child clinically depressedChildren, like adults, can experience “the blues”. For reasons unknown, all of us may feel sad, depressed and not like ourselves at times. For older children, hormones may be surging so irritability and mood swings can happen when least expected. If you find that your child is displaying depression symptoms that don’t seem to go away after a couple weeks, interrupting normal activities for an extended period of time, it may be time to schedule an appointment with your doctor to find out if your child is clinically depressed.


Some typical symptoms of depression that may surface requiring your attention, include:

  • Irritable mood, seemingly depressed, mood swings
  • Problems sleeping or ability to focus
  • Trouble at school, lack of interest in school and failing grades
  • Feeling angry or irritable
  • A feeling of worthlessness
  • Sadness and/or crying fits
  • Lack of interest in friends and activities
  • Lack of energy
  • Decreased self-esteem
  • Change in eating habits
  • Suicidal thoughts

If your child is feeling depressed, it’s important to seek help and let them know that they didn’t do anything wrong. It’s also common for children to be diagnosed with depression and an anxiety disorder at the same time, based on research by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, or ADAA.

Typically, there are two types of depression. One is considered major depression and the other is called dysthymia. When major depression happens, it can last over two weeks and can occur more than once throughout your child’s life. Traumatic events can trigger depression in a child (or an adult). Dysthymia is not as severe but instead considered a chronic form of depression that can last for up to two years.

When parents are depressed, their children are at a great risk for depression. Depression can affect people of all ages and genders, however; girls are more likely to develop depression during their adolescence years. Unfortunately, studies indicate that about 80 percent of kids with an anxiety disorder and 60 percent with depression are not getting treatment, and this can lead to suicidal thoughts.

Treatment options for depression.

Treatments for depression and anxiety can often be treated comparably and at the same time. If you believe your child is depressed, it’s extremely important to get help and not ignore the symptoms. Most children, over time, find great success managing their symptoms after receiving professional guidance.

Two of the most effective treatment options for children with anxiety include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication. CBT is a “talk-therapy” that has been proven to treat depression and anxiety disorders. With this type of therapy, the child can use techniques to manage and reduce their anxiety with skills they’ve learned during their sessions. Skills learned include replacing negative thinking patterns with positive ones and learning the difference between “realistic” and “non-realistic” thoughts. CBT is generally a short-term treatment with sessions lasting about 3-4 months but the benefits learned from this type of therapy can be long-term.

Another successful treatment includes medication. Prescription medications can be useful and used in conjunction with talk-therapy sessions. Research indicates that a combination of CBT and an antidepressant worked better for children ages 7-17 than either individual treatment used alone. The use of medication can be used short or long term, depending on the child’s symptoms and how well they improve using medication combined with therapy.

Need more information about childhood depression, symptoms and treatments? The Association of Childcare Physicians can help. Rebecca Salah, MA, LCPC, has joined our office as a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor. Ms. Salah has experience working with children and adults of all ages, specializing in areas including depression, anxiety, PTSD, grief, substance abuse and more. Learn more about Ms. Salah at or call us to schedule an appointment at (618) 235-2111.

Educational ToysAmazon recently announced the toys they anticipate being the hottest for Christmas this year. The Good Housekeeping team also weighed in on which toys are going to be the most popular. Based on their recommendations, we’ve accumulated the top 10 educational toys for kids that you may want to find at your local stores or online before they disappear.

Crayola Color Chemistry Set for Kids
For $24.97, this set from Crayola transforms your child into a scientist thanks to the 50 experiments. Adult supervision is recommended.

Melissa & Doug Examine and Treat Pet Vet Play Set
This vet kit is for ages 3 and older, offering a wide-variety of veterinary tools for $25.49. The Good Housekeeping toy experts liked that this set helps kids practice empathy and caring while they play.

