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Kick-Start your Child’s New Year with Healthy Habits

A new year is a great time to jumpstart your children’s healthy habits and keep them in check throughout the year. Developing good eating habits and encouraging physical activities now will reap lifelong benefits.

Set a Good Example – Children practice what they see. Get the whole family involved. Be a positive role model by practicing the same healthy habits that you are trying to foster in your child. Turn family time into an opportunity to teach your children about good nutrition, as well as a time to plan active family outings.

Make it Easy – Keep your kids healthy by making it easier to eat nutritious foods. Cut up fruits and vegetables and keep them where they are easy to pick up. Keep sports equipment, such as balls, Frisbees, jump robes, etc. visible. Keep the focus on having fun, such as walking the dog, playing hide-and-seek, family walks after dinner, or weekend hikes.

Make Healthy Eating a Game – Make fruits and vegetables fun by incorporating a broad range of different colors, such as greens, yellows, oranges, reds and blues into your child’s daily diet. Aim to serve fruits and vegetables in every meal, and have your child research the nutritional benefits of the foods you serve.

Set Limits – Set limits on television viewing and the amount of time that your children spend playing computer games. Instead, set goals for daily physical activities and on the amount of nutritious foods that your children eat.

Eat a Good Breakfast – Providing your child with a healthy, well-balanced breakfast sets the pace for the day. Make sure that it includes fiber, protein, and some fruit for an energetic start.

Physical Activity – Help your child find physical activities that they enjoy and are likely to continue, such as biking, swimming, running, or playing basketball or football with family and friends. It doesn’t have to be organized sports; the important thing is to keep them moving.

Sleep – It’s essential that children get the sleep they need for their age group. A lack of sleep increases obesity, as well as learning and behavioral problems. Between the ages of 1-10, most children need between 10-14 hours of sleep, while teens need approximately 8.5-9.5 hours of sleep.

Meal Planning - Get your children involved in planning and cooking family meals. It is an opportunity for them to understand how meals are prepared and how they can use different ingredients to make them healthier. Teach them to read the nutritional information on food labels and what they should avoid.

Stress Management – Even in childhood, stress increases the likelihood of chronic illnesses, depression, and other emotional and behavioral problems. Help your child develop good stress management skills by urging good eating habits, physical activities, and free time to relax with family and friends.

Treats – Limit unhealthy foods, but don’t eliminate them entirely. Make a distinction between nutritious foods that your child should eat every day and foods that they can eat occasionally, as treats, such as ice cream, candy, soda and pastries.

Healthy habits promote success. Forging good habits in your children now will make it much more likely that they will continue these healthy habits as they get older.

About Pediatric Critical Care of South Florida

Pediatric Critical Care of South Florida (PCCSF) is a group of leading pediatric intensivists and hospitalists who are board-certified and fellowship-trained in pediatrics and pediatric critical care medicine. They currently operate the pediatric critical care unit (PICU) facility at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, Florida. For more information, please visit www.pccsf.com or call (954) 454-5131.

Posted by lavandosky

Keeping Your Kids Healthy During the Holidays

The holidays can be a fun time for kids to spend with family and friends, take off from school, and enjoy traditional holiday foods.

Too much indulging, however, can lead to stress, illness, and weight gain. Following are some preventative tips that can keep your kids healthy while letting the whole family enjoy the festivities.

Flu Shot – A seasonal flu shot before the start of the holidays, is the best way to keep the whole family healthy from colds and the flu.

Hand Washing – With all the traveling and family visits, it’s especially important that kids keep up their usual hand washing routine with hot water and soap when available, or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Avoid Oversharing – While the holidays are all about sharing, in order to avoid spreading germs, do not let your kids share utensils, food, or drinks with family and friends.

Routines – Routines are just as important during the holidays as they are during the school year as they reduce stress and promote relaxation. Keep a structured environment by sticking to a regular schedule of meals, activities, naps and bedtimes.

Healthy Foods – Avoid overeating at holiday parties by preparing healthy snacks before heading out and limiting your child’s portion sizes. Allow your child one dessert per event and discourage sweets at home. Get a good start each day with a healthy breakfast that will help your child keep up their stamina throughout the day.

Physical Activity – Kids burn about half as many calories during the winter, as they do in the summer; don’t let your child’s physical activity take a holiday. Limit the screen times on their phones, computers, and television. Encourage them to partake in fun activities like family walks, hikes, skating, bowling, or a friendly game of touch football or basketball.

Holiday Traditions – Create new holiday traditions that are about celebrating family time together and enjoying physical activities instead of food.

Set a Good Example – Parents can set a good example during the holidays by limiting indulgent foods, participating in physical activities with their kids, and taking the time to relax and de-stress.

Traveling – Plan trips in the morning when kids travel best. Bring along your child’s favorite items and games that will keep them busy. Try to schedule their mealtimes and bedtimes at the same time each day. Always make sure that your child is in the appropriate car seat, booster chair, or seat belt for their size when traveling.

Back to School – In order to ensure a smooth transition as your child gets closer to heading back to school, start adjusting their mealtime and bedtime schedules a few days before school starts.

