smooth and healthy transition for the whole family.

Check with your pediatrician to make sure your child is all caught up on required immunizations and that he or she has had a routine check-up with your pediatrician within the past year.

Notify your school of any medical conditions or special needs that your child may have. Find out if the school requires any forms to be filled out by your pediatrician if your child does require specific accommodations for a medical condition.

Get organized and informed. Ask your child’s teachers if he or she will need any special school supplies. Find out if there are any ways for you to volunteer or get involved in school events. Children often do much better in school when their parents or caregivers get to know their teachers and are involved in school activities.

Re-establish a healthy sleep schedule. Kids often have slightly altered sleep schedules during the summer months due to vacation and other factors. If your children have gotten used to a later bedtime during the summer, gradually move bedtime up by 30 minutes every few nights for 1-2 weeks in anticipation of an earlier bedtime during the school year.

Discuss how you will handle meals during the busy school year. Decide if your child will be eating breakfast and/or lunch that is provided by the school or if you will preparing those meals from home. If your child will be eating meals at school, find out what kind of healthy foods are available. Notify your school of any food allergies that your child may have. Make a list of easy to prepare, healthy snacks that you can have on hand for a quick snack after your child returns home from a busy school day. Some examples of healthy snacks that require little preparation include carrots and hummus, sliced apples and peanut butter, popcorn (lightly salted with no butter), or low-fat cheese and cut fruit.

Make plans for after school arrangements and transportation for your child. Decide if your child will need to be in an afterschool program or look into other after school child care options if required. Plan on carpool arrangements if needed.

Plan to be active! Choose 1-2 extracurricular activities that your child will enjoy participating in during the school year. Encourage your child to find something they will look forward to and feel passionate about. Avoid overscheduling too many commitments during the year.

Help your child work out back-to-school jitters with an open conversation. Talk to your child about how they are feeling about starting the new year, what to expect, and back-to-school safety. Read about how to manage potential concerns such as bullying, stress and burnout, and peer pressure. If you have questions about how to recognize or handle any of these issues, ask your pediatrician.

NYULMC-2011_2CP_RGB_300dpiFrom the Real Experts at NYU Langone Medical Center:

Madhavi Kapoor, MD, is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone and a pediatrician at NYU Langone at Trinity.


It’s OK to Be Scared: Tips on Helping Your Child Brave a Vaccine



It is natural for children as they get older and understand more to be afraid of shots—it’s uncomfortable to receive vaccines. Here are some tips to help your little one get through vaccines at well visits:

1. Try to stay calm yourself. Even though it is upsetting to watch your little one cry, as an adult you can understand that they are getting vaccines to keep them healthy. Your child will look to you for your reaction; if you are calm and reassuring they will handle things better. Of course, once the shots are over, cuddle your little one and empathize with older children that you know it can be painful. You can also reward them with a small toy or sticker afterwards for doing a good job.

2. Don’t say things like “that mean doctor” or “that bad doctor.” While shots are uncomfortable, the doctor or nurse doesn’t want to make your child cry either. Both you and your pediatrician are doing your jobs to keep your child healthy. For older kids, explain that shots do hurt and you don’t like getting them either, but they are important to keep your body healthy. You can say things like, “Thank you Nurse Stephanie for helping keep Sarah healthy.”

3. Be honest. If your child asks if they are getting shots, tell them the truth. You can tell them it will hurt a little bit and afterwards they will get a small prize. It is important not to lie or your child will not trust the doctor at the next visit. If you know your child will be anxious, schedule the appointment early in the day to get it over with. That way they can move on and enjoy their day.

4. It’s okay to cry. Shots hurt and it’s okay for your little one (or big one) to be scared and cry. If a child is upset, I will often tell them it’s okay to scream even before the vaccines start; the screaming often distracts them during the actual vaccine. Some older kids like to roar like a lion during the shots, which can work too.

5. Give them a choice. While most pediatricians have child-friendly Band-Aids, if you think your child will benefit from having chosen their own Band-Aids beforehand this can be helpful. This allows your child to feel some level of control and ownership over the process.