Melissa & Doug Scoop and Serve Ice Cream Counter
This fun-filled ice cream scoop set is priced at $39.95 and is great for hand-eye coordination and also creative play. The 28-piece wooden set includes an ice cream counter, eight ice cream scoops, six toppings, two cones, cup, scooper, tongs, wooden spoon, and six $1 bills so kids can learn the basics about running an ice-cream shop with their friends.

Ozobot Bit Coding Robot
Ozobots are award-winning robots that can teach your kids about coding through coloring on a tablet. Depending on the colors and designs they use, the Ozobots will follow commands. Whether it’s Evo or Bit, these app-connected robots get kids coding and loving robots with the stroke of a marker. Prices start around $46.

Kano ‘Harry Potter’ Coding Kit
Thanks to the release of Fantastic Beasts 2, a ton of new Harry Potter-inspired toys are hitting the market in 2018. This STEM option teaches kids to code a wand that responds to their movements. Priced at $99.

LEGO ‘Harry Potter’ Hogwarts Great Hall Building Kit
Harry Potter lovers and kids aged 9 and up will love this building kit! For $99.99, this Hogwarts building kit was a huge hit. It comes with a potions room, treasure room, sorting hat, and the Mirror of Erised so they can take Harry and friends on their wildest adventures yet.

Osmo Genius Kit
For $89, the Osmo Genius Kit is a good excuse for screen time. The kit offers up fun games on the iPad to promote math, spelling, and other learning skills. There are a many positive reviews circulating around this hot toy, but some parents do think that the ads were a downside.

littleBits Avengers Hero Inventor Kit
Another STEM toy, Good Housekeeping loved the variety of projects offered in this Hero Inventor Kit.  With 18 projects, your kids will likely enjoy this toy for the long, winter months. Some of the more advanced projects even let them practice coding. This kit is priced at $149.00.

LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox
This kit won the 2017 Good Housekeeping Toy Award last year and is believed to be another hot toy for this upcoming holiday season! For $159.95 and for kids aged 7 and up, this LEGO toolbox is packed with over 840 LEGO pieces as well as a move hub and interactive motor.

Coding is a hot toy topic for this holiday, and Cozmo is one toy that will help kids fall in love with it! If your kids are new to coding, this friendly robot will let them explore and interact, play games and more. Cozmo is for kids 3 years and up, priced at $179.99.

Are you ready to start shopping for the perfect educational toy this holiday season? View the complete list at that highlights toys at all price points and all ages. Happy Holidays from all of us at the Association of Childcare Physicians!

childhood obesityWith school starting up and schedules becoming packed, many families return to familiar routines. For some, this can mean a routine of chaos. With school, extra-curricular activities, and sports, you and your family may find yourselves in a rush and begin neglecting the healthy lifestyle you were able to maintain with more ease during the summer months. With everything you have going on, how do you keep an eye on your child’s nutrition?

It’s no secret that adolescent and childhood obesity is a serious problem affecting our youth today. In fact, childhood obesity has more than tripled since the ‘70s. An NCHS Data Brief shows that 1 in every 5 school age children struggles with obesity. It is possible that obesity can be brought on by lack of guidance in nutrition, a fast-food lifestyle, and lack of exercise.

So, what can you do to ensure the health of your child?

One of the best things you can do for your child is to demonstrate and enforce a healthy lifestyle for the whole family. Meal times are a great place to start this positive change. A good idea would be to practice portion control and healthy choices during meals.

A portion is the amount of food that ends up on the plate. Portions should be determined from the serving sizes on food labels. Serving sizes, however, are not always accurate to what you should be eating, but rather are a way to show nutritional information per a set amount for the food. It may be acceptable to have a larger portion of vegetables than the suggested serving size and not acceptableto have a larger portion of a processed food suggested by the label.

USDA’s “MyPlate” is a great starting template for kids to learn portion control. MyPlate divides a plate into fourths. One fourth should be used for protein and another fourth should be used for starch or a whole grain. The remaining two can be filled with vegetables or a mix of veggies and fruit. It is very important that the sections aren’t spilling over into each other and are not piled high off the plate. MyPlate gives a good visual for what you should be eating as well as help in preparing healthy, well-balanced meals for your family.

