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KidsFirst Blog

"KidsFirst” is a blog, hosted by the Duke Department of Pediatrics, that provides high quality information to families on a wide range of important child health topics.

Here comes the sun

April 22, 2018
Spring is finally here! As the days become longer and we enjoy spending more time outdoors, how can you protect your child from the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) exposure?

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Media literacy: helping your child find truth (and stay healthy and safe) in a fake news world

February 27, 2018
Children interact with media—TV, radio, online, and in print—every single day. As with many things, there is significant value in media, but also attendant risks.

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Teens and technology: managing cell phone and social media usage

February 6, 2018
It happened insidiously in my household. The cell phone was purchased in middle school, allowing me to get in touch with my pre-teen, particularly since she spends time in two households. 

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Choosing good books for children of all ages

December 19, 2017
The holiday season is in full swing and everyone is talking about the newest, hottest toys--I’m looking at you, Fingerlings. While on the hunt for the so-called “toy of the year,” it’s important to remember a tried and true classic: a good book. 

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Iron chef: become the snack master

November 21, 2017
Breathing a sigh of relief now that school is in full swing? The minute they come home, the job of feeding them begins again. And if there is one common request among children, it’s snacks!

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Fall daylight saving: making the most of the extra hour

November 2, 2017
If you’re a parent of a young child, daylight saving time can be a real challenge. During the fall, everyone sets the clock back by one hour, allowing for an extra hour of sleep. But for parents, they get an extra hour of. . .well. . .nothing. 

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Spook-tacular tips for a safe and healthy Halloween

October 26, 2017
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. Fun decorations, supercute costumes, and lots of treats -- what’s not to love? As a pediatrician, I am also very aware of some of the safety hazards that Halloween presents.

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Safe and sound: preventing and addressing bullying behaviors

October 10, 2017
Bullying is a prevalent problem and a ubiquitous concern among parents. Whether physical or verbal aggression, behind-the-scenes rumormongering, or online attacks, bullying can have wide-ranging and substantial consequences. 

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Peanut butter for babies? Are you nuts?!

September 28, 2017
Food allergies can be dangerous and are a key concern for many families. The science and clinical recommendations about preventing and treating allergies is changing rapidly, but one recent change drew a lot of attention.

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Preventing sudden cardiac death in the young

August 29, 2017
Many of us have seen media reports about an athlete who collapsed and died during an athletic event. We have also heard about the promising athlete who was disqualified from competition because of a cardiac condition which predisposed to sudden cardiac death. 

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Hold the tears, please: how to combat picky eating

August 16, 2017
“He won’t eat anything !” is a lament I hear almost daily in my clinic. One of our most fundamental responsibilities as parents is to provide nutrition to our children, and it is easy to become discouraged when every offering is met with a shaking head or a firm “no.” Sound familiar? You’re not alone.

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Sticks and stones: how we talk about weight, shape and size with our children

July 27, 2017
What images come to mind when you think of “childhood obesity?” Likely, it will be one of the many stereotyped images of obesity that are so common in media these days. Perhaps your mind conjures an image of the backside of a child with one hand grasping his parent’s hand (who also has obesity).

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Getting to happily ever after: helping teens with chronic health conditions thrive as they transition to adulthood

June 14, 2017
In late April, I had one of the most memorable work experiences of my career: I went to the prom. Fancy dresses and suits, a DJ, a dance floor, and. . .IV poles. Teens with a variety of chronic health conditions gathered to celebrate life in wonderfully typical fashion – by dancing the night away.

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Sleep training your child: myths and facts every parent should know

June 1, 2017
Sleep training is a hotly debated topic. Advocates and opponents have set up camps on two opposing sides of the sleep training divide with seemingly no middle ground. Proponents of sleep training argue that it does not harm the child and has benefits for the child and family. 

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Summer Safety

June 15, 2018
Duke Children's pediatricians Dan Ostrovsky, MD and Richard Chung, MD discuss a wide range of summer safety topics, including insect borne diseases and repellents, sunscreen, water safety as well as tips for enjoying a safe Fourth of July holiday.