I scream, you scream, we all scream for sunscreen!

School is out which means summertime is here!! As your kiddos jump for joy and you are getting your summer plans set, I am sure that time outside whether for swimming, sports or just having fun in the sprinklers is on the agenda.  One of the most important things to remember to pack in your bag for the summer is sunscreen.  I had the opportunity to stop by WBRZ 4 o’clock newscast to talk with Brittany Weiss about what to look for in a sunscreen as well as other ways to protect your skin this summer.  Here is what you need to know about sunscreens as well as some of the biggest mistakes to avoid when it comes to protecting your little one’s skin this summer. Look for sunscreen that is labeled as “broad spectrum.” This means it will provide protection against both UVA (these cause aging of the skin) and UVB (these cause burning of the skin) rays from the sun. Sunscreen needs Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or higher.  Going higher than SPF 50 probably doesn’t give you much more protection so don’t worry about spending extra money for sunscreens with SPF higher than 50. Everyone 6 months and older needs sunscreen.  For babies under 6 months of age, ideally they should be kept out of the direct sun.  If sun exposure is absolutely unavoidable in this age group, a small amount of sunscreen is ok. Make sure to apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes BEFORE heading outside.  Applying sunscreen and then jumping right into the pool means that the sunscreen is just going to come right off!...
From the Archives: How we almost became a drowning statistic

From the Archives: How we almost became a drowning statistic

School is almost out and the thermometer is flirting with the 90 degree mark which means summer is just around the corner. As you are making plans for fun times at the pool, beach, or lake, please take a moment to read this post that I originally wrote 3 years ago.  I remember this like it was yesterday.  I have tears in my eyes every single time I read this.  I will never forget it.  Read and share with those you love and those that might be caring for your children when they are around open water.  Remember, drowning in children is SILENT and it takes just seconds. Originally posted May 26, 2015 It was our first swim of last summer. Mr. J (3 at the time) and Miss M (2 at the time) could hardly wait.  They had gotten suited up and each had waited their turn to get their sunscreen applied.  During their “wait time” to let the sunscreen soak in, Miss M was sitting right next to me on the porch while Mr. J wanted to sit on the top step of the pool and make “handprint art” with the pool water.  Standing about 10 feet from the pool steps, I applied my own sunscreen and was a bit distracted by Miss M explaining something about her princess pool toys for all of about 15 seconds or so.  And when I looked back to check on Mr. J, he was no longer on the step.  As panic set in, the adrenaline immediately kicked on, my mind slipped into the slow-mo that only happens in dire emergencies,...
Becoming Red States

Becoming Red States

Nope..this is not a political post. Instead this is all about the flu! As you can see by the map below, much of the United States is quickly becoming red which indicates the highest level of flu activity. I can assure you that here in South Louisiana, my office has been inundated with kiddos with the flu over the past 2 weeks. So let’s talk about this year’s flu season so far.   Flu is bad this year…there is no way around that! At this time the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that the most common circulating strain of the flu virus is an influenza A (H3N2) strain. There are also influenza A (H1N1) and some influenza B strains circulating as well, but just not as commonly as the H3N2 strain. So why is an H3N2 flu season a bad thing? Well, H3N2 viruses are more likely than their H1N1 and influenza B counterparts to make small changes to their structure that can allow them to evade the protection offered by the flu vaccine. The CDC estimates that in prior flu seasons, the flu vaccine has been 50-60% effective against H1N1 and influenza B strains while only about 30% effective against H3N2 strains. However, we will not know how effective the flu vaccine really is until much later in the flu season after more testing can be done. About a week ago, I saw several news headlines stating that the flu vaccine this year is only 10% effective. While that makes a great news headline, there is some fine print that comes along with that statement. The CDC...
The Big 3

The Big 3

The big 3…mistakes that is! I had the opportunity to visit the 4 oclock newscast this week to talk with Brittany Weiss about the 3 biggest errors when it comes to children and car seats.  Click on the link above to make sure you are sidestepping those pitfalls. And as for that new sign I have hanging in my office, here are two of my favorite “models” showing it...
Under 2? Rear-facing for you!

Under 2? Rear-facing for you!

  It is something that parents do on an almost daily basis, and you probably don’t think twice about it.  Putting your kiddos into their car seat when you head out on the road.  But did you know that studies estimate that 75% of car seats are installed or used incorrectly?!! Car crashes are the leading cause of death in children 1 to 13 years of age.  Since this week is National Child Passenger Safety Week, over the next few posts, I hope to answer some of the most important questions parents may have about car seats.  Today, we will focus on perhaps the biggest “error” I see parents making…turning their child forward facing too soon. For the past 6 years, the American Academy of Pediatrics along with every car safety organization have recommended that ALL children remain rear-facing until AT LEAST 2 years of age.  In fact, children can remain rear-facing until they reach the height and weight limit for the specific car seat in the rear-facing position.  For many rear-facing convertible car seats, the weight limit will be between 35-40 pounds (some even up to 45 pounds), and the height limit is the same for all car seats- the top of the child’s head should be 1 inch below the top of the car seat.  Most state laws are lagging when it comes to catching up to this most recent car seat recommendation.  Only 8 states- California, Connecticut, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Carolina- have laws that require children to remain rear-facing until 2 years of age. So what is the big deal...
“Dry Drowning” – What Parents Need to Know

“Dry Drowning” – What Parents Need to Know

As if the idea of drowning didn’t strike enough fear into the heart of every parent, recent news headlines and social media posts have brought a new term to the forefront…”dry drowning.”  You might be thinking, “Well of course my kiddo has had a cough a time or two after their face inadvertently went into the water. Is this something to worry about?”  Here is what parents need to know about so called “dry drowning.” What is “dry drowning”? To get scientific, there are actually two entities here: Dry drowning- This occurs when a small amount of water gets into the nose or mouth, and this water causes a sudden spasm of the airway where it shuts close.  It is almost like the airway is “over protecting” itself from the water that isn’t supposed to be there.  With dry drowning, there is no water in the lungs.  In these cases, you will see symptoms almost immediately after the water gets into the airway (the airway will not spasm if the water isn’t there). Delayed or Secondary drowning- In delayed drowning, a child inhales a bit of water through their nose or mouth, and the water actually does make it down into their lungs.  Once in the lungs, the water begins to cause significant irritation and inflammation (after all, water is not supposed to be in our lungs) which leads to something called pulmonary edema.  This can occur anywhere from 1-24 hours after the initial inhaling of the water. You can see that while these two terms mean something different from a medical standpoint, the term “dry drowning” is often...