Although MyPlate is a good visual, many children as well as adults still struggle with understanding and visualizing recommended portion sizes. Eyeing a proper serving size without physically measuring it can be tricky. An easy way to help visualize portion sizes is by relating them to familiar objects. For an example, compare 2 tablespoons of peanut butter to the size of a ping-pong ball, 3 ounces of beef or chicken to a deck of cards, and 3 ounces of fish to a checkbook. This helps children and even adults understand what their plate should look like, and helps you know how much to cook and place on your family’s plates. More helpful comparisons can be found here.

Here are some extra tips to help you and your children with practicing healthy portion control.

  • Have three healthy meals each day with two healthy snacks in between.Avoid skipping a meal so you don’t overeat at the next meal, and don’t force yourself to eat if you don’t feel hungry.
  • Don’t encourage a “happy plate.”Forcing children to finish their plate even if they feel full teaches them to ignore their body’s signals of hunger and fullness.
  • Serve your meals on smaller plates.Smaller plates make the meal look much bigger and fulfilling than it would on a large plate with lots of space.
  • Slow down at meal times. Rushing through meals causes you to eat too quickly and delays the feeling of fullness. This can cause you to eat more than intended.
  • Keep the food off the table.Make your plates in the kitchen and take only your plates to the table. This will help you think twice about wanting seconds.

If you notice your child has an exceptionally hard time eating proper portions and practicing a healthy lifestyle, don’t hesitate to consult any of us at the Association of Childcare Physicians. If you think your child may be on track to being overweight or obese, contact your physician before the situation progresses further. We would be happy to assist you in determining what a healthy weight for your child should be as well as giving recommendations on their diet and exercise. Call us at 618-235-2311.

concussionAlthough children are pretty durable in all the tumbles they take, there is one injury that should always be taken very seriously: a head injury. A fall, a softball to the helmet, or a collision on the soccer field could all result in a concussion and should be closely monitored. Because concussions can take a few days to present symptoms, it is important to know what to look for and observe your child’s behavior and routine after a possible concussion in order to begin the recovery process as soon as possible.

Regardless of how the concussion occurred, the signs to look for fall into four categories and should be examined by a medical professional.

Cognitive-Your child can seem confused, disoriented and easily distracted. Your child may also show signs of memory loss and may be slow to respond to questions.

Physical-Headaches, dizziness, nausea or vomiting and loss of consciousness are post-concussion symptoms. Your child may also have balance issues, blurred vision, poor coordination and sensitivity to light or noise.

Emotional-Nervousness or anxiousness can be expected, as well as sadness or mood swings and inappropriate behavior.

Sleep- Having a concussion can lead to sleeping problems like difficulty falling asleep, frequently waking up throughout the night, fatigue or tiredness during the day or the inability to be awakened.

It’s important to note that children with concussions heal much more slowly than adults. The effects of a concussion can last weeks or months in children and can heavily interfere with school and social activities. If your child is having severe symptoms, it’s very important that they see a doctor immediately in order to make sure the head injury isn’t more serious than a concussion.

If your little athlete suffers a concussion, he or she should stop playing immediately. Your child should absolutely not return to any physical activity on the same day the concussion occurred. Even if the symptoms appear to go away soon after the injury, they cannot re-enter the game. Your child should be restricted from physical and cognitive activity until they are fully healed. They must be cleared by a healthcare professional before resuming normal activities.

