Children's Health

Lead Poisoning: Is Your Child at Risk?

December 7, 2007

Marin Mommies is pleased to present the second in a series of guest posts by pediatricians Dr. Steven Martel and Dr. Oded Herbsman. Drs. Herbsman and Martel are the founders of Child’s Light Pediatrics, Inc., an innovative, house-call based pediatric practice that serves Marin and San Francisco.

There has been a lot of media attention regarding the risk of lead exposure from children’s toys. Most of this attention has been focused on the risk of exposure from lead paint in toys made in China.

What is lead poisoning?

Lead is a toxic metal that affects the nervous system.  It is absorbed primarily through the inhalation of lead dust and ingestion of lead products.  Lead poisoning generally occurs slowly after repeated exposures.

Sleep Safely with a Sleep Sack

November 10, 2007

sleep sackNow that the nights are getting chilly, the safest way to keep baby warm is with a sleep sack. For those who have big babies or toddlers who kick off the covers at night, Baby in a Bag carries traditional European-style sleep sacks in larger sizes. These premium sleep sacks are made from breathable, comfortable fabrics, and are available in a variety of styles, including lightweight summer and heavier winter models, both made of soft 100% cotton; as well as PamperSacks made from a variety of fabrics, including soft Minky, eco-friendly soybean protein fiber, and luxurious 100% silk. All are available in a variety of colors and patterns. Prices start at $24.95, so they're not terribly expensive, and make a great new-baby or shower gift!

Get Your Unique, Handmade Shopping Cart Cover

October 24, 2007
Now that fall has arrived, the flu and cold season is just around the corner. I have to admit that I’m a little paranoid about germs, so when my son and daughter were old enough to sit in a shopping cart, I quickly ran out and bought a cart cover. The one that I purchased wasn’t very good and would never fit around the shopping cart properly.

Understanding Influenza and the Flu Vaccine

October 19, 2007

Marin Mommies is pleased to Introduce the first guest post by pediatricians Dr. Steven Martel and Dr. Oded Herbsman. Drs. Herbsman and Martel are the founders of Child’s Light Pediatrics, Inc., an innovative, house-call based pediatric practice that serves Marin and San Francisco.

Fall and Winter is a frequent time for illness in children. One frequent cause of Fall and Winter illness is influenza or “the flu”.  Fortunately, there is a way to diminish the likelihood that children are sidelined by this illness.

What is Influenza?
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by any strain of influenza virus.  It causes mild to severe illness, and is potentially serious in younger and chronically ill children. 

Each flu season is unique, but it is estimated that 5-20% of people in the U.S. get the flu. More than 200,000 persons are hospitalized for flu-related complications yearly. 
The flu virus spreads easily in droplets from coughs and sneezes. People become infected when droplets of an infected person are deposited on the mouth or nose of another person or on objects that are touched by that person.

Does my child have the flu?

Baby Tooth Care Tips

August 27, 2007
Baby TeethI took my 4-year-old to the dentist earlier this summer and found out that he had a cavity. Because of this, I have been very thorough about cleaning my 20-month-old’s teeth. I started researching the subject and found it’s really a hot topic out there. There’s a lot of information available, and it can get a little confusing. I’ve put together a list of baby tooth care tips that seem to be pretty universal.

Yoga for Kids

July 18, 2007
YogaKids DVD setMy son recently told me that he wanted to try yoga, probably because I do a class here and there myself. I couldn’t find any kids’ classes that we could attend in town, but after a brief search online, I did come across YogaKids icon an award-winning series of DVDs from Gaiam.

Shade your Babe!

July 6, 2007
Natalie sunshade by Bellah May DesignsAfter my son was born a few years ago, we experienced the hottest summer that I can remember in a long time. When we went for a walk I was constantly draping the stroller with baby blankets, shirts, or whatever else I had on hand, to shade him from the sun. Of course I didn't want to make it too hot for him, either, so it was always a balancing act. I searched high and low for some type of sunshade that would fit the stroller, but had no luck. I wish that I found these fashionable sunshades for Your Little Ones from Bellah May Designs. Choose from 27 different styles, all of which are reversible and are made of 100% breathable cotton.

One of my favorites is the Natalie (pictured above), which offers a Parisian flair with Eiffel Towers and polka dots in shades of pink and brown. The sunshades offer a sleeping baby privacy, and full or partial protection from the sun. They also offer a handy pouch for storage. Prices range from $75.00–$85.00. For more info or to purchase, go to

Hand Sanitizer Scandal?

June 11, 2007
Can your kids get drunk, or worse, alcohol poisoning from hand sanitizer? That's what several emails passed on to me over the past couple of weeks by well-meaning friends and family claimed. The story went, more or less, like this: A four-year-old preschooler became inexplicably sick, and after much research and hand wringing was eventually diagnosed with alcohol poisoning; apparently she licked off the hand sanitizer applied to her grubby mitts by an overzealous teacher. As always, I immediately checked Snopes,com, the Web's vast repository of arcane urban legends and rumors, to see if this was true. Apparently it is, since the way most hand sanitizers get rid of those pesky little germs and bacteria on your and your children's hands is to kill them with alcohol. Many hand sanitizer products, like Purell are up to 62% ethyl alcohol, or a little over 120 proof.

Baby and Toddler-Friendly Sunscreens

May 30, 2007

kid on the beachWhen my family hits the great outdoors for a walk, hike, or swim, I always try to remember to put lots of sunscreen on them. I usually don’t do much more than buy what’s on sale, and make sure it has an SPF of at least 30 to 40. I decided to do a little research on the subject to find out what really is the best sunscreen for children. One thing I discovered is that it’s important to buy a sunscreen or sunblock with either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. I also found out the sunscreen and sunblock are totally different; I thought the two terms were interchangeable, and they aren’t. Sunblock physically blocks the sun's UV rays, whereas sunscreen actually absorbs the ultraviolet light so it doesn’t reach your skin.

When you buy a sunscreen with zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide (which is recommended) it sits on top of the skin and forms a barrier against the sun's rays. When using a chemical sunscreen without either of those two ingredients, your skin actually absorbs the sunscreen, which may cause irritation or allergic reactions. It doesn't matter if you buy a so called "broad-spectrum" product, just make sure that it contains the all important zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, or both.

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