Children's Health

Huge Fisher Price Toy Recall

October 1, 2010

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission and toy manufacturer Fisher Price are recalling more than 10,000,000 toys, including Fisher Price Trikes and Tough Trikes toddler tricycles and Healthy Care, Easy Clean, and Close to Me high chairs.

Apparently, children using these toys can injure themselves by falling onto prodruding parts, and small parts used on them are choking hazards as well. Learn more about the recall from ABC News.

Pertussis: When a Cough is NOT Just a Cough

July 5, 2010

Sick childWith the recent surge in whooping cough cases, we asked local pediatrician and frequent Marin Mommies contributor Dr. Steven Martel to answer some questions our readers had about this potentially serious illness.

The re-emergence of pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, has garnered much media attention due to the recent epidemic.

Pertussis is a highly contagious, vaccine preventable disease caused by a particular bacterium. The disease spreads via respiratory droplets which result from sneezing or coughing onto surfaces. The disease usually begins with symptoms that are similar to the common cold, particularly runny nose and fever. Over the course of 7–10 days the affected person develops a spasmodic, difficult to control cough which can make it hard to breathe. The infection’s characteristic “whoop” cough is responsible for its common name. However, the “whooping” sound is uncommon in infants. The cough usually lasts for about 6 weeks.

How Do I Gain Cooperation from My Toddler?

June 8, 2010

Marin Mommies presents a guest article by child behavior specialist and Montessori teacher Terese Bradshaw.

Does this sound familiar? Mom has told 2-1/2 year old, Sarah not to run out into the street, but she does it anyway. Mom firmly tells her “No”, but Sarah just gives Mom that devilish little look that seems to say “You can’t make me” and tries to run away. What’s a parent to do? Some parents might believe punishment, like a time-out, slap on the hand or spanking would solve the problem. They believe that these punitive measures would teach the child a lesson. Other parents might believe that explaining to the child the dangers of the road will prevent them from running out into the street. None of these methods are very effective or helpful with a toddler. I am often asked “How do I get my toddler to stop a dangerous behavior like running out in the street or taking off in the store?” First we must understand the world from our child’s perspective. Renowned parenting author Jane Nelsen, of the Positive Discipline series of books, shares her insight into the world of the young child:

Choosing Healthy Snacks For Your Kids

May 18, 2010

Help make your kids' snacking a nutritionally smart strategy! Nutritionist Amber Wilson, MS, RD, offers some tips on healthy alternatives to junk food.

Michelle Obama and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver have embarked on a mission to improve the health of our children. While we wait for a nutrition makeover of school lunches, there’s no better time to look at what our kids are eating outside of school. According to a study published in the March issue of Health Affairs, snacking accounts for 27 percent of children’s daily calories. The 30,000 children surveyed in the study snacked an average of three times per day on candy, chips and other junk food, and this unhealthy snacking added almost 600 calories each day to the children’s diets. But all it takes is a little bit of planning and creativity to make snack time both healthy and fun for your kids.

Snacking, when done smartly, is a good strategy for children because they have small stomachs and are unable to eat large meals at one time. Healthy snacks give kids energy between meals, and also help to focus attention and regulate mood. Focus on fruits and vegetables, lean protein and whole grains when choosing snacks for your kids and limit their consumption of sugary, high-fat junk food. Look through your pantry and throw out the cookies, chips, candy and soda.

Helping Your High-Needs, Colic, and Reflux Baby Sleep

May 12, 2010

Marin Mommies presents another guest article by Marin parent coach, infant/toddler sleep researcher, and family therapist Angelique Millette. She works throughout the Bay Area and across the country supporting families and helping them meet life's challenges. You can learn more about her and her services at

So your baby has colic or reflux. Or your baby fights sleep, is fussy, and high-needs. You are not alone! Research shows that early on, up to 25 to 35% of babies may have a more difficult time with sleeping. Possible reasons include digestive issues like reflux, when babies food may come back up just as they are going down to sleep or as they are sleeping. Also, temperament has been shown to play a role in how babies settle to sleep. Difficult-to-soothe or high-needs babies may need a lot more parent help to go from active play or alert time to sleep time. These babies may be very curious and alert and may simply need more "wind down" time in order to fall asleep. And for some babies, they may have more difficulty regulating sleep. These can be colic babies or colic/reflux babies but also some premature babies and babies who may have had medical interventions or procedures at/around birth or early postpartum. For these babies, sleep may present a real challenge. Because sleep cycles and patterns develop over time and with parents help, these babies are going to need a lot more help and time to regulate settling to sleep and sleep patterns.

New Feature: Ask the Pediatrician

February 24, 2010

Got a question about children's health? Ask the pediatrician in our new feature here on Marin Mommies! Submit your medical questions to us via email and we'll choose some every month to be answered by our frequent guest contributors, pediatricians Dr. Steven Martel and Dr. Oded Herbsman.

Drs. Martel and Herbsman are the founders of Child’s Light Pediatrics, Inc., an innovative, house-call based pediatric practice that serves Marin County and San Francisco. For more information, please visit them at

Parents Magazine Product and Toy Recalls 2009

December 23, 2009

Parents magazine’s children’s toy and product recalls finder for 2009 is now available online. If you want to find out if your children’s toys and other items are safe, check out their toy and product recall finder for the most current and up to date information. Recall categories include books, toys, jewelry, clothing, sporting goods, furniture, car seats, bottles, and feeding utensils. It’s very informative and a good way to make sure that your kid’s or baby’s items are safe. Parents magazine recalls 2009.

Tips on Preventing Susceptibility to H1N1 Flu

December 7, 2009

Teeth brushingGuest contributor and Marin dentist Dr. Steven McConnell gives us some tips on how good oral hygiene can help prevent the flu and other illnesses this winter.

Teaching your kids to wash their hands frequently during flu season is a good idea, but brushing their teeth correctly could do more to prevent their actually coming down with a virus. Just as with adults, gum disease can lead to illness in other parts of the body, including flu, pneumonia, chronic colds, sinusitis, and ear infections.

Dr. McConnell shares his tips for teaching your kids flu-preventing oral hygiene techniques that parents can also use for their own benefit:

Free Baby Sleep/Breastfeeding Event at the Parent's Center

October 28, 2009

sleeping babyJoin The Parents Center, Heller's for Children, and the Novato Mother's Club for a free infant/toddler sleep and breastfeeding panel on Wednesday, October 28 from 7–9 pm and features a panel discussion with infant/child sleep consultant (and frequent Marin Mommies contributor) Angelique Millette and lactation consultant Margie King. A brief lecture will be followed by question and answer session. Best of all, this event is free to the public. RSVP to

The Parents Center is located inside the Heller's store at 514 Fourth Street (on the east side of 101) in San Rafael. Located in Heller's loft area (in space donated by Heller's), the Parents Center is a comfortable, welcoming place that offers support and education for new and expectant parents. Moms are invited to come in, feed and weigh baby, have a cup of tea and relax. There's even a special rocker for breastfeeding moms with an optional privacy screen. There is a library of books and dvds for loan, and classes, workshops, and programs are also offered. For more information, visit

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