For athletes, there is a general recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics for return-to-play protocol. It advances in a step-wise fashion, and athletes must wait 24 hours between each step. Should symptoms arise, the child must wait an additional 24 hours before repeating the previous step and moving on. Here are the recommended steps for recovery:

  • Complete physical and cognitive rest while symptoms are present
  • Light aerobic activity after symptoms subside
  • Participate in sport specific activities with no head impact
  • More complex, non-contact drills
  • Full contact practice
  • Normal gameplay

The best way to begin recovery is to rest and relax for at least a few days. Excessive physical and cognitive rest is unnecessary, though. Give it a few days, and although it may be difficult at first, ease back into normal cognitive tasks. For children, returning to school can be fairly difficult, so it may be best for you and your child to make a short-term plan for the school day. This plan may include more frequent breaks when doing homework and additional time to complete exams and other assignments.

Children should be focused on returning to school before returning to sports and should take everything in moderation. If your child is believed to have suffered a concussion, you can make an appointment at Association of Childcare Physicians by calling (618) 235-2311 or by visiting our website.

boost your immune systemMost of the time, our immune systems work quite well to keep us healthy. It does a wonderful job regulating itself and doesn’t necessarily need that much help. As we prepare our kids for school and the upcoming fall and winter months, it’s helpful to understand that there may be times when our immune system weakens. Our lifestyle can impact our immunity, so here are some handy tips to make sure we are doing everything we can to boost the immune system when surrounded by germs.

Medically speaking, the main components of our immune system include lymph nodes, tonsils, spleen, bone marrow and thymus. We are still learning about the intricacies of the body’s immune response, but we do know to function well the entire system is a balancing act. Researchers have investigated the effect of factors like our diet, exercise and environmental stress on our immune system.

Want to keep your immune system healthy? Make sure your family has adopted a healthy lifestyle. Things like eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Vitamins A, C, and D, minerals and zinc play an important role in our immune systems. When we eat a balanced diet, there’s no need to take extra vitamins or minerals. Our busy schedules sometimes make it difficult to prepare proper meals and eat well. In that case, consult with our staff on recommendations for daily vitamins for your child.

In addition to a healthy diet, regular physical activity contributes to our overall wellness. When our children get home from a full day of learning, they may be tired and ready to play on their gaming systems. Set limits on how much screen time is allowed, and encourage family walks, bike rides and outdoor play-time after school, explaining that fresh air revitalizes a body, kickstarting energy better than screen time! The benefits of exercise is just another reason after-school sports can be so important for your child’s wellness routine. Exercise promotes efficient blood circulation that keeps the cells of our immune system “on the move” and successfully doing their job.

The days of “sleeping in” over the summer months are gone, and our growing children require an adequate amount of sleep to thrive, stay healthy, and learn each day at school. Lack of sleep is just one more reason our immunity can become compromised, so make sure your child gets plenty of it! Sleep deprivation over time can lower the response of the immune system while deep sleep strengthens it. Visit to find average sleep requirements for your child, depending on their age. You can also ask one of our doctors what is recommended.

Stress reduction is another way to boost immunity. When we feel stress, we suppress our ability to fight illness and disease. Experts have found that reducing stress can prevent illness and types of infections. If your child is feeling overwhelmed with school work, schedules, and their social circles, make sure you offer him or her the support they need. If you notice that your child seems depressed or overly stressed for an extended period of time, contact our office so we can help determine the next best steps.

If you have other questions about your child’s health and wellness, contact our office. Kicking- off the new school year in style, with a healthy routine, will be beneficial for your child and your entire family. Remember: the best thing you can do is set healthy examples for your children.

Need to schedule your child’s physical or health screening? Give Dr. Shaw or Dr. Kellow a call at 618-235-2311. You can also visit us online at

schoolSummer is quickly coming to a close, with a new school year just around the corner. Once the kids are back in school, time seems to fly by even faster. Between practices, homework and extracurricular activities, it seems hard to even find time to breathe. And when time gets tight, your health is often the first thing neglected. But it is important for both you and your children to keep a good diet, get enough sleep and stay organized throughout the year. Read on for tips to keep your family’s mental and physical health in check this upcoming school session!

Keep a good diet

When your family gets busy, it becomes much easier to run through a fast food restaurant or grab a bag of chips instead of making a healthier meal or snack. Eating healthy while on the go is possible; it just requires a little more planning.