6. Provide a distraction. This works best for younger children. Sing songs or play a favorite video. If your child has a lovey or a favorite toy, bring that along. Distraction can work for older children as well. Older kids can be told to cough during the vaccines or imagine they are blowing out birthday candles. If you want to get fancy, you can bring along a pinwheel for your child to blow during the vaccines.

7.  Play doctor at home. Toddlers love to pretend play. Before the visit invest in a doctor’s kit and have them give you a “check-up.” When you get a shot in this pretend visit say “ouch” and move on from it. You can say thank you doctor for keeping me healthy. Children often work out anxieties and fears through play so this can be very helpful.

NYULMC-2011_2CP_RGB_300dpiFrom the Real Experts at NYU Langone Medical Center:

Deena N. Blanchard, MD, MPH, is a clinical instructor in the Department of Pediatrics at NYU Langone Medical Center and a partner at Premier Pediatrics.

What You Need to Know About Childhood Immunizations

Immunization Record concept of vaccinationEach year, particularly before children go back to school, parents will inquire about immunization schedules and often ask about their safety. Many of the “safety” related questions are based on popular myths. The following is a Q&A with Norma Villanueva, M.D., M.P.H., network chief of Child and Adolescent Health at Lutheran Family Health Centers.

What are your general thoughts on vaccinations? 

There are so many diseases and conditions that we are all at risk for in our lives. The vaccines we have available to us have been proven to work and can prevent a number of serious childhood diseases. More importantly, they save lives.

What would you tell parents about the HPV vaccine? 
New vaccines are developed every few years and it’s important to speak to your pediatrician about the latest developments. For instance, the HPV vaccine will protect your child from one of the most common sexually-transmitted infections in the U.S., the human papillomavirus. HPV is a horrible virus that can cause cervical cancer and many other types of cancer. Both boys and girls over the age of eight should receive the vaccine.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), HPV is so common that nearly all sexually-active men and women will get at least one type of HPV at some point in their lives, and most people never know that they have been infected and may give HPV to a partner without knowing it.

Does everyone understand the consequences and risks of not vaccinating their children? 
No. Influenza is a good example of this where children and older adults, especially those with chronic diseases like asthma, are most at risk. Many people think it’s a normal seasonal illness and something everyone has to deal with and accept. This is not true. Flu is serious and kills hundreds of thousands of people worldwide each year. Why would you take that risk?

Are vaccines safe? 
Yes. Vaccines are safe, undergo rigorous safety testing, and are continually monitored by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). I sincerely recommend that parents follow their pediatricians’ advice and the vaccination schedules recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians, and the CDC. Vaccine-preventable diseases are extremely serious and cause severe debilitation, cancer, and death. It’s not a chance you want to take with a child’s life.

What would you tell parents who are worried or have more questions? 

I’d recommend that they review the following resources: The World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control, American Academy of Family Physicians, the NYC Department of Mental Health and Hygiene, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. These organizations have created a number of fact sheets and frequently asked questions for anyone with concerns about childhood immunizations and their impacts.

NYULMC-2011_2CP_RGB_300dpiFrom the Real Experts at NYU Langone Medical Center:

Pediatrician Norma Villanueva, MD, MPH, is network chief of child and adolescent health and regional director of medical education at Lutheran Family Health Centers in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. She received her medical degree from Yeshiva University, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and a master’s degree in public health from the Harvard School of Public Health.

*Beginning in January 2015, a clinical collaboration between Lutheran HealthCare and NYU Langone Medical Center offers a broad array of pediatric specialty services at Lutheran’s main campus in Sunset Park, and give patients access to complex subspecialty care at NYU Langone, if required. NYU Langone specialty services include pediatric cardiology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, nephrology, pulmonology, and Rusk pediatric rehabilitation. These increased services build upon Lutheran’s recognized pediatric programs, including the largest school-based health center program in the state, and its Pediatric Epilepsy Center of Excellence, also in partnership with NYU Langone.