The above recommendations will go a long way to keeping your kids healthy and helping the whole family celebrate the holidays together.

About Pediatric Critical Care of South Florida
Pediatric Critical Care of South Florida (PCCSF) is a group of leading pediatric intensivists and hospitalists who are board-certified and fellowship-trained in pediatrics and pediatric critical care medicine. They currently operate the pediatric critical care unit (PICU) facility at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, Florida. For more information, please visit www.pccsf.com or call (954) 454-5131.

Posted by lavandosky

Ten Tips for a Healthier Flu Season

Flu season runs from October through May, and peaks in January and February each year. Help your child avoid getting sick by following these ten tips from the experts at Pediatric Critical Care of South Florida.

• Make sure that all of your child’s vaccinations are up-to-date, according to age requirements, especially the flu shot. Although the flu shot does not guarantee they will not get sick, it lessens the severity.

• Teach your child to wash their hands properly by using warm water, working-up a lather with soap, and making sure that they clean both sides of their hands, wrists, nails, and between their fingers for 15 to 20 seconds.

• Instruct your child to wash their hands frequently, especially before eating, after coughing or sneezing, or blowing their nose. Washing their hands properly reduces the chances of germs ending up on the body.

• When soap and water is not available, have your child use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

• Prevent your child from spreading their germs to others by keeping them home from school and other activities when they are sick.

• Learn the difference between the cold and the flu. The flu lasts longer and is much more intense, with symptoms that include fever, body aches, and vomiting. Colds are not as severe and are typically shorter in length.

• Make sure that your child avoids fatigue by sleeping the adequate amount of hours and staying physically active during the flu season.

• Healthy habits will keep your child’s body strong. Have them eat nutritious whole foods, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, and avoid caffeinated drinks.

• In order to avoid spreading viruses, teach your child not to share, drink or eat from the same cups or utensils as their friends or classmates. This also includes parents and other family members.

• Sanitize your home and other shared surfaces, including your child’s computer, phone, or tablet, regularly with a good disinfectant at least once a week during flu season.

About Pediatric Critical Care of South Florida
Pediatric Critical Care of South Florida (PCCSF) is a group of leading pediatric intensivists and hospitalists who are board-certified and fellowship-trained in pediatrics and pediatric critical care medicine. They currently operate the pediatric critical care unit (PICU) facility at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, Florida. For more information, please visit www.pccsf.com or call (954) 454-5131.

Posted by lavandosky

PCCSF Recognizes National Physician Assistant Week

As part of National Physician Assistant Week, we’re celebrating these professionals and their contributions by highlighting one of our own, Lora Robertson, PA-C. Click here to read our latest newsletter.

Posted by lavandosky

Ten Back-to-School Tips to Get your Kids Off to a Healthy Start by Pediatric Critical Care of South Florida

After three months of summer vacation, most families need help transitioning their children to their back-to-school routines and getting them off to a healthy start. Following are some tips from the experts at Pediatric Critical Care of South Florida on starting the school year off right.

  • Find out what health checkups your child’s school requires. Most require that certain vaccines be administered before they can attend classes. Don’t wait until the last week before school starts to make an appointment with your child’s pediatrician, appointments fill-up quickly before the start of the year
  • Besides visiting your child’s pediatrician, back-to-school season is also a good time for setting other doctor’s appointments, including the dentist, optometrist, or ophthalmologist
  • Make sure that your child’s school is aware of any medical conditions that your child may have, including allergies, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or vision problems. Make arrangements for the school to administer any medications that they may need during class
  • Healthy eating is crucial for a successful school year. Make sure that your child’s eating habits are back-on-track before the new school year starts by reintroducing healthier meals and making them aware of the benefits of nutritious options so they can start making better choices on their own
  • As the new school year approaches, it is imperative to get kids back to a regular sleep schedule, check with your pediatrician to see how much sleep your child should be getting according to their age. Most kids need about two weeks to become accustomed to a new sleep routine
  • Anxiety can be a problem, especially if children are heading to a new school with new classmates. Encourage your kids to discuss any anxieties they may be experiencing
  • Computer screens keep children’s minds stimulated longer than intended, start limiting your child’s play time in front of computers, cellphones, and tablets as back-to-school season approaches
  • Make regular physical activity part of your child’s back-to-school routine. Exercise supports overall well-being, a healthier immune system, and helps kids stay alert and focused when they get back to class
  • Go a step further by encouraging your child to sign-up for a sport they enjoy. Participating in team sports has lots of benefits, including physical and mental health, stress reduction, and an increase in self-confidence. Check if your child’s school requires a sports physical and schedule it before the school year starts
  • Make sure that your child’s backpack isn’t hurting their back. Choose a sturdy backpack with good built-in support and thick padded shoulder straps. Teach your child how to spread the weight of the bag evenly

About Pediatric Critical Care of South Florida
Pediatric Critical Care of South Florida (PCCSF) is a group of leading pediatric intensivists and hospitalists who are board-certified and fellowship-trained in pediatrics and pediatric critical care medicine. They currently operate the pediatric critical care unit (PICU) facility at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, Florida. For more information, please visit www.pccsf.com or call (954) 454-5131.

Posted by lavandosky