Your kids will snack on what you make available to them, so opt for healthier options like granola bars, nuts, string cheese and yogurt. Buy lots of fruits and vegetables that your family enjoys, then wash and package them into snack bags as soon as you get home so they are ready when you need them. Pair with to-go packages of ranch dressing or peanut butter for an extra punch of flavor.

Healthy meals require the same kind of planning. Every weekend, sit down and decide what your family will have for dinner in the upcoming week based on your nightly schedule. Purchase your groceries based on that meal plan and do as much prepping as you can when you get home from the store. Slow cooker meals are a great option because they can be set in the morning and ready when you get home from work.

Get enough sleep

The key to “catching Zs” is training your brain to expect sleep at certain times—and then listening when your brain tells you to sleep. In order to make the most of your time asleep, it is important to keep a good sleep schedule. Your body cannot function well by “stocking up” on sleep on the weekends and barely sleeping during the week; it is better to aim for 8 to 10 hours of sleep each and every night. Encourage your kids to create a bedtime routine (like washing their face and reading a book) and do it every night before bed. This will signal to their brains that it is time for sleep, making it easier for them to fall asleep quickly.

Once your body settles into a sleep schedule, it is important to stick with it. On the weekends, try to wake your children within 2 and 4 hours of their weekday wake up time. This will keep their body clock in check. During the week, make sure your children manage their time well during the day so they can go to sleep around the same time each night. Set a time every evening for your kids to do their homework so they are not tempted to procrastinate and do it in the middle of the night.

Stay organized

The school year comes with many responsibilities and activities that can become overwhelming if you don’t stay organized. Depending on your personal preferences, either purchase a paper planner or download a planner app on your phone to keep track of family events and children’s activities. Encourage your children to keep their school planner updated with homework, projects and tests so they don’t fall behind in their classes.

When purchasing school supplies for your kids, buy each of them one binder for every class, preferably each a different color. Have them keep their notes and assignments for each class separated in the different binders so they will be less likely to misplace items. Each quarter or semester, help your kids clean out their binders and recycle any papers they no longer need.

Chances are, each of your kids are involved in at least one extra curricular activity or sport, all requiring different equipment. Set aside one bag for each activity and have your child keep all of his or her equipment for each activity in the assigned bag. If everything stays in the bag, it is easy to grab as they’re walking out the door and reduces the chance of them forgetting a shoe or shin guard.

If you notice that your child is having an extremely difficult time eating healthy, getting sleep or staying organized, contact your family physician, as it may be a sign of a more serious disorder or illness. If you have questions about keeping your children healthy during the school year, please give Dr. Shaw or Dr. Kellow a call at 618-235-2311.



online safetyToday, children are using the Internet at younger and younger ages. As exciting as this new technology is for young kids, it often raises safety concerns for parents. The Internet provides many social-learning and educational opportunities for children young and old, but the Internet is also a safe haven for child predators and identity thieves. It is important to equip your children with online safety knowledge to make smart and safe decisions on the Internet when they are young so they will carry those skills with them through their teen years and adulthood.

When children are first starting to use the Internet, parental controls are the best way to ensure they only see what you want them to see. Each Internet service provider (ISP) has their own parental controls, but most allow parents to block kids from viewing certain sites as well as monitor which sites their children visit. Bookmarking your children’s favorite websites to the taskbar makes it easy for kids to find what they want and keeps them from ending up on a site they shouldn’t use. Some websites and online programs also have their own parental controls. For example, Netflix allows users to create separate profiles for children that block their access to certain adult shows. Additional parental control software can be downloaded to a computer for even more protection. Some parental control programs charge users money, but a lot of great software can be downloaded for free, such as Kiddle and Qustodio.

Although there are many avenues for parental control on the Internet, social media is a different story. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) gives parents control over the information websites can collect from users under the age of 13. Although this act was implemented to protect children, it has also created the avenue for websites to forgo parental control options in favor of simply prohibiting children under the age of 13 from creating a profile without parental consent. For example, Snapchat and Instagram have no parental controls within the app. It is best to block kids from downloading these apps until they are 13, and have extensive discussions with your child about the dangers of communicating with strangers on social media.

If your kids are on these platforms, it is important that they keep their accounts set to private. This setting ensures that only people whom your child approved can see their posts or send them messages. Stress to your kids to only accept users who they know and trust. If a profile seems sketchy or unfamiliar, do not accept their follow request. Snapchat recently launched a map feature on its app that allows users to see their friends’ locations in real time. To turn this feature off, make sure your child’s profile is in Ghost Mode.

In the digital world we live in, it is status quo to share almost everything about our lives on the Internet. When your child enters the world of social media, it is crucial that they know what things are okay to share and what information should remain private. For example, kids should never share their address or phone number on a public post. Just as you have told your children not to talk to strangers in real life, make sure they know that rule is just as important to follow on the Internet. There are many online safety classes and videos that can supplement the conversations you have with your child about staying protected on the Internet.

Trying to keep your children off the Internet is impossible, no matter how hard you try. Although there are parent control settings and programs to monitor your children’s Internet history, communicating with your child about their online activities and educating them about Internet safety are the most important and effective ways to keep him or her safe on the Internet. You cannot control everything your children see online, but you can raise them in a way that prepares them to handle most any situation life throws at them—even on the Internet!


parenting after divorceThe American Psychology Association estimates between 40 and 50 percent of marriages in the United States end in divorce, the majority of which occur in families with children under the age of 18. Although everyone reacts to divorce differently, and parenting after divorce can be difficult, statistics show children of divorced parents are 15 percent more likely to experience prolonged emotional and behavioral issues than children of non-divorced parents. To minimize the trauma for their children, divorced parents must take purposeful steps to create a safe and nurturing environment for co-parenting after the split.

Right after the split, divorced parents must attempt to resolve their lingering problems and create a feeling of respect. Although you are no longer in a marriage together, you are still parents together. You will still have to make many important joint decisions about your children and how to raise them, which requires the ability to listen and compromise.

Depending on the circumstances of the divorce, mutual respect between you and your ex-partner may be easier said than done. Parents who want to co-parent eventually but have a complicated relationship with their ex-spouse often start out by “parallel parenting.” In this arrangement, both parents assume total responsibility for the children when the kids are with them, making all executive decisions. There are few expectations of joint decisions or contact with the other parent. As time goes on and hard feelings fade, parents may move toward a style of “cooperative parenting” in which parents communicate in a business-like manner regarding the children and coordinate co-parenting schedules. Each parent listens to and considers the other parent’s opinions when making any decisions regarding the children. Cooperative parenting is ideal to establish consistency for the children.

Parents must foster a routine that is stable and consistent for their children. Create a schedule that includes both parents’ respective times with the kids and stick to it. Make sure each party is on time for pick ups and drop offs and keep the same meeting place each day. This allows the kids to get into a routine and create a “new normal.”

Now that you are spending as little as half of the time you used to spend with them, it is important to give them your full attention when you are with them. Children undergoing a divorce often feel they are to blame or that their parents no longer care about them in the way they used to, so it is important to dispel these feelings and make them feel just as loved as they were before. Continue to do the things you used to do with your children and start new traditions together. In turn, it is imperative to also let your children have special moments and routines with their other parent as well. Try to not get jealous when your child talks about spending time with your ex-partner. Instead, rejoice in the fact that your children are still loved unconditionally by both parents.

Regardless, none of the above will last without honest and open communication between both parents and children. Parents must move beyond petty disputes to make decisions about what is best for their child. As time passes and parents meet new love interests and possibly remarry, it is imperative to have honest conversations about how stepparents will fit into the parenting picture. What role will they play in the children’s lives? Will they have a say in parenting decisions regarding the children? These questions should be addressed early to avoid confusion and hurt feelings later.

Every relationship is different, and so is every divorce. What works for one divorced couple may not work for another couple, and vice versa. Above all, it is important to find what works for you and your ex-spouse and continue doing it. If you are having issues determining a new balance after your divorce, reach out to a family or divorce counselor. No matter what relationship issues or ugly history you have with your ex-spouse, focus on your common goal of creating a loving environment for your children that includes both parents.

Have more questions about how to help your child through your divorce? The Association of Childcare Physicians can help.

If you have questions about children in divorce, or any other overall wellness concerns, please give Dr. Shaw or Dr. Kellow a call at 618-235-2311. If you believe your child is struggling emotionally with the divorce, visit our website to set up an appointment today.

sun safetyAfter an unpredictable winter that far outstayed its welcome, it is finally sweet summertime. While this change in season brings a great deal of joy, adventure and excitement, it also brings a number of dangers especially centered around the harmful UV rays from the sun. These dangers are no reason to miss out on summer fun; however, they are important sun safety factors that parents and babysitters should be well aware of. Stay safe this summer with these simple tips before you head out in the sun.

Shield the Sun!

Don’t let fun in the sun cause excruciating pain or permanent damage to your children’s skin. The easiest way to do this while still enjoying the summer is with sunscreen. When selecting a sunscreen to slather on your kids, be sure to use an option with at least 30 SPF. Further, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects from both harmful UVA and UVB rays. If your baby is 6 months old or younger, do not use sunscreen and simply keep your child out of the sun’s harmful rays as much as possible.

The key to applying sunscreen is doing it evenly and often. These are two of the biggest mistakes that plague parents everywhere. Even application is key! With growing popularity of spray-on sunscreens, it is important to remember that simply spraying is not enough. Many experts believe the lotions offer better coverage because it’s easier to see where it’s being applied to the skin. In order to get the best coverage and protection, it is important to rub both spray on sunscreen and lotions into the skin. Following the first application, sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours. This is one of the most common mistakes when it comes to sun protection. Parents and kids get caught up in the fun of the day, forget to reapply then are in for a not-so-fun surprise a few hours later. Always remember to apply evenly and often.

Sunscreen is not the only form of protection against the sun. Clothing is another wonderful option to protect loved ones from overexposure to the sun. This is the best option for infants because of their continually developing skin that is more susceptible to sunburns. Clothing is thick enough to protect from the sun as long as you cannot see through it. Hats are another fantastic way of protecting faces from the sun. Today, many clothing manufacturers also make clothes that are UPF rated and offer wonderful sun protection.

Skin is not the only part of our bodies that can be severely damaged by the sun. Eyes are just as susceptible to sun damage as skin, but the affects cannot be seen immediately like a sunburn. Make sure the kids are sporting sunglasses as they have fun in the sun. A fun bonus is that they will want to wear their sunglasses if they get to pick out their favorite pair at the store. Kid’s sunglasses are affordable and come in countless colors and styles. If the little ones lose their sunglasses, they’ll be cheap and easy to replace. Add a hat to their outfit when playing outside and it enhances their protection!

Timing also plays a role in preventing sun damage. When planning a day of fun in the sun, the American Skin Association states to try and avoid the window between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. This is the time when the sun’s rays are the strongest. We understand that is a large chunk of the day and recommend planning to overlap at the beginning or end of that window. Ideally, plan to avoid being outdoors for the full six-hour window in full sun. This is an added bonus because 10am-4pm is typically the hottest time of day. Look at this period as a time to cool off and relax indoors and possibly put the toddlers down for a nap.

It’s inevitable that sunburns will happen, but what is the best way to treat them? Unfortunately, there is no cure to the pain. Cool baths, aloe vera gel, ibuprofen, and moisturizing cream can all lessen the pain and aid in the healing process. Please give us a call if you have a concern about your child’s recent over-exposure to the sun and we can help with a treatment plan to make the healing process go smoothly.

Refer to these helpful tips and have a wonderful, safe summer in the sun! If you have further questions about summertime and sun safety, please give Dr. Shaw or Dr. Kellow a call at 618-235-2311. Association of Childcare Physicians also offers online appointment scheduling for your convenience.


Anxiety in Your Tween or TeenIt’s likely that someone you know has suffered from anxiety or depression. Often, it’s difficult to spot a person with anxiety because they may just seem shy, introverted or simply quieter than others. Anxiety in your tween or teen is one of the most common emotional problems that can cause crippling behavior, sometimes demonstrated by withdrawing from others but also by tantrums, meltdowns, and compulsive actions.

Are you noticing your teen or tween worrying more than ever before? Is it social anxiety, an anxiety that causes your child to miss out on birthday parties and school dances? Or, do they have illness anxiety, worried that they will become sick and thinking that every cough and sneeze will turn into the flu? Anxiety may be fueled by different triggers in each child. Here is a basic explanation of anxiety and treatments to help your child relate, and live, with this condition.

Because the origin of a child’s anxiety can vary greatly, a common term called GAD, or Generalized Anxiety Disorder, will be highlighted in this article. This condition is characterized by persistent and often unwarranted worry about day-to-day things. The worry can start at breakfast time because the bowl of cereal wasn’t healthy enough, or it can be focused on the classroom assignments at school that day. Whether it’s performance-related worry or fitting in socially, it’s a constant anxiety that things will go wrong. Because children that have anxiety often focus on “perfectionism”, the anxiety can cause extreme studying and/or practicing. The anxiety puts a lotof pressure on your tween or teen, and you’ll probably hear yourself saying to them often, “don’t be so hard on yourself.”

Children with anxiety will also often need reassurance from you about what’s causing the anxiety. Does your child incessantly ask you questions about “whether or not” something will happen? For example, if your child doesn’t like presenting in class, does he/she often go over the assignment repeatedly and then worry that it’s not good enough? And even though the teacher indicated that the material would not be presented out loud in class, is your child certain that it’s going to happen anyway? This constant reassurance is needed to help ease the fear and the worry that’s bubbling within them.

Often, if a child has GAD they will also be a bit more rigid and irritable when confronted with a fear. Emotionally, anxiety can be exhausting to the child, often causing physical symptoms as well to include restless behavior, fatigue, upset stomachs and headaches. If you notice that your child is losing weight, lacking sleep and complaining about headaches or stomachaches due to anxiety, it’s time to schedule an appointment with us to discuss options. Unlike adults with anxiety, children don’t usually recognize or understand that it’s their fears causing them such physical stress.

The fears children with anxiety feel are typically based on tangible, real life issues. Maybe your child had the stomach flu when younger and now even the thought of throwing up is too much to bear. So, your child has adopted a behavior that includes washing her hands repeatedly, excessively, until they begin to bleed. This compulsive behavior of washing hands frequently stems from her anxiety.

There are treatments to consider once your child has been diagnosed with a particular anxiety or general anxiety disorder. GAD is often treated with behavioral therapy by a therapist or counselor. The therapist may provoke anxieties and then teach her ways to manage the worry. Another option, cognitive behavioral therapy, teaches the child to recognize how her thinking may be contributing to her anxiety, helping her comprehend that the anxiety response is out of proportion to what’s triggering it. In some cases, serotonin reuptake inhibitors are recommended or anti-anxiety drugs are prescribed in addition to therapy sessions.

When anxiety becomes so profound that it’s interfering with the child’s life, their overall wellness, and affecting the entire family unit, it’s important to seek help. Untreated anxiety tends to worsen over time and can also lead to depression in older children and adults, ultimately causing more issues. If you have more questions about anxiety symptoms and treatments for your child, please give Dr. Shaw or Dr. Kellow a call at 618-235-2311 or visit to set up an appointment